Religion and the politics of the old ways are losing their legitimacy. The planet is facing its daily and gradual exploitation and destruction to meet our growing material needs. Modern life as represented by mainstream media – which merely communicates the dominant ideology or views of the economically and politically powerful – has become secular, dualistic and anti-spiritual.
Yet many of us are yearning for connection (witness the growth of the internet and social media platforms) and we feel the suffering of the earth and its people and we know there is a need for a new way. Actions which arise from externalising our inner conflicts and acting out our projections are perpetuating the problems and hastening the destruction we are trying to avoid! (Witness our party political system and religious affinities which lead to hatred, heartbreak and murderous violence.)
To survive and transcend this transition time, the earth and its people need action which arises from freedom, self-awareness and what Taoists call ‘wu-wei’ (or in alignment with nature, what we may experience as ‘going with the flow’).
I suspect that I am like many people when I listen to or watch the news, even in critical intelligent formats like the ‘Today Programme’ or ‘Channel 4 news’ my mind is filled with ideas and images of despair, conflict and isolation. I am seeded with fear, and later I might turn to drugs or even food as a way to numb what are unwanted feelings, especially if I have come to believe that this news is a true reflection of the world. At its most extreme expression, depending on my beliefs, I might go out and kill someone I don’t agree with or I might even harm or kill myself in an attempt to escape the torment. At the least extreme, I might overwork with the compensation of an annual holiday abroad and a smart car in my driveway.
I am not saying that the media are responsible for any of this, but what I am saying is that the media reflects a way of being, a mindset of duality and separation that has developed as a means of survival.
We can see where it is leading. At best, nowhere. At worst, to a manifestation of all of the worst human qualities and their consequences – war and all forms of violence from personal to organisational to global.
We who are demographically made up of late baby boomers and Generation X are struggling to stay sane.
So what is the answer?
We must first look to ourselves, where freedom begins.
Ok, so in the emerging world we have access to information and people at the click of a mouse or a pad. We know about inter-faith, interbeing, we have an expanding library of books in the self-help or mind-body-spirit category which reflects our search and our deepest yearnings. But it can be so confusing! Which type of meditation, which spiritual modality, which teacher, which therapist, which healer???
Where are we in all of this? We have a head, we have a heart, we have a belly and yes we have a body. We may even have a soul and a spirit. We are these experiences. And that’s what they are, experiences. But the radical shift is to realise that we are the totality of these experiences, and to ignore any of them is to live an incomplete life – a life of inertia, where we remain in survival mode enslaved to the old ways.
There is a liberation waiting to begin inside us now. Our gift to the planet, our gift to evolution, is to return to our full selves and act from what we find there.