At its Awakened World 2005 conference, on October 3-5 at La Quinta Resort near Palm Springs, the Association for Global New Thought will be giving its Lifetime Achievement Award to Barbara Marx Hubbard, who for forty years has been envisioning a future that will embody Humanity's highest hopes rather than the dismal Apocalypse of so much contemporary imagining. Here she tells the story of her own journey from frustrated ‘50s housewife to one of our culture's primary exponents of the Conscious Evolution of the human species. .

TLC: Your first book was a midlife memoir published in 1976 about your discovery of your life-purpose. The title, The Hunger of Eve, connected your own search with the human need to know, and implicitly with women's struggle to move beyond repressive structures. When you look back on the Barbara Marx Hubbard who wrote that book, what do you see? And, if you were to retell that story today, would you couch it in the same terms?

BMH: Very much so. I actually am so appreciative of that girl that I was, that she didn't give up her deepest heart's desire, she didn't say “It won't work, it's not possible.” She kept seeking and she finally discovered the path that would fulfill her heart's desire.

It started for me when the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, and I asked the question: What is the meaning of all this new power that's good ? Where is the human species going with this power? That question started my life. Because as I did my reading, I found that nobody knew.

You were what, fifteen?

Fifteen, when the bomb fell, and there was no—and still today there is no—shared image of a future equal to our new scientific and technological capacities. I saw, even then, that if we didn't have a positive image to move toward, we wouldn't use this power right. When I was twenty-two, I was taken to visit President Eisenhower, and I said, “Mr. President, I have a question for you. What do you think is the meaning of our new power that's good ?” And he looked startled; he shook his head, and he said, “I have no idea.” I said to myself, “Well, I'm going to find out.” Because I'd read enough to know that in our philosophy and religion, there's an image of life-after-death, but no image of the future, with all this new power, in the next phase of life . I married an artist, Earl Hubbard, on the idea of seeking a new image of Man commensurate with our power…on the idea that there's a new story for humanity. But nobody knew the new story; we certainly didn't know about the woman emerging. So in the ‘50s I was the type of woman that Betty Friedan wrote about in The Feminine Mystique . She said that women in the United States had no self-image beyond the age of 21…

That's exactly what you'd been seeing in that macro-level: there was no image of a positive future.

You know, that's a very good point. The culture in general had no sense of identity of the meaning of its own potential, beyond consumption and the Cold War. We were there to make everybody happy and to make sure that we consumed enough and had enough babies.…So I set out as a Seeker, but I had five children first, and with each child the quest deepened because if you as a mother don't have some sense of the meaning of your own life other than reproducing, you can't even give that to your children. What I learned after my children and my quest was that I had within me a life-purpose: to understand and to communicate humanity's potential to evolve.

Before that, the only image you'd be given for your discontent was that you were neurotic, right?

Yes, I went to a local psychiatrist after my fourth or fifth child to say that I was feeling depressed…but the Freudian or the Behaviorist psychologies did not have any understanding of the growth potential of the person. However Maslow, and his studies of well-functioning people, discovered that the well functioning people all had chosen vocations that they found intrinsically self-rewarding, i.e., that the creativity of the person needs to be activated in meaningful expression or the person gets sick… So my neurosis, if there was one, was because I hadn't found my vocation.

One wonders how much Prozac is being given that's masking people's innate search.

This is so true . When I met a few people like Dr. Jonas Salk, and I told him all the things that were wrong with me, he said, “Barbara, that's not what's wrong with you, that's what's right about you! You are a psychological mutant, combining the characteristics needed by evolution now. You feel connected by the heart to the whole of life. You feel that something great is coming and you want to participate.” I've come now to call that a Universal Human, and I've come to believe that among the human species, countless millions of us are giving birth within ourselves to that type of human.

And is that your sense of homo universalis?

Yes… if we don't destroy ourselves, and you put together our spiritual, social, and scientific-technological capacities in harmony with Nature, you'll see us become a Universal Species. The capacities are radical: we can restore the Earth, free ourselves from poverty, learn to cooperate at a new level, and develop synergistic systems. We're like a newborn baby that has to shift from the non-renewable resources of its mother to renewable resources. We have to make all those shifts quickly, but when we do, we will find we're at the beginning of our life, both on this earth, and eventually in the solar (system) as a co-evolving, co-creating species. So I think that we are at the very beginning of the emergence of a Universal Human and a Universal Humanity. If enough of us awaken to our own unique creativity—which is Spirit within, the Creator within manifesting—and connect with each other, we're going to see the uprising of a new culture in our midst.

Could you tell the story of the moment of epiphany in February, 1966, that illuminated the underlying cause of that passionate discontent of your early years?

One day, in 1966, it was February in Connecticut, one of those very cold, wintry grey days, I took a walk, after lunch, and suddenly I spoke out loud, and I demanded of the Universe, “I want to know what in our story is comparable to the Birth of Christ?”… I wasn't asking it as a Christian, I was asking it as someone who wanted to know the story. In the story of Christ, what happened changed the world. What was the story that could change the world now?

With that question, my mind's eye went up into outer space; I went right through the blue cocoon of earth like the astronauts, and I hovered at the universal vantage point and saw myself and everyone else as part of the living planet: The planet was, “U-u-u-hhhhh!” gasping for breath, the mass media was communicating pain through all the nervous system. We were actually feeling the pain of people who were tortured, in prison, fighting each other, like pain in our own body. I felt the hunger as my hunger and so on. I had an Expanded Reality experience where I was literally a living member of a living body, and there was a moment of shared pain…intense enough for everyone to pay attention simultaneously to pain and suffering, and with that, there was an opening of the heart, and it seemed to me like mass resonance, or mass love, started to pour into people, somewhat like 9-11 when there was a moment of compassion because it was amplified by media, and in people from all over the world—it didn't matter whether they liked America or not—there was a moment of a heart-opening…but the United States didn't know how to build on that moment, so we went right for retaliation and force.

In my vision, it was a moment that didn't stop, and people started to be healed of their illusion of separateness. We were healing each other. The mass media began to pick up the information of people healing each other and started to tell the good news, (laughing). And in that I felt the social systems—economic, political, governmental, scientific—as functions in the body of the society all simultaneously shift to a higher, more synergistic order. The economic system became more cooperative, the environmental system suddenly was using renewable energies and was not polluting, and population was decreasing—all things we already know, but it took the mass resonance and the shared pain to trigger a mass experience of the shift. I call it the whole-system shift.

If you could look at it from outer space where my mind's eye was, the earth began to resonate and glow. And all the higher dimensions of Being, however you might see them—angels, higher beings, UFOs, whatever—those were all past little fragments, We felt the presence of higher life, in my experience, as light, and the light came into the hearts of people, and we recognized it as something we've always known. All people have had some experience of that, through their religions, through their experiences: Suddenly it was shared! It wasn't like a UFO invasion, or something weird, it was…the Divine, coming in; it was a planetary Pentecost. Everyone began to hear, in their own words, the inner words of the Divine. It was a mass metamorphosis, and it got imprinted in my body, and then I went back through Time, and I tumbled through the spiral—the Big Bang, the formation of the atomic-molecular-cellular-universal galaxies—and got back up to the present; I saw the present as this particular moment in the story of cosmo-genesis, saw the next turn in the spiral as this synergistic convening of the whole body, saw the awakening of the spirit within people beyond all religions as the internal expression of the Divine unique to all and each of us, and I heard the words,—“Barbara, our story IS a birth. It is the birth of a Universal Humanity. What all the great avatars came to tell us is true, we are one body, we are all members of that one body: Go tell the story of our birth!”

I was thirty-six years old, and the intensity, the vividness, of that was a total imprint; it was a birth imprint: You know how, with a newborn, whatever that baby sees, she'll completely get connected to forever? I was experiencing a planetary birth myself, and I got imprinted with what it feels like to be born as a planetary species. I can see it right now: My imprint has affected my entire psyche, so that whenever I express this, I re-experience it. That's why I like my work! Over and beyond what I might give to someone else, I give it to myself every time.

And that's what I love about the girl who I was then; I ran home through this very cold day, the tears frozen onto my cheeks, and I went to my husband, and said, “Earl, I have to go forth, and tell the story.” And I said to my children, “I want you to know that your mother's a pioneer; I'm going to go and make a place for you, but I have to go.” My nine-year old son Wade said, “Mom, This is what mothers are for; they're to create the future for the children.”

It's not that I suddenly left everybody, but I left my old persona. I left the old role I was in. I was no longer the frustrated housewife in Lakeville. I was an evolutionary being, and it has never left me. It took me out to discover how to do this, and I am now one of thousands and thousands of people who've been motivated. But this is my story.

So your evolutionary work, and the hope that you can generate in this dark time when so many people are despairing, is not based solely on a concept but on an experience…

This is so true. I went through a metamorphosis, I moved to Washington, D.C. and formed the Committee for the Future, brought my children to Washington, I got a divorce—I couldn't work within the confines of the marriage I was in, where my identity was wife and mother alone…It's very interesting, when a woman falls in love with a vocation, or a life-purpose, it affects her as deeply as pregnancy and birth, and it is, in some respects, the Feminine giving birth to her own authentic self, that I've been going through as a woman. In my later years now, I feel I'm going through a re-gen-opause : My body is aging, but my spirit is rising.

Jungians would consider the post-menopausal, wisdom stage of life to be the archetypal crone, but you've re-framed that with your sense of a regenopause as opposed to a menopause.

Yes. If you look at it realistically, you get menopause around 50, and that used to be toward the end of your life, and you'd lost your sexuality and your beauty, and you were preparing to be a good grandmother and die. But actually, you may have another forty years! (laughs)…or with life-extension, another sixty! It's amazing, and it's appalling. So actually, menopause is the opening for the woman of the most creative part of her life. It's the time when her body is not producing eggs, and she's not in her basic family or career, fully; she's in the stage of finding that Self and nurturing it, being mother to the Self, and giving the Self expression through creative work.

So the second half of life is open-ended at the top. We have no idea what we're becoming. So as I'm aging, I'm also rising. I have no doubt that my spirit is getting more creative, more vital, that the energy in my body is greater than it was before; I actually feel it like a vibration.

So it's an absolute reversal of that old paradigm.

It is. So going back to the Hunger of Eve: you know, finding that our crisis is a birth, that we're giving birth to a new species of humanity, that I am one of the storytellers, and one of the embodiments of the story I'm telling—I'm not standing outside anymore, I am the story I'm telling. I'm actually telling the story of myself, along with every other self who's part of this. And then to have found, through the ‘70s, I co-created the Syn-Con process, and then through the ‘80s, having run for Vice-President, and inventing the Peace Room process: All of these are social forms to help us realize the planetary awakening that I had already experienced! I think I've been compelled not only to tell this story as a vision, but to invent ways of our experiencing it together.

Barbara Marx Hubbard can be contacted at The Foundation for Conscious Evolution at (805) 682-3222, and at evolve.org, a web site that offers her global online evolutionary process, Gateway to Conscious Evolution. Information about the Awakened World Conference of the Association for Global New Thought is available at (805) 563-7343 and at agnt.org.