I am honestly tired of hearing so many spiritual soothsayers from around the globe bombarding us with warnings that we are entering a new era, where humankind will be subjected to overwhelming spiritual and physical energies. According to their prophecies, these new energies are expected to propel us forward to a new awareness into psychic and spirit realms, while promising extinction to the not-so-evolved suckers!
Although these predictions vary somewhat, most contain forebodings of incredibly tough times to come. Many also contain pleas, warning us earthlings to “get with the program” and start preparing ourselves spiritually and physically for the chaos that will supposedly occur during an en masse spiritual awakening process. In fact, such talk is quickly becoming main stream in many spiritual circles. After hearing this constant babble, I have the inclination to go stockpile food, meditate for four hours to calm my nerves, and laugh at my gullibility, all at the same time.
Whether we personally believe such future changes are probable or not, as compassionate human beings on earth today, it has already become quite challenging dealing with overwhelming current world events. We are dealing with a difficult world economy, job shortages, and facing the heart’s painful response to seeing the increasing numbers of homeless people begging on our own streets. Yet at the same time, we are still recovering from a recent rash of tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, mass flooding, record droughts, extinction of animal and plant species, strange new viruses and illnesses cropping up, and so much more. As a result, most of us are becoming increasingly aware of the tenuous grasp we have on our continued human existence.
In addition to this uncertainty, most of us are also suffering as members of a chronically busy society, being bombarded by constant stimuli. Many of us regularly have days where we are sleep deprived, eating unhealthy food on the run, and scrambling through endless to-do lists, without taking many breaks. Then during our down time, many of us are also finding ourselves becoming increasingly addicted to and dependent on our technological contraptions!
Add this all up together and it is obvious that a vast majority of us are not giving ourselves the nurturing and resources we need to live as the caring and spiritually evolved beings that we want to be. Without the balanced perspective that arises from healthy self-care, we can easily fall into despair and resignation, seeing ourselves as insignificant and helpless to affect positive global change. Most of us have fallen into this painful trap before; it is easy to get lost in reactive states of confusion, fear, and anger, often leading us to blame and condemn the power structures that exist. Unfortunately, such a reaction only adds more negativity to an already challenging situation, and positive changes are less likely to occur from this place.
Most of us intuitively understand that positive global changes can best occur by our engaging in compassionate action, which is not motivated by anger or fear. But if we are already stuck in fearful, exhausted, or angry states, how do we traverse the waterways to get to these calm waters?
Firstly, by radical acceptance of, and honesty with present circumstances; being willing to look at our lives and habits just as they are, and make the positive changes we need to take better care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. Some simple, yet powerful life changing suggestions include:
- Limiting time spent engaging with the televisions, computers, game boys, cell phones, facebook, etc…
- Spending time in nature; sight-seeing, walking, hiking and/or biking.
- Spending quality time with spouses, family members, and friends while engaging in deep listening and meaningful communication.
- Limiting the time spent each day reading or listening to negative news.
- Exercising three or more times per week.
- Eating a consistently healthy, organic diet with lots of unprocessed fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Refusing to engage in gossip.
- Stopping any habitual “numbing-out” behaviors.
- Engaging in a daily meditation practice.
- & Living each day as though it were our last.
Secondly, is to understand that we need to open up to our sorrows, fears, anger, and helplessness. Opening up to, and accepting the negative emotions that arise in response to difficulties, can actually result in a beautiful transformative process, wherein the negative emotions are eventually able to dissolve into an inexplicable loving connection with ourselves and all beings. But, since most of us have spent entire lifetimes avoiding opening up to negative emotions, this is much easier said than done.
There are many methodologies to assist us in learning to open ourselves to these difficult emotions. Insight or Vipassana meditation techniques teach meditators to open up to and accept whatever arises in the present moment. These practices help teach us how to skillfully deal with difficult emotions by giving those emotions the time and space they need to be expressed and then transformed. Loving Kindness or Metta practice is also a great transformative meditation technique that opens, strengthens, and conditions the human heart to encompass everything – both good and bad – in a spacious, loving heart. There are also many great psychotherapists, mind-body balancing practitioners, and energy healers skilled at assisting people in opening up to and working through deeply engrained destructive energy patterns. Allow your intuitive wisdom to lead you towards the professional, instructor, group, or process best suited to guide you through the landmines of painful emotions. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there steeped in fear, despair, confusion, or anger…reach out and get the support you need and deserve!
Our lives and spiritual practices are a powerful reflection of the relationships we have with ourselves, others, life’s circumstances, and the world. Let us begin by honoring and taking great care of ourselves with grace, healing and simplicity. Instead of just running around perpetuating fears of possible future difficulties, let’s also have the courage to open our hearts and minds to the pain of the world, and transmute it into compassionate action for the betterment of all. In doing so, we will be more equipped to skillfully and compassionately respond to whatever major life changes or shifts come our way. True transformation results from the expression of healthy, open, flexible hearts, and minds.