Dancing With Consciousness — a parable

It’s a fine autumn day.  The air is clear and the sky is bright with sunshine.  Humanity is in an uncharacteristically thoughtful mood.  She’s taking a solitary walk in the park and finds a quiet bench where she can sit and think out loud for awhile.

“Can we do this?” Humanity asks herself.

“Do what?” Consciousness answers.

Humanity turns, surprised to see him sitting there beside her on the bench.  “Was I talking to you?  Who are you?”

“How could you fail to talk to me?  I am All That Is,” replies Consciousness, “You who ask the question, the question itself, the answer and I are all one.”

“Oh,” says Humanity, “That’s confusing.  At first, I thought I was just thinking out loud to myself.”

“You were.  You are.  So am I.  Anyway, what’s the question?  I’m interested,” says Consciousness.

“Well, I’ve come a long way…” Humanity begins.

“Come a long way since when?” Consciousness interrupts.

“Since I can remember.”

Consciousness chuckles, then begins to laugh harder.  Great whoops of merriment boom out into the silent park and startle two nearby squirrels, who scramble up the trunk of a leafless oak tree.  Finally, wiping his eyes, Consciousness says, “Yes.  Since you can remember.  That’s not very long, you know.”

“I suppose so.  I can’t be sure about much before when I started remembering.  Anyway, I’ve come a long way since my infancy.  I used to believe in a capricious Sky-God—a whole lot of them, in fact.  I believed they sent storms and earthquakes if they were angry and made crops grow if I kept them happy.  I learned how to start fires and invented the wheel…”

“Don’t forget the axle,” Consciousness says, “Most people forget that the wheel is nothing without the axle.”

“Okay.  You’re right.  Anyway, I figured out how to build buildings and make roads.  I learned how to store food and create alphabets.  I cracked the code of mathematics and geometry.  I took apart the human body and learned how to put it back together.  All this time I became less afraid of the Sky Gods.  They couldn’t smash me quite as easily once I knew their tricks.”

“That all sounds like fun,” says Consciousness, “You must not have many problems left to figure out.”

“Actually, that IS the problem.  I got extremely good at understanding everything.  I quit relying on priests and sorceresses to keep me safe and explain the world.  I did away with all the old rituals.  I have learned to debunk myths and to deny anything I can’t analyze in my laboratories.”

“So, what’s your question?  Sounds like you are pretty close to getting a handle on everything worth knowing,” says Consciousness.

“The problem is…well, all the same old things keep coming back like bad weeds in a garden.  People still kill each other over a lack of food.  They still take their neighbor’s stuff—even when they don’t really need it.  Some people stockpile many lifetime’s worth of money—more than they could possibly ever use—while others don’t have enough to feed their children.  Rich, powerful countries take care of their own while poverty-stricken nations are filled with people dying of preventable diseases.  People go to war with each other over resources they think they need to support lifestyles more luxurious than they’ve ever known before.  I’m tired of it.  Tired of getting better and better at everything but still no closer to living in real peace.”

“Maybe you need to get religion,” Consciousness says with a little smirk.

“Religion?  Ha! Religion has caused most of my problems going back as far as I can remember.  Oh, I can tell you stories about religion… Some of my biggest conflicts are shaping up around religion even as we speak.”

“Wait, I thought you said most of your problems were caused by a lack of stuff.  Now you’re confusing me.”

Humanity sighs, “Hmm.  Yes.  I guess it’s both then.”

“So, let me get this straight.  You have pretty much conquered the physical universe.  You have everything you need on your planet for everyone to have enough.  You’ve actually done away with most of the old superstitions and myths which were born of ignorance.  Yet, you’re still fighting each other over stuff and religion?”

“Yes.  I know it sounds insane, but that’s about the size of it.”

Consciousness shakes his head and squints at the sky, “You do seem to have some problems.”

“I know.  That’s why I took a walk—so I could think about what to do.”

“And, your best thinking has got you where you are today.  Not to be rude, but do you really suppose more of your kind of thinking is going to solve anything?”

Humanity’s face flushes, “Look.  It’s all I know how to do.  If I had some magic pill, I’d take it, believe me.”

“I have one,” Consciousness says gently.

“Who do you think you are?  God?  You know I don’t really believe in God anymore.”

“Then don’t call me God.  I don’t care what you call me.  I have many names and no name.  Call me Jim, if you like.”

