Australia, May 2020
Scientists often talk about the ‘evolution’ of mankind.
If we accept that Homo sapiens (humans) are ‘only’ highly intelligent primates then, yes, from bipedalism to brain expansion, and adjusting to social mores in flux, we can say that physical, emotional and intellectual evolution has taken place.
That said, within the context of this mind-meander, we can choose to think that humans are not really descended from ape ancestors.
In the absence of absolute knowledge, we can think that more than evolve, mankind has simply adapted itself to What-Was, i.e. to the ebb and flow of life managed by all generations from the dawn of times.
No differently, in fact, than the current generations who are continually adapting to the cultural What-Is.
Reality check: there will undoubtedly come the day when humans will have to adapt to life somewhere in space.
Serious question: will that giant cultural leap be a matter of adaptation or a matter of evolution?
Currently, the Covid-19 crisis is pushing us further and faster than anticipated into yet another lifestyle and cultural upgrade.
How, together and separately, we choose to accept and personalise what some are calling the ‘new normal’ will become a matter of adaptation, not evolution.
Be that as it may, the writing carved deep into the wall reads that we have run out of time to build new ways from old ways.
Scientists have chronicled the physical evolution of man over the past 2.8 million years.
The species Homo Sapiens, Man Wise, has multiplied and thrived across the globe.
Interestingly, it evolved some 300,000 years ago during a period of dramatic climate change.
The structure of the braincase and jaw anatomy has changed marginally.
However, it has developed numerous languages, art, spirituality and religions.
It has learned to make and use tools and weapons. It adapted to climates and corresponding lifestyles.
It has survived and multiplied for some 300,000 years.
Indeed, mankind has adapted to all sorts of climatic shifts, cultural mores and trends, as they were pushed forward, and humanity is still here.
We are here, indeed, and have never been as populous as we are today but, within the context of this mind-meander, evolved, we are not.
Not in terms of our neural circuitry.
Not when it comes to the conviction that we are our body and that we are our mind.
Not as long as we accept that both our mind and our body define us.
There was a time long-long ago when men began to shun their flowing robes in favour of pants.
Centuries later, women, too, accepted the benefits of wearing pants. They were happy to adapt.
Once upon another era, we moved from agriculture and clan life to the isolation of life within cities and the lure of machine-assisted living.
Shifting away from growing food and making clothes in favour of everything pre-made was not evolutionary progress.
It was merely the acceptance of what was produced by industries and stocked on all manner of shelves.
Mass production did not change ‘the world’.
It enhanced our freedom to choose from amongst many brands, but it altered our degree of wellness, our quality of life and the thriving potential of the planet.
Upheavals throughout the past hundreds of thousand years have not re-engineered our sympathetic nervous system. The well-documented fight/flight split-second response to real or perceived threats still triggers the same physiological changes in us, beings of the 21st century, as it did in the first generation of Homo sapiens.
Quick reactions to real or perceived dangers primed our early ancestors to act quickly and to protect themselves against the many perils they faced, struggling to survive in an unstable environment.
It worked well for them but, so many million years later, having failed to recalibrate itself in the face of modern-day stressors, that system has become over-stimulated and, basically, it’s out of whack.
This ‘un-evolutionary’ default has meant that the limbic system, the part of our brain that processes our emotions, has remained stuck in a sort of repetitive, fearful loop, unable to co-create a life in which we would thrive.
What’s required is a change of heart, not just a change of regulations and topical adjustments.
Reality check: In our era, unless one works or lives in a war zone, a refugee camp, in a prison, in a dangerous neighbourhood, or regularly crosses paths with bullies or a frequent abuser lying in wait, our autonomic nervous system automatic works against us.
Like a home security system gone haywire gets triggered by the slightest movements, uncontrollable reactions feed our stress and leaves us depleted And so, in the absence of authentic evolution that will bring about a cure for unhappiness, the ancient ingrained reflexes, needs and beliefs that currently challenge mankind from the inside-out will remain active – at least for a few more generations.
In the meantime, humanity will go on slip-sliding in and out of ugly indifference, conditional altruism, fear and anxiety.
And in and out of … glorious, heartfelt care, too. Of course.
Serious question: with how much more care, sensibility and love would we go about our daily lives if, per magic – or per an evolutionary neural circuitry – we were, one day, able to exert absolute control over our emotions?
That said, there is plentiful and arresting evidence of our adaptation to many different circumstances.
Sure! Our tools have evolved from the flint and the hoe to the bobcat digger and the robotic arm. Totally different forms driven by totally different mechanisms.
Similarly, our vehicles have morphed from the Roman cart to the car and soon to self-driven vehicles.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches of flying machines have inspired generations of evolving aircrafts and, ultimately, to the creation of space rockets.
The reed pens, styluses, and quills plucked from living birds, were replaced by ink pens and, eventually, by keyboards.
Reality check: the shapes and components of our tools have changed evolutionarily, over the eons but, we, humans, have only adapted ourselves to their potential. Just as we have adapted to computer technology throughout the past three decades, we have accepted the prospect of AI further limiting and controlling much of what we are quite able to do by ourselves in our homes, in our workplace, and with our vehicles.
