It’s nearly impossible to avoid the web-wide outrage over the fate of John Snow, who was almost the only good guy left standing on “Game of Thrones” at the end of last season. And then, in the last few seconds of the very last episode…!
Yes, it’s true. I am a certified “Game of Thrones” aficionado. (‘Addict’ is such an ugly word!) I came late to the party, which allowed me the rich pleasure of catching up through many evenings of binge-watching all past episodes. Twice. I also have the books on my kindle, and I’m working my way through them a second time as well.
But people who haven’t read the books nor seen a single minute of the HBO series are not immune from the collective kerfuffle. I never watched “Dallas,” but I can still remember the summer-long anxiety in 1980 over who killed JR. By September I was as eager as everyone else to learn the answer, even though I didn’t know who any of the suspects were in the first place.
Why is that so? Why do we become so aware of things we don’t really care about? Well, my friends, I call it a clear testament to the power of collective consciousness. Our ego minds are separate, packed with long-held convictions about what we do and don’t like and judgments about people who disagree. And Spirit—our true self—is universal, so that we are all One in our deepest core. It’s always been true, of course, but the explosion of new connections—twitters and blogs, likes and sharings—is making it more apparent than ever.
Many of you know of my conviction that anything creating a significant ripple in collective consciousness can be a useful guide to our present level of spiritual awareness. I’ve led workshops in both Chicago and Dallas centered on the Harry Potter books and films, with the widest age range of participants that I’ve ever experienced; and I’ve done Sunday talks on “The Sopranos,” “Seinfeld,” “I Love Lucy,” “The Lion King” and others that don’t immediately come to mind.
Anytime I come across four principle characters, for example, my metaphysical mind turns to the four functions of consciousness—thinking, sensing, feeling and intuitively knowing. These are the four ways in which ego mind receives input. Seeing Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer as embodiments of those functions adds an interesting dimension to every episode.
And don’t even get me started on sevens! From the seven days of creation all the way to the seven years at Hogwarts, there has been a universal, deeply held recognition that there are seven steps or stages in the process of creating the kingdom that is our true purpose. That recognition underlies many of our greatest, most powerful stories. (I’ll be leading a workshop this fall on Revelation, which hits you with sevens wherever you turn.)
So what’s the spiritual Truth in “Game of Thrones?” Well, it’s hugely the story of a struggle between, not just opposing forces, but opposing belief systems. And, with only a few intriguing exceptions, it’s clear exactly to which system each character belongs. One side is anchored in the past, terrified of losing control, frightened by any change in How Things Are. The other is trying to move away from the negative power of the past, willing to release old beliefs and step into the unknown that is the present moment.
I think that our fascination with this epic struggle is closely related to the world we are experiencing from day to day. (You might keep it in mind while watching the first (sigh) presidential debate tonight.) The chaos and conflict have become truly global; there is no safe haven, nor even the illusion of one. It becomes more and more important that we observe everything from our innate Spirit perspective. Making conscious and creative choices is essential. Making angry judgments and taking sides out of fear is not useful. And resisting the freedom to allow change will increasingly exact a painful price.
Probably more to come, as it occurs to me and if anyone’s interested. Meanwhile, it’s good to know that we can observe our own collective struggle in perfect safety, and enjoy even the darkest stories without fear of being sucked in against our will. Everything is contained within us, after all, and we are infinitely greater than all of it.
Oh, and to the title question: Is John Snow really dead? Is anyone really dead? Really? I think we’ve just been very limited in how we define ‘alive.’ Leaving our bodies doesn’t excuse us from the spiritual work that is ours to do; it just changes the ways we do it.