The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered that the real culprit undermining humankind’s survival is the unshakeable quest to be important. In modern terms, this manifests as how many friends we have, who likes our postings, our pictures, tracks our tweets, wants our attention at any moment, day or night.
While the lion’s share of our vital energy is trained to hear the crystal sounding ding on our cellphones, announcing that “I am wanted! I am important!” a predatory dark force rapes the earth of its vital energy and relegates its human inhabitants to being, as don Juan Matus called it, “chickens in a chicken coop.”
For years, I strove to be somebody by cracking the nut of the truth of our existence and sharing it with other seekers. I discovered early on that this naive romance with stardom was barred to me. Advertising generated nothing. Mainstream book publishers had no interest. I had traveled so far from the mainstream that the mainstream had no interest in my “good news.” Perhaps what I was really being taught was the foolhardiness of my own self-importance.
Side by side with self-importance is yet another energetic path that has ruthlessly hemmed humankind in, the path of inaction. Carl Jung noted that the yin and yang of our world are expressed in two different energetic systems: animal and plant.
Animal energy is the energy of action, it is masculine energy. It derives its sustenance from outside of itself, in the world at large. This is extroverted energy. A dominance of animal energy in humankind has led to power, control, and dominance games—that which rules the world at present. This dominance of extroverted Western values has also infected the greatest spiritual strongholds of the East, India and China.
Self-importance, on a global scale, is typified in the likes of Donald Trump who unapologetically mirrors the flippant, egoistic male action reaching, in comic crescendo, for world dominance.
Contrasting animal action is the rooted plant. The plant world, the feminine yin of our planet, is self-contained, deriving its energy receptively from the rays of the sun. Like any pregnancy, it produces from within, needing not to travel about and dominate for its substances and metabolic processes but requiring only nurturing stillness.
In human terms, plant spirituality is the Buddha beneath the bodhi tree, Christ upon the wooden cross tree. Both exemplify rootedness, stillness, the patience of the immobilized tree. In this deep groundedness, in this stillness, comes detachment from the grasp of illusion, detachment from extroverted action, detachment from the actions of needing to be somebody.
By withdrawing energy from attachment to the action of self-importance—the energy of definition and meaning through hierarchy and dominance—we are freed to see beyond the veils of self-importance, retaining our energy to truly evolve, not as being somebody but simply being and becoming what we truly are.
The energetic antidote to the one-sided dominance of human animal energy is human plant energy, the energy of yin, now uprooted from Tibet and planted throughout the world, particularly in America. Even the most prized Western brain science now embraces the technology of mindfulness as the key to neuroplasticity—real change.
Ultimately, the Taoist rebalancing of yin and yang, plant and animal, action and inaction, will evolve us into a new chapter in this Earth dream that we are all sharing. But for now, we must burn through the deluge of self-importance that is exhausting us in our need to be somebody. The ground is prepared to receive our planted energy and the seeds of genuine, needed change.