Living Up to the American Contract

Caroline Myss Thinks We Should Reconsider Our Obligations to the Founders

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“Not to know history,” Caroline Myss tells me, “is not to have a compass on events; it’s like being in the middle of an ongoing conversation and not know what anybody has been saying.” The well-known author, speaker and former medical intuitive (her book, Anatomy of the Spirit put her on the progressive map) deplores the fact that “Americans seem to disdain history.” Only half jokingly, she remarks that she may have missed her calling. “I really should have been a historian; I just consume history.” Yet she understands why most of us aren’t the buffs she’d like us to be, since we’re taught “here’s the event, here’s the date” ad nauseum. Instead, she feels history should be presented “as an evolution of thought that includes the great stories of those who have formed the nation; the great poets— Whitman, Dickinson, Thoreau—the wondrous people who are America.” (No doubt she is inspired by National Public Radio’s Story Corps project, which collects memorable stories from both ordinary and extraordinary Americans, airs them weekly and archives them for posterity.) “The more I read about American history, the more I am awestruck as to how we even came to be; I’m amazed by the extraordinary birth of this nation.”

The fifty-something Myss is a whirlwind of activity these days: she’s on a personal campaign to inspire Americans to reconnect with the vision of our founders. Really, she wants us to “fall in love with your country again.” Her latest work, The Sacred Contract of America: Fulfilling the Vision of Our Mystic Founders (Sounds True) is a CD series re­corded in front of a small audience. The choice of media is effective; throughout, the listener feels her passion and in­tensity. She is near tears after just the first sentence; “I have been formed deeply by the influence of being the daugh­ter of a marine. There’s a great dignity that goes with that history; I grew up with a great deal of patriotism—the kind born of ideas and ideals, not the ‘let’s get them’ kind you see today. I think my father would be choking if he saw America today. He really taught us what the nation stood for, and that freedom and the respect of the world was everything.” Known for her no-nonsense, forthright (some would say blunt) style rippled with humor, Myss cuts to the chase with this work. Her sincerity is palpable, and her riveting delivery of a powerful encapsulation of America’s beginnings, psychic makeup and current state of affairs summons an urgent call-to-action impossible to ignore.

Citing the last decade’s plethora of books about America’s founding fathers and mothers (“make no mistake; those women fought that revolution”), she notes The Return of the Revolutionaries by Walter Semkiw, M.D., which identi­fies modern Americans he thinks are reincarnated founders. (Semkiw’s designations are based on information gleaned from psychic Kevin Reyerson, famous for his work with Shirley MacLaine.) “I got an e-mail from this man saying that I had been Deborah Franklin,” Myss says. I fired back; “Oh my God, no; I’m sure I was Abigail Adams. Sup­posedly, all of us are back and there is a meeting once a year—I haven’t attended yet; I don’t have the outfit.”

On a more serious note, Myss explains that a contract is a collective of opportunities and challenges, a configura­tion of systems and patterns of power represented by mythologies that characterize and form the magnetic field of all living things. And, though every nation has one, she considers ours extraordinary. “America’s isn’t better or less, but if I were a physician, I’d ask: ‘Are each of the organs equal?’ You can live without your gall bladder; (I know, I do). You can live without your appendix, but I wouldn’t take out your heart. We just play a pivotal role.” Contracts contain archetypes, which are repeated patterns and overarching themes woven into the DNA of its carrier. Whether personal or national, each contract contains twelve major archetypes, four of which are common to all: the Child, the Victim, the Prostitute and the Saboteur. This quartet interacts to ensure survival and invite us on a journey towards manag­ing power. We are intended to transcend the lower aspects of these archetypes to find self-esteem.

According to Myss, America’s ‘Child’ is an orphan. Though a first thought might be one of sorrow or pity, she em­phasizes the freeing nature of a child without parents. The orphan represents the freedom to begin a life without past baggage, to neither belong to nor be beholden to anyone, or to belong to anyone or anything you want to. The Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol of the adopting Mother that is without parallel anywhere on the planet.

