Vision and Action
By Barbara Marx Hubbard
This article is an excerpt from Andrew Beath’s book Consciousness
In Action: the Power of Beauty, Love and Courage in a Violent
Time (Lantern Press, 2005)
Introduction by Andrew Beath
When people experience their expanded nature, they often become
blissfully aware of the interrelationship of all life and feel
compassion toward others. It is likely that we are designed to
experience these qualities. Our individuality is an expression
of diversity that retains a common essence. Once we perceive wholeness,
we want to serve it, and our small self becomes a larger self
that embraces the natural world and other people.
Eros symbolizes the force that compels us to discover our life
purpose and draws us together with others who have discovered
theirs. A more-than-personal vision often accompanies such an
awakening. Finding one’s own vision brings connection to
others, initiating community. Consequently, similar groups reveal
themselves, creating a linking of common interest. Each community
is an energetic field whose tendrils—like nerve cells, dendrites
and synaptic connections—grow to greet the outreaching vision
As we expand awareness, first individually and then communally,
we are moved to identify ever more strongly with natural harmony
and to surrender our self-centered personal will. The more we
do this work, the closer we come to recognizing the creative source
within and manifesting its love through action in the world.
So many visionaries are activated now. They are essential because,
to paraphrase Einstein, we can’t solve our problems from
the same state of consciousness from which we created them. The
solution is to find the vision that will allow us to move toward
thoroughly considered and considerate ways of being together.
Barbara Marx Hubbard is a futurist and visionary who is creating
a community that guides its members in the discovery of their
own vision. It’s called the Foundation for Conscious Evolution,
located in Santa Barbara, California. Her work is imbued with
vision for the healthy interaction between people and the natural
world. In our discussions, I asked her to talk about conscious
activism and her personal history of deepening vision, which covers
four decades and has many fascinating twists and turns. She told
"Let’s start with conscious activism. I’d go
back to Abraham Maslow and how he affected my life. Up to age
35, I had been raising five children but had no calling to act
in the larger world other than to conform and do what I had been
told was right to do. This led to a deep depression. When I was
trying to understand my depression, I read Maslow, who pointed
out that every joyful, productive, well-functioning and self-actualizing
person has one thing in common: chosen work that he or she finds
intrinsically self-rewarding. I began to search for my vocation
and discovered, in the process, my own unique creativity—that
which gets called into action when it is in contact with something
that excites it.
I began to realize that there is a whole system-wide change happening
on the planet. This change could lead to the destruction of our
world. But it also has all the elements necessary to precipitate
the fulfillment of the deepest aspirations and highest potential
of humanity. So in the midst of my frustration and depression
I reached out into the unknown in response to this intuition of
higher possibilities. I repeatedly asked the question within myself,
“What is happening with us on Earth in this moment that
is comparable to the birth of Christ? What is the story of our
For six or seven years I had been searching for the answers in
books. I read Maslow, Teilhard de Chardin, Bucky Fuller and many
others. Now, I was asking the Universe directly. Then one day,
in 1966, while I was walking in a kind of daydreaming state, I
was suddenly gifted with a spontaneous, conscious vision of an
expanded reality. And in the course of about five minutes I received
an enormous array of impressions – ranging from cosmic evolution
to what it would be like if the world “worked for everyone,”
to use Buckminster Fuller's phrase. In the process, I received
a deep vocational calling from my soul.
First, it was as if my mind’s eye suddenly projected into
outer space. I felt like an astronaut. I experienced myself as
a cell of Planet Earth and of the social body of humanity –
as each one of us actually is. But I could literally feel the
whole planetary body heaving and gasping for breath in the polluted
atmosphere. I felt the struggle and the running out of resources.
I also experienced a moment of collective pain, which I now associate
with 9/11. In response to that collective pain, I could feel the
hearts of millions of people opening to the suffering of the world.
