Thoughts on Entering the River of Time

I have imagined myself standing on the bank of the River of Time. The image came to me one day when someone asked me to explain a complicated choice I had made in life and its implications. As I pondered the question, the image of myself standing on the edge of the River of Time came to mind. The image was a helpful one because it brought to me in a very clear way the profound realization that if, indeed, time is like a river, I can only step into that river at the point on the bank at which I stand.

Coming to this realization of my place on the river bank was a freeing one. I saw in that moment that I do not have to defend or explain in any way what the River of Time contains up to this, my moment on its banks, nor do I have to make any guarantees about how its future will unfold. All I need to be concerned about is the spot on the bank that is my moment in time, and to be sure that if I choose to enter the Rivers waters, I do so with integrity.

Then, as I continued to sit with the image, I saw myself step off the bank and make my way step by step along the River’s sandy bottom out toward the middle of its flow. As I did so, I noticed that the River was not one in its flowing, but actually held many different currents that stretched back upstream. I could imagine these currents made up of different human events, thoughts, ideas, concepts, practices, all emerging, flowing and changing through time. Here, now, beside and around me, the individual currents broke upon the river’s surface in swirls and eddies and tugged at my body as I moved through the water.

On further reflection, I saw several important implications in the presence of those history-laden currents. The first implication was a reinforcement of the reality that, from the point at which I stand, the many currents within the River of Time flowing toward me hold the legacy of all that has gone before in the history of humanity and our Universe, good and bad. Unique and yet part of a single flow, each current within the River has its own long past, but in the here and now that past is out of reach. I – and you – cannot change any current’s prior course, we simply inherit it. Again, we can only enter the River in the present moment, accepting what it contains. There is no need to waste time on blame or wishing things were different.

However, the next implication that occurred to me came with the realization that while I cannot do anything to change the past I can, if willing, enter the River and perhaps influence its future. To do so, I will need to surrender to the River and its currents and become a part of it. In doing so, as others have done before me, I stand at least a chance of influencing how each current I touch goes forward. Moreover, each current I thus affect can become a current of change for future generations.

Finally, the realization came to me that if I allow myself to be open to its influence, any current in the River into which I choose to move also holds the potential to change me.

The River of Time and its Currents of Change became for me an apt metaphor for this blog. In a way, the blog tells the story of my encounter with a number of such currents existing in the River of Time in my moment in history. I am well aware that those currents hold in many cases a tragic past, while others hold a not-yet-fulfilled promise of a better future.

Furthermore, the metaphor of stepping into the River of Time explains my motivation for writing this blog. I hope to illustrate how my intention to allow myself to be shaped by and even more so, to dare to help shape the Currents of Change (formerly called “Steps” if you are an early blog follower) identified on the blog can help lead to a different future for our Universe, and in particular the beautiful planet we call home.

In the very broadest sense, the potential to impact the Currents of Change within the River of Time is what conscious evolution is all about. As the futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard suggests, we humans are now evolution itself become conscious, meaning the next steps in evolution – for better or worse – are dependent on human thought and action. In other words, we now share a collective responsibility to see that evolution continues to unfold in a manner supportive of human life and the ecosystem of which we are an integral part and upon which we depend. This is a new vision of what it means to be human.

The choices we make will determine the future course of Life on this planet, and perhaps in our Universe.

There is one more important point to make about the River of Time. As we enter the River, we are brought forward with its currents, sometimes through still pools and at other times experiencing such turbulent change it feels as if we are indeed riding through fierce rapids. In our lives, we may meet other people who are riding the currents of Time with us. Some may even have traveled further ahead in the River than we have, and have seen changes and been changed in ways we have not yet experienced. They may, on returning to visit with us, even be frustrated at our lack of awareness. Still others may not be where we are on the River. For them, the landscape through which they have traveled and the changes they have experienced are not yet what we have come to know. When we meet, such encounters require patience and dialogue to find our points of common awareness and concern.

Finally, in a present age wracked with the pain of death caused by extreme acts of human violence and unprecedented natural disasters, this blog is about how stepping into an awareness of the Currents of Change – some ancient and some having only emerged in recent decades – has made me aware that the River of Time also holds ripples of hope.

One might even say that the Currents named on this blog offer a curriculum for how we might develop a new direction for our personal and collective conscious evolution. I have used the information and insights found in the Currents of Change on this blog in leading workshops, retreats and leadership development courses for more than 20 years. Many participants in these events have told me they found the material to be helpful, even life-changing as they address the spiritual questions in their lives.

So, welcome to my River of Time. My invitation to you is to read this blog and in doing so to join me in intentionally entering its Currents of Change, learning about them, pondering my reflections on them, considering how they impact our spiritual questions, and adding your own voice to it all.

May we work together to make these ripples of hope currently found in the River of Time grow deeper, stronger, swifter. Together, may we foster our own conscious evolution, and commit to do our part to guide the transformation of Earth’s Community of Life toward a sustainable future.

Once again, welcome.


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