Indeed peace, love, and understanding exist in multitudes of places throughout the U.S. and the world. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely experienced them many times, privately and publicly; I certainly hope so. But I’m talking about having it all the time, everywhere, as a matter of course. I’m talking about living in a country — and a world — that works for everyone; a country where everyone has a place to live, enough money, and feels safe and secure both at home and out and about. Some version of this is, fundamentally, what all humans want and I am convinced not only that it is possible but, actually, inevitable because of the leap in consciousness that humanity is taking. Still, it won’t happen on its own.
Viewing humanity through a simple prism of old consciousness (which is dying) and new consciousness (which is being birthed) will go far to elevate our public discourse. That we are seeing stark examples of the old consciousness fighting for its very survival is simply part of the process of the transition we are in. The new consciousness tells us precisely how to create what we all want and, conceptually, it’s incredibly simple. Yet there are some very identifiable blocks, at least here in the U.S., to achieving it. They are:
1. We refuse to take responsibility.
We talk a good game in America about taking personal responsibility yet our culture seems to eschew it at every turn. Our attitudes and legal system support the notion that we will likely be aggrieved by someone or something at some point and when we are, a full-throated infrastructure is in place for us to get our just deserts. If there is something amiss in our physical bodies, we’ve literally been trained to look far outside ourselves for the cause and/or remedy, seeking pills and ongoing treatments for conditions that have been relentlessly advertised as incurable. So we are somehow not responsible even for our own health.
We don’t take responsibility for our government, that’s for sure. It’s the government, something separate from us, or so we believe. We fully expect to be able to drive on a highway, have hurricanes cleaned up, and have police to protect and serve us, but it’s the fault of others — or the government itself — when something doesn’t work or doesn’t work to our satisfaction. We basically outsource our military to a scant one percent or less of our population and, collectively, take little to no responsibility for what it does in the world. We rail against politicians who don’t seem to represent us but take no responsibility for how our own apathy created the dysfunction we abhor. Then we don’t vote and join “the government sucks” chorus. Old consciousness all.
As we engage the new consciousness — in which taking responsibility for ourselves and our experiences is foundational — we must also be clear about what taking responsibility is and is not. It is not about condoning things we don’t like. It is not about guilt or shame. It is not about being responsible for showing up for work on time and taking care of the kids (but please do these, they’re important). And it is not in any way, shape, or form about “blaming victims.” In the new consciousness, there are no victims. Ever. That’s because what taking responsibility is, is taking responsibility for the idea that we create our own realities. We reap what we sow. What goes around comes around. Karma. Call it what you will.
It also helps to wholeheartedly believe that there are no accidents to the circumstances of our lives. I know that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who believe everything is random and those who believe nothing is. The former is the old consciousness, the latter the new. It is a giant leap to switch from one to the other, I get it. I’ve done it several times myself — on major issues like un-blaming my parents for every misery in my childhood and not raging at God when my partner died and not blaming the economy when I lost my house and everything I owned in that sub-prime mortgage meltdown extravaganza thing, circa 2008. The degree to which it was hard to do, however, is the degree to which it was rewarding to do. It’s a huge leap in consciousness but, indeed, huge leaps in consciousness are not only what’s happening with humanity, they are precisely what’s called for. And we can learn to take them.
So many people today are talking about feeling a pervasive sense of powerlessness (largely from “the news”). Powerlessness is the direct result of abdicating responsibility so the very good news is that the act of taking responsibility is what creates authentic power within ourselves. When we take responsibility we realize we are in the driver’s seat. We are powerful. It’s extremely liberating because the energy we expend avoiding responsibility is now available to us to engage the new consciousness and to be about the business of creating a world in which we all want to live. It was far more productive for me to have taken responsibility for having lost my house and everything I had instead of blaming the economy, the government, and Wall Street fat cats. I was empowered to not only understand something about how I wound up where I was (e.g., old, entrenched belief systems), but also by employing the new consciousness to make sure it never happened again.
Also, we are all connected. So when one of us deigns to take responsibility in our daily lives for something in our experience and amasses some personal power as a result, a muscle is growing which helps all of us. When enough of us do this and we collectively amass more and more authentic power, we will be unstoppable. So next time you’re blaming someone or something for some woe in your life, try taking responsibility for the fact that it’s in your life and go from there. It’s the new consciousness and it’s the way out of darkness.
2. We refuse to act compassionately.
Terrorist. Psychopath. Insurgent. Jihadist. Lone wolf. Suicide bomber. Liberal. Conservative. Black. White. Red. Brown. Yellow. Hispanic. Immigrant. Muslim. Jew. Christian. Gay. Straight. Bi. Trans. Elite. Redneck. These labels are all judgments which, instantly, put us at a remove from the person(s) we’re talking to or about. Incessant, unconscious judging is the antithesis of compassion and it’s a mainstay of the old consciousness.
When it comes to “shootings,” for example, compassionate action would mean some people running to the shooter and his/her family as well. Compassion tells us that anyone who is hurting so much that they can only feel satisfaction by hurting others is suffering a painful disconnection from who they really are, from other humans, from Spirit. ISIL doesn’t recruit happy, well-adjusted people. And this disconnection, this sense of separateness is the paradigm shift in consciousness we’re talking about. The separation is a myth of the old consciousness and more and more of us are realizing that the only way out of so much trouble is to acknowledge, again, how truly connected we all are, to see ourselves in others, and to work together to cultivate and create what we want.
If I am put off by or uncomfortable with or have no understanding of, say, supporters of a particular candidate for president, but I find that such people are regularly and consistently in my face, compassionate action would dictate not that I put a wall up between us or that I should get them to do anything differently than what they’re doing. Compassionate action would have me realize that I am being challenged to grow my compassion muscle because demonstrating compassion is the only way for me to find peace. Compassionate action would encourage me to search for a way to understand something about them I don’t currently understand. It might also suggest that I look for how I am, in some way, just like them. Because I cannot expect to have peace in the world if I’m unwilling to create it in my world, peace in the world cannot, will not happen until and unless I do this.
Do you see that this approach requires nothing of other people? If I truly want universal peace, love, and understanding, practicing compassion is my new job. I don’t have to like or love or condone anything. I simply have to be willing to suspend my judgment and accept the reality that there are people who challenge my ability to be compassionate. Now I’ve taken responsibility. Now I’ve been present to what is. Now I have an action to take. And my willingness to do so moves us all ever-closer to our collective desire.
(Note: Being compassionate isn’t for wimps.)
3. We are intensely focused on the problem(s).
As Albert Einstein said, we cannot solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it. More recently, like three minutes ago, I got 12 million results from an internet search of “what you focus on grows.” Indeed, there is this force in our world called the law of attraction and it never takes a break. “The rich get richer” and “birds of a feather flock together” and “I knew this day was going to suck” are all evidence of this universal law in action. I am not here to litigate it because I’ve been testing it and living it and teaching it for 25 years. It’s indisputable.
We’re not bad people, not even close. We didn’t know that this is the way things are so we unwittingly focused on our fear and all of its sub-genres (e.g., worry, doubt, hopelessness, anxiety, shame, guilt, etc.) and thus created realities that were aligned one hundred percent with those thoughts and feelings, realities such as war, poverty, homelessness, and all the things we really, really don’t like. It’s just how things work. It’s why in my unhappiness as a child, I had no idea that holding on to the rage I felt for days and weeks and even months — and the justification I felt in doing so — was actually creating more rage. I didn’t know that The Universe is unwaveringly neutral in that it just gives us more and more of what we focus upon, more and more of what we think about, more and more of what we talk about, and tons and tons of what we feel.
Most of the people I have worked with are more than willing to fully believe in and accept this truth for what it is. Yet almost across the board, they carve out exceptions. Well, yes, I know, but in this case… As soon as you hear a “but” forming in your mind or coming out of your mouth, you’re blowing it. And that’s ok. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about practicing and practicing. And practicing some more. Then, as with anything, it becomes habit. Then, we can have peace, love, and understanding all the time.
These times call for the energy of the new consciousness and a willingness on the parts of whomever is able to do whatever is necessary to both create and then sustain a vision of what we’d prefer to experience. When I began to investigate the issue we call homelessness in San Francisco (and, to a lesser degree, in New York City), it was stunning to see how dumbfounded people were when I asked them the question, What is your vision of the city when everyone has housing? These were people who worked full time on the issue day in and day out, year after year. Even with prompting, they could barely articulate a sentence like, “I walk down the street and people are neighborly and friendly. The sidewalks are clean and I feel safe.” Yet once we got some energy going, it was astonishing to see that everybody — full-time workers in non-profits and social service agencies, volunteers of all stripes and varieties, unhoused people, everyday citizens — wanted the exact same things. Everybody.
In the new consciousness, we must be responsible for articulating clearly what it is we are wanting to be, do, or have. And then we have to take responsibility for holding true to that vision, which is infinitely easier when there are large numbers of us doing it together. We did it in the 1960’s when President Kennedy focused the entire nation on the landing on the moon project. President Obama did it in his 2008 campaign when he inspired his coalition of supporters to rally around the theme, “Yes We Can.” We reap what we sow, so let’s sow the solution(s). Now is not too soon.
4. We are sloppy with our thoughts.
It’s not only about focusing our time and energy on solutions. In everyday life, we can be quite sloppy with many of the tens of thousands of thoughts we have every day. “Our thoughts are with you/the families/the victims/the people of…” I’m sorry, but WTF does that mean anymore? Don’t get me wrong, I realize it’s a stab at being compassionate, but it’s also an example of how willy-nilly we are and can be with “our thoughts.” If after saying my thoughts are with you I then indulge a barrage of thoughts of sadness and grief and fear and worry and hopelessness and confusion and pain and anxiety and dread, I’m certainly not helping anyone who is hurting and I’m certainly not helping us get to peace, love, and understanding 24/7. In fact, I’m in the way.
I can’t cite a source, but I love this quote: Worrying is praying for things you don’t want. That’s because worrying is thinking and thinking creates. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “thoughts rule the world” and examples of humans acknowledging this reality abound. To be clear, it’s not about not having a “bad” or “negative” thought. It’s about being conscious of the thoughts we’re having and then choosing — on purpose — which ones to focus upon. The more we think the same thoughts, the more they create in our everyday realities. I’m afraid. It’s hopeless. Someone else will do it.
If we can get a handle on even a fraction of the tens of thousands of thoughts we’re having each day — and we can — and if we can marry them with conscious intentions — and we can — we will be off to the races.
5. We don’t believe it’s possible.
I have had innumerable conversations with multitudes of activists and non-profit staffers and volunteers and concerned citizens in different cities on different topics (e.g., homelessness; our environment; poverty; etc.). They talk passionately about what they do even if, at times, much of the time, they are overworked and exhausted. And in far more cases than I care to think about, they go to bed at night believing that the problem will never be solved. “The problem will never be solved.” That, right there, is a belief. Beliefs are nothing more than thoughts we think over and over again and beliefs matter because, like regular thoughts, they create our experiences. It’s like wanting to be enormously successful and, simultaneously, harboring a belief that if I am, my friends and family will spurn me. No matter how much I say I want success, it won’t be mine until and unless I change that belief I have about what it will mean to succeed.
Just last week I was attempting to help a friend with a problem because he asked me to. As it happened, I had a rather simple, non-controversial, total solution for him. It was something I was ready, willing, and able to give and implement but his belief that the solution would evade him “like it always has,” his belief that it was all but impossible to get real help, absolutely created his experience of exactly that. The facts made no difference and he literally couldn’t even hear my offer. He left as dejected as when he’d arrived even though he was seeking a solution that I happened to have. The same thing happened a few years ago with someone with whom I was close who had landed in a terrible financial situation. He didn’t know it, but I was prepared to give him $25K, willingly and easily, right there on the spot. But he could not get out of his belief that he was screwed for life and that nothing would help so help didn’t find its way to him even though it was sitting right there in his face. Literally. I wound up feeling compelled, by the end of our conversation, not to give him the money. Beliefs are always true for us and we will create realities based on them — like in these examples — whether or not they are actually true.
Do you believe we can enjoy some form of peace, love, and understanding all the time? As a matter of course? Because if you want it and don’t believe it’s possible — for whatever reason — then you are, quite unwittingly and rather ironically, in the way. But it’s ok. You can learn to get out of the way. Indeed I encourage you in the strongest terms possible to, at least, today, change your belief from some version of “I don’t believe it’s possible” to some version of “anything’s possible.” Because that right there will begin to change everything.
Let’s just say that in the summer of 2016, the new consciousness isn’t for everyone. Let us also be clear that it need not be. Personally, I am far beyond needing to be convinced and I am not in the business of convincing anyone. I am, however, poised and ready to show any and all humans who can hear the sound of this high-pitched whistle exactly how to bring the new consciousness into their individual lives, into their business lives, into the lives of their businesses themselves, into the political realm, into the activist realm, into the non-profit realm, and into the free-wheeling ecosystems where homelessness and racism and poverty and hunger and violence and mass criminalization and mass incarceration and drug addiction and women’s rights and LGBTQ rights and all the other issues are being addressed. Every single one of these problems (and I know there are others) have been created, unwittingly, by deficits of consciousness and every single one of them will be solved with infusions of consciousness.
In every one of these places there are incredible, sensitive, caring human beings who are thinking. In every one of these places there are human beings who can easily or with a little encouragement, imagine a better way. In every one of these places there are human beings who are unwilling to live lives of fear, walled off from the rest of the world.
Given my personal and professional obsession with birthing the new consciousness and my unwillingness to think about or do anything else, I’ll be writing about human transformation. I’ll be writing about conscious entrepreneurship and conscious business and conscious politics as well as conscious activism, conscious non-profits and more. I’ll be writing not just about new ways to think about the world, but how to actually make our universal desire for peace, love, and understanding happen. I can hardly wait to meet more and more of you who are ready to lead the charge into the new consciousness. I know there is tremendous good we can and will do together.