“Sometimes things have to break down before they can break through.”
I read on the internet yesterday that our country, and perhaps the world, is on the verge of a Great Recession. Some commentaries even referred to it as a “Deep Depression,” the likes of which the majority of us have never seen. Yikes! The uncertainty of that idea is nerve racking. However, I’ve been a student of metaphysics and New Thought for decades now, and it has been teaching and speaking about a coming shift in consciousness for an equal number of years. Could this time in history be a signal of a Great Transformation rather than a Deep Depression? Is it even possible for us to consider these times in a (dare I say) more positive view? And even if it isn’t true, is it equally possible that just entertaining the possibility of a “Great Shift” rather than a recession is one of the best things we can do for our own mental states?
When you think about it, most spiritual traditions refer to times of transformation within their teachings. Christians and Jews alike talk about how a messiah will come (or at least return) at some point or another and herald in a new world. Muslims and Mormons predict an eventual “end times.” Some foretell that time as tragic and scary. Others imply it is similar to the belief that when we die we go to some heavenly paradise and all is well forever more. Even if you’re not religious, there have been other dates in history like Y2K, the Mayan Calendar of 2012 or predictions by Nostradamus that were supposed to shake things up, if not completely destroy the planet. This isn’t the first time in human history that people have wondered if profound change is near at hand.
New Thought spirituality has also frequently referred to a time of planetary transformation. Visionary futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard in particular proclaimed that, “In the next 30 years we can destroy our world. With the very same powers—spiritual, social, scientific—we can evolve our world. Our mission is to serve as catalysts for a planetary awakening in our lifetime, to take a non-violent path to the next stage of evolution.” Many other visionaries have repeatedly taught that if we can manage to not destroy each other or the Earth beforehand, there will come a time when war, hatred, hunger and fear are eliminated—and peace and harmony will reign.
But what occurred to me this week is that regardless of your religion (or not) I don’t think most of us have given much thought to the idea that during every huge planetary transformation there is uncertainty, disruption and suffering. Besides, don’t most of us want to believe that because we know it might be coming, that knowledge will somehow exclude us from all the trials and tribulation that such change requires? I know I do! Yet, I vividly recall Barbara Marx Hubbard saying on many occasions that we were right now in the process of helping to “mid-wife” the transformation to come. And, if you compare any transformation with the experience of childbirth, it is logical to realize that a lot of struggle and discomfort comes during the actual “birth.” While that might be fine in theory, it’s much easier to talk about the joys of a new child before the contractions hit and the screaming starts.
I think this is particularly difficult for many of us because we’ve gotten so used to things being comfortable. The reliability of being able to go to the grocery store for any little thing any time we want it is a very First World Experience that most of us don’t want to give up. Even if we have to work, we’ve grown accustomed to our paychecks and the fact that we have money flowing in to (at least mostly) pay for our wants and needs. Most of us have television and the internet to entertain us, and we (mostly) live in neighborhoods that are safe enough to take a walk—if we can tear ourselves away from our internet. Our climate, politics and the health care system might be a mess, but most of us are situated well enough to let others worry about it rather than taking action. We don’t necessarily want other people to suffer, but we especially don’t want to suffer ourselves.
So what can we do about it? I think it is time to admit that the vast majority of us are dependent upon a “business as usual” model in our country (at least most Western Countries.) And if anything is potentially about to transform in a big way, it has to start with changing the idea of things “returning to normalcy.”
If people can’t work and bring in money, what will happen? If so many of us get sick and we can’t go to the hospital, (even if we have the money to pay for insurance) what will happen? If weather patterns triggered by climate change create huge natural disasters, how do we recover? If we can’t keep ourselves and the people that we love safe, what will happen? In spite of what you might be thinking, I’m really not trying to scare anyone with these questions—I just think we all need to think about them so we stop being so surprised if or when things change. It’s one thing to know something is seriously wrong but accepting how things might change is a hard pill to swallow.
I really can’t offer specific support to those who follow a traditional religion. But I do know what I’ve learned and attempted to practice all these years that is helpful to me. What are some of those ideas?
1) We are all One. That means everything is interconnected—including all living beings and even the planet/Universe herself. Of course when I say we are all One, that is far more than saying we are made up of just material matter. We are connected by an invisible thread of consciousness or Spirit that ties us together in a constantly evolving and creative experience. Like individual musicians in the grand orchestra of life, we are all creating the symphony of Life.
2) Because we are One, we are all in this together. The entire planet and all its beings are evolving and creating our future as we go. A group consciousness is co-creating the days ahead and its ultimate outcome remains to be seen. What happens next? That’s largely up to our individual choices and the state of consciousness on the planet. And while there is certainly evidence that that consciousness is in a pretty unstable place in some ways, I happen to know and believe that there are thousands of people filled with love and peace and a sense of what’s possible to help us navigate the days ahead.
3) Our consciousness matters. We are either lending our awareness, minds and thoughts towards fear and hatred, or we are contributing to ideas of wholeness and peace. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Like I mentioned in our Vlog last week, we all hold a bucket of water on one shoulder and a bucket of gasoline on the other. Every single time we talk to another person—on social media, on the phone, or standing 6’ away—we either throw our bucket of water on the conversation and soothe it, or we throw our bucket of gasoline on it and feed the fire.
4) Anything we focus on grows. Anything we resist, persists. In other words, the more we fight with the change that is happening and tell ourselves that “this can’t be happening,” the more it overwhelms our lives. If we want to remain a peaceful example to others and calm our own anxiety, we need to find ways to soothe ourselves and stay focused on staying aligned with our Source.
5) Transformation asks us to focus on what really matters to us and let go of all the superficial stuff we have used to distract ourselves with in the past. A New Thought minister in Los Angeles named Michael Beckwith has been talking about this for years. Our busy-ness and our dramas are actually just distractions we’ve used to keep us from knowing who we really are on the deepest soul level. In so many ways, much of what occupied our formerly current world has kept us from evolving our own consciousness and then finding and living our deepest purpose.
6) Love and compassion will ease any transformation. If you consider what gets most women through the pain of childbirth, it is the anticipation of the end-result, and the love and compassion in her heart. No it’s not easy. Nor does it always go according to “plan”. But most of the time the joy that is felt is worth all the discomfort. Barbara Marx Hubbard didn’t end her midwife analogy there either. She went on to admit that as eternal beings, the love that met us when we were born on this plane, will likely welcome us on the next. Transformation is like that too. Whatever happens in the end, all will be okay.
This week I’ve been listening to a recording of Eckhart Tolle who is reminding me of all this and more. He explains that the infection of fear and negativity in our minds is as dangerous and pervasive as any virus. He stresses that we are all contagious with our emotions and consciousness as much as we are with any physical condition. Staying aligned with Presence/Source is the best way to fight any infection. Of course we must act when necessary, but we do our very best to take actions based on Presence rather than anything else.
I realize this post is off-topic from most of my other posts. But this week someone asked the question on Facebook, “If you knew you only had one week left to live, what would you do?” Not that I believe we are entering “end times” by any means, but it did lead me to ask myself, what is really important for me to think and to do right now? That’s why I wrote this post more than anything. Maybe it is SMART for each of us to ask ourselves what really matters to us, what we want to do with the time we have left, and are we really ready for the shift, however it shows up?