I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, or how important this election is. As the old parable goes, "who is to say what's bad or good?" Feeling angered by that statement? This article is for you, then, because the larger story is so much bigger than this election cycle. The world we've created, and in which almost all of us are participating, is a reflection of the inner state we cultivate each day. As Einstein said, "no problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it."
Humans today—each of us—are participants in a very old story. You have eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear. Millenia of wisdom teachings echo with similar messages about the deeper truths to which we can awaken. "Each of us walks with two wolves," says the grandfather. "One is the wolf of compassion, of right relationship, gratitude, abundance and love. The other is the wolf of greed, suffering, competition and dishonesty. They battle within us, inviting us to see reality from their respective viewpoints." "Which wolf wins?" asks the grandson. "The one that we feed," responds grandfather.
How are you feeling and responding to this week's news that 60% of the earth's biodiversity has disappeared in the last 50 years? There are many possible responses, but two are primary for me. The first is grief. We must learn to mourn the messages of destruction that surround us. We cannot build a different world without feeling the depth of sadness that arises from what we have done to this one. The second response is to ask, with humility and sincerity, "what is mine to do in the face of this destruction?" There is no one, single and simple answer to that question. I believe that each of us has a unique role to play in this great unfolding. What I do know, however, is that any answer that ignores or minimizes our participation in the unfolding destruction is ultimately impotent.
The change that our system needs will not come at the polls. It will come from our hearts, as each of us hears the cry of the planet for new and different relationship. We cannot continue to fill the void in our lives with products sent via Amazon Prime, liquids that have been distilled and bottled, or political battles that ultimately support the status quo. The earth is desperately calling for a different relationship on nearly every level. Growth, itself, is the evil that is killing everything, and almost all of us are playing out that story every day of our lives. The earth needs us to embrace right relationships, starting with ourselves, radiating through our communities, and rebuilding and reshaping all of our current systems, including our culture, our economy and politics. We don't need to go right or left, politically speaking. We need a U-turn. And we need it yesterday.
Yes, in many ways I am a hypocrite as I write this on my expensive laptop, surrounded by empty products I've ordered and struggled to pay for along with the mountain of debt I've also accumulated. You have eyes but do not see. This unfolding story, of my life, is changing rapidly. A year from now, I hope to be free of all these "debts". Ultimately, all debt that we take on at this point is simply borrowing from future generations. I see that now, and I'm not afraid of feeling the pain of that recognition.
If a new future is to emerge for humanity, then you and I must be the ones to create it. I don't think it currently exists, or at least, not at the scale that is required for our survival as a species. That is a terrifying realization, if you truly let it sink in. I don't know what role I can or will play in that unfolding. I believe that a time will come when many more of us will realize the truth that the world is simply mirroring back to us what is in our hearts, and therefore, we must start by transforming what is within, and let it ripple out.
If this message speaks to your heart, then join me in this transformation. We are the ones the world is waiting for. Yes, cast your vote. But before, during and after, soften your heart in a way that unfetters its vibrant source of love, joy and gratitude. Be the change. Start the revolution.
Photos by Eli Froehlich.