The other preamble is that I didn't come up with the following ideas. There have been many sources, but I discovered a great synthesis by Terence McKenna. He generated a good bit of notoriety and, depending on your point of view, McKenna could be seen as a negative influence through his promotion of psychedelic drug use. His advocacy was largely around the indigenous use of natural plants in ceremonial ("religious") patterns. Use of these plants goes back many, many millennia.
On the absolutely positive side, McKenna is a very entertaining speaker as can be found out by Googling his name and listening to the many recordings of his talks. I recommend choosing one talk and listening to it several times.
Here's two concepts to begin with, Deep Time and the Great Turning. Deep Time is simply the recognition that humans have been walking the face of the Earth for something like two million years and we are really late to the party when you consider that there are other species that were around 500 million years ago. Our human industrial civilization has only been around for three hundred years. Deep time is a recognition of the vast nature of time and how inconsequential our place in it is.
The "Great Turning" is a term that can be credited to either Joanna Macy, David Korten or both. I'm not sure if they thought of it together. As the habitability of the Earth continues to degrade, there will be a point where humanity and other species will face a bottleneck of survivability and there will be a "Great Turning".
I have hope that humanity will survive this bottleneck.
Life has always been a risky proposition, and we are mortal so we are all going to die anyway. Nobody gets out alive. Life has always been about making choices and living full out despite the risk and the eventual outcome. After all life is the only game in town. As I said in part one of this series on despair, there's plenty to despair over but I think one description that sums it up pretty well is that we can no longer assume, as we have in the past, that life will go on.
So now, more than ever before, make your choices and live full out. This isn't a practice life. Nothing new in this paragraph, but in 2018, we get to be alive and conscious in a time of great change.
David Cutter is a pianist in Pasadena. His free ebook "Artistry and Piano Students: Inspiring a Lifetime of Enjoyment" will be out soon. Stay tuned!
This post is the first in a loose series of entries on the topic of inner transition.