From the slanted backrests and reclining chairs that first appeared in Egypt circa 2600BC, to fast food and processed food that became available everywhere circa 1950 to the growing popularity of audiobooks since1990 and 1-Click buying introduced in 1999 to ever-evolving automated dictation, many adaptations embraced in the name of convenience, comfort and progress have already considerably weakened and ‘dis-abled’ our brains and bodies.
While humanity has gained much greater power over its environment and generally lives longer and more comfortably, it has created a cold, mechanistic world.
Despite our enhanced ability to problem-solve and multi-task, and despite the ever-increasing physical improvements to lifestyles that so many of us are blessed to enjoy, it is doubtful we, modern humans, are any happier people as than were our mammoth hunting ancestors.
One would-be revolutionary ‘thing’ that has always been ours to control is our mind work.
Another is our ability to empower ourselves with more clarity, greater focus, and positive emotions of the sorts that lead to positive thoughts that activate positive responses to life, to its joys and its stressors.
Today, as always, our ongoing personal and collective mission is to gain era-relevant awareness and tap into our heart energy.
How more willing are we today than yesterday to step up and develop a voluntary influx of compassion to manifest in our heart and travel to our brain?
It all depends on how ready we are to control our emotions, our thoughts, our actions – and our inaction, should it be purposeful.
When exposed even to unusual levels of anxiety due to a traumatic change in circumstances or a perceived threat, most of us manage to avoid severe mental side-effects.
That’s great, but that’s no longer enough.
In the words of Eckhart Tolle in his first book, The Power of Now, ‘Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.
Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
Reality check: we are not our anxiety.
We are not our fear.
Whether we slip on our ‘cowboy pants’ or slip into a self-made brand of accusatory resentment and fright-full lethargy is entirely up to each one of us.
So, present in each moment underfoot, we must be.
Bottom line: adaptation to circumstances is one primary aspect of survival.
So, adapt as our ancestors did across the millennia, indeed, we have—nothing noteworthy in that.
And adapt to the cultural changes imposed by Covid-19 we will.
Most importantly for us and the economy is the way we reshape the way we earn our salary, the ways we spend it and rethink reasons to save it – and the conditions under which it is safe to be entertained.
Habits and customs are cultural. Some have come and gone, others are eons old but, a ‘changing world’, they do not make.
We will adapt to a new way we play sport and watch it being played.
The way we interact with friends, flirt, have sex or make the most of our dining experiences will have to be adapted.
Doing it sexy through social distancing, sanitising gel and alcohol wipes, will need some rethinking.
Now that we’ve realised how ‘germy’ the human body can be, one of the many positive adaptations resulting from the current pandemic might be fewer instances of groping in parks, night club toilets and on first dates.
Even King Solomon who, despite his legendary wisdom, is said to have tricked the visiting Queen of Sheba into his bed [which led to the birth of a son] taught in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is “A time to embrace and a time to cease from embracing” (Ecclesiastes 3:5).
Up to now, we didn’t mind too much queuing up to pass through airports’ Customs checkpoints or outside our favourite nightclub, ice-cream shop or taqueria.
Accepted as unavoidable, those idle moments spent standing were, at times, karmically instrumental in connecting people as they whiled the time away.
Equally unavoidable these days is queuing up to allow social distancing as we wait to enter stores, cafes and children parks.
That and other restrictions found to limit freedom of movement and freedom to choose will probably be phased out sooner than it might be wise to pre-empt urban unrest due to the flaring tempers of some.
Patience has not yet become a cultural trait.
Equally, the tokenistic two-second handshake that became void of meaning many centuries ago and the perfunctory social hug that many would have preferred to avoid might remain relegated to the past, where they belong.
The handshake became a trend as early as the 5th century B.C.
Then as in our era, the firm right-hand free of any weapon was intended as a gesture of goodwill and quick rapprochement.
The thing is, just as hands allow us to touch, create, grasp, lift and type, they can also spread pathogens and viruses.
‘Bad’ energy, too.
That’s because at the centre of our palms are channels of energy connected to our heart chakra.
That energy can get blocked by stress and emotional pain which, in turn, makes it difficult to form and sustain honest relationships.
So, it can’t come as a surprise that, even in the absence of a murderous weapon hidden inside our sleeves, not all handshakes are the symbol of goodwill and a heartfelt connection.
The same fate might apply to the famous, and mostly automatic, French ‘bise’ that has been adopted by millions across the oceans and by fawning politicians, near and far.
Seriously, how socially relevant can it possibly be to aim a quick air kiss near anyone’s cheeks?
Even on those of a family member.
Wouldn’t a smiling heart-eyes connection be a better display of our intentions and feelings?
Positive parenting is not easy.
Positive leadership is not easier.
Ha! and no! Surely the childish elbow bump or the foot shake cannot ever work more wonders than a simple Hello or Nice to meet you, Nice seeing you again, Happy to be doing business with you accompanied by a smiling face and warm intentions.-
So, having our culture adapt from touching to smiling warm smiles should be an easy enough shift.
Ah, yes, that’s where the essence of daily meditations focused on ‘feeling’