It’s time to call on the Big Thinkers, the Dreamers, the Poets, the Journeyers, the Shamans, the Artists!
Over the past decade plus, we have witnessed problems on a global scale which carry the potential to affect, and have affected, all of humanity. We are in the middle of many looming global crises. There are wars being fought, there are patches of the Earth drying up, there are radioactive substances being released into our air and oceans, there are genocides being committed, there are communities being torn apart by racism, our climate is changing, pivotal animal species are facing endangerment and/or extinction because of our actions as humans.
One only has to look up and ponder the vastness of our solar system, let alone our galaxy, or even our Universe (or is it Multiverse?) to gain a sense of insignificance. Yet we can look at individuals such as the late Nelson Mandela to grasp the power of one person to create positive change on a global level. We humans are just as insignificant and just as powerful as we feel. As Walt Whitman sings: “we contradict ourselves, we are large, we contain multitudes” (adapted from Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” – I urge you to reread, or read for the first time, this poem. It is a timeless song for all of us). Because of this contradiction, we are called to carry both responsibility and humility toward tackling the biggest problems we face today. Many believe that we are at a point where we don’t have a choice. Our proverbial backs are against the proverbial wall of human extinction.
We currently live in an unprecedented time when almost anything and everything can be made available in a relatively short amount of time. The Internet alone has revolutionized the way we interact with each other and garner information, and we are still figuring out how to do the former. We need to take advantage of these times and what they offer. We need to use it to come together, to create more understanding, to share our experiences as humans walking this Earth. We need to see how your experience affects mine, as well as how our experience affects our home, the Earth. It’s important for us as individuals to work to manifest our dreams, but in doing so we must keep a holistic perspective and consider the way our dreams may affect others. If our perspective is myopic, we run the risk of creating bigger problems than the one we set out to solve.
Expanding our perspective involves expanding our consciousness. I truly believe this is the only way that we are going to save our children’s children from a dreadful existence. The individual, as well as the collective consciousness, needs to expand, and the only way the collective consciousness can expand is if the individual can expand her/his own consciousness.
Personally, I spent many years fighting for change through various forms of social and environmental activism, and I found myself defeated, depleted, and depressed. After a lot of soul searching and navel-gazing, I kept coming back to myself. I had so much shit to work on! And it’s not just me, it’s all of us. It’s part of living this human existence. I realized that the only way our world is going to change is if we each commit to changing ourselves. Committing to strive to be the best human you can possibly be in this lifetime means committing yourself to the betterment of all humans and life on this Earth (because face it, this Earth may very well just spit us out and continue on).
There are so many modes, practices and tools available from traditions old and new around the world that can aid in individual growth and consciousness expansion. Yoga, meditation, travelling (not tourism), and plant teachers are a few things that begin to pry open our minds so we can see the world, each other, and ourselves in a different light. Each of these forces us to look at parts of ourselves that may be uncomfortable or just downright ugly, but in doing so we have the opportunity to accept, change and grow.
Once we spend enough time on ourselves, we begin to realize that while working on ourselves, we are working on the Whole – and that actually may be the only way we may be able to change the many ills we see today. The Self and the Whole are One. When we meditate (or practice other means of altering our consciousness), we feel that Oneness, and the boundaries are blurred. I’ve used many methods and the result is the same, though the experience getting there differs. When else in our history has it been possible for a person to gain access to the practices of another culture continents away in a few minutes? (Incorporating that knowledge is another story, and of course takes time, dedication and effort.)
As problems present themselves, so do solutions. We have access to all the pieces to solve many of the problems we face, as well as tools to gain new perspectives and expand our consciousness. Use the Internet and relatively inexpensive travel to gain the tools that are right for you to see your flaws, embrace them, and learn how you can change them so you can be the best you that ever was and ever could be. By looking at ourselves and expanding our consciousness, we begin to change the world. Our perspective of ourselves changes, and but we also see how insignificant and important we are in this entire web of life. When we keep looking inward, and I mean keeeep looking, we eventually reach a point where the only direction to look is outward, and when we’ve reached the edges of that, we turn inward again. It’s within this dance that we can iron out the wrinkles that keep us from reaching our full potential as humans and as a global family.
This is where the Big Thinkers, the Dreamers, the Poets, the Journeyers, the Shamans, and the Artists come in. These are the people in our society who aren’t afraid to (and who often revel in) peeling back the thin veil of paradigms, judgments, and beliefs, and see things as they really are. It takes this kind of courage to face a new reality where we can work together as a human family, in unity, not only with each other but also with the Earth.
We exist because some star exploded billions of years ago and started a course that randomly, or purposefully (will we ever really know?), laid the building blocks that shaped every cell in our bodies and every element we need to survive. Science or miracle, it’s still mind-blowingly amazing. Truly awesome. Taking that into account, how can we not see each other as family? It just happens to be one huge, exponentially growing family, and we need to take care of each other.
Ali is a Dreamer, childcare giver extraordinaire, yogini, gardener and budding herbalist. She lives on a mountain in Topanga, California with her farmer/musician boyfriend and their fuzzy-faced feline friend, Don Hugo de Azusa.