The Way to do is to be. – Lao-Tzu
Today’s world is requiring individuals, communities, organizations, and society as a whole, to embrace change, and to generate new ways of thinking and acting to tackle current issues and challenges. This is essential in order to innovate successfully into the future. I believe this is calling us to evolve into a new level of consciousness.
Many of the ways in which we think and then the actions that follow are no longer working or relevant for our self and the world today. Ideas abound on what needs to happen, what needs to change, and what we are looking for. There are a multitude of thoughts and opinions. However, there is a lack in teaching practical skills to help us bridge the gap between theory and practice. Even if we are knowledgeable about ‘how’, we often lack the skills, discipline, and support to maintain it in daily living.
It is no longer working to think and problem solve with our current mindsets. They created the problems we face today. So to tackle the problems, we need to learn how to change the way we think and behave, and create new frameworks to live by. We have to be willing to see and understand our habitual ways of thinking and behaving and recognize how these habits may get in our way, or keep us stuck in a relentless, repetitive cycle, creating the same outcomes over and over. We have to be willing to challenge our ideas of what is the truth, and what we define as right and wrong. We have to be willing to let-go of what is familiar and comfortable, and we have to learn to be more at ease with change and the unknown.
Much of our society is built on external validation. We do not live our lives by a deep, inner compass but follow what others tell us is the truth. We put our health and well being in the hands of outside forces. We validate the value of our lives by how much money and possessions we have. We have been coerced to believe that to solve problems, we must let others take charge, rather than trusting our own inner wisdom. We do not take responsibility for our role in perpetuating how our lives and the world-at-large unfold. We worship outside appearances rather than inner value, wisdom and beauty. We educate our children not to learn constructively, but to follow and obey what they are told is the truth. Learning should be about opening doors for discovery. We are not taught to observe, reflect, question, and become self-aware. We are taught to get results or get ahead through pushing, striving, forcing, manipulating, competing, discriminating, and oppressing any one that gets in our way, including ourselves. Our focus is on doing. To be anything in this world, we must do something. I have to do more to make myself prettier, richer, more fit, etc. It’s all about doing, doing, doing. We forget to also value a sense of being. What if we were to use more time in our lives to focus and work on our beingness? Perhaps our lives, and the world we create would look quite a bit different?
We must curtail our idolizing of the thinking, rational mind over all other aspects of ourselves and instead, value and nurture an embodied perspective, which includes an integration of our body, mind, and spirit. We must move beyond the current models of quick, short term fixes and begin to address the deeper, underlying causes of the challenges that we face, both individually and collectively. To solve problems in the world today, we must learn to think outside the box and relinquish habitual patterns of thought and problem solving. We must build and strengthen a repertoire of skills that can be practiced in daily living, and help build a strong foundation, enabling a shift in consciousness. We must learn to understand our individual patterns and their contribution to the problems, as well as how we can shift our consciousness to create solutions.
Underlying every aspect of this change or shift in consciousness is awareness. For without awareness of what we are doing, thinking, or feeling, it is difficult to change in any substantive way. We must recognize our habitual patterns and learn how to shift out of them, in order to be free from them. Otherwise, we risk falling into the same patterns over and over, and making the same mistakes again and again. Albert Einstein once said that no problem could be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We need to develop new ways of thinking and acting to create new solutions. It is not just about changing program formats but changing mindsets.
By changing mindsets, we can begin to change our self, the systems we operate in, and the world-at-large.
Learning must permeate, deep within us, to provoke a change in consciousness. We must embody, (body, mind, spirit) in daily living, an awareness of our self and the world around us, and create new ways of thinking and behaving, to cultivate a path to self-actualization, leading to a new paradigm. We must create a strong link between our individual self-development and how we function in the world. As we develop a heightened sense of awareness in daily living, we can gradually free ourselves from the domination of our fixed habits, thus creating more fluidity, openness, and freedom, and the opportunity to embrace change with curiosity, acceptance, and ease.