A Better Future?

The survival of humanity has always depended upon adaptation. When we adapt to changing circumstances, we survive. When we are unable to do this, we perish. The challenges we collectively face as human beings in this era requires a willingness to change.

This global pandemic forces us to look at our proclivity to excessive consumerism, our need for constant entertainment, and a glaring lack of societal and international cooperation in problem-solving. Climate change and the depletion of our natural resources, is bringing with it a rise in natural disasters, indicating the clock is ticking on our disregard of environmental integrity. The International proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons should be a sobering signal that the window on war as a way of solving problems is closing.

This is scary stuff. The reflex of a child is to hide under their blankets rather than confronting their fears. Sadly, the bulk of humanity has not been very mature in facing these realities. Denial, anger, bargaining, grief, blaming others, escapism, are all a part of a vast array of psychological coping mechanisms.

When confronted with a radically changing environment and its corresponding need for adaptation, there are those who want to go back in time. They succumb to the human temptation to romanticize the past and thus neglect the harsh reality that every problem we face today has its roots in our collective behavior in the past.

Then there are those who are frustrated, angry, and desperately want change, now!. But the pitfalls of being an agent of change is to be revealed in the failures of those who came before us. We have a proclivity to blame others for our problems. We divide and scapegoat a convenient group of “others” as the cause of our hardships. If we could only get rid of “them” we can return to the good ole days.  The left vs right dynamic tension has been played out on the world stage with little success for many centuries. The drive of the extreme left ends in communism and the drive of the extreme right ends in fascism. Both are dead ends that robs us all of our freedom, decency, and common humanity. If everybody needs to be right, then who will be left.

What’s needed is a new paradigm. We need to stop dancing to the shadows on the wall and build a bridge to the wisdom that lives within us. What if instead of tearing down a chosen group of “others” we were to rebuild our communities based on a common set of universal values that lay under the surface of the human heart.

We can continue to rant about what we are against, or we can have the courage to look in the mirror of duality and see the corresponding reflection of what we are for. Then we will be able to return to our lives and quietly began the work of building communities based on mutual respect, deep listening, and inner guidance. This as opposed to tearing down people and institutions that have no interest in real change or progress.

But let’s not be naïve, everyone will not join hands and sing Kumbaya. Such efforts will not be applauded by all. Bridge building is always opposed by those committed to building walls. Be thankful for your opponents, without them you could not fortify yourself in your values. The fearful see no way to go but back in time. The hopeful know we must find a way to move forward. We don’t need everyone just those who are ready, willing, and able, to stand for a new and better way.

So much has been lost this year. I extend empathy and compassion to those who have lost loved ones. More struggle and pain lie ahead of us. But this crisis does offer a series of opportunities.

Take time to re-evaluate your priorities and what you’ve been living for. Envision a better future for yourself, your relationships, your work, and your lifestyle. Develop your talents, exercise your creativity, read, study, learn, grow. Strengthen your spiritual connection through prayer, meditation, and communion. Make a plan, so that when this present crisis passes, you can arise and give your gift to the world with focus, determination, and confidence.

Our political leaders will not be able to heal us, unify us, and solve our collective problems. That’s up to us. Ask not what your government can do for your country, but rather ask what you can do for your community.  

Don’t worry about saving the world. Ideals are not meant to be reached. Their power lies in providing something to reach for. This is how the best in the human spirit is made manifest. But make no mistake, the Universe does not sustain retrogression. Change is inevitable. Adapt or die. This is our moment, this is our time.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

-Hopi Elders

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