America’s victim represents our collective response to those in need, as well as our refusal to see ourselves as vic­timizers. Myss says it’s important to understand that all cosmic laws contain opposites—the victim contains the victi­mizer. “Our phenomenal passion to reach out to victims with great generosity comes from having a history of victi­mizing others (she believes the taking of land from Native Americans is America’s ‘original sin’). “We’re on a thin line right now,” she thinks, “part of our contract was that America would not be an invader nation.” Myss believes 9-11 brought out the victim consciousness in Americans. She says the cry for vengeance following the event “is not typical of us. We have a history of being a kind, loving nation. We have mutated since 9-11; we’ve become frightened, timid, easily herded and controlled—cowardly. We are anything but Americans.” With this, she dives into what she calls “the saboteur” archetype, explaining he conviction that Vietnam changed everything. “For the first time, the trust be­tween the corps of the military and its government was broken. Like the rebels of the founding days, many soldiers questioned the war and said, ‘the principle of fighting here doesn’t thrive with my soul.’ A whole generation discon­nected from our government and the fundamental vision of our country,” she states. Though she considers such sol­diers heroes, Myss finds it unfortunate that people were unable to distinguish between the government in office and the principles of the Republic. “Patriotism meant war,” she notes, adding her view that “our current government has shifted the loyalty of the people to itself rather than to the founding principles—very clever—and very dangerous.” She also argues that the ‘New Age’ and the narcissism that followed Vietnam completed the work of the saboteur.

Our prostitute isn’t one of Miss Kitty’s girls from Gunsmoke, but represents what we will sell in order to get what we need and ensure our safety in life. It isn’t much of a stretch to see that the combination of commercialism/mate­rialism creates our prostitute, bowing to the God of Money. “How much is enough?” asks Myss. “What are these SUVs, these Hummers, these huge Broncos—what does a human being on earth need a creature like that for on the streets of this nation?” When indignant, as she is when considering this, her voice rises in pitch. It stays there as she moves on to describe what she calls “a psychic reptile,” the sense of entitlement. “This is the key to America’s prosti­tution,” she claims. “It’s in the archetypal fiber here, it’s part of the American mythology and it has caused us to be­come emotionally fragile and culturally weak. Even illegal immigrants are tapping into this sense of entitlement!” Myss feels this ‘reptile’ is a large part of America’s ‘shadow’. “I don’t know how Americans are going to shake free of this. Mentioning that being so litigious a society has reduced our freedoms (“you can’t do anything anymore without fear of arrest or a lawsuit”), Myss becomes deeply emotional and states slowly, “What you are entitled to in this land is the rights of the soul, not the right to abuse, to sue, to make someone your economic slave, to hold someone hostage because you’ve been disappointed. You have the right to free yourself from prostitution!” She’s even more concerned about the national debt. “We’re owned by foreign nations; we don’t even own our highways anymore! A prostitute is someone owned by someone else.”

Though she hasn’t yet discussed America’s unique archetypes, the heart of Myss’ message bursts forth: “The re­sponsibility for being a light in this nation falls on your shoulders. Work as a sacred activist within your community. Ask yourself: ‘how much freedom have we negotiated and what can I do in my own way to return the rights of free speech and action?”

Among America’s unique archetypes are the self-explanatory pioneer, the visionary, embodied in people like Hen­ry Ford, Howard Hughes and William Randolph Hearst, and the expression “the sky’s the limit”; and the mystic, ex­emplified by many of the founders (“there is some similarity between the two, but the visionary is not associated with a higher power”). Many of the founders were Freemasons (“not like a bunch of Harry Potters, but they had a code of ethics; their word was good. Today, if the contract isn’t signed, your word means nothing”). The founders weren’t necessarily religious, but they were inspired by the thought that a place could exist where humans could thrive on freedom of spirit. They were high on ideals, high on the potential of what humanity could become if the soul was al­lowed to thrive in its fullness. “These people scripted the first document ever on this earth that bestowed the rights of free thought, that put the rights of the soul before the body…these people were saturated with Light.” Though she claims to be “passionately in love with the founders,” Myss isn’t blind to what she considers their faults (Franklin al­lowed his only child, a bastard son, to rot in prison during the Revolutionary War because ‘he chose the wrong side’). Each held to the principles, even when they couldn’t stand each other, during all rivalries.

