Soul-making is as much about our state of consciousness—and what we do in the world with that—as it is about the things that happen to us. How we think about and visualize our place in the world tells us as much about who we really are as anything else.

Peter Russell has said the emergence of a “global brain” is as different from consciousness as consciousness is from life, as life is from matter. Robert Wright puts it this way: “The fitful but relentless tendency of invisible social brains to hook up with each other, and eventually submerge themselves into a larger brain, is a central theme of history. The culmination of that process—the construction of a single, planetary brain—is what we are witnessing today, with all its disruptive yet ultimately integrative effects.”

If global consciousness most characterizes the spirit of our time, as many leading thinkers say, we have some big questions to ask ourselves about who we really are and how we want to be remembered by others in the decades, even centuries, to come.

We need to be able to answer the really important questions of our times: What am I certain of? What most characterizes the future I want for my descendants and myself? What would help bring about a more equitable balance between the feminine and masculine influences in society? What would it mean if science and religion really were in harmony? How can economic equity in the world be achieved? Can I even live my life without having some sense of being a citizen of the world?

The answers to these most pressing questions are within you, in your own experience, within the truth that makes up your life. To know the questions is to be on a quest. To be on a quest is to be open, to be ready. Our own questions help us make sense of our own experience. Our own autobiographical truth has a great deal to teach us about our relationship with others and the world we live in.

Robert Johnson suggests that “the Great Quest” is no longer that of the conquering (masculine) hero, who defends his territory, his principles, his woman, and his rights, but is rather that of the embracing hero/ine, who finds the right place for each relationship in life, who nurtures, protects, and comforts so growth can take place in a field of love and wholeness. Is the heroic task of our time “to learn to love—if our planet and our civilization are to survive much beyond our present era?”

As we come to understand the role and purpose of archetypes, mythic themes, and the sacred pattern in our lives, a deep appreciation for the commonalities we share grows. As we become more open to other people, their experiences, and their views, we see that differences are only skin deep, that we really are more alike than we thought.

As cultural evolution has progressed, those living in each era of history have been intertwined with greater and greater numbers of people in regions that are farther and farther away from wherever they are in the world. And with this expansion in every physical and social realm has come an expansion in personal and collective consciousness as well.

All of this makes the life journey each of us is living in this transformational time extremely vital to the whole. If the sacred story in which we are living today is founded upon planetary transformation, leading us away from ego-centeredness and to a unified field of shared awareness, how are our souls to be made? How are we to come to know our divine identity? How, but from a consciousness of the struggles, conflicts, chaos, and challenges of the time in which we find ourselves now living.

The raw materials of our own soul-making reveals the common threads that we share with all of humanity. Our deeper story tells a familiar story. The part is a reflection of the whole. The personal mirrors the collective. The collective validates the personal. The two together tell one story. The stories we tell of our lives help us realize our inherent and intended unity as one human family.

If it is as true for you as it is for many people today that the spirit of our time is captured by the consciousness of the oneness of humanity, how would this be reflected in your own soul-making? Could it be that all the previous sacred traditions have been preparing us to realize in our time of complexity and interconnectedness that, in the words of Baha’u’llah, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens?” If we can find in our own experience any aspect of this timeless, universal spiritual heritage, we will have found our own soul-making to be in harmony with the spirit of our time.

If we remember who we are at our essence, what our true nature is, that we are souls on an eternal journey, and that we are all on this same mystic journey, we will have connected with the core of creation.