We are at the most significant reality-altering crossroads we have ever been at in recorded history. Never has the future been such an uncertainty as it is in this time of great transition. While there are some incredibly pessimistic, yet possible scenarios that are being predicted based on current trends, there are also many astonishingly inspiring ones that, if accelerated, would lead to a thriving bright future that we would all like to be a part of.
Infinite Growth on a Finite Planet
Doing the same things we have been doing since the emergence of the Industrial Revolution will not get us to this bright future. Yes, it has gotten us this far (albeit with a tremendous deal of suffering for many peoples), but to get to a sustainable and peaceful future, a new worldview needs to guide us there. A more conscious paradigm that takes into account the effects of our causes is critical.
We may never have another opportunity like this again. Let’s say there was a total collapse of everything...a second Industrial Revolution will not be possible as it was before considering a majority of fossil fuels that were easily accessible are long gone. Humans have been going deeper and deeper into the earth and farther into regions of the planet that were not previously exploited in order to obtain energy and material to continue feeding a consumption-focused vision of infinite growth on a finite planet.
It may be difficult or impossible to see a fundamental shift into a global transpersonal consciousness 100 years from now given how powerful and strong the unsustainable and destructive systems in our society are.
To hesitate now by putting Band-Aids on old systems that don’t work could be fatal for our entire species. Why take that risk when we have alternatives?
The Courage to Shine
We have difficulty dwelling outside of our comfort zones, and so we put off making major changes in our lives and in society as a whole. However, to be courageous is to be a luminary. Courage allows us to be leaders in our personal lives, and in doing so we all lead ourselves collectively toward a more enlightened future where we do away with systems and actions that are destroying our connection to each other and to the only place in the universe we can call home, our planet Earth.
Our daily choices are deciding what the fate of humanity and the fate of a habitable Earth will be. Our personal choices in what we choose to focus on and give our energy to, as well as what we decide to support with our dollar, are in our power to control and change.
The Internet allows us to look up and research anything and everything, making it incredibly easy to become conscious of what we are supporting by our actions. That shirt we got on sale that we liked? With a little digging it turns out it was made by child slaves in Malaysia. Now knowing this, we avoid indirectly supporting that system of suffering by choosing a cruelty-free alternative.
Tools for the Journey
We can stop much of the injustice in the world whose trends are leading to a very grim and dystopian future. We have incredible tools today to do so, and if we combine them with the courage to be bold and stand up for the vision of a better world then we will transition into a world that is not in constant crisis mode. We will have helped usher in the dawn of a day where we are living in balance, harmony, and coherence with ourselves, each other, and the Earth.
Why not give peace a chance when peace is the only chance we have for a bright future? Are we unconsciously keeping the shackles on ourselves? Maybe we are.
From a psychological standpoint, we construct filters to block out anything that doesn’t match our own worldview so that our brains don't hurt from cognitive dissonance.
We see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and believe what we want to believe. This is not a recipe for an enlightened humanity.
To paraphrase what Jean Jacques Rousseau famously once said, we are all born free yet everywhere we are enslaved by our own choosing. Being aware of this unconscious process is the first step towards changing it, and with changing ourselves comes global change. Individual mindfulness leads to global awakening. The epigenetic imprint will pass on to future generations and potentially lead to a time when mindfulness becomes part of our inherent nature.
Facing Our Shadows
Before a global awakening can fully occur, we must be aware of and address the shadows. If we do not face our shadows – those traits and aspects of ourselves we suppress and deny – we will remain imprisoned as a result of our own self-deceptions. Facing the shadows isn’t easy by any means, and this is the primary demotivator to do so.
However, by building up the courage, will, and determination – when we understand what’s at stake – we can begin, little by little, confronting those aspects we wish would go away and resolve them properly so they do not plague us anymore. It takes a great deal of courage, but if we don’t face the shadows they will follow us until the day we die.
You cannot run away from your shadow, but you can shine a light on it and make it disappear.
The shadow aspects of ourselves will continue to keep us at war with ourselves, each other, and our planet if we do not face them and deal with them. If we liberate ourselves, we liberate the world. There is nobody on Earth who can do your growth work for you. However, many can help guide you and show you how you can experience a personal transformation. With humans being a social species, we actually cannot do it all alone. We can always find help in the support of others. We are interdependent. We can accomplish a good deal alone, but we can accomplish far more together. Building a better world starts with understanding that we are all in this together.
