There is an ancient blessing, “may you live in uninteresting times”. The obvious meaning being that peace and happiness do not make for the kinds of adventures that become the great myths, songs, and stories of the ages. Quiet and happy lives with their small dramas do not make the history books.
And we DO live in interesting times.
The dominant culture into which we were born, is dying. The economic, social, ecological and political systems that were part of the narrative of our reality are now revealed to be clearly unsustainable.
And as much as we may want to ignore this change, it is happening all around us. Now.
Part of the limiting, outdated narrative is that we humans are separate from all other life forms on this planet. In fact, the dominant culture has separated us from even our own kind, one person competing against the other in the insatiable game of greed and endless consumption.
It is unsustainable, and it is based upon a false premise. For we are not separate from other living beings on our world, nor are we separate from one another. This is the illusion that is the lie of our age; and it is the basis of our sorrows, our poverty, our illness and our existential loneliness.
No, we are not orphans in an alien environment, but instead we are a part of a living planet within a living Cosmos. Our universe is not merely a collection of cosmic dust and subatomic particles, any more than a human is only a collection of molecules. And anyone whose ever experienced a moment of transcendence understands this, even as the dominant culture attempts to keep us busy, distracted, and isolated from that quiet,awesome truth.
Why? Because to know this truth makes us bigger, wiser, people. And to know that truth is to be empowered to create a new paradigm that aligns with that truth.
Some who have profited off our ignorance and addictions would prefer to keep their game going as long as possible.
It is only as we are beginning to grasp the truth that we are connected to ALL of life, and that all living beings exist for their own reasons, that we get a glimpse of what it is to truly be ONE. Such is the experience that some refer to as “Expanded Consciousness.”
And this bigger Consciousness is perhaps most available in “interesting times.” Once it starts growing within you, you find the behaviour and choices of your previous existence limiting, childish, selfish. And you begin to find the norms of society puzzling and strange.
For example, some humans assume that this world was created for our benefit. Rather than being part of a Family of Life, some humans believe that they have the right to rule the planet. And organized religion sets humanity against its own home and family, teaching it to be a flawed and evil force to be conquered. The results of such beliefs lie in our landfills, our stripmines, our factory farms, our oil drenched rivers, our plastic filled oceans, our fracked water supply, our irradiated world. This heartbreaking video shows a few results of our ignorance.
But this living Earth is our Home. It nurtures and sustains us. The obvious truth is that humans depend upon a thin layer of topsoil for our very existence. Viewed this way, it would be far more honest to say that humans belong to the land rather than the other way around.
For that matter, deserts and forests exist for their own sake. They do not exist solely for human benefit.It is only the ignorance and conceit of a young species to believe so.
The other animals who share this Earth with us do not exist for humans.
The ocean does not exist for humans.
“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” – Alice Walker
All exist for their own reasons; we are all a part of an amazing, interconnected Living Planet. Other species experience their own consciousness and delights, which we may always remain a mystery to us. It is only our arrogance and desire to dominate that has led us to discount and demean them.
Humankind stands at a self-created precipice of destruction. It is quite possible that this moment in time was inevitable, but the outcome is far from certain.
For humanity to evolve today, we must open our hearts. I don’t say this as some kind of weak cleche, but I truly mean that we must open up to love. Love is what it’s all about…that feeling of connection and care and compassion. Let’s nurture our living Earth and our fellow inhabitants for their own sakes, and not for our own selfish utility.
What might this mean for us?
How do we walk lightly upon this earth when we bear the heavy footprint of 7 billion human beings?
To begin with, what would happen if we were to each practice mindfulness, and let it seep into every aspect of our lives. What will happen as we resolve to make our decisions based upon love?
Some decisions that would change are easy to wrap our minds around. Some will be more challenging. Many are probably so ubiquitous to our reality as to be nearly invisible.
Lets look at a few of the aspects of our current civilization that are unbalanced, and imagine how they could be changed by consciousness.
