I feel compelled to write about the global sociopolitical events of the past few weeks. In the previous post, I mentioned that recent events are scary, especially on the surface. Under the surface, however, there’s what can’t be denied and has been known. What is that? Humanity is shifting its consciousness. Really, you might ask? It’s a valid question. The world seems to be falling apart in every sector. Financial, environmental, energy and human rights crises keep coming at us and are getting worse.

The world’s healing traditions hold the wisdom that change includes cleansing. Cleansing is a process of reconciliation. The path to wholeness passes through all the blocks to wholeness. It can’t be any other way. The unhealed must be processed. This means it’s acknowledged and understood first. This leads to acceptance and insight. Finally, higher functional states open up.

While healing change brings support, relief, resources, possibility, strength and hope with it, it’s not without challenges, upheaval, pain and chaos. Fortunately, the “ugly” side of transformation is on the surface. When it’s seen, we have to bring this knowing to it. Otherwise it’s too confusing, emotions run high and it becomes highly reactive.

And we have to take the long view, realizing that healing and/or transformation is layered, whether it’s personal or societal. It can also be exponential, a true domino effect as seen in Egypt and the region in general. There’s a groundswell and a momentum which is self-powered and directed. It usually can’t be stopped because it has this truth embedded:

What no longer serves cannot remain.

There are many aspects of human civilization in the 21st century that no longer serve. All of them are coming up for review. A main reason these are such intense times is because we didn’t solve challenges when they were still small. Now, we can only respond and ensure the future is different. Sometimes we’re good at that, often not so much.

One thing is certain: Our response is definitely going to suffer and not match up if we’re overwhelmed and off center. Conscious, enlightened solutions can only come from our total being, and not only the rooftop of  intellect. Here’s a practice to address both the overwhelm and to ensure the clearest solutions:

© Pamir Kiciman 2010

You begin to breathe in and out, and you focus your attention on your abdomen. Why your abdomen? When you see a tree in a storm and you focus your attention on the top of the tree, you feel vulnerable. You have the impression that the tree is too fragile to withstand the storm, because the little branches and the leaves on the top of the tree sway violently in the wind. You have the impression that the tree will be blown away. But if you focus your attention on the trunk of the tree, you get a different impression. You can see that the tree is solid and rooted deeply in the soil, so you know the tree will withstand the storm.

 

You are also a tree, and that strong emotion is the storm that is approaching. If you don’t prepare for it, you may be blown away. To prepare means to begin mindful breathing and to bring your attention down from the level of thinking to the level of the belly, just below the navel. This is called belly breathing. Just focus all your attention on your belly and become aware of the rise and fall of your abdomen, which is the trunk of your tree. Don’t stay on the level of the brain because that is where the storm winds are blowing the hardest. It’s dangerous to stay at the level of your thinking. Go down and embrace the trunk of the tree just below the navel, where you will be safe.

 

—by Thich Nhat Hanh

To learn more about the importance of the belly, click here.


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Shifting the World the Healing Way