Written by Brad Dixon
Right here, and right now, the insanity of the human condition is playing out on the Earth. This cumulative negative effect is creating a multitude of interconnected symptoms of societal and biosphere breakdown – namely violence, wars, civil unrest, starvation, rising sea levels, more violent storm systems, floods and forest fires, water scarcity, water degradation, soil destruction, topsoil erosion, inhumane factory farming, and the increasing rates of lifestyle disease, poor mental health, autoimmune disease, and pandemics.
The cause of these symptoms? Humankind’s total breakdown in connection with each other and our natural world. If we do not find a way to harmonise this expansive relationship, then we will continue to live in a violent, consumptive, economic ‘growth at all cost’ fashion that will destroy our collective ability to thrive. There is an urgent need for radical system change in human consciousness if we want to pivot away from this path of destruction.
We need to shift away from being controlled by our ego and conditioned mind. This highly anxious state is too reactive, not allowing enough space to make expansive decisions on a moment to moment basis – let alone see the bigger picture. We have to slow down, downshift, stop the busy, and start the effective. We are human beings, not human doings. The frantic doing is clouding our conscious being. This fogs and clogs our system manifesting a reactive state, a restrictive state. Peace, joy, and love are expansive qualities and require space to grow, and manifest.
The political, economic, educational, and media systems we have created are keeping us busy, sick, purchasing stuff, and moving away from purpose-driven connected lives. The systems are brilliant financially for a few, but soul-destroying and hope-depriving for the many. The growing poverty gap in New Zealand and globally is unsustainable. We have the top 10% owning most of the world’s wealth (85% of global household wealth), the bottom 50% scrapping for the leftover 1%, and the remainder are grafting and hustling to stop the slide into the bottom rungs of the societal ladder. Most people are too busy day to day to think about food waste, plastic use, climate change, cycling to work, and global water scarcity. The top 5-10% are incredibly happy with the status quo so most of this powerful influential group will attack any organisation or person talking about systemic change. Especially if that person is a teenage girl on the spectrum.
How do we raise global consciousness to create a collective awareness of growing disharmony?
We pause. We work on the present. In reality that is all we have. A successful safe car trip relies on being mindful – have our attention focused on the present at least 98-99% of the time. We might glance in the rear-view mirror to see what is behind us and we will check in with the GPS map to ensure our overall direction is correct but most of our attention is on the present moment. The actual process. We are a society that lives 1-10% in the present and we spend the rest of our lives regretting or reminiscing about the past and being anxious or yearning for the future. If we drove cars like we lived our lives, spending more time looking in the rear-view mirror and reading the map while driving. there would be carnage, multiple fatalities, and very few would reach their desired destination. It would be insane. And yet, that is how we are living our lives – unable to reach potential/purpose/enlightenment as we are giving our ego-driven minds over-identification.
We are slaves to incessant thinking. We have fogged conscious pro-activity with concepts, labels, judgments, comparisons, and the busyness of hectic schedules. This leads to reactive division between us and each other, us and nature, us and our fellow sentient beings that share our natural world, and us and the greater good. This breakaway from the now creates dis-ease, a growing background incessant white noise that creates fog and fatigue. The mind when used correctly is an excellent instrument- when the mind takes over; we become imbalanced creating disruption and destruction – internally, personally, externally, and collectively.
Slivers of love, joy, and deep peace occur in gaps between the constant thinking and background white noise. It can be the runner’s high in moments of exertion, viewing a beautiful piece of art, or listening to motivating, uplifting music (Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim will get your body moving). These emotions (“emotion” means disturb, Latin ’emovere’ meaning to disturb) disturb the incessant chatter allowing the creative beauty to draw out joy. Eckart Tolle talks about pleasure being derived from something external whereas joy is internally derived. Love and joy are always within us – just as the blue sky is always present even on a cloudy day. We must ALL help each other bring them out into our world more often if we are going to create change.
How to work on the present, improve well-being, and change the world……
- Meditation – to the ego, the present is an afterthought. Past and future are far more important. Without the past, you don’t have an identity, and projections into the future ensure continued existence – ‘when you get that new car, job, partner you will be happy, content. Buy more stuff to fill that hole in your soul.’ Sitting and focusing on the breath is a powerful free tool available to everyone to help step away from the busy and be still. I use the Headspace app to give the meditation some structure (https://everfit.co.nz/articles/the-wholistic-runner-part-1)
- Cold – having a cold shower or dip brings the present moment roaring into focus. You automatically focus on the breath (attempt to breathe deeply and control the system’s signals to tense up and breathe shallowly). The wellbeing benefits are expansive as shown by many studies on Wim Hof (cold practitioner and health advocate), and the works of Bavarian Priest Sebastian Kneipp (author of ‘My Water Cure’ https://everfit.co.nz/articles/everfit-book-review-my-water-cure-by-sebastian-kneipp)
- Fasting – going without food for periods of between 16-24hrs not only aids cellular rejuvenation by giving your digestion system a break, it also helps bring you into the present with a feeling of hunger and lightness. I enjoy fasting for around 20hrs once a week on a light training day. I feel more productive in my work, and have gained more empathy for others around our world that experience food deprivation through no choice of their own. (this article of mine goes deeper on fasting https://everfit.co.nz/articles/fast-for-wellness )
- Remove stuff – minimalism helps you live in the present. Removing items associated with your past memories creates more space for the present. We need to stop buying stuff to make us happy. The world’s population cannot keep producing and consuming material goods at our present rate. The effects on our natural world are too great. Our societies need to work on the innate way to produce joy rather than purchase the external stuff to make us happy. We have to be more and have less.
All of these habits help strip back the layers of incessant chatter our society has created. These stories mask our true loving nature that wants to create, connect, and be compassionate. Rather than the pervasive destroy, divide, and selfishness. If we set to create the nourishing environment within all of us then this will manifest externally. The symbiotic relationship of our natural world and all living things is desperate for healing and nourishment. In the words of Fatboy Slim – it must begin Right here, Right now.
- The Power of Now (2012) by Eckart Tolle
- The Enlightened Society (1985) by John L Hill
- The Gospels of the New Testament (66-110 Ad) by Anon
- My Water Cure (1895) by Sebastian Kneipp
- Doughnut Economics (2017) by Kate Raworth
- How to Prolong Life (1910) by C. De Lacy Evans
To read about more expansive habits to shift you and the world towards true health check out my book ‘Holistic Human’ available on Amazon and my site (NZ and AUS only) https://everfit.co.nz/Store/holistic-human-book