Humanity grows very uncomfortable and turns away, “I don’t know.  I don’t think about God much anymore.  It’s too hard to reconcile all the unseen mysteries with everything I’ve learned.  I have some daydreams and nightmares about God but they pass pretty quickly.  I go on living with my questions but keep looking for answers in more knowledge.  I’ve become good at figuring things out on my own.”

Consciousness takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly.  “I wonder what would change if you didn’t have all your stories about God?  It seems like your stories and dreams and memories have layered on top of each other until you just have a big, confusing mess on your hands.”

“I can’t argue with that.  If I could start fresh, maybe things would be different.”

“Well, it’s a thought, but we’re off-track a bit.  I’m not here to talk about God—at least not in this way.  I mentioned earlier that I have a magic pill, remember?”

“I remember.  That’s what made me think you must believe you’re God or something.”

Consciousness throws back his head and roars with laughter again.  “Think…believe…?  I don’t think or believe.  I just am.  I experience.  I know.  Beliefs and thoughts are a dime a dozen and they change constantly.  There’s nothing wrong with them but they aren’t permanent.  They’re like smoke from a fire blowing away on the breeze.  Smoke is real but the fire’s the thing.  Smoke is a by-product of the flame.  See what I mean?”

Humanity sits still, frowning.  She squeezes her hands together and looks at Consciousness from the corner of one eye.  “So, you’re the fire?  What does that even mean?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes.  No metaphor is perfect, as I’m sure you’ve discovered for yourself.  But, for the moment, let’s play with this one.  I’m the fire.  My name is Consciousness—at least you can use that for now.  What, do you suppose, is the fuel?”

“Hmm.  Now you’re making me think,” Humanity says and pauses, looking off into the sky where two birds soared in the golden sunlight.   “I guess you’ll have to help me with this one.”

“The fuel is unconsciousness.  The flame consumes all the dead, dry unconsciousness.  In fact, where the fire encounters that which is most dense and knotty and twisted, it burns more slowly but with great intensity.  All the burning releases heat and smoke.  Heat is the energy of transformation.  Smoke is the visible evidence of fire.”

Humanity shakes her head.  “These are deep thoughts.  I’m not sure how they relate to my current problems.”

“Don’t worry about that for now.  It’ll make sense in time.  Are you ready to learn more about the answer I mentioned earlier?”

“I guess so.  Please try to keep it basic, though?  You speak in riddles a lot, don’t you?”

Consciousness grins.  “Yes, I do.  It’s one way I use to entertain myself.  Okay.  Let’s try something.  Sit very still and close your eyes.  Breathe deep and let it out slowly.  Keep doing that.  I’m going to surprise you but don’t open your eyes.  Just keep breathing no matter what.”

An electric tingle of anxiety sparks up Humanity’s spine, but she obeys.  Eyes closed.  One breath…in…hold…release.  Next breath…in…out… A great stillness envelopes her.  She doesn’t hear Consciousness move, but suddenly she is lifted up in his powerful arms.  Consciousness embraces her and waltzes under the blue-gold autumn sky.  She is carried away with wonder and longs to open her eyes, but her strange, familiar lover leans close and whispers in her ear, “Be still.  I love you.  All is well.”

Time stops.  Moments stretch into months.  She feels winter winds swirling around them and snow stings her face, but still the ecstatic dance goes on and on through the terrible black chill of freezing nights.

At last, after what might have been years or only seconds, with warm springtime rain trickling down her shoulders, Consciousness sits and holds her on his lap.  Sunlight glows bright through her eyelids and he says softly, “Now.  Look at me.”

Humanity shakes her head like someone waking from a dream and opens her eyes.  She blinks in the summer radiance of Consciousness’s face which has grown in splendor.  Her heart stands still and she gasps at what she sees reflected.

He smiles at her, “What is it?  What do you see?”

“I see…me.  How can this be?  You are you and I am me, but…”


“But, I don’t understand.”

Consciousness  beams, “Yes.  This is a mystery.  I see my face in yours, too.  I am a reflection of you as you are a reflection of me.  Until we embraced each other, you believed us to be separate.  How do you feel?”

She seeks for words that could describe the blissful peace which fills her, but finds none adequate to the task.  Instead, she fixes him with her gaze and breathes a universal tone.  “Ahhhhh….”

