Today I want to share some thoughts on a few topics which at their core are related…..but isn’t everything in this universe of Oneness?

First, I want to express my sadness of hearing of the passing late last year of Rev. Michael Dowd.  He was originally an evangelical preacher who evolved into someone who touted the spiritual importance of the process of evolution and an advocate for the melding of science and religion. He sought to change us to a more ecological approach to our treatment of this planet.

His widow, Connie Barlow, recently sent out an email on Michael’s mailing list to inform those who had not heard the news. I somehow missed hearing about his death when I was out of the country last fall.

The first time I heard Michael Dowd speak was at a Science of Mind conference around 20 years ago. I immediate became a big fan.  I bought and loved his book Thank God for Evolution.  It solidified for me a shift that was occurring in my awareness around the topic of evolution.

This shift had started with my discovery of the theory of Spiral Dynamics as well as the work of integral philosopher Ken Wilber.  All three sources opened my eyes to the spiritual process of involution and evolution which fed the ideas presented in my book Our Spiritual Evolution.

Simply stated, the dual processes can be described as Spirit or God imbedding (or “involving”) Itself into everything in this manifest Universe but allowing its creation to forget its source.  Everything in this world then makes free will choices as it experiences life leading to all ultimately evolving back towards “knowing” its original Source.  We start from oneness, forget our unity and then return “home” to oneness.  There’s obviously more, but that’s the gist.

Ironically, Ernest Holmes and other New Thought teachers wrote about all of this.  However my years of training in Science of Mind up to that point had never mentioned this important aspect of our spiritual path.  When the light bulb went off for me on this, I had to write about it and teach it to others. My first article in Science of Mind magazine back in April 2008 was on this topic, connecting Science of Mind to Spiral Dynamics.

I later met Dowd a couple of times. I remember going to a presentation of his at the Integral Center in Boulder and speaking with him afterwards.  Later, I reached out and interviewed him for an online podcast show I did for the Coffee Party USA. (NOTE:  Coffee Party USA merged in to the Bridge Alliance in 2021.)

That interview is still available to stream HERE.  Given my interests, it’s worth noting that during the year that I hosted that show, I also interviewed Don Beck who co-wrote the book Spiral Dynamics. Somehow, that interview appears to no longer be online. That’s unfortunate.

Listening to Dowd’s interview, he was still preaching that we needed to change our approach to planet Earth so as to not destroy the one material home we have to live upon.  Not long afterward, Michael evolved again in his thinking.  His later messages up until the time of his passing he labeled as “post doom”.

What does “post doom” mean?  It’s built on the realization that humanity has already passed a tipping point in our treatment of the planet and that we are heading towards a “collapse”.  That inevitable collapse would involve not only our ecosphere but our social systems.  That “done deal” is the doom part.

But Dowd was ultimately an optimist.  His optimism did not extend to our avoiding this collapse of the current state of human civilization but rather to our taking a different approach to this impending future. 

He called for us all to come to grips mentally, emotionally and spiritually to this ultimate change.  To do so, we had to let go of our attachment to the form of our current world.  We had to move through the “stages of grief” as we released our desired future and came to a degree of acceptance over where we were headed. 

Yet, beyond this acceptance was the birth of something new.  This is the “post doom” part of the equation. This newness allowed us to see the world anew. It opened us to appreciation for the time we have had in this current human story, to appreciation for the earth, and towards an expanded sense of love for our fellow beings.  This new awareness moved us beyond anger and blame and all the things that naturally come up for us in the grief process and towards a new state of consciousness of deep love and gratitude.

In this new state, we still operated in the world as we did, still doing things that were appropriate to our individual lives.  However, behind our actions was a new expanded feeling of living in the moment, seeing the beauty in everything, loving the world and everything and everyone in it.  It was a new birth of consciousness.

You can read about Michael’s ideas around “post doom” at his website HERE.  I would highly encourage you to watch THIS VIDEO of his talking at a Unitarian center late in 2023.  It outlines his thoughts very well in about a half an hour and is worth viewing.

To be honest, I avoided a lot of Michael’s post-doom work.  I tried to watch his interviews and read his recent writings but a big part of me was still in the stage of “denial”.  I still want to believe that we can fix the mess that we have made of the world. 

My  first book back in 2012, Be Yourself, was predicated on the fact that I could see that humanity was at a “choice point” and that we could still make a higher choice and mitigate some of the coming pain.  My ideas were to have more and more of us focus on a positive vision for the future, to focus on our commonalities rather than our differences…and for each of us identify our live’s purpose or passion and then “live it” fully.  I still think these are good ideas even 12 years later.

However, a part of me has been moving towards where Dowd was in his later years.  More and more my intuition says that we are going to go through some kind of collective human pain in the near future.  This experience will not be what we all desire and I have major regrets that my children and my children’s children will have to experience this path humanity is apparently on.

Yet, a another part of me knows that with every “breakdown” comes a “breakthrough”. This “collapse” or “doom”, using Dowd’s language, is a step on our evolutionary path.  It is still a choice point as I wrote about in my book, it’s just further along the path I was envisioning.  The question is —what will we choose?

This is where my optimism comes in.  Much like other “endings” in our lives…..deaths, divorces, job losses and more….the ending always leads to a new beginning, a new “birth” of our next expression.  I am optimistic that humanity will learn from the pain to make higher choices in the future. 

These choices hopefully will involve our growing a new deeper feeling of living in the moment, seeing the beauty in everything, loving the world and everything and everyone in it.  Moving to this positive future will still need people to point the way.  We will need wise stewards of the planet and guides and teachers for humanity.

Thank you, Michael, for your messages, your teachings and your lighting the way for us all.  May the rest of us pick up your charge and carry it forward so that no matter what happens in the near term, humanity will continue towards creating that world of love.

Mark