One the one hand, the global situation today is as bleak as it has ever been throughout the long ages of homo sapiens existence: our planet is in grave peril from cascading climate change and ecological collapse—global temperatures soar, artic sea-ice is disappearing, the forests are burning and the oceans are on the edge of becoming uninhabitable for marine life; over 200 species are being lost each day in what environmental scientists are describing as the sixth mass extinction event in the history of planet Earth; the threat of human extinction through either catastrophic global warming or nuclear war is an urgent possibility; democracy is broken; the growth economy is a teetering castle in the sky; society is fragmenting; profit-focused multi-nationals dominate both public and private spheres; spectacular advances in technology are doing nothing to reduce any of these impacts and dangers but are only exacerbating them; we cannot trust our governments to act wisely or in the interests of either people or planet; most of the human population are either simply struggling for the basics of survival or intent on distracting ourselves from the manifold horrors of our times through consumerism of things and media and the battle for spurious success and status; individuals, communities and institutions that could be addressing the horrors we face are failing to do so in the very same abdication of responsibility that has caused many of these horrors to arise in the first place. It really does seem as if civilisation is a crazy-train careening towards the abyss.
On the other hand, the very ground of being still thrills with divine energy and the miracle of life on this blue-green jewel of a planet continues to unfold with staggering beauty wherever the crazy-train isn’t bulldozing it into dust. The universe in which we are embedded is a great mystery the contemplation of which evokes states of sublimity beyond even the ego’s power to hijack. It is possible at any moment and in any place to connect with this baseline of divine energy, to open to states of sublimity, and feel gratitude for this poignant moment… and the next… and the next. Also it’s possible to seek out the remaining pockets and fragments of Earth’s paradise beauty in which to contact our unique human capacity for wonder, reverence and awe. Moreover, it’s possible to protest the crazy-train, to rebel against it’s mindless destruction of everything we love. We have a lot of power, which we can wield in service to the Earth in an attempt to avert the worst of the effects of human-created environmental destruction. Further, it is possible to step quite fully off the crazy-train and choose to cultivate more humane and earth-loving ways of living—closer to the Earth, in heart-centred communities prioritising long-term personal and planetary wellbeing over convenience and short-term pleasure. Our each doing so is not only in the interest of all life on the planet, it’s also actually the most deeply nourishing way of living available to us, enabling lives of genuine abundance, connection and belonging. However, this step is huge and for most people very scary. It not only involves embracing the physical and emotional discomforts and inconveniences of relating more closely to the earth and to other people, but also involves facing the psychological and spiritual shadows and contractions that are at the root of our separation from the Earth and from each other—and which ultimately are the source of the multiple crises of our times. This journey through the shadows into the tender heart of our love for the Earth and each other is the hero’s journey itself, which I believe we all signed up for when we chose to be born here at this time.
Yes, we are at a pivotal moment in the unfolding miracle of life on Earth—a Solstice of Destiny. Will we turn towards or away from this miracle now? Our choices over the next couple of years, at individual and collective levels, will decide whether the future of our planet is one of conscious evolution or apocalyptic nightmare.