Written By:


Michael Powell*

In Brian Swimme’s Cosmogenesis, Thomas Berry in conversation with Brian states:

  • “Come to understand you are not a scientist. You are not an American.
    You are not male. You are not even primarily a human. First and foremost
    you are a cosmological being.”
  • “Which means I’m . . . ?” Brian hesitated.
  • “The universe. In the mode of a human.” (212)

Feeling this statement jump off the page and immerse me when I first experienced its truth, was awesome. To be present and experience a conversation that took place thirty-five years ago while in today’s world brings great clarity. To hear with new ears as the words succinctly spoke from the page describing the stated transformational change is moving. Moving from an unchanging classical cosmos to the new stance of a generative universe undergoing ongoing cosmogenesis was more than enough to connect the dots of much experience and thinking. From three years ago or so, I began to take to heart that I needed to “start from wholeness” to re-imagine, re-invent, and re-integrate my relationship with the new realities emerging. Pages 211-212 in Cosmogenesis brought clarity to my explorations of “starting from wholeness” as originally instilled in me by Ilia Delio when she spoke of the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

To experience myself as a cosmological being, I accept that within me are emerging capacities to consciously evolve, to be an image and likeness emanating from the universe, to be born and arise from the Earth in the mode of a human. I accept that all aspects of what is on this Earth are expressions of the universe—images and likenesses of the mysterious creation process localized on this living Earth.


As a being of the universe in the mode of the human, I have been given qualities of reflection, seeking meaning, and living purpose all generated through the various intensities of love that I allow to course through my interconnected beingness with all other forms of universal expression, as tempered by our living Earth. My job is to learn how to respond in service to, for, with, and within these universal ways of being as I learn to experience in wholeness the nature of conscious relationship I have with all of creation.

Finding ways to synthesize and integrate the experiences life offers is essential for me as a way to accept the grace that has been given to me to help the necessary transitions to live as universe in the mode of the human. To re-invent the human is to change how I am structured to experience life as a cosmological being through all the modes of human expressions I can re-imagine and develop. This process is not accomplished as a singular entity; we are lived into this reality through relationship and community.

How do I live into these new ways of experiencing being human? What new practices (ways of living) may prove helpful as I journey on Earth as we are carried through our galaxy?

Milky Way, Photo by Ain Rehana, Wikimedia Commons, CC by 4.0

Even my understanding of a practice needs to change. I find this quote from Cynthia Bourgeault helpful in re-orienting me to re-imagine, re-invent, and re-integrate my relationship with the new realities emerging in our cosmogenetic universe.

  • Practices are not a means to get somewhere, but an expression of a relationship with something that is.[1]  

Maybe together we start by re-examining how we actually are living with what is, and use our language to connect ourselves to the how, what, who, when, where, and why of the on-going, fully alive, moment. This connection enables us to better live with the multi-dimensionality of the teaching from Thomas Berry,

  • The Universe (and Earth) is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.

This connection enables us to better live within cosmogenesis as the cosmological beings we are becoming.

* Michael Powell’s past work, across education, government, nonprofit, and profit sectors includes organizational change and development, employee and volunteer training, grant writing, public service, teaching, and political engagement. Since retiring in June 2019, his new “work” is building relationship to release the hidden capacities that exist in everyone. Michael is conscientiously evolving an ethic of deeper caring and learning that serves others, beginning with loving our living Earth and being deeply grateful for the life our Earth provides. He has earned two master’s degrees, one in Organizational Management, the other in Conscious Evolution. To continue his learning, Michael is studying for a Doctor of Ministry in Evolutionary Ecological Spirituality.

[1] Cynthia Bourgeault, https://www.cynthiabourgeault.org/quotable-quotes