Tonight’s Higher Thought question:
What elements of our culture make it difficult to find inner peace?
The ubiquity of screens leaps to mind. Even on my “Silent Sundays” when I scrupulously avoid turning on either of my computers, my cell phone beckons irresistibly. I grab it compulsively to check for emails and text messages.
When I’m with other people, my cell phone is put away. But when they check their phones, I feel irritated.
Another element that makes it difficult to find inner peace is the pressure to be a “success,” which is a concept that’s been drilled into me continually, dating all the way back to my earliest conscious memories.
But what is a successful life? (That’s another Higher Thought question actually.)
So … your turn. What elements of our culture make it difficult for you to find inner peace?
A Book Note
For nearly all my adult life, ever since I read the book NUCLEAR MADNESS by Helen Caldicott back in 1980, I’ve carried within me a sense of impending doom for the human race. In the early 80s, I was sure nuclear waste was going to do us in. Over the years, I’ve absorbed additional reasons to believe that overwhelming calamity – on a scale that will wipe out civilization as we know it – is impending, and that there is no escape.
Climate disruption, topsoil depletion, massive deforestation, plastics choking our oceans, toxic chemicals in our food and air … not to mention the human plagues of increasing worldwide poverty, rising autocracy and fascism, our dumbed-down attention spans, and the steady decline in Americans’ critical thinking skills.
But lately I’ve started to feel a little differently. I now no longer think that human extinction or a return to the Stone Age or dystopian violent survivalist future is inevitable. (I mean, of course, sooner or later we’re gonna go – everything comes to an end – and some day the sun will explode but not for millions (or is it billions?) of years. I’m talking about the short term here – the next few millennia, say. It’s hard for me to conceive of human time in greater increments than millennia.)
I now see this collective human journey as a dynamic, rapidly evolving situation, in which just about anything imaginable is possible. I don’t want to minimize our peril, but I’m no longer convinced of any foregone conclusion, even with all the horrific damage we’ve already banked.
And we each have a lot of power to impact the world if we choose to use it.
One major catalyst for this internal shift in me was reading the book CLIMATE: A NEW STORY by Charles Eisenstein this past fall. It’s not the only thing that has made me feel differently but it was a huge factor.