The world has changed.
I see it in the water.
I feel it in the Earth.
I smell it in the air.
J. R. R. Tolkien’s words could well describe our current situation. A darkness grows, the divide between light and dark is more apparent than ever, and there is a call to action for us (like Frodo Baggins) to forgo our normal routine and set out on an adventure to change the world. We are at the point where we can no longer afford to put off our personal transformations.
Two major issues are on most peoples’ minds:
- Our critical environmental problems.
- The rise of self-centered, xenophobic thinking.
I could have written them as #1, Climate Change and #2, Trump, but they are broader in scope than these two.
The two problems are closely tied to a third issue that is more insidious:
- Corporate exploitation of the planet and people.
Climate Change and Trump receive a lot of the spotlight these days, and there’s an implied hope that the world will be fixed when they go away. But if Trump were to die tomorrow and if all the excess carbon in the atmosphere was sequestered next year, thanks to some new technology, the underlying causes of these problems would remain.
However, they have both served a crucial purpose: of helping the rational, compassionate people in the world unite in two common causes. And as the Dalai Lama turned Mao into a learning experience, a way of cultivating his compassion, we have to aspire to do the same.
In the practice of compassion and tolerance, the one you consider your enemy is your best spiritual teacher. — the Dalai Lama, 2016.
Our problems don’t exist in the future. This is not a film involving an asteroid hurtling towards earth that we hope to divert at the last moment with no collateral damage. We are in the middle of this, and there is already a lot of damage. It’s still hard to even know how bad it is, how different our weather will get, how many future floods and fires, how many species are extinct, how recoverable are our soil systems and oceans. But make no mistake: it is already time to act.
My feeling is that we are at a potential turning point right now. It doesn’t take an empath to know that most people have had a difficult couple of years, and I think that it has just now reached a zenith. I could be wrong, but I feel that my little microcosm is a decent reflection of the macrocosm at the moment. My instinct tells me that this break that most of us are on right now is a crucial moment in history. Not in terms of external news or events, but internally, as a liminal space that gives us an opportunity to adopt new mindsets and habits.
I’m choosing to pause for this break and attempt a system reset.
If you’d like some reading material to along with yours, I recommend Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.