There is no transformation of the world without a transformation in human consciousness.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin
We live at a time when the world cries out for healing. We don’t have to look far to see the hurt in our children’s eyes, the frustration and aloneness in our youth, the general levels of pain, depression, confusion and anxiety felt across the world. Mother Earth cries out louder each passing day as her forests, air, soil, water and wildlife are harmed and destroyed at alarming levels.
We are being summoned more intensely than ever towards pressing change. That change does not come about solely by pointing at the antagonists and general dysfunction of the world. It’s very tempting and quite illusory to get lost in ire directed towards ignorant politicians, archaic social systems, and corporate corruption, to think that they or those, over there, are primarily responsible for messing up our planet. Despite our expensive reductive approaches to “peace”, history shows that simply re-strategizing dysfunction or removing “bad apples” does not create the sane and democratic world we hunger for. Governments and corporations continue to be power-hungry, operating with their hands in each other’s pockets, workplaces are rife with politics and gossip, jails are fuller than ever, and another despot is usually just around the corner.
Passively waiting for our so-called leaders to lead us to true unity is, for the most part, a futile endeavour. Instead, in the urgency of these chaotic times, each of us must consider that we have an important part to play in creating a saner, more harmonious world. The dream of a better future we hold for our children and grandchildren, indeed, finds its beginnings within.
You’ve likely heard the words many times, but it’s worth revisiting Mahatma Gandhi’s simple yet powerful message once more:
“You must be the change you want to see in the world. As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world … as in being able to remake ourselves.”
But what does it take to “remake ourselves” and “be the change”? Is it as simple as adopting a new attitude and choosing some new behaviours; as being better educated, building new systems and creating innovative products? On one level, yes. Behavioural / attitudinal adjustments, education, innovation, etc., are important agents of the change process. Yet, we are speaking of deeply complex, insidious, pervasive and perennial personal and global issues, here. If it were as simple as making these sorts of mental and mechanical adjustments, we would have found our promise land by now.
Intellect alone, as much as Euro-western civilization pedestalizes it, cannot and will not lead us in the direction we seek. No matter the thoughtfulness of “fix-it” legislation, the cleverness of technologies and boardroom stratagems, by itself, the rational erudite mind cannot “solve” this pickle. Something more is needed, a necessary precursor of vulnerability, humility and inspired awareness discovered by traveling below the neck into the dark chambers of the forgotten feeling body.
Albert Einstein once wrote, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” That newness births itself through a transformation in human consciousness. Like the caterpillar that enters the dim womb of its chrysalis only to emerge as a butterfly, we too are being asked to sink into the shadows of our long-estranged body. It’s in this descent into the underworld of our consciousness that we embark on an age-old mythic journey away from who we have known ourselves to be, to a new way of being altogether.
This is the beginnings of a healing journey.
“May my mind come alive today
to break the dead shell of yesterdays,
to risk being disturbed and changed.”
~ John O’Donohue
Healing is not for the faint of heart, which is why few wish to even begin. Immense courage is needed to be disturbed, shaken, made to wake from a long slumber; to question who we think we are and what we know to be true; to risk norms, roles, relationships, beliefs for the wild, unpredictable seas of our more instinctive, mythic nature. A brave heart is required to participate in the slow, disarming process of feeling into the hidden ailments that have shaped our personal story and the time-worn human story we are inextricably linked to.
The journey is a sacred pilgrimage into the unknown. The word sacred has its roots in the word sacrifice. In sacrificing external comforts and inner security that hitherto narrowly contained and defined us, space is made for something sacred, mysterious and life-giving to come alive in our cells. Feeling more deeply into the sacred dimensions of our being, we uncover our long-denied gifts and an inner compass that directs us into newfound purpose.
With each vulnerable let go we make room for a world unknown few spend much time touching into, one we must inhabit if humanity is to have a chance. As this deeper essential nature is birthed into our individual consciousness, the world outside cannot help but reflect it. As we heal, a new world is born.