There is a great scene in the movie Contact that has been lingering with me lately. The movie is based on the novel by Carl Sagan and stars Jodie Foster playing the scientist Dr. Eleanor “Ellie” Arroway.
It opens with the story of a team of researchers who are using a huge satellite array to listen for signs of extraterrestrial life. One day they begin to pick up a signal that freaks them out: the televised broadcast of the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin—the first Games to be televised. Something or someone out in space received that signal and is sending it back to Earth, seemingly as a way to make contact with humans.
That someone or something then begins sending complex mathematical formulas that the team realizes are a blueprint for some sort of spherical capsule, possibly something to enable interstellar or time travel.
There are a lot of plot twists of course, but eventually the capsule is built, and Dr. Arroway is selected as the person to take whatever journey it is going to take her on.
The team building the capsule makes only one modification to the design they were sent. Since there was nothing in the design to assure the safety of the person traveling in it, they constructed a metal seat which was attached to the ceiling of the sphere and equipped with a harness.
When the day comes, Ellie enters the capsule not sure what awaits her or if she will ever return. She straps herself in, and when the sphere is activated it begins to travel at warp speed through wormholes across the galaxy. The intense vibrations cause the seat she is harnessed to start to shake violently.
Thanks to a synchronistic occurrence, she unfastens the harness, and a moment later, the seat is jolted loose and thrown against the ceiling of the sphere. Had Ellie remained fastened to it she would have died instantly. Instead, she is floating serenely in the zero gravity inside the sphere.
When the capsule brings Ellie to its destination, she finds herself in a reality so beautiful it is beyond her ability to fathom or describe. Her scientific mind and its language are completely overwhelmed, and weeping, she says, “It’s so beautiful! No words. They should have sent a poet.”
Letting Go into Trust
For me, that scene is an important teaching for us in this particular global moment we find ourselves in. Things are changing so quickly now as we are being catapulted to a new level of consciousness, and while the mind might try to strap itself to the known patterns of the past believing they can offer some security, that is exactly the opposite of what the moment calls for. In fact, so much of the turbulence we are witnessing globally is the desperate and fearful attempt of the mind to bind itself to a world that was, believing it can offer safety.
But the world that was can no longer serve us. It cannot provide the answers or the security we so desperately crave, and trying to cling to it only makes this leap of consciousness far more turbulent than it needs to be. I am reminded of a passage from a Hopi prophecy—”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.”
When we are on an airplane that runs into turbulence, the flight crew instructs us to fasten our seatbelt. But in this journey to a new level of consciousness, when we mentally bind ourselves to the familiar patterns of the past—when we fasten our metaphorical seatbelt—we actually create the turbulence we fear.
In this global moment, as things are accelerating into a future we cannot see, all that is asked of us is to trust. To accept that we are being carried by a loving Wisdom that knows what it is doing. A Wisdom far vaster than our rational minds can fathom. A Wisdom that is taking us into a reality more magnificent than we could ever imagine.
When we give ourselves over to it, then no matter how swiftly things are changing and no matter much our world seems to be flying apart, we find ourselves floating in a peace that surpasses all human understanding.