Promoting Mindful Change

We live in a world that is continuously changing at an ever-increasing rate. Our creative nature drives us to explore and invent —’make it new; make it better’. We are also emotionally reacting to the changes we make—excitement about our inventiveness, inspiration to make newer things, obsession with applying our creativity to make life easier, and compulsion to pursue the next version of the things we make.

And we live in perpetual conflict between our wish to change and our fear of change. What happens if we lose our privacy? What happens if robotics takes our jobs? What happens if…? The worry about tomorrow paralyzes our actions in the present to solve and prevent catastrophic events. We are facing world-changing processes that escalate this conflict to a level of global burnout.

The existential conflicts are well known. They are the ‘what is’ in the present: the ecosystem, our political rivalries, religious beliefs, technology, and much more. But the list does not include us, the creators of these conflicts. We have yet to put ourselves on the list of what must change if we are to adapt to the new world we have created.

We must change. We must take an inventory of our own self-sabotaging nature. We must evaluate our selfish behaviors and attitudes to see how they contribute to our own demise. We must confront our perpetual denial, rationalizing, and minimizing the damage we do to ourselves as a species and to the planet. We must be accountable to ourselves.

I recently listened to a talk by Halla Tomasdottir, CEO of Plan B. Their mission statement states:

“We’re working to redefine the culture of accountability in business, for our companies, communities and future generations, by creating and cascading new norms of corporate leadership that can build a better world.”

The boundless possibilities of human creativity await implementation. We have the technology to generate a mindful, global culture that respects all human life as sacred. Our science provides a fledgling understanding of how our brain works. We know that our basic sciences can be translated into social policy and new cultural values. We can affect climate change, air and water pollution, economic disparity, and world hunger. We can put an end to the constant flow of refugees by reframing our concept of what it means to be human.

Our ingenuity to make these applications from science to culture lies in the minds of our children. But our children need parents. Mindful parenting in this generation is critical to guide, to inspire, and to encourage our children to take the risks necessary to promote a mindful culture for themselves and future generations.

Mindful Families and Generation Delta

The next generation, call them ‘generation delta’    (delta is the symbol for change in mathematics), holds the potential for mindful cultural evolution. A mindful human family, one that sees itself as a critical part of the whole of our species, is the crucible for cultural evolution. When mindfulness shapes the family values that nourish children, the hope for a successful cultural transformation is possible.

Greta Thunberg exemplifies mindfulness, courage, and determination to enact a global mind. Her actions are based on facts and fact-based theories, and she speaks truth to power, that rare trait that kindles change through inspiration.  She started a wave of global awareness that holds the potential for change if the present adults in power validate her call to action. We shall see.

Beyond global burnout

Imagine a world where the screen/brain interface is built-in and connects us to each other with positive emotion. Information flows for creativity, for solving the existential threats of climate change. Human connectivity regulates the charged competition that thrives on corruption in a political zero-sum game. Financial systems are transparent and economic disparity reduces, providing financial security across socioeconomic strata.

This is not a utopian fantasy. This is a possibility. The key to unlocking the human potential to evolve is vastly expanding mindfulness practices. When billions of human brains attain greater emotional self-regulation, empowering their innate compassion, a global “we-team” can emerge.  Evolving our global village into a mindful community is a possibility and a necessity if we are to attain dynamic equilibrium for our biosphere.

The time is now to begin personal mindful practices, to charge social media with positive emotions. We must explore new ways to generate self-awareness and compassion for all. Educating our children in mindfulness and emotional intelligence is critical to strengthen the fabric of families.

It may take a generation before the heads of business and the government can reframe ‘growth’ as a human character factor rather than financial greed. Sustainability, not financial profit, must become the essence of successful businesses.

Evolving our world beyond the threat of global burnout is a possible reality. It begins with one brain at a time, practicing the boundless explorations of each mind and one family at a time, nourishing mindful attitudes and behaviors in the children. When mindfulness is a global phenomenon, we may enter a new epoch of human history.

edited by Nisha Kulkarni