The Surprise Ending

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Humanity’s collective awakening will unfold in ways that nobody is anticipating, for the same reasons an individual’s awakening always unfolds in ways they can’t anticipate.

An individual’s journey into greater consciousness is rife with plot twists and M. Night Shyamalan surprise endings, because it is always by necessity a journey into the unknown. Success on the quest to become a more conscious human will necessarily come with surprises, because you’re bringing the light of consciousness to things that weren’t previously seen. The things you discover surprise you because there’s no way you can really anticipate something you haven’t yet seen for yourself.

When inner work and therapy begin yielding insights into the underlying sources of one’s unhappiness or self-destructive behavior, those insights are often accompanied by a sense of surprise as one realizes for example that a parent whose actions they’d always believed were normal was in fact abusive and traumatizing, or that an early sexual encounter they’d previously believed was innocent was in fact rape. Things that have been kept hidden in unconsciousness due to our inability to grapple with them earlier in life are seen clearly as we coax them into consciousness, and the realization that they weren’t what we’d previously assumed can shift our entire experience of life.

When you get it into your head that you need to “find yourself”, the Sixth Sense surprise ending of that hero’s journey is that there has never been any self to find. People mistake thoughts and the apparent existence of a physical body for a “self”, the identification with which they weave into their psychological functioning and energetic experience of life in early childhood. But through careful investigation it’s possible to come to the jarring insight that no aspect of our experience actually contains an inherent “me” in it; that it was an unquestioned assumption which got woven into our habits of cognition and perception early on, and that we can consciously un-pick those habits from our way of functioning by bringing awareness to the way life is really happening.

The surprise twist at the end of the quest for liberation is the realization that true freedom comes from setting life free. That freedom from slavery to one’s conditioning and the ability to experience life in its natural boundlessness is only possible with a letting go of all effort to control things; to control outcomes, to control our experience, to control others, to control life. All egoic patterning is ultimately born of a desire to control, and freedom from that patterning can only come when there’s a letting go of that desire.

The surprise ending of the search for inner peace is the realization that peace has always been here, closer to you than your own heartbeat. That our experience of life in all its sloppy tumultuousness is painted upon a canvass of infinite peace, and that this canvass is your true nature. It was simply overlooked for a time.

The surprise ending in search for unconditional love is the realization that unconditional love is already the case for the entire universe; that everything which appears is utterly beloved exactly as it is without any desire to change it in the slightest. And that change is also utterly beloved. And that even confusion and unconsciousness is utterly beloved. Even in its most painful manifestations.

Every positive change in human behavior is always preceded by an expansion of consciousness, whether you’re talking about an individual or an entire world. But you can never truly know ahead of time what’s on the other side of that expansion until it happens, because you’re not yet conscious of it. A dream character can’t know what’s happening in the bed of the dreamer. A confused individual can’t know what it’s like to be a buddha. A confused humanity can’t know what it’s like to be a conscious humanity. Because they’re not conscious of it yet. The lights haven’t yet switched on.

And I point this out because I see a lot of people giving up hope for our future; based on what they can perceive and understand about our situation they see no reason to believe humanity will avoid being locked in an Orwellian dystopia if armageddon and extinction doesn’t end us altogether. But that’s just it: there’s so very much we can’t yet see and understand about our situation, because we’re simply not conscious of it yet.

We are a young species. So much is still hidden in our collective unconsciousness. There are so many lights that can yet be switched on. So many potential doors currently hidden in darkness creating the illusion that there is no exit.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m just as incapable of seeing what’s behind all the curtains of our collective unconsciousness as everyone else. Maybe we’ll make it, and maybe we won’t. But there’s one bet I’d definitely lay down good money on, and it’s this: by the time we know for sure how this thing turns out, we’ll have surprised ourselves many times.

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