Over a decade ago when I was going through a major life dissolution, one thing I used to do at times of extreme stress was imagine myself as an eagle soaring up and up and up to a higher view. In my active imagination, I would see the landscape getting smaller and smaller, and more and more of the earth’s horizon appearing as I rose up. Whenever I did this, I could feel my body relax, my heart soften, my courage swell, and sometimes some unexpected wisdom would pop into my head.
This exercise of active imagination may be helpful for these times.
As you know, our world is going through a major shift—a dissolution of the old, which is required for the new to come forth. At times I feel amazed to be alive right now, right in the thick of a global turning, replete with hurricanes, fire, earthquakes, not to mention despotism, power mongering, and the raw violence of death wrought by human hands.
A student of history understands very well that all of this is not new.
But here are a few realities that are new:
• There are 7.5 billion of us living on the planet.
• We are connected by an invisible world wide web that gives us immediate access to nearly unlimited information and allows us to communicate in real time with each other, all over the globe.
• An increasing number of people see themselves as citizens of the world, and their identity is not tied to a family or nation, but rather to all human beings. When this identity is truly embodied (not just an idea), behavior naturally changes. And when identity expands even further, to encompass the greater-than-human world (I AM the trees, the mountains, the rivers, animals, all of life), there is no impulse to exploit or destroy anything that which formerly was ‘Other’ — because there is no ‘Other’ anymore.
As Americans, most of us live with privilege that we can’t see. From our tender perspective, we assume it’s our right to have health insurance, to be free to earn as much money as we’re willing to work for, and that we are safe. For a student of history, this level of abundance and safety for such a large number of people is extraordinary. If we can fly way high up for a minute and see a larger picture, we might see that our privilege is remarkable; something to be deeply grateful for at every moment. We may also have the clarity to understand that the frightening terrors reported on the news every day, (as well as the genocide and violence that go unreported that for sure is happening right now somewhere on the planet as I type these words) have long been an ever-present aspect of human existence. We're not special, undergoing some unique hardship.
I offer that though constant ‘bad’ news is shocking to the nervous system, we can choose to take the flight of an eagle; to put things in perspective, to relax a bit while not turning away. Soaring with the clouds, we can ask, is daily news manipulating my emotions? What else is happening in the world that is never on CNN or Fox News? Do I actually need to be afraid? What are the breakthroughs in technology, culture and collective consciousness that are moving us toward a compassionate and sustainable future, and can I notice this reality as well? How can I show up as a person who is strong, calm and collected; as a human who sees a bigger reality . . . the really huge reality of all of it, both the horror AND the amazing new ideas and structures that are being born; a human who speaks the whole truth in my daily life, reporting the landscape of reality from an eagle eye’s view?
Ask yourself the question, take flight, and see what wisdom pops into your head . . . and SHARE IT.