There is a much-circulated “Message of the Hopi Elders” that is a powerfully prophetic and beautiful piece of prose that reads like spiritual text. If you look for it on the internet you will see it repeated on countless web sites. It goes like this:
You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.
Here are the things that must be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know our garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift, that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personal. Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word “struggle” from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
I first started seeing the message hit my email box again and again following September 11, 2001 and all through the lead-up to war in 2003, as people tried to lift one another out of despair and make sense out of catastrophic events. Since then I’ve seen it continue to make the rounds, showing up with every new flurry of people processing unprecedented change. With the 2012 end of the Mayan calendar and its accompanying end of the world, or “Shift,” that many anticipated, I saw the message repeatedly hitting my inbox yet again.
It’s a message that eerily speaks to our times and most of the people I’ve seen circulating it claim it to have originated after the turn of the century. In reality, though, in goes back to April 11, 1993, when it was told by a group of indigenous elders (not just Hopi) to ChoQosh Auh’ho’oh, herself a Coastal Indian elder and story teller (She tells the story herself in two You Tube videos: “There is a River” and “The Hopi Ten”). The first ten things “to be considered” from the message are from a Hopi member of the group (these are “the Hopi Ten”). The rest of the prose were from several sources, ChoQosh herself contributing a line or two, with the last being her quoting Marianne Williamson, who could have taken the line from a song by Sweet Honey in the Rock or a poem by June Jordan.
Even with the frequent inaccuracies around its origins, this message seems to predict, as well as give perspective and hope, to the events of this century that have been so fraught with fear on a global scale. The 21st Century was birthed amidst the fearful unknowns of Y2K (remember when we wondered if our whole technological infrastructure would collapse at the stroke of midnight?). Then came the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01 that shook Americans’ sense of invulnerability, led to more than a decade of war, and made unprecedented levels of security commonplace around the world. The new century has brought—again, unprecedented—natural disasters and climate extremes to all parts of the world, making it ever-clearer that we are not the masters of our earthly environment that we once thought ourselves to be. Top all this off with a global economic crash and, now, a little-known virus once found only in the deep jungles of Africa is threatening to become a global plague.
We live in fast-paced times where it’s easy to relate to the message’s depiction of the fast-flowing river beyond anything that can be controlled, the terror of losing one’s grip on familiar shores, the many who are torn apart in the struggle to not let go, and the great courage required to surrender to the flow—to willingly “push off into the middle.”
But these words were spoken in 1993, years before these 21st Century events. And the message was clear: we’re not in the “Eleventh Hour;” we’re in “The Hour.” What happened in 1993 that marked the beginning of the fast-flowing river? What about 1993 made it The Hour?
Most obvious, perhaps, was the precursor in 1993 to the pivotal event of September 11. In February, the World Trade Center was bombed for the first time. This damaging but failed attempt to bring the towers down was, in retrospect, foreshadowing. But at the time, it was an apt metaphor for the naïve American sensibilities, pre-9/11, that assumed we might be bruised but couldn’t possibly be brought to our knees by a foreign entity, especially not on our own soil.
Yet, in 1993 there was a quieter development happening. The technology that popularized the internet (the web browser, Mosaic) was first introduced in 1993. In April of 1993, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research—and the birthplace of the World Wide Web—announced that the Web would be free to anyone. In September of 1993, AOL made the internet widely available to tens of thousands, which quickly snowballed into millions, creating a new, unprecedented forum for connection, information sharing, and leaderless community via the internet. 1993 birthed the fast-moving deluge of the internet.
Since then we’ve seen Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Wikipedia, Google, You Tube, and so on, becoming integral parts of our culture, giving us such profound access to information and each other that it’s changed us.
A hive mind of sorts has formed, enabling things that were never possible before: private bloggers now upstage corporate media; people are able to build careers through social media without the help of established industries; internet-enabled resource-sharing has become an important new business model (as with the phenomenally successful Zipcar); crowdsourcing (a term that’s only been in our vocabulary since 2005) has become an accessible, egalitarian means of generating resources by appealing to a large online community for small contributions in lieu of a single benefactor. 2011 saw a prevalence of egalitarian grassroots movements—facilitated by the easy connection of social media and cell phones—some even taking down governments (Time Magazine declared “The Protester” its Person of the Year).
In many ways, the high level of connectivity we have through the internet is enabling a whole different model for personal success. Instead of “climbing the ladder of success,” and being “a cut above the rest,” to use some of our old-model metaphors for hierarchical achievement, we’re now learning how to create synergistic, egalitarian communities that empower everyone together.
Might this be exactly what the Elders counsel us to do? “… speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader,” because “The time of the lone wolf is over.” Could it be that this stream of heightened connectivity is more to the point of the message than the stream of destruction? Could it even be what will save us? Perhaps the Elders’ message is not so much about the quickening of dire times as it is about the “quickening” of us, of the human race.
I believe most definitely that a quickening is under way; that the human race is fundamentally different than it was two decades ago, and this transformation is exponentially greater than the expected, gentle transition between generations. I’ve heard it said that, for the first time, young people all around the planet have more in common with each other than with older generations from their own culture. The technology that we have evolved is now playing a key role in evolving us.
Thomas W. Malone, Director of MIT’s relatively new (2006) Center for Collective Intelligence, says that the hive-mind of millions of people and millions of computers all connected to one another just might be able to, “act more intelligently than any individual, group, or computer has ever done before.” Well-known chaos theorist, Ralph Abraham has gone so far as to suggest that the explosive growth of the World Wide Web has increased the bandwidth of the mind’s connections and increased the overall intelligence of our species.
The Elders’ message is right. These are frightening times where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to hold on to the shores of the familiar. It takes courage to keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. How much easier it is to turn a blind eye to the world lest we drown in despair. But for those who have the faith and vision to see a destinationahead, not just an endgame, these times hold great promise—a time for coming together as never before, for being good to one another, and even for celebrating.
Yes, This could be a good time!
I’ve met an awful lot of spiritually aware people in the United States who care about the world, are dedicated to their spiritual practice, and yet have detached from the political process by choosing not to vote.
I want to point out that in the US, only about 40% of eligible voters voted in the 2010 midterms. Anyone who wonders why our political system has become so dysfunctional need look no farther than this for understanding.
Coming together, “Gathering ourselves,” in egalitarian rather than hierarchical ways is at the heart of humanity’s “quickening” and participating in democratic voting is a fundamental practice of this new consciousness. When we come together—one by one by one—anything becomes possible, but when we stop working together, things break down. It’s as simple as that.
I want to urge all of you in the United States to participate in democracy by voting this November. If you are already a dedicated voter, don’t stop there. See if you can find some of the 60% and support them to vote as well. The tide turns when each of us turns it. After all “We are the ones we have been waiting for!”