The whole is reflected in the part, and the part in the whole. Reality is an indivisible oneness. When it comes to the evolution of consciousness, the world’s sacred traditions, as well as the world’s civilizations, follow the same pattern as the individual life cycle. At its core, timeless, universal archetypes guide the unfolding of progress in all realms.
The archetype of transformation – at its essence, muddle followed by resolution – functions in the same way on both the personal and collective level. The life story of every world religion, however disillusioning it may be to recall what their followers have done in the name of religion, is the same.
In the worst of conditions, one lone individual emerges, often reluctantly, and speaks with a voice beyond others, claiming to be inspired by God, calling for reform, and setting forth a renewal of principles and laws exemplifying the highest standard of moral and spiritual excellence. Religion, that is, the original truth revealed by its founders, is a transformative force.
The story of religion makes it clear that this timeless pattern has been here forever, and will continue to be forever. There are always opposing forces at work in the world: forces that would keep things the same and forces that would change things and move things along toward progress. Such is the nature of evolution. From a distance, evolution may appear as an arrow shot across the continuum of time. And even though the prophets of God have been the catalyst for the transformation of societies and of the world, and their creative energies have been picked up and passed on by many others in society, this advancement has never been without a struggle.
Everything in this world is patterned; nothing escapes its order and purpose. Rather than being sporadic, accidental, or haphazard, might the unfolding of the world’s religions be linked as well to a teleological pattern shaping our evolution?
This is the heart of the Great Mystery that still intrigues us more than anything else. Whether we call the Creator “the One Spirit,” “the Infinite Essence,” “the Hidden Secret,” or “the Greater Presence,” there is perhaps no subject on which we reflect more than the subject of divinity and how our consciousness is related to it all.