Today we have a different post, a guest one by Giles Hutchins to open our eyes for the future and rethink our values as we approach the new year.
Aware thinkers and leaders know what’s at stake. The global issues are too prominent to ignore. Whether it’s mass migration, political extremism, governmental incompetence, violence towards minorities, banking collapses, or evidence of stress and mental illness in epidemic proportions, we cannot ignore the fact that we are living in a time of upheaval, volatility and uncertainty.
The very planet itself is changing in character – with global water shortages, rapid soil erosion, marine species on the verge of collapse, Arctic sea ice at record lows, and a warming atmosphere which threatens the biosphere on which we all depend.
In today’s global conditions, ignoring the global issues facing humanity is ultimately a self-destructive existential choice.
Those opting to pretend that the status quo can be preserved as it is – or was – are blind to the facts of huge shifts globally, already occurring and set to increase. They also overlook the extraordinary human challenge afforded this generation. The ancient Greeks called such a time Kairos, a supreme moment of history, an incredible opportunity to step forward which if not adequately acted upon will pass us by.
This supreme moment asks us – demands us – to get radical and deal with root causes.
Often we focus our attention on downstream effects (such as climate change, rampant social inequality and rising stress in the workplace) instead of paying adequate attention to the root causes. In the words of the Persian Poet Rumi, ‘We are searching amongst branches for what is found only in the roots.’
Woven into our scientific-philosophy and socio-economic thinking at deeply subconscious levels is a fundamental corruption, a flawed logic setting us apart from each other and Nature. Einstein spoke of this as an optical illusion of consciousness, which is now manifesting a devastating delusion. Large swathes of modern humanity are inured and institutionalised by this illusion of separation. It creates the belief that life is innately competitive, whilst evolution is a process of selfish ascendance. Breeding fear, polarisation and egotism, it creates carcinogenic behaviour hallmarked by a desperate desire for competition, consumption and control.
We now need to transcend this illusion by opening up to reality as it really is. This is simply – though not necessarily easily – a case of each of us giving our undivided attention and love for life. Making space in our busy schedules to get out into Nature or retreat to a quiet place is a good start.
Today’s busy humdrum of a world distracts us from the natural wonder of life. By letting go of our ego-chatter and habituated thought patterns we may reveal an awareness of the sacredness within each unfolding moment in our midst. Through this natural awareness we may begin to sense the sacredness of each situation and interrelation, along with the primordial wisdom flowing throughout Nature. We may allow this natural awareness to heighten our attention to synchronistic moments as our bodyminds attune with the phenomenal and relational world. This is to re-awaken our loving intimacy with reality, freed from the clutter of our ego-chattering thoughts of past and future, presencing life in an unadulterated way.
How often do we perceive the sacredness flowing throughout the world around us, its awesome beauty and innate wisdom?
It is our over-looking this immense sacredness in our midst that is at the root of our problems. Our re-sacralising, our re-enchanting, our re-membering and re-embodying Nature as Teacher and Transformer is crucial for our flourishing future. It is not another ‘app’ on our iPhones or another Flickr, Twitter, Facebook or Whatsapp tool we need, contrary to our fickle fetish for such. No, for sure. What we need is right before our very eyes. It’s like looking for your glasses and realising they are upon your nose, or looking for your mobile phone while realising you are speaking into it…the answers to all our pressing challenges are found all around and within us in Nature.
Direct perception of the moment in our midst, through our hearts, allows our rational and intuitive minds to cohere, whereupon we become aware of reality beyond illusion. It is what the Shambhala tradition of ancient Tibet calls ‘egolessness’, the warrior’s journey whereupon we discover the harmony of natural order within and all around us. As the Shambhala warrior Chogyam Trungpa says, ‘we cannot just study that order scientifically or measure it mathematically. We have to feel it – in our bones, in our hearts, in our minds.’
Here are three tips to aid just this:
- Stillness – In slowing down we allow the ego-chatter in our minds to quieten, providing a chance for our awareness to deepen. If we honour this stillness on a regular basis – whether as structured meditation, a morning walk or time alone during a work break – we may allow a deeper consciousness to flow beyond the superficial stream of ego-chatter. This deeper ground of our being - which I call Nature – is an all-pervasive receptive presence that underpins every evolving moment. It is always here regardless of our attention, yet our attention of it allows us to flow with a deeper wisdom in all we do.
- Synchronicity – As we consciously bring this stillness into the movement of our lives, we may become more aware of synchronistic events, subtly lit pathways and intuitive guidance. In learning to listen to the wisdom of Nature found through the well-springs of the heart, we improve our responsiveness to life’s dance.
- Small steps – Each moment offers us the chance to embrace life with loving attention through our hearts freed from pre-conceived notions, fears and judgements. In opening our hearts to each interrelation we learn to lead with courage (its Latin root ‘cor’ meaning heart). Here we truly listen to our deeper self and others; we provide a space of reciprocity for sharing authentically within an atmosphere of trust. We co-create solutions uncluttered by the same thinking that created the problems in the first place.
These three movements - receptivity, responsiveness, reciprocity – allow us to courageously embrace the journey of a lifetime, breaking out beyond the shell of our tiny egos into the inter-relational matrix of Nature. This is our beginning, and the year ahead provides the opportune time for us to live up to our name of Homo sapiens – wise beings.
Let’s make 2017 a year to be proud of for all the right reasons by allowing the aliveness of Nature to live through us.