Recent scientific discoveries have proved that we Homo sapiens or modern humans carry Neanderthal genetic material in our DNA. The same is true about another branch of the family tree recently discovered in Siberia. The genetic material of these so called Denisovans, was also successfully passed to the modern human genome. This has a powerful significance. It means that we aren’t as different as we once thought. For successful interbreeding to have occurred between these variations on the human theme it would have required that we are essentially the same species. When members of different species interbreed–like horses and donkeys producing mules — the resultant animals are sterile and so cannot pass on the mixed genes. So these ancestors were more like us than we previously imagined. As a result we carry a bit of them in our body.
Indeed, our DNA carries many other surprises. When the scientists sequenced the three billion bases and 100,000 genes of the human genome they discovered that fragments of other species may be seen in our genetic code. For instance, as much as 8% of our DNA is genetic material that came from viruses. Our cells’ mitochondria–our cells’ power plants that convert nutrients to energy were passed to us from bacteria that entered cells in the primordial sea approximately two billion years ago! We share genes with every single creature on Earth that has a backbone and even some that don’t like starfish, as we shared a common ancestor over half a billion years ago.
Thanks to this kind of information, we can begin to imagine our amazingly complex and rich genome–the DNA we carry in every one of our cells–as a library of our biosphere. This molecular library is a sacred record of Life on Earth and so our bodies may be thought of as a kind of sacred bundle. Much in the way a shaman’s sacred bundle or a medicine bag holds a collection of objects from which a shaman feels her or his connection to power, the DNA in our cells can remind us of our complete integration into the body of the Earth. Even on a gross physical level, our bones and tissues are composed of the minerals found in the soil and rocks while our blood and lymph share many similarities with the waters of our planet. We are inseparably connected with our Home. We live in her body and her body lives inside of us.
We are part of the Earth’s body and our distant cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovians passed traits to us with their genes. We can wonder with amazement what of who we are now was once them! Who of the hundreds of thousands of generations of our ancestors gave us the desire to create beauty? Who passed to us the desire to care for other beings? Which one was the first heart to feel love? We may never know.
These are remarkable times. We are learning so much about who we are and the powers that we have. We are starting to remember our place in the Cosmos and recognize that we have the capacity to co-create our reality. I believe that this is a very powerful period in human evolutionary potential.
In his book The Biology of Transcendence, Joseph Chilton Pearce examines our five neural centers–or brains–four of which are located in the head while the fifth is located in the heart. He suggests that the dynamic interaction of the head brain (intellect) and heart brain (intelligence), of biology and spirit, allows us to transcend from one evolutionary place to the next. Our biology has designed us to be transcendent beings–becoming who I like to think of as the New Human.
As we are beginning to make these shifts we are feeling the dissolution of much of what we previously understood. It may be likened to the period of time that a caterpillar pupates into the butterfly. The chrysalis is the body that the caterpillar reveals when it sheds its skin for the last time. This shell is what protects the caterpillar while it transforms. Inside this protective chamber, the caterpillar secretes enzymes which breaks its body down into a kind of soup which contains nutrients and imaginal disks. These imaginal disks are undifferentiated building blocks –like stem cells– in that they can become any type of cell. In the chrysalis, the rich environment that was once the caterpillar’s body supports these undifferentiated cells to begin growing and creating a completely new organism.
So for the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into butterfly to occur, there needs to be a period of no form. In the same way, we need to let go of the attachments we have to our old, outmoded ways of perceiving and behaving for a new way of being human to emerge. This can certainly feel disconcerting as, like the caterpillar, we have no previous experience to help us to know who we are becoming. It may even be as inconceivable as the caterpillar’s transition from a soft-bodied, leaf-eating, worm-like creature into a hard-bodied, flying, nectar-sipping insect! Just as none of the caterpillar’s previous experience could possibly prepare it for such a change, we have to rely upon something other than our thoughts.
This is where our heart, as the fifth neural center or intelligence, can come into play along with the ability to expand our awareness to help prepare our psyche for previously unimagined possibilities. The act of expanding awareness creates shifts in our perceptions. We experience new things in the shamanic state of consciousness or in very deep meditation that create new neural pathways. We gain new insights and ways of looking at reality. This in turn supports a shift in understanding the nature of the world and ourselves so that we gain not only a new perspective but gain the opportunity to respond to the circumstances of our lives differently. The “new” information we receive in an altered/expanded state helps us to gain the “bigger view.” In the way climbing to an observation deck gives us a new perspective on how a city is laid out, this new vantage point helps us to better understand how things and beings are connected.
The new perceptions that develop help us to respond differently to the stimulation around us. We have opportunities to think and even more importantly, feel differently in situations. This internal shift has the effect of transforming the situation itself.
As I wrote several years ago in Inner Tapestry Journal, “There was a time that many dismissed the possibility of such a profound shift, yet through such relatively new scientific disciplines such as neuralcardiology, the truths given to us by the great transcendent masters of the past are confirmed. When talking about miracles, the master Jesus told us, “These things shall you do and greater things than these shall you do also.” He taught his followers that all human beings are divine. Our sciences now support this as well. When we begin to see and feel our selves as creator beings, we aren’t behaving in a heretical way, rather we are following the logical truth which was encoded into our biology. We were designed to evolve through our limitations.”
Still some of us hesitate. If this remarkable leap of evolution truly is encoded into our biology, why do we stubbornly desire to remain caterpillars when we have the capacity to fly?
Perhaps these few lines of Marianne Wiliamson’s 1992 book A Return To Love, explains it best:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. …”
Then she writes,
“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?…”
Indeed, we are meant to transform ourselves and our world. To accomplish it, we need to enter into expanded states to experience the world of possibilities and so shift our old understanding of the world and begin to feel our part in its transformation. We need to learn to feel the reality we want to experience and cultivate a state of being that is grateful, loving and takes action in accordance with profound awareness of our interconnectedness.
In a Hopi Prophesy it is said that, “When birds fall from the sky and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again….” I think of these people as you and I and all the other people around the planet who are committed to a positive global shift. We are not only the ones we have been waiting for to save us, you and I are already becoming the New Humans. It is happening all around the world as many others make profound changes in themselves. From the global networks of which I am a part, I am hearing stories of ordinary people transforming their lives through gratitude, by living more fully in the awareness of themselves as co-creators and by choosing to speak out and take actions for the benefit of all beings. In my healing practice, I am seeing people who once felt powerless, disconnected and victimized becoming empowered, grounded, joyful and able to make contributions to the larger world. From my blessed vantage point, I am experiencing astounding changes happening all around me.
When these changes in our selves–and so our world–more fully emerge, we will have taken the sacred bundle passed to us from all of our ancestors to a new pinnacle of evolution. Maybe the current definitions of humanness and our taxonomical designation will no longer be appropriate. Maybe we will begin to refer to ourselves in a new way. No longer Homo sapien, but instead, Homo transcendentia–the transcendent human. I can’t imagine participating in a more exciting process–at least not yet!
© 2011 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Nationally recognized shaman teacher/healer, speaker, and author of Modern Shamanic Living: New Explorations of an Ancient Path, Evelyn C. Rysdyk delights in supporting people to remember their sacred place in All That Is. Whether through face-to-face contact with individual patients, workshop groups and conference participants, or through the printed word–Evelyn uses her loving humor and passion to open people’s hearts and inspire them to live more joyful, fulfilling and purposeful lives. In joint practice with Allie Knowlton as Spirit Passages, her web site is www.spiritpassages.com.