Our Journey: We’re all on a journey, and it’s a big one. Our journey is leading us to a place no one has ever been. Rather than a temporary excursion that we can return from after a few days, what we hold are one-way tickets. This is a different kind of journey altogether.
We’re not just going to another location somewhere on Earth. We’re going to another world hidden within our everyday lives – and it’s the choices we’re making today that are taking us there. Together we’re barreling down the fast lane of a superhighway that’s crossing the boundaries of traditional beliefs, religions, and habits of the past. In doing so, we’re also blowing right past the limits of what we thought were possible.
I can’t say for sure what our destination will look like. After the dust settles and we learn to adapt to our changing climate rather than trying to control it, after new and sustainable economies replace those that are fractured and failing today, after we embrace the technology that provides every bit of the energy we need without the devastating side effects of fossil fuels, I can only imagine what our lives and the world will be like. And when I do, I see a better place for us all.
I see a world where we’ve raised the standard of living for everyone, rather than lowering it for many in order to support only a few. I see a world where war is obsolete and using the threat of war to solve our problems no longer makes any sense. I see a world where our love of cooperation is greater than the fear that drives violent competition. And I see the shift in thinking that makes each of these things possible. To get to that shift, however, we must begin by recognizing the realities that we face and the promise that they hold.
A Time of Extremes
We’re living in a time when we can expect big things to happen – big shifts in the world and big changes in our lives. And just to be clear, the extremes I’m talking about don’t necessarily have to be considered bad things. It’s just that they’re big things, and they’re happening in our lives as well as our world. We’re living a rare era of transition. We’re living the emergence of a new “normal,” and the success of our transition hinges upon: (1) our willingness to acknowledge the shift, and (2) how we learn to adapt to it. Our globalized culture of jobs, money, markets, and resources means that it’s now impossible to separate the extremes in the world from what they mean in our everyday lives.
The crisis of climate change is a perfect example of this connection; the recordsetting droughts caused by shifts in global weather patterns translate directly into the higher prices we pay for food at our local markets. The extreme debt and failing economies on the other side of the planet translate directly into higher costs at the gas pump and higher ticket prices for the buses, trains, and taxis that take us to work each day. Because of these and other extremes, business loans have become scarce, and the interest we’re being paid on our savings and retirement accounts is at a record low. The global slowdown of industry translates directly into the loss of jobs and benefits in our local communities. These are the kinds of extremes in the world that are creating big changes in our lives. Among the many uncertainties they bring, though, there’s one thing that we can know with absolute certainty: our lives are changing in ways that we’re not prepared for, at a speed that we’ve never known.
I’m an optimist by nature. I see real reasons for optimism in our lives. At the same time I’m also a realist. I am under no illusions when it comes to the huge amount of work that it’s taking to give birth to the new world that lies before us. Our ability to successfully meet the challenges that are converging in our lives begins by our acknowledging what may be the most obvious yet difficult question we could ask of ourselves: How can we deal with the issues if we’re not honest about the issues?
Everyone Is on the Journey
A big difference between trips that we may have taken in the past and the big journey that we’re on now is that today we don’t get to pick our traveling companions. The reason is simple: Everyone on Earth is on our journey. No one can be left behind. Our world today is so deeply interconnected on so many levels that it’s impossible for the transformation that’s emerging in one part not to show up in other places as well.
A Crisis in Thinking
Change is reflected everywhere, both in the ways in which the world works, as well as in the ways things no longer work. The era of an oil-based economy, for example, is giving way to a new economy based upon forms of energy that are cleaner and more sustainable. The centralized production of our food from corporate farms half a world away is giving way to the healthy and sustainable production from small farms that invigorate local economies. The practice of creating wealth from industries that destroy our planet is giving way to socially responsible models of investing.
And as the world of the past slips away and the new one emerges, the clash of new against the old highlights another, even greater crisis, one that we all face, yet which will probably never be discussed in the popular media. Arguably the greatest crisis that we face in our time of extremes is a crisis in thinking. And our thinking is the very key to the way we deal with the needs of the emerging world. You and I are being tasked with something that’s never been done. We’re being challenged to radically shift the way in which we think of ourselves and our relationship to the world, and to do so faster than any generation in history has ever done before. Our willingness to think differently about ourselves and the world will be the key to the success of our journey.
We Have the Solutions
Fortunately, the technology to solve the biggest challenges we face has already been discovered. The biggest problems we could ever imagine are already solved. The advanced principles are already understood. They all exist in this moment, right here, right now, and are at our fingertips. All that stands between us and the new world – where energy comes from clean, abundant sources and is accessible to every member of our global family; where clean, healthy food is plentiful and accessible to every mouth on the planet; where every human is able to obtain the basic necessities to live a comfortable, meaningful life – is the thinking that makes room in our lives for what already exists in the world.
Are we willing to embrace the thinking that makes such possibilities a priority? Will we allow the science that reveals the deepest truths about our relationship to ourselves, one another, and the earth to become the passport for our journey?
Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Hay House, from the book Turning Point: Creating Resilience in a Time of Extremes by Gregg Braden. Available at all bookstores or online at: http://www.hayhouse.com.