And I experienced Spirit going through these open hearts and connecting
people with each other. I saw us all resonating together and healings
occurring within everyone. It was like when Jesus walked through
a town and people would be spontaneously healed. It felt like
this was happening to us – because in the opening of our
hearts to the pain of the world, the social body became a single,
conscious organism. And that moment of wholeness rippled through
In this vision, I saw that my purpose is to help coordinate this
social body as it evolves to a higher level. I glimpsed the new
economics, the new politics, the new governing processes and the
new environment as an emergent property of the consciousness of
people when they feel resonant with and compassionate toward each
other. I experienced the emergence of this social body in a flash
– not in detail but in essence. And I literally felt humanity
becoming one living body on planet Earth, imbued with heart-full
consciousness. And as we began to resonate together and coordinate
our actions, I felt the lights from other parts of the Universe
I could feel that we were part of a Universe full of intelligent
life. It felt to me like we were about to communicate with these
other life forms, but that we did not yet know the universal language.
What I saw is that evolution is a profoundly intelligent and meaningful
process leading through an increasingly complex order to higher
consciousness and greater freedom. Although I had read this concept
in the works of Teilhard de Chardin, I now actually felt it within
myself and understood it through direct experience.
I also saw that through our heightened empathy and feeling with
one another, millions of people are motivated toward greater action
in the world. In this sense there is a movement toward the building
of a new world. During the upheaval of the second Iraq war it
was said that there is a “second superpower.” It is
the peoples of the world. In this sense the vision is being fulfilled
now. Of course, it is a cosmic drama, because we don’t know
if we will shift our behavior in time to save our environment
and ourselves from self-induced devolution. We are the generation
of this choice.
Then, going back to that defining moment for me in the mid-sixties,
I felt as if these words came to me from the Cosmos in response
to my question. I heard the inner words, “Barbara, our story
is a birth. What all the great avatars came to tell us is true.
We are all members of one planetary body. We are all connecting
now. This is the time of the birth of a universal humanity capable
of co-evolving with Nature and co-creating with Spirit. Go tell
I became tremendously excited. I studied cosmology, geology and
biology to reinforce what I had experienced in those five extraordinary
minutes, learning the actual story of evolution from the origin
of creation to us, who are now at the threshold of another turn
on the spiral. I was and am activated from within to express my
vocation within the larger body. Conscious activism for me began
with this experience of expanded reality and a vocation or calling
that came to me from a higher dimension than my will.
Prior to my vision I had been reading through Teilhard de Chardin
and others about the story of cosmic evolution. But it was still
just a story for me. Dr. Hank Wesselman, the paleoanthropologist
and shaman, talks about how information transforms into activation.
Using computer language, he says that there’s a single click
in which you get information on something. Then there’s
a double click in which you actually enter the program. What causes
a single click to become a double click is deep, passionate desire.
I was excited by what I read but couldn’t incarnate it.
The double click was a mystical, transforming experience that
seems to have been triggered by a combination of grace, preparation,
frustration and the intention to really know what was going on.
And during that fateful walk, I underwent a spontaneous, revelatory
experience in which I could directly feel that I am composed of
subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, cells and organs. What
happened was that I essentially and spontaneously decoded my being.
I felt as if I tumbled back through the spiral of evolution.
It was like seeing a speeded up movie of creation – like
a time-lapse film on the birth of a flower – in which you
can perceive the underlying pattern. I realized that I am a microcosm
of the whole universe, as are we all. And in my consciousness
I lived through the formation of the Earth and the first appearance
of multi-cellular life. I could see the earliest humans in one
sweep. I witnessed all of those events in the story of creation.
And I was no longer just getting information about something.
I became the information myself. It was kinesthetic and absolutely
When I awakened to the realization that I am a cell in the living
body of Earth, I could see that we are each an embodiment of the
composite resume of the Universe’s entire life span. And
latent within us is the memory of the whole process of creation.
This form of knowing is called knowledge by identity. You become
one with that which you are knowing.
