715th Week: Cultivating Hope
It’s a holiday weekend and I spent a bit of time on Facebook this morning. Reading about the plight of immigrant families being separated at the U.S. border and all the other unfortunate developments arising in so many different ways, I found myself again wondering how to cultivate hope and hold a sense that things can be better. Then I remembered a documentary I recently watched that ended up giving me some unanticipated optimism. It’s a talk given by Jeremy Rifkin, an economic and social theorist. It’s called “The Third Industrial Revolution” and, even though it begins with examples of our dire environmental crisis, it ends on hopeful notes of what is emerging already within the awareness of millennials around the world. Even with all the challenges and misuses, the Internet has created a more directly connected experience amongst young people in many countries and that is already creating change in how they think about and treat one another.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to watch the documentary and notice what it touches in you. Your experience may be different from my own, and it may not bring a hopeful sense to you. Whatever arises when you have watched it all the way through, notice what it may prompt you to do. We are all in this together and our individual and collective actions matter. For me, having a sense of possibility, a sense that there may be solutions to what we see happening in the world today, is a great gift. I hope it is for you, too. Here’s the link to the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=QX3M8Ka9vUA&vl=en
Perhaps one of the most important elements in thinking about “What can I do to help heal, change, ease, or transform things?” is to remember that every small act contributes to the quality of life individually and collectively. Even our thoughts and feelings affect the tone of our being as we move through the world and the quality of our contributions to our collective consciousness matters, too. So, even if you live in a situation where action is impossible, you can contribute to the well-being of us all through the quality and tone of your internal life.
Also, with my now 37 years of experience working with the optimal future self, one of the things I’ve focused on recently is holding the possibility of an optimal future humanityemerging from the time we are in now. Because I believe in the suggestions from quantum physics that probabilities are constantly shifting in response to intention and the focus of attention, I say “yes” to an optimal future selfand an optimal future humanity at the beginning of each day. I figure that even if reality isn’t constructed of ever-shifting probabilities, it can’t hurt to say “yes” to optimal potentials.
Remember to allow mixed feelings as you engage this practice. It’s rare that we are completely one way or another, so mixed feelings generally are just a part of life. Learning to allow feelings to arise, move through, and move on—just as clouds do in the sky—means that it doesn’t matter what feelings arise. Nothing needs to be avoided or pushed away. We can feel both the suffering of our brothers and sisters and also the beauty in how human-kindness can appear and express in some pretty wonderful ways. The key is to allow mixed feelings to come into awareness, where you can then decide whether you want to explore them, act on them, or simply allow them to move on through as the never-ceasing stream of consciousness continues on its way.