- Water -Clean water is increasingly scarce, and the western system of water use is wasteful and unsustainable. We must learn to gather water without stealing it from other human beings and without depriving our wildlife family as well. The rivers and lakes do not belong to humanity. They belong to ALL living beings, shared freely. Therefore, we must find a new, benign way to harvest our water. Human systems of dams and destruction will have to be changed, and rivers restored.
- Farming – Another unsustainable, unwieldy system. Giant agra businesses are clearly harmful, and also clearly making us sick. Genetically engineered food now requires ever more pesticides and herbicides. Shipping food products thousands of miles is both wasteful and destructive. We must learn to farm locally, without chemical fertilizers that strip the topsoil and pesticides that poison our land air and oceans. And, coming from a place of love, it becomes obvious that it is not OK to kill other beings. The wholesale labeling and slaughter of some species as “pests” is unethical at best. The popular change to local and organic food is reflective of this understanding.
- Housing – We need to radically re-design our cities and towns. We can re-imagine towns that are innovative and sustainable in design, and homes that are both smaller and eco-friendly. Our meadows, wetlands, and forests need to be restored and nurtured, our urban sprawl must be reigned in. It is vital that we open up more wildlife corridors to allow our fellow species to rebound from the unprecedented extinction event that our current activities have caused. The tiny house movement and the increasing innovations in sustainable house design reflect this awareness.
- Energy – This one’s obvious. We must increase our investment in clean energy and wean ourselves off of the deal-with-the-devil petroleum based civilization that surrounds us. Alternative energy sources should be a priority, yet as of this writing, the citizens of the USA are still subsidizing petroleum corporations. WTF? With so little time left to change our paradigm,it seems that Consciousness would indicate that we focus upon clean efficient energy for all. Clean energy is the wave of the future, and global innovations are happening every day.
- Pollution – Open hearts break at the destruction we have wrought. Now is the time we must clean up our plastics, ewaste, oil spills, and radiation. Our dominant culture has behaved like a plague upon the planet, and it is time that humankind grow up. Children make messes. Adults take responsibility. It’s our turn to take our place as mature members of the Earth family. Recycling and reuse are a part of the solution, and a general move away from planned obsolescence is finally taking hold.
- Animal Exploitation – Look into the sad eyes of a mother cow as her baby is torn away from her and destined for the veal crate…Love tells you that we are connected. What happens to her happens to us all. When we harm one being, we harm ourselves. Consciousness makes obvious that other beings do not belong to human beings. A time is coming that we will no longer enslave other species in order to harvest their body parts or secretions. Humans are primates and as such, do not “need” to consume flesh or animal products. Let’s nurture, protect, and have a relationship with other species…but to torment and kill them for a bit of flesh is clearly immoral, and unsustainable. (And, in a turn of karmic irony, animal products wind up giving us diseases from diabetes to heart disease to cancer.)Happily, we are experiencing an evolving compact between people and animals.
This change is happening because we realize that the old way is cruel, unhealthy, and unsustainable.
The beauty of changing our consciousness is this: As we open up to live from a place of love and compassion, our behaviors naturally change. (This is why vegetarianism and veganism have become so globally popular over the past few years.) You don’t have to “try”. Just be open to love and observe. Let consciousness and your heart lead as you ponder your habits. Changes will become desirable, and then natural.
The old culture and its habits are a part of a doomed system.
This old culture is coming to an end, and it seems to me that these are our choices:
- Continue to prop up the old system with our lifestyle, spending and eating habits, or
- Choose to help create something NEW: new energy systems, new environmental breakthroughs, new eating habits, new transportation methods, new building designs, and new ways of raising our children.
Will we brainstorm together, innovate, create, build, teach, love, and grow into our unknown potential? We have the opportunity to be a part of a new, creative reality – with changes that are happening, ready or not.
We CAN do this. Every smart idea can trigger a million more smart ideas. Every compassionate act resonates into a million more compassionate acts. Every creative innovation has the potential to change our world for the better. And an open heart is unstoppable.
Yes, we do live in interesting times. Let’s embrace the changes and be a part of the solution.