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Change, Initiation, Transformation

by Matthew Gilbert

Philosopher-historian Richard Tarnas recently spoke at an IONS-sponsored event at our favorite café, Aqus, just around the corner from our offices in Petaluma, California. His topic was “Understanding Our Moment in History: Is the Modern Human Undergoing a Cosmic Rite of Passage.” In short, he reviewed the recent history of human thinking and how it has evolved into a worldview of separation—self from others and self from nature—and the consequences that has wrought. He concluded with his belief (one that many of us share) that this cycle of distorted consciousness will soon end, one way or the other: either with us poised on the brink of initiation into a deep recognition of our interconnectedness or stuck on a trajectory toward catastrophic upheaval. And the two may be inextricably linked. I’m glad I had a full glass of wine nearby.

But so it is with change, and after nearly eight years as the editorial director at IONS, my final day was May 31 (note that the June 2012 issue of Noetic Now journal will be the last in its current form). An alignment of constellations—personal, professional, and, well, cosmological—made it clear that it’s time to chart a new course. My time here has been rich, full of its own initiations and upheavals, eccentric characters and lifelong friends, and I’m grateful for it all—I am not the same person who first arrived here. I now look forward to what awaits and to what might be cocreated.

IONS, too, is poised on the edge of its next phase of evolution. There’s a new CEO on board, and preparations are underway for the Institute’s next international conference, to be held July 17–21, 2013, at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells, California. There the noetic community will celebrate IONS’ fortieth year at the leading edge of research into the mysteries of human consciousness, and I’m sure something (or someone) unusual will be popping out of the birthday cake. Stay tuned for more on all this.

As IONS founder Edgar Mitchell observed when he returned to Earth on Apollo 14,

Only when man sees his fundamental unity with the processes of nature and the functioning of the universe—as I so vividly saw it from the Apollo spacecraft—will the old ways of thinking and behaving disappear.”

The world is ready for such an initiation. It needs a new story of who we are and what we are capable of becoming. I will continue to dance on the stage of that new story, however often the costume may change…

  • Anonymous Icon

    renitaherrmann Jun 06, 2012

    Loved your work, Matthew, and selfishly wish you were still at IONS; grateful you were there to begin with, and happy you're moving on when you feel it's needed. All the best to you in finding your new story.

  • Anonymous Icon

    fionaduncan Jun 06, 2012

    I will really miss the Noetic Now Journal, Matthew. Thank you so much for your excellent editorial work over the years. It has brought me much pleasure and informed my understanding of metaphysics. Good luck!

  • DawnG Jun 17, 2012

    Thank you for the years of service to the IONS community, Matthew.

  • Anonymous Icon

    JohnRobinson Jul 26, 2012

    I love the title of this piece because it so well fits how I view aging. As a Boomer, I feel my body and consciousness changing, evolving in ways I never expected. We seem to talk too much about aging from the outside - e.g., signs of depression or dementia. We don't talk about aging as an initiation into a new stage of growth, a transformation of self and consciousness. Older people don't become elders just by reaching a certain again, we arrive by doing the inner work of aging, and we are the harbingers of this new age and new story you speak of. Thanks, John:

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