We are living in reactionary times and it’s not going to get easier. This is a cycle we have to live through, as horribly as it manifests. We can’t prevent it and we can’t control it—not you and I in our small personal worlds. The events of our times reverberate like a volcanic explosion of suppressed heat or an avalanche of latent energy responding to the tipping point of the last snowflake. The uprisings of our political news have not come out of nowhere to go nowhere.
Every disruption has an internal integrity. We can choose to identify with the elements of chaos or with the process by which chaos re-orders the foundations of reality. We each have our own way of seeing and participating in these disruptions, which sometimes seem personal and sometimes very impersonal. That’s where we have control. To enter the fray or not enter the fray—that is our choice.
The world of cell phone cameras now shows us upsetting events as they happen, followed by almost immediate reaction to those outrages. The speeding up of time conditioned by the electronic age does not give much opportunity for reflection. Action insists on reaction. Emotions are fast and furious—and the trauma is intensified. Post-traumatic stress is becoming the new norm. This does not bode well.
The tyranny of war and injustice and brutality has been the conditioned reality of this planet for thousands of years. As without, so within. Our oppressed psyches are volcanoes and avalanches-in-waiting. We sense the depths of the imbalance of our world and we are hungry for transformation. The question is, what kind of food will satisfy the hunger?
It comes down to all the familiar existential questions of ordinary times, questions that are addressed in teachings that are ancient and universal. The true story of who we are and how this all came to pass has been hidden from us by our oppressors, but great spiritual teachers have consistently revealed pathways through this veil of obfuscation. The laws of man cannot override the universal laws of love. One of those is that truth is ever-present. Ask and it shall be revealed. In a state of humility, a sincere question will receive an answer.
Finding an inner place of composure is how to survive in reactionary times. That’s the place of soul nourishment that puts us in tune with time, which is where synchronicity takes place. We control that. We control being where we are meant to be and who we are meant to meet and what opportunities we can work with for the transformation we desire. In the right environment, emotions find their proper role, which are to guide us to compassion and connection with others, no matter how they behave. It’s what people mean by “leading from the heart.”
Reactionary times can be uplifting and heartfelt times. The choice is ours.
Elizabeth Whitney is a West Marin journalist and researcher.