The collective situation we are now in is overburdened with conflicts and oppositions; but also subject to sudden changes and extremes of all kinds. With each issue that becomes a source of conflict, we see how fragile life is, how the threads that weave things together can easily unravel. Increasingly, we see how the life maps we have been given do not match the terrains of confusion and places of upheaval we keep falling into.
Part of what drives people to extreme beliefs and behaviors is that many of our received ideas and common beliefs turn out to be unequal to the radical events we are witnessing. In the face of radical changes, people not only become disoriented, but can feel a loss of personal identity. This is especially true where people have over-identified with a collective point of view, a national identity or a particular ideology.
Normally suppressed feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and even dread become heightened as people feel more helpless and less able to have a meaningful plan or any sense of control of the course of their life. Yet, the situation we find ourselves in requires each individual to become consciously aware of far more aspects of reality that anyone expected. An expansion of self-identity as well as a deepening of understanding is required in order not to become part of the chaos or slip into a sense of psychic exhaustion, helplessness and despair.
Accepting that we are caught in the midst of a great turnaround that comes at the end of an era helps make sense of the tumultuous events and discordant feelings that surround us on a daily basis. It is also helpful to know that, at a psychological level, whatever tends to limit and restrict us will produce adverse reactions and extreme emotions when we face radical changes. Wherever we feel most constricted, we will feel most threatened by the presence of the archetypal energies of collapse and renewal that accompany the end of an era.
An old idea states that creation is the only outcome of conflict that can satisfy the human soul. In that sense, the stability and coherence we most desire involves a deeper connection to our own soul. And our souls require that we find ways to become part of a re-visioning of life and a re-creation of the world.
Rumi, that old master of understanding advises, "Look at birds, they make great sky circles of their freedom. And how do they learn to do that? They fall, and in falling, they are given wings." We are like those birds, and we are falling, not of our own choosing, but because of the archetypal dynamic that begins with falling and collapse before it can find its way to a new sense of unity and renewal.
Sometimes we must find our way by falling. If we deny or resist the sense of loosening and falling that comes at the end of an era, we not only risk being caught in social or political extremes, we also risk losing our wings and the spirit of our own lives. And we can lose the possibility of becoming more conscious agents of a re-creation that is also trying to happen in the midst of all the uncertainty and upheaval that accompany times of change.
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