The revolutionaries who put everything on the line for independence were America’s first Rebel-Warrior arche­types. This force champions worthy causes when truth has been violated. “Where is our Rebel now,” wonders Myss. “It’s as if it has been banned, silenced, anesthetized.”

From her perspective, the Bill of Rights is the seed of global self-esteem, and America embodies the individuation of the Self. “America came to be against great odds, as if humanity had to be given a chance to create the possibility of equal self-esteem—think of what an amazing thing it was to set this up, when most people can’t follow a diet, can’t be trusted in their own kitchens! Our contract is to lead the world to a new way.” With that mission, Myss feels we couldn’t avoid being in the middle of global chaos. “I knew 9-11 was the great turning point for our nation; as signifi­cant a turning point as Oppenheimer opening the nuclear age. America was destined to step into the global arena; some event had to trigger that; it might have had to be a hostile act because no one wants to become one planet. We may like the idea in theory, but we don’t like it in fact; in terms of mergers of boundaries and power and having peo­ple at the table as equals.”

The Entrepreneur archetype needs almost no explanation—say the phrase “American ingenuity” and you have the essence of this energy. Though the ‘can do’ spirit is threaded through our DNA, Myss is concerned for America’s fi­nancial future (because of our debt to other nations, we may find ourselves asking for aid, rather than giving it, she warns).

The slave-master archetype needs a bit more explanation, and Myss provides an understanding with carefully weighed words. The bottom line? Slavery has always been a part of the human experience; with regard to some of the founders owning slaves (notably, Thomas Jefferson), she says the practice was in place and the work accomplished with the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights set in motion the wheels of its eradica­tion. Today, many Americans are slaves to their jobs (and proud to say so, she says). But the point of her analysis is that this combination is the highest archetype when viewed in its ultimate form as surrender to God or Spirit. “When you turn over your will to the will of God, you are in essence a slave and in that sense, ultimately free.”

No discussion of America’s archetypes would be complete without the mother. Besides our adoptive Mother Liber­ty, the apple-pie, do-it-all and do-it-perfectly mother that nourished a revolution, pioneered and birthed a nation has morphed into an anorexic shadow of herself, anxiously following the dictates of a media mockup. Here Myss is merci­less. “The American woman needs to look at what she’s literally and symbolically bought into and step into real liber­ation by being more than cotton candy and the image pushed by cheap magazines.”

The last archetype addressed in The Sacred Contract of America is that of the judge, represented by our Supreme Court and the ‘law of the land.’ With the recent upheaval regarding the Attorney General and seemingly unending po­litical shake-ups and scandals, Myss agrees things seem bleak. Yet, she says, whenever societies move into cycles of chaos, there is a corresponding release of Light to counteract it. “There is a mystical renaissance going on,” she notes. “This nation was founded by political mystics and it has to stay alive by the same channel.” As for the outcome, “I’m not an Armageddon theologian but I will tell you, we’re at a collision of the sky gods. I believe the founding fa­thers are back in an energy field, just as I believe my beloved Teresa of Avila is back. The nation’s vision is on a respi­rator; the people have dropped the ball. Freedom needs management. We are as unconscious as it gets, and in our narcissism we’ve been taken over from within—and that is quite extraordinary.” Myss hopes her current work will contribute to refocusing America’s out-of-control shadow towards the Light. “I’m not blind to my country’s darkness, but I refuse to not see its greatness,” she says. “We are very much at the crossroads of a new spiritual paradigm and most certainly America is once again at the forefront of a revolution. This time it’s global. The stakes are higher, the consequences far more lethal, but the power of America’s vision remains intact if we as a nation reconnect with that vision.”

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