Why Meditation, Awareness, and Connection to Self Is the Most Important Skill Set for the 21st Century
“The morning breeze has secrets for you. “ — Rumi
In the last several hundred years since the industrial revolution, we’ve inherited a new lens on work, with the “assembly-line job”, which fast-forward a few hundred years later, ironically moved from manufacturing to technology with a 9–5 workweek.
We’ve also adopted this model in our lives, and many of us are living an “assembly-line” life, with a checkbox to mark off milestones which we must accomplish at the same rate as those in the same age range of our social media feed.
We’re obsessed with productivity because we’ve been conditioned to believe that it is the most important master of our time. Productivity in the west is rewarded by capital, and capital can buy you (almost) anything.
Or so the story was sold.
Our addiction to productivity and the consumerism culture that has forced us to adopt a lifestyle that has made money the new God has drained us of our emotional well-being, our ability to cultivate a rich sense of community, and has robbed us of our dignity to live a life of purpose and meaning.
We are seeing that once upon a time this fairytale narrative now hovers between a polarity of science fiction and nightmare, with the degradation of our environment, and the rise of terminal illness, infertility issues, cancer, depression, addictions, and an overwhelming mental health crisis. With all the races to “fight cancer” and other issues, why are they only continuing to rise?
What if the consciousness that created this “fairytale” is not the consciousness that can get us out of it? What if there is a new awareness that must emerge in order for us to create a new world?
Maybe this new awareness can help us understand what it means to be human, and be a collective human family, not just an individual living a life reacting to circumstances rather than creating them?
The moment I say things like this, I lose people, especially those who are divorced from their hearts and live entirely in their heads.
But intellectually, we can all agree that there is a steep cost to our never-ending quest to consume more, eat more, drive more, buy more, shop more, produce more. More more more.
That cost is our well-being and our connection to self. The cost is our lives.
Meditation was a word that many people laughed at even a few years ago, and only recently has it been gaining traction, not just in a few circles but in the mainstream.
The meditative experience is just that — an experience, and not a destination. We can cultivate a sense of well-being, but mastery is being able to hold that space of well-being when we live our lives.
It is my belief that meditation will only grow in necessity as we start to re-think work and what it means to contribute to the greater good. Meditation will not just be used as a reactive tool when we’re stressed out or when we can’t sleep. Meditation will be used primarily to access expanded states of awareness, to “see” from a new higher perspective.
And the need for more of us to achieve that expanded awareness could not come at a better time.
With the rise of automation, there will be a new definition of what it means to work as many jobs will no longer be relevant. Naval Ravikant, founder of AngelList, thinks remote work is the future, and once said on a podcast that he believed that in 5–10 years, we would be a “1099 economy” in which workers would be largely contractor based, and would only take on projects that they enjoyed, rather than be hooked to a company and chained to a desk.
When the world of work changes, we will have to come to terms with the world that we (and our ancestors) have all built. We will have the luxury of time to ask some of these hard questions like: Who am I? What is my purpose? Does my life have meaning?
Here is the fairytale that I hope for:
In this new world, it is those who have meditated regularly who will be able to lead this next wave of work from a higher state of consciousness, one that is far more focused on creativity and the well-being of all than just profits.
It is my hope that some of the most compelling change-makers of the next generation will emerge from those who have devoted the time to do the hard inner work of connecting with themselves and asking hard questions daily.
You might call me an optimist.
But in this last year, we’ve seen the mental health crisis take as many lives as the 2020 pandemic. Even though it is 2021, 2020 has not yet ended. I don’t think the phrase “hindsight is 2020” will ever be the same again.
Too many people are living in a nightmare, and it’s time for us to turn inward, and create a new fairytale for the next 100 years or more, this time from a higher awareness and consciousness that considers the world in a win-win game, a collective human family, and not a zero-sum one.
There are infinite possibilities. Which one will you choose?
The morning breeze has secrets for you. Don’t go back to sleep. — Rumi