My experience showed me that everything that has ever happened
is coded in cosmic intelligence. Gregg Braden and others call
it the quantum hologram. It has also been called the “akashic
record.” When one shifts into cosmic consciousness mode,
which happened to me in that flash, the information of the past,
present and potential future is instantaneously available because
it’s also encoded in our cells. In The White Hole in Time,
the physicist/futurist Peter Russell writes that if the information
and instructions encoded in a single molecule of DNA were typed
out on paper, it would fill a book of 6,000 pages. My conscious
mind does not need to know any of this information. But in my
sudden experience of cosmic consciousness, I felt that I had access
to that coding and to its implications, because we each have the
whole system encoded within us.
Field of Universal Intelligence
I think that everything exists within the field of universal
intelligence and that the Universe is a vast learning experiment
with a divine intent, which is to make beings ever more conscious
of the consciousness that is creating us. So, when the planetary
body – like a biological fetus – arrives at a certain
stage of development, then individual members, like organs of
the body, are triggered for unique functions. In an instant I
was turned on to fulfill my role in the social body, which is
to help actualize the vision I was given of our potential future.
I believe the consciousness of our planetary body must have precipitated
and coordinated the experience, or it would have been fragmented,
chaotic and possibly frightening. However, nobody can agree on
what actually triggers such anomalous events in our lives, because
we are not mature enough in our collective consciousness to really
There isn't anybody born anywhere on Earth without a set of creative
capabilities that are important to our collective well-being.
My vision of the world to come is what I call a co-creative society
in which everyone has the opportunity to identify and act upon
his or her particular coding, in concert with others. But I think
that in the current world situation, not everyone can discover
and respond to a unique creative purpose. For the majority of
the world’s people, just staying alive and feeding one’s
family is too much of a struggle. The great gift for those of
us who live in the developed world is the freedom to discover
and contribute our creativity into the larger community. It is
ultimately the source of happiness and personal growth as well.
Discovering Your Purpose
This is what I learned from Maslow and certainly from my own
experience: If I have a genius code that’s pressing me to
fulfill my potential – like the force of the oak pressing
within the acorn – and I don't respond, I will get depressed.
I will feel alienated, abusive, sick, possibly even violent. I
would guess that as much as 90 percent of the social ills of the
middle class in the world today are because individuals have not
found their life purpose or are not acting on it once they know
what it is.
Experiencing one’s expanded nature is an impulse that comes
from the creative source of being – the creator within.
By answering it, you fulfill yourself and simultaneously serve.
But to say “yes” is a choice one has to make, which
sometimes makes great demands on us. It may require that we change
our lives in radical ways and give up the security we have known
in order to be true to our path. This is certainly what happened
to me. I felt compelled to get a divorce and take my five children
to Washington, and this was very hard for us all. But there was
no room in my marriage for me to be the person I had unexpectedly
become. I was suddenly a co-creative woman. I could no longer
be just wife and mother. Still, that break was very painful.
At the point that you discover your purpose and decide to pursue
it, you have to expect a re-patterning of your life. The cost
may be high. But I think it is always worth the price, because
you find yourself growing and in a state of flow. There is happiness,
joy, companionship, excitement and fulfillment. The discovery
of vocation is absolutely essential for conscious activism, because
now you are not acting out of anger or a personal desire to fix
things up. You are acting as an expression of deep intent.
When activism is motivated from the deepest level of consciousness,
you are being activated at the soul level with a calling forth
of your life purpose. This is your true vocation, your soul's
code– that inner guiding genius that each one of us possesses.
Its arousal is the next stage of your evolution as a person. If
you are not activated to express that uniqueness through some
form of ongoing service, then true fulfillment will elude you.
James Hillman writes about this in The Soul’s Code.
And it is a very intimate relationship from a bio-evolutionary
point of view, since only in the last couple of generations have
people been told, “Don't be fruitful and multiply.”
There are already more people than the planet can readily support.
So it seems that there is a spiritual hormone turning on. It is
stimulating us toward the fulfillment of our unique life purpose,
in concert with others. The drive toward self-reproduction is
expanding into the desire for self-evolution, which occurs through
the expression of life purpose. The urge to procreate is becoming
the desire to co-create, to join our genius and give birth to
our greater selves and our work in the world. Many of us are responding
with the same drive we felt toward reproduction.
