For many years now, a lot of people have been talking about “The Shift,” this mysterious transformation of human consciousness that is supposedly underway. Ever since the end of the Mayan calendar in December of 2102, New Age types tend to twitter away about the evolution of the species, the revolution of love, and other hopeful but fuzzy seeming changes in what it means to be human. I want to take a minute to help us all ground this floaty notion a bit.
See if any of this sounds familiar:
Recently, I spoke at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit, where 3000 people who yearn to make the world a better place gather to inspire one another and compare notes. My talk was, in part, about sacred activism, how we can find and fulfill our spiritual mission and allow our gifts and talents to be used in service to our life purpose. As part of my call to spiritual action to those in the WDS community, I shared something I wrote about in my upcoming book The Anatomy of a Calling.
Those of you who have been following my blog and reading what I post on Facebook know what a profound influence Tosha Silver has had on my life and my work. The way in which we met was magical. Christiane Northrup and I had been teaching a class to the Whole Health Medicine Institute (we're enrolling WHMI now, in case you feel called to join us!) Christiane insisted that all of us go out right that second and buy Tosha's book Outrageous Openness. I bought it instantly and was halfway through reading it the next day, when I was on a plane to LA to film a documentary, when I got online on the airplane, looked up Tosha's website, realized she lived right across the San Francisco Bay from me, and decided to write her a gushing fan letter. It went something like, "OMG, you don't know who I am, but I'm in love with your book, and I live in San Francisco too, and we should . . . um . . . totally be BFF's!" I signed up for her newsletter list because I knew that whatever Tosha was drinking, I wanted a Big Gulp of it.
Once upon a time, I had the crazy thought that I had to save the world single-handedly. I won’t bother to list the number of ways this thought was misguided. Wait. Strike that. I’ll list a few ways in which I might have been totally off base.
What if it’s only my ego yearning to feel worthy that drives me to feel like it’s my responsibility to save the world?
What if I’m just judging the world as wrong, when on some cosmic level, it is perfect the way it is?
What if it’s impossible for any one person to save the world—yet paradoxically, it’s also the only way the world can be changed?
What if Margaret Mead was right when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has?”
What if it really takes a village to create a movement—and movements are what we need to really shift consciousness and lead to genuine change?
What if we can’t really change the world from the same egoic consciousness that created the problems in the first place? What if global transformation is only possible with a radical shift in human consciousness?
Certainly, you can make an argument that there are many things in the world in need of changing, but if you dive into the non-dual teachings of the spiritual realm, you can also make a case for how everything that is falling apart has cosmic significance, how as a species, perhaps we have chosen to journey this far into the disruption of Oneness, this far away from Love Itself, just so we can choose as a collective to participate in a revolution of love. (Listen to Charles Eisenstein and I explore this issue in a free teleclass The Revolution Is Love).
Perhaps Love Itself is yearning to reclaim its role as the central operating principle of our lives, and when we let it, it leaps us into inspired actions that change the world.
I travel a lot, and I meet the most well-intentioned, beautiful beings who are fighting against the injustices of the world. They stand for ending sexual violence against women, the destruction of Gaia, climate change, social inequality, and any number of other very good causes. I appreciate that these people are DOING something to heal the world. Their passion seems admirable and their commitment and self-sacrifice command respect.
Yet, I find something about the energy of some forms of activism weighing heavy on my heart.
We’ve all met the angry feminists that lash out at men, the rainforest activists who judge those who drill in the Amazon, and the Occupy activists who hate the 1%. But how can we possibly co-create a more beautiful world if we’re coming from the energy of judgment and hate? As one of my spiritual teachers said, (forgive her language), "Fighting for peace is like f*cking for virginity."
When I was in Australia speaking at the Uplift Festival in December, 70 spiritual self-help leaders, elders from the indigenous tribes of five different nations, and change-the-world activists spent a week before the festival participating in an ongoing conversation about the intersection of spirituality and activism. How do we marry the principles of "Being" that we learn through our spiritual practices with the practices of "Doing" embodied by many activists on the front lines of global change? Are we better off sitting on our meditation pillows, raising the vibration of the planet and emitting frequencies of love into the world? Or do we need to get off our pillows and go DO something? Is there a way to be even more effective by merging the two?