It’s hard not to feel old when your children enter their 40’s and 50’s. I now have four that have crossed that important line, and number five is closing hard on that threshold. But getting older also has some amazing benefits. If we can learn to open our minds and hearts to the world around us, we can awaken our consciousness in ways that were not possible when we were busy struggling to raise a family and develop a career.
Reflecting On The Future
As I thought about my children entering the second half of their life, it got me reflecting on the reality that we are all part of the 13.8 billion year evolutionary process moving all of creation into the future. I realized it matters to me that I’m an active part of that deep time, evolutionary “we” process, and not unconsciously trapped in the narcissistic what’s in it for “me” kind of thinking I tended to use in the past…..when I was too busy raising a family to be aware of the bigger picture and wholeness of the reality that I was part of.
Pro-Future And Things That Matter
Age and experience have helped me realize how important it is for my grandchildren that I learn to live in a right relationship with nature and become a more conscious, co-creative part of the evolutionary process. The importance of folding my life into the realities of nature; not vice versa. To be pro-future oriented, not anti-future. But most importantly, experience and the awareness of time has increased in me a sense of urgency to make a difference. A sense of urgency to embrace things that matter.
As the years unfold, I am beginning to experience the obvious reality that our most important limited resource in life is time. What we do with the time we have matters. It matters to us. It matters to our planet. And it matters to the generations that will follow us. Unfortunately too many of us are still stuck in primitive childhood thinking focused primarily on our own short term wants and needs. That’s an understandable reality for those struggling with poverty; those forced to focus on their survival needs from moment-to-moment, and day-to-day. It’s a sad reality that basic survival still consumes the time and energy of so many people on our planet today.
But for those of us who are blessed to live in a time and place where survival is not a day to day struggle, where life is not a matter of basic survival, we need to better discern the difference between what only feels urgent, and things that actually matter. For example, planning what we are going to do this weekend versus helping the world get into a more sustainable and right relationship with nature. The former may feel urgent, but the latter actually matters. Why? Because we are collectively running out of time to help the world embrace creative solutions to the challenges that we are facing as species. A species that appears hell-bent on destroying the only planetary“home” we have.
Learning To Embrace Paradox
In other words, we need to develop the ability to live with paradox. We need to become “long term, big picture” thinkers while working on “short term, sustainability” priorities. Our tangible short term sustainability priorities need to embrace long term thinking focused on the needs of the “whole”. We are running out of time, both personally and collectively, coming to grips with that thorny paradox……so we can begin to implement today, the changes that will ensure the future viability of our planet tomorrow. We need to awaken our consciousness to a cosmic, big time, big picture, evolutionary orientation to life while learning to live sustainably on the limited resources of our planet. We need to focus on the needs of the “whole” (we), not just our own wants (me).
Age and experience are showing me that short term, temporary solutions to the challenges that are coming are not going to be helpful. We need a major shift in how we “see” the world; a major shift in consciousness and worldview. Watching this video www.wimp.com/powerful-videos/ each morning is a powerful reminder of the transformation in thinking that is needed by all of us. It is the primary meditation I use to begin each day. I highly recommend it.
Summary: The Importance of Time
As I am getting older, I am aware that we are all running out of time to make a difference in the lives of our ancestors who have yet to be born. Time to embrace a larger viewpoint. Time to embrace greater inclusivity. Time to create a more just world. Time to focus on the whole, not just our own tiny “me” piece of reality. And most importantly, time to begin living in a more sustainable, right relationship with nature and reality. To paraphrase the words of Richard Rohr in his book Falling Upward, an awakened consciousness is the essential link between the problems that face us and skillful action.
I like getting older. It’s helping me awaken my awareness and consciousness to those things that actually matter. I only wish I had embraced this insight of focusing on the “whole” sooner. But better late than never. Right?