Conscious Elders as Transformational Mystics: Awakening the Divine Human

John Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.


Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats, 1920



Our generation of Elders steps onto the “stage of wisdom” in a time of shocking cultural and political breakdown. We wonder whether the center of decency and respect can hold against that terrifying beast of fascism now “slouching toward Bethlehem to be born.” We ask how the birth of a divine being two millennia ago could provoke so much hatred and why “the best lack conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” But the prophets have spoken: Joanna Macy tells us that the “Great Unraveling” has begun. Is “some revelation at hand”?

Like Yeats, I, too, sense something emerging, something vast and transformational, something from the deep underground of the human psyche, and my psyche resonates with it like a tuning fork. A revelation is at hand but it is not the coming the authoritarian Cronus who eats his young to prevent rebellion, but instead a radiant new world rising through the culture’s dark and polluted waters. It is the sweet blossom of Buddha’s lotus of enlightenment and the revelation of a sacred world right where we are.

Conscious Elders as Transformational Mystics

How will this New World come? It will come from us. The New World is you and me. We create it by how we act. And our most profound actions are born from a mystically transformed consciousness. As the mystics have told us for centuries, a sacred world appears whenever perception is awakened. Transform yourself and you transform the world.

Despite appearances to the contrary, I believe that the turmoil of the present moment is shattering the ruthless selfishness and cruel privilege of old patriarchy and its false passion. Chaos will reign for a time, but the old world is collapsing, clearing the way for a new vision. It has happened this way over and over in humanity’s stumbling climb to maturity. But at this same historical moment, conscious elders are exploring the ancient art of awakened consciousness, dissolving the ossified stereotypes and convictions of the modern and the postmodern eras to inspire a renewal of spiritual intuition, perception and evolution. If you stop thinking, heighten awareness and cleanse perception, you, too, will sense a world in transition. You can even be its midwife and wise mentor.

We elders are a tribe of gray-haired mystics, architects of the sacred. In our newly awakened mystical perception, we birth the divine world wherever we are. Indeed, I believe the “Second Coming” refers to our becoming Divine Humans in a Divine World. From the pinnacle of age, conscious elders are experiencing the long prophesized realization of the imminent divine and bringing it into a troubled world.

So how do we get there? By activating and embodying our inborn and inherent divinity. Becoming a Divine Human is a three-stage process. We begin by understanding what the mystics have been telling us all along about our divinity, then we engage spiritual practices to awaken the actual experience, and finally we allow this experience to progressively remake self, personality and community. What have the mystics been telling us? Consider these Nine Realizations of The Divine Human. They are…

  1. You Are Not Who You Think You Are
  2. All Consciousness is God’s Consciousness
  3. All Being is God’s Being
  4. Conscious Being is Unity with God
  5. The Divine Self Lives in the Depths of Conscious Being
  6. Conscious Being is The Divine Human
  7. The Experience of Conscious Being and Divine Self Leads to Sacred Action
  8. Divine Consciousness Reveals Heaven on Earth
  9. Aging Inspires the Next Step in Our Spiritual Evolution

While you can read The Divine Human for a full explanation these realizations, you intuitively understand what they mean, so meditate on each one and discover what you already know. Experiencing these affirmations will change you. Take your time. Give it a try.


“The father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth and people do not see it…What you look for has come, but you do not know it.”


“This is the Kingdom of Heaven. The realized being sees this as the Kingdom of Heaven whereas the others see it as ‘this world.’”

Ramana Maharshi

“You don’t have to die in order to enter the Kingdom of God. It is better to do it now when you are fully alive…The Kingdom doesn’t have to come and you do not have to go to it. It is already here…There is not one day that I do not walk in the Kingdom of God.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“This is it. This is Eden. When you see the kingdom spread upon the earth, the old way of living in the world is annihilated. That is the end of the world. The end of the world is not an event to come, it is an event of psychological transformation, of visionary transformation. You see not the world of solid things but a world of radiance.”

Joseph Campbell

           These quotes are meant to balance the dire prediction of Yeat’s poem, and I have scores of similar ones in my earlier book, Finding Heaven Here. In mystical consciousness, we change, we embody more divinity, and so does the world. This new era is more than political activism, it’s about a “visionary transformation” of our experience of self, perception and reality. This transformation is part of our work as conscious elders.

We are the Second Coming. Indeed, conscious elders can become catalysts for the collective awakening of humanity. Like a dark room filled with people who begin to light glow sticks, the field of individual awakening will expand steadily, creating a transpersonal awareness of each other and the world from a new and divine light. If enough of us activate mystical consciousness, humanity will evolve from its semi-conscious sleepwalking through the “blood-dimmed tide” of this dark night to awakened souls in a new and vibrant reality. Each will go through this transformation in his or her unique way and many will not even know it’s happening until the humanity’s mood brightens, but it’s coming. 

Finally, as aging brings us closer to the end of life, the veil between this world and the next also begins to thin. We sense a continuity beyond, giving us access to the love, support and guidance from ancestors, angels and spirits. Indeed we can communicate with them directly and ask for their help. In this liminal space, we are intermediaries between the worlds. In fact, the new world coming represents the convergence of human and divine consciousness, of this world and then next. It’s time to unveil Heaven on Earth. Here are your marching orders:

  • Stop for a moment, stand very still, wake up and pay attention. Ask yourself, “Where am I?” “What is this new time for?” “What do I long for most?”
  • Know that your consciousness and being are already divine. Awaken your divinity. Change yourself and you’ll change the world.
  • We each come into this world with a message. Find out what your message is, say it clearly, and help others do the same. Know what you stand for.
  • Do it now. Don’t go back to sleep.

John C. Robinson is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry, an ordained interfaith minister, the author of nine books and numerous articles on the psychology, spirituality and mysticism of the New Aging, and a frequent speaker at Conscious Aging Conferences. His new book is called, The Divine Human: The Final Transformation of Sacred Aging. You can learn more about his work at