What is the crucial question facing the world today? Is it socio-political — government corruption, human rights, sexual inequality, overpopulation? Is it sociological –religious, racial, political divisions, immorality, violence, permissiveness, breakdown of the family? Is it economic –over-consumerism, materialism, unemployment, the collapsing economy, globalization? Is iteco-global –poverty, war, terrorism, managing natural resources, global warming?
What if instead of choosing from this seemingly endless list we consider these issues as symptoms of a deeper malaise? What if we consider that it may be less the issues in themselves than how we choose to respond to them? Do we choose to respond to them out of fear, helplessness and despair or from empowerment, love, compassion and empathetic engagement? Won’t our future and the future of humanity depend on how we respond, from where we respond and on what actions we take now?
Thousands of years ago humankind understood that being precedes doing. Our sense of presence, of being-ness, aligns us with powerful forces. The state of the world today is a reflection of inner turmoil, violence, unrest and uncertainty. If we human beings were to look seriously inside, as a collective act, and make a sincere commitment to a new intention to live harmoniously, intelligently and joyfully together the world would be transformed. But first we must understand the relationship between the inner and outer worlds. Being precedes doing: what we think, feel and understand inside us is reflected into the outer world.
Therefore, the crucial question for humanity today is: will it awaken? Will we awaken to our true nature, to what is possible and inherently human, to a life of wisdom, compassion, empathy and kindness? Will we choose to realize out higher nature, the True Self?
What can we do? Where should we begin? How can we start?
As ever, we start slowly, firmly and resolutely with inner conviction and resolve to overcome obstacles, to persevere, to become… ourselves.
First, a little discipline. Not remaining a slave to our desires and our fears, choosing how best to spend our day wisely, looking for balance in our life activities, thoughts and feelings, sometimes willingly doing what we don’t want to do, persevering and enduring in wise and skilful ways and effortful striving towards the spiritual, the transcendent and the divine.
These basic practices serve as a foundation for continuing development.
Second, feel the world. This means letting in the experience and the intuition of ordinary states and responding to people, events and phenomena in the outer world and allowing them to affect you, becoming emotional, not in the conditioned sense but in the deeper sense of abandonment to naturalness and love.
This engagement aligns you to the world in authentic relationship.
Third, cultivate awareness which means staying awake, alive and responsive; seeing what is happening on all levels of human experience and not taking anything for granted, but staying intelligent in the true sense of the word, witnessing, being non-critical, accepting, not in a foolish way, but in an expansive, loving way that discerns when things are OK and when they are not.
Separation from the mind of judgment frees you from prejudice and bigotry to meet the world with deep compassion.
Fourth, keep your eyes open wide and your heart open wider. Combining your work in deepening awareness and non-criticism with your ability to feel the world ever deeper, more and more profoundly leads to a heart-opening that transforms your inner (and in time your outer) world.
When the heart becomes truly available and wholly present, transformation must follow.
Fifth, allow yourself to be affected by the world, touched by people and events. Awareness deepens into profound responsiveness that is less sentimental and more loving, less conditioned and more spontaneous.
In time you will have reached the threshold of spiritual surrender.
Finally, be present and breathe. Breath connects your energies and is itself the direct experience of enlightenment – the living truth.
These radical practices are central elements in the process of human awakening, the concern of psycho-spiritual practices, healing and therapy. At some point you are bound to need help, guidance and support in your personal and spiritual development. This is the time when you should seek a therapist, counselor or guide who is familiar and skilled in guiding you wisely.