Co-creation involves tapping into the universal creative life
force that flows within us all and then joining one’s genius
with that of others and learning the pathways of resonance together,
loving the other as oneself, listening with compassion, learning
how to speak the unspoken and not harboring hidden resentments.
I fell in love with a purpose that was transcendent to myself,
and Eros was the creative force that awakened me to Telos, which
the dictionary defines as “the end term of a goal directed
process.” I coined the term telerotic to mean falling in
love with the potential fulfillment of our evolutionary purpose,
as I foresaw it in the vision.
One of the things that is absent in most people today –
even among the conscious activists who do their work in community
with others – is a shared vision toward which the activism
is aiming. I don't believe it is sufficient just to work to fix
up the obvious problems. We need to strive to fulfill the vast
evolutionary potential of the human species, including the spiritual,
social, artistic and scientific. I see my role from an evolutionary
perspective as helping to bring forth a shared vision of humanity
as an awakening entity. This vision adds dimension and gives context
to the goals of planetary sustainability.
We were not called forth en masse to activate our soul code and
co-create together until the planetary crisis was at such a level
that, without this kind of guiding genius and universal love,
we would not survive.
Many of us who are working for planetary change have been working
in isolation. But the deeper thing that was happening for my friends
and me was the discovery of community. Within that larger group
of pioneering souls, we established a resonant field that supported
the growth of each of us. Sometimes the field was palpable. It
felt like a harmonious medium of empathy. The field accelerated
our personal growth as well as deepened our sense of vocation.
It felt to me as though we were experimenting with an early form
of synergistic democracy, or “synocracy.” This is
a coming together of individuals in such a way that all are able
to more fully express themselves within the context of the whole
than if they were separate.
I am finally experiencing a social incarnation, which is when
one’s conscious activist intention finds collaboration with
others whose vision is commensurate with one’s own. As mentioned,
it involves more than fixing problems or preventing something
terrible from happening. It is actually participating together
to create that world that you are called to bring forth from within.
If you do a planetary scan, you’ll see that communities
are forming everywhere, and these communities are each holding
the collective coding as well as the blueprint for a specific
mission. I think of these communities as separate yet interactive
organs in the social body. And the potent interactions of these
organic communities assure that the larger social body will be
far greater than the sum of its parts.
I believe that there are enough of us now to create global change
and that the next step is to find our resonance and connectedness
beyond the separate endeavors that people are involved in. If
I could frame it as a planetary birth experience, I would say
that this new culture we are endeavoring to create has already
been born. Millions have awakened: We all saw Earth as one body
from space; the environmental movement woke us up to the fact
that pollution that occurs in one small part of the world affects
the larger body; women woke up and realized that they have an
essential contribution to make to the world; and the human potential
movement is making a better future possible by providing an array
of new technologies for facilitating and accelerating self-actualization.
I believe that the lights are about to turn on all over the world.
Every single turned-on person is enlightened in a fundamental
way and a catalyst for change, and everyone not yet turned on
is in the process of growing brighter. My purpose now is to find
ways to support the collective nervous system of this emerging
new culture by building stronger, synergistic connections between
us. There are more than enough awakened people, but we are mostly
functioning in separate clusters with minimal awareness of other
communities of activists. Yet so many of us are working for the
same goals, and there is strength in numbers.
So this is conscious activism: supporting the development of
each universal human, which will lead to the conscious planetary
awakening that I foresaw. And the beauty of this is that we probably
already have the know-how, the technology and the resources to
fulfill our goal of sustainability on the planet.
When two or more people with poised minds are gathered, there
is that sense of effortless flow and spontaneity. And what I mean
by poised mind is that we are not trying to figure things out
or to devise strategies. We are simply experiencing the moment
and allowing the larger design or pattern of action to be revealed.
There is no reason to assume that Homo sapiens has reached the
ultimate human form. We’re not stopping here, and that is
the real hope of the world."