Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt the power of a small group of people to change the world. Nothing else ever has.”
Mahatma Gandhi was even more insistent: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
They were right. When you evolve your consciousness, you have the power to change the world.
Why Is Consciousness So Potent?
A more evolved consciousness means new thinking, and it is the key to a new civilization. A new civilization, in turn, is the key to the well-being, and even the survival, of humankind. This evolution has become a precondition of our collective survival.
You can help humanity survive; you can evolve your consciousness. One way you can do this is by entering a so-called ASC: an altered state of consciousness. Entering the altered states of consciousness that are typical of deep meditation and intense prayer is particularly important. It allows you to experience a profound oneness with others around you, as well as with nature. In traditional cultures, ASCs were regularly experienced: They were highly valued and fostered by repeated rituals. They are accessible to modern people as well.
People who have come close to death in an accident or illness come back from this altered-state experience and see life in a new way. They have a fresh appreciation of existence and reverence for nature; they evolve deep humanitarian and ecological concerns and find differences among people, whether in the area of sex, race, color, language, political conviction, or religious belief, interesting and enriching rather than threatening.
Experiencing an Altered State of Consciousness
People who have experienced a deeply altered state of consciousness realize that they cannot do anything to nature without simultaneously doing it to themselves, and that other people — whether next door, in distant parts of the world, or of generations yet to come — are not separate from them and their fate is not a matter of indifference. When you become whole, you can begin to make the world around you whole.
How can you become whole? We need to start with ourselves. In the ever-increasing stress of everyday life, we are losing touch with ourselves, with nature, and with what is truly important in life. In an essay written 150 years ago, entitled “Life without Principle,” Henry David Thoreau asked that we take the time to consider the way in which we spend our lives.
In our day, we cannot extricate ourselves from the “bustle of incessant business,” as Thoreau did later, living for two years in a cabin in the woods, but we can reserve a few hours, and an occasional day, for getting in touch with ourselves, with nature, and with those around us. This is a first and vital step on the way to inner growth. When you take it, you are already on the way to evolving your consciousness.
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Grounding: Getting in Touch with Your Body
Another step you can take is to get in touch with your body. We use our body as we use our car or computer: giving it commands to take us where we want to go and do what we want to have done. We live in our head, with little time and inclination to live in our whole body. We are losing the ground under our feet.
Sophisticated methods can help you to ground yourself. They include traditional ways such as tai chi, qi gong, yoga, and Ayurvedic and other holistic methods and exercises, as well as new and old breathing techniques and techniques of deep relaxation. Even a simple exercise, practiced regularly, can help you achieve contact with your body. You will recover some of the sense of wholeness modern people have lost in the stress and strain of everyday existence.
Emotional Purification: Negative to Positive
The stresses and strains of existence also have an impact on our emotional life, and that, too, needs attention. It is not that we have lost contact with our emotions — we are only too aware of them most of the time. Only, they are often the wrong kind of emotions. Negative feelings such as anger, hate, fear, anxiety, suspicion, jealousy, contempt, and indifference dominate the tenor of modern existence. They result from lifetime experiences that are mainly negative. With some exceptions, even childhood education is based on negative reinforcements such as punishment and the threat of failure.
A vicious cycle holds most of us in its grip: Negative experiences generate negative attitudes that create further negative experiences. This cycle must be broken. You need to take stock of your feelings and make a conscious effort to transform negative emotions. It is not easy to replace hate with love, suspicion with trust, contempt with respect, jealousy with appreciation, and anxiety with self-assurance, yet it can be done. All the religions and spiritual traditions of the world offer ways to do it. There are also secular techniques. Group experiences allow you to share your fears and hopes as do diverse psychotherapies, including reliving the experiences of our childhood, infancy, birth, and even our time in the womb.
Getting in Touch with Others & with Nature
If you make a sincere attempt at emotional purification, the vicious cycle of negative experiences generating further negative experiences will be replaced by a virtuous cycle of positive feelings toward others, generating understanding and empathy in family, friends, collaborators, and the community.
Recovering your ties with others and with nature, integrating your mind and body, and transforming your emotions are ends as well as means. They are valuable in themselves and also serve as steps on the road to further growth. When you are grounded in your body and centered in your emotions, when you are in touch with nature and with others around you, you can open your body-mind to the world and become a positive part of its transformation.
©2006, 2010 by Ervin Laszlo with permission of Hampton Roads Publishing
c/o Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC Newburyport, MA and San Francisco, CA.
Chaos Point 2012 and Beyond: Appointment with Destiny
by Ervin Laszlo.
According to Ervin Laszlo, we are at a critical juncture in history, a "decision-window" where we face the danger of global collapse--or the opportunity for global renewal. He presents a concise overview of the current crises we face (environmental, social, economic, and institutional), persuasively arguing that if something is not done quickly, we face disaster. We have the opportunity right now to head off trends that could lead to a critical tipping point. Laszlo's solution is a global consciousness shift that entails a new universal morality, a new ecological awareness, and a reverence and caring for the earth. Included in the book are concrete suggestions of what the reader can do to promote this shift in evolutionary consciousness.
About the Author
Ervin Laszlo is a Hungarian philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist, and classical pianist. Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, he has authored more than 75 books, which have been translated into nineteen languages, and has published in excess of four hundred articles and research papers, including six volumes of piano recordings. He is the recipient of the highest degree in philosophy and human sciences from the Sorbonne, the University of Paris, as well as of the coveted Artist Diploma of the Franz Liszt Academy of Budapest. Additional prizes and awards include four honorary doctorates. Visit his website at http://ervinlaszlo.com.
Watch a powerful video: A New Love Declaration: Ervin Laszlo at TEDxNavigli