His face grows brighter still and he whispers, “Do I need to explain the answer to your question any further?”

Never breaking from his embrace, she slowly shakes her head.  “All is well,” she says.

“Yes,” he smiles, “All is always well when we know each other like this.”

Here’s a video in which I discuss “Death of the Sky Gods”

Want to talk about this with me?  Feel free to leave a comment!


36 Responses

  1. hi, thank you for the post. Do you have any views on how to reduce the conflict inside of us. Ï try but every time fail. There has to be something more then acceptance. ï mean- only acceptance is not enough, it could be the first step but there is more. What is that?

    • well, it sounds like a cliche` but….meditate. Write–just private journaling– and sit with what comes out.

      I have enjoyed books like “Letting Go of the Person You Used To Be” by Lam Surya Das or “The Book of Secrets” by Deepak Chopra. They have some wonderful exercises to help bring thoughts into action and thus solidify experiences in the body

  2. Humanity, humanity, time to wake up humanity!

  3. This, my friend is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I am truly fascinated along with your posting knowledge! keep up the beautiful good quality writing, this is rare to visit a nice site like that all of these times.. 😉

  5. Thank you Jacob – beautiful, thoughtful and soulful…

  6. Beautiful! You are amazing person and I get to have you in my life ….how blessed I am!

  7. Delighted that our Autumn recommended reading this. Thank you both.

  8. Absolutely stunning. You are a master of imagery and emotional connection. I love this. I will reread and share. Don’t stop writing. Ever.

  9. Hi Jacob,

    What a beautiful piece of work and I thank you for alerting it to me. It i the first reading of my “day of feeling better” and a good way to start! Sorry for being out of touch, been a difficult time but that is now in the past.

    God bless,


    • so glad you’re feeling better, Dan. I appreciate your friendship. You never need to apologize for being out of touch. Just glad to know you’re out there. take care, my friend. talk soon.

  10. Hi Jacob,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful, deep post. I’m moved and inspired, and feel a connection with the way we seek and share an understanding of spirituality. Thank you again, for your poetic and profound words, and for your being.

  11. Wow – that was awesome Jacob. Thanks you so much for posting this link on my Facebook wall.


    • hey, Brother Rod! thank you for reading this…so glad we met out here in the “field of all possibilities”. Over and over again I’ve been blessed by what you say. namaste

  12. This is a beautiful, magical story – I liked it so much that I had to come back to read it again…you truly have a wonderful gift with creating beautiful imagery with your words.

  13. Great story, thanks for posting 🙂

  14. Hello there folks,

    That was a pleasant read. Thanks for posting, Jacob.

    I’ve long felt that meditation is the most awesome tool we (funny humans) have at our disposal. We’re also gifted with the power of practice. The more we do something, the better we get. Groovy.

    I figure is we practice meditation, a way of getting to know ourselves and our role in the Universe, we’ll get the guidance we need to enjoy the ride.

    Good stuff.

  15. I love this. The only thing I have an issue with is what I see as an insinuation that Humanity (or most of Humanity) doesn’t believe in “God.” I understand that I may not be comprehending your message in that, and I’d love for you to expand on it.

    • ah, thanks for reading and commenting, Margaret. Many blessings to you.

      no…just the opposite. from my perspective most of humanity DOES believe in “God”–a deity they’ve created after their own image. I feel that the human race is awakening to the situation we’ve set up for ourselves over all these thousands of years. We can’t ignore the in-sane warring over who’s right much longer. The globe has shrunk, the web has gotten much tighter now. This forces us to look at our sisters and brothers of all races and creeds and ask “how are they truly different?”.

      I hope you’ll continue the conversation… poke and prod! 🙂

      Jacob Nordby

  16. Jacob, you’ve given words to what I’ve known for ever so long. Looking in the mirror and seeing what’s reflected back. Consciously, conscious Spirit is having a human experience in creating our path back home to Spirit-self.

  17. Humanity IS beginning to wake up … and the World wide web is the tool which we use to communicate … once upon a time, folk were isolated from each other, they could find no way to touch common ground with others who felt the same imperatives.
    You have written a fundamental truth in story form, friend, and I salute your ingenuity. Namaste.

    With loving respect, Pat, from ‘We are here to inspire’ and also from ‘Hold my hand’.

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