It is now openly apparent, and can no longer be denied or covered over, that many of the material structures in our social world have become a transparent fiction: our financial systems, our job securities, pensions, etc. It is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that these structures will continue to provide for our needs. As our rafts search for land, our paddles are being taken away from us. This has happened time and again. That is why it is important now that we realize the responsibility to reach the shore is in our own hands. And when we eventually find fertile land it will be from our own efforts — and the cultivation that much more rewarding. As personal circumstances become more affected by the changes occurring in the world it will become necessary that people “wake-up” to new responsibilities and decisions. This is what we have been seeing throughout 2011, first with the Arab Spring social revolutions, and now with the Occupy movements. Many people now realize and accept that the upcoming years will be different from what has gone before.

As these physical changes begin to impact and encroach upon each person’s well-being, voices will be rising from within the self and calling for a new way forward. Action should not be an act alone; it needs to be accompanied by an equal, if not greater, act of inner awareness. Each pathway of experience is unique to every person for there are as many ways to the inner self/knowing as there are people’s hearts. Nor is the true spirit one of contemplation alone, for the spiritual ideal of our era now is one of considerate and compassionate action. And through this action, change will come. How difficult or easy these changes will be depends much upon the response of each person. What is important is not only the event itself but also how each person deals with it. The challenges we face may be out of our hands, yet each of us has the power to choose how we respond to them.

Willaru Huayta, a spiritual messenger in the Inca tradition, has been traveling the globe telling people that: “The world is at a critical point of transition, which is highlighted by the crisis in spiritual and moral principles. Nationality is no longer important… Human truth is one. The most important thing now is to awaken the consciousness in a positive form.” The upcoming changes, to some degree, are unstoppable, yet they function to “sweep the house clean” rather than to reinforce any negativity. This is important to remember so that we do not mistakenly feel over-powered by the disruptions coming with the change. Such disturbances, however distasteful, are necessary — just as the odour of bleach is distasteful and potentially harmful, yet its function is to clean and purify. As the world struggles to accommodate the necessary changes there will be countless ripples spreading out into the personal lives of many people. Whilst for some people meditation may prove a means of practising inner balance and focusing intentions, for others there may well be a need for disciplined action.

Part of this can be fulfilled by shifting our behaviour patterns away from a self-centered and material consumerist lifestyle to a more community-centered set of values. As Nobel prize winning author Doris Lessing wrote in her book “Shikasta,” the “broken” Earth needs to regain the energies of SOWF (“Substance Of We Feeling”). The keys to growth and renewal have been planted within each person. Much will be expected from people in the coming years as they face increased fears and challenges; challenges for which history holds few guidelines for the immediate future. Such challenges, whilst resonating within the heart of each person, must surely be in harmony also with our social contexts and responsibilities. The spirit does not live in isolation, but walks with us in life. As the Native American elder “grandfather” says (in a series of books by Tom Brown, Jr.): “Trying to live a spiritual life in modern society is the most difficult path one can walk. It is a path of pain, of isolation and of shaken faith, but that is the only way that our vision can become reality.”

The human species is, after all, a social species (as anthropologists keenly like to remind us). It is easy to behave “spiritually” when one is confined to the hermit’s cave — then our only struggles are with our ceaseless thoughts. However, sincere spiritual activity also requires that each individual understands and accepts the role of their social participation, of their presence and responsibility with friends, family and within the community. It may well be that as times become harder for many people the emphasis will shift toward the need for more integral communities. Social development needs to come through “right action” — with the knowledge and understanding that growth can be achieved more harmoniously when worked at through right intentions and actions.

A “Substance Of We Feeling” is needed like wine grapes need a good soil. As a global community of individuals we are being pushed toward developing and supporting a creative and shared developmental consciousness. Through a combination of physical changes on the social, cultural and political levels, people worldwide will begin to awaken to the audacity of our situation. From this there may be further “awakenings” as the ironic, incredulous and absurd factors of many of our lifestyles are brazenly shown in the shocking light they deserve.

However, there is great need to “work.” We have a responsibility to work toward revitalizing our connection with our “selves” as well as our communities — to regenerate our relationship with the world we live in. This is not a time to fear for loss, but rather a time to aspire to new possibilities. A renewal and regeneration brings in new air, new potentialities and new gains. There is no clinging to the old when there is much vigorous work to be done. Any spiritual endeavour cannot — or should not — be separated from the physical. The human is a physical creature that is nourished from a physical world. Whilst we sojourn on this planet, and whilst our home remains physical, we have a responsibility to manifest our spirit within the physical domain. This is what is required of us, and deep within we all inherently know this. We are here to work together — time to occupy our “we” feeling. Or, as Doris Lessing would say: our “Substance of We Feeling.”

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