Balancing Masculine & Feminine
In order to see this better world become a reality, there is a very important balance that needs to arise and become engrained in the social consciousness first: the balance between the masculine and the feminine.
For far too long the balance of power and energy in human society and culture has been strongly tipped towards competitive alpha male rule.
What we see is the dark side of masculine energy controlling the nature of things. However, a recent recalibration of masculine and feminine energies has been arising into view. The old models of male dominance and female subservience are starting to no longer apply.
Author Herb Goldberg, PhD has been studying the male-dominating paradigm and has found that women are more open to personal growth than men. My own observations, when I look at who is following my social media pages and buying my book, have seen the same thing.
While it sounds great that women are so interested in bettering themselves and transforming their lives, there’s a catch: Women cannot be truly free from gender traps until men are free from gender traps. Seeing women as objects of desire is one of the most common traps men fall into, which continues the old paradigm and bars us from living in an enlightened society.
For women, seeing men as objects of success is a common trap that has to stop if we would like to live in a more egalitarian, equal, and balanced world. Thankfully, both men and women are becoming more frequently aware and mindful of these traps, and we can see some incredible cultural and societal shifts in recent years. The balance is coming back in certain areas, but there is still plenty of work to be done in others.
Change Yourself to Change the World
Yet even so, we are increasingly claiming our inherent power to change the world by changing ourselves first. At the crossroads that we as a human family are at right now, we cannot afford to be lackadaisical. Why postpone an ascension into an enlightened society? Why keep looking beyond ourselves for saviors? Doing so only reinforces the authority addiction that has caused so much suffering in our past and is still causing in our present. Our interdependence and interconnected unity empowers us more than we could imagine. We have the total freedom to mold our world however we wish if we do so cooperatively...and this cooperation comes when we understand fundamental truths about what life is.
We can look to the 2,500 year-old wisdom of Confucius when he said:
To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.
The inner world must be well adjusted if we wish to see the outer world well adjusted. Everything that we say, think, and do collectively creates the world in which we find ourselves existing. If everyone became mindful and stopped themselves before they acted or reacted in a way that causes suffering to someone else, we would see the transformation into a conscious global society immediately. Of course, this will likely not happen as we idealistically envision it, but if there is a growing number of us practicing mindfulness every day throughout the day, then we will see an acceleration into a world that resembles a consciously evolved global family. We will have finally grown up.
It may seem daunting and unattainable for humanity to restore and shift into balance with itself and its environment given the state of things in the world today. We may feel as if we are just one person out of billions with very little power to change the deeply-embedded issues within our collective consciousness. Yes you are one person, but you are an agent of change nonetheless.
An inspiring excerpt from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s practices for children shows us how we can do our part, no matter how small it may seem to be, in order to bring about the change we wish to see in the world.
May we practice kindness day and night, forever, not only towards friends, but also to strangers, and especially to perceived enemies; not only towards human beings, but also to animals and other beings who want happiness and don´t want to suffer. May we constantly enjoy our lives by rejoicing. May we constantly enjoy happiness by rejoicing in all the positive things that bring benefit to others and to ourselves. And may we especially rejoice when we see all the good things that happen to others.
A Collective Process
Even though you are one person, you can make a difference. A global awakening into an evolved humanity is a collective process. There is no one person or group that will take us there. Each one of us is responsible to do our part, in consciously evolving ourselves, in order to transition our collective transpersonal consciousness into the dreams of our future, away from the history of our past.
Cooperation will be the key to our success as a species on this planet, if we wish to not only have a future at all, but to have one where we thrive and develop an enlightened way of life that seems light years ahead of where we are now. If we help each other awaken to see, feel, and understand the intricate and intimate interconnected wholeness of all things, of all systems, then we will reach the shores of our enlightenment. Can we do it? Of course we can. Will we do it? That’s up to us. Let’s make it happen. Our planet is still habitable, but let’s not take it for granted...let’s ensure it stays that way so we have a place to see our collective evolution into a humanity in harmony with itself and its home planet.