This is our chance. To save our species and slow our destruction of the planet. To re-align and take back our place as a part of nature. To re-invent our idea of the future and what humanity can be. This is our chance.
But will we take it?
I like to sit this cosmic test with a dose of doubt. Not that we won’t take it — many of us will. But moreover… will this “chance” become part of the mythic story we tell as a species? Will we see what’s happening — as it happens — instead of waiting for hindsight? We surely have enough selfie sticks to help mirror back our current state of affairs, but… do we look?
Modern society has become impeccably talented at externalization. This was useful before prefrontal cortex development. In a time where we functioned more from the flight or fight response, and our only regulation depended upon that moment. But? We’ve upgraded since then. Humanity 2.0 developed a forebrain, allowing us to bring conceptual presence to a timeline longer than the eye can see. We think bigger. We relate more intimately. We feel. These gifts of evolution were given over time. Have we taken them in vain?
Internal reflection is what’s required, now — in the time of Covid — as well as: now — in the 21st century. Our lives have gotten ahead of themselves. Let’s be honest.
Not waxing philosophical nor tweeting trite. Let’s take to heart these tenants which we realize in our mind — but have yet to embody. You don’t really connect with your husband, your cousins, your mother… When was the last time you looked them in the eyes without having an idea or personal agenda? When was the last time you allowed your Presence to be truly innocent?
We don’t really understand. The secrets, the answers… are woven within our nervous system. Acting like a monkey in heat or lashing out like life is tribal warfare won’t get us anywhere. And yet, as an effect of externalization, this is how many humans respond. (I know… not you or me… them: over there, the “others” that are not us.…right?) Wrong.
You do that. I do that. We do that.
Someone cuts us off in traffic, and we freak out. We hear our boss walking down the hallway, and our heartbeat hastens. You step on my toe, and I threaten your unborn child. You’ve been there.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
The space between stimulus and response is still far too quick for our upgrades. We no longer are hunting food or escaping being prey. We have been given the ability to allow for more space. One breath. To look inside. To ask “what’s really going on here?” To breathe.
We need the tools. One of my greatest wishes for this time in quarantine is that it serves as a giant “time out” for humanity (who’s been quite naughty and deserves to sit in the corner for a moment…) And in our time incarcerated in our own homes (poetic, isn’t it?), we garner the courage to begin “the inside job.” It’s the most important “thing” to be done (though it never ends, really…) and it is arguably the best possible use of our time.
Invest in resilience. Invest in growing that space between stimulus and response. Invest in getting to know you, better.
Virus or not, this global reset is forcing us to either adapt to new ways of being, catapulting us further into an interconnected, self-aware, sovereign existence… or, it is making us more externalized, dependent, fearful, separatist and fascistly controlled.
This is your choice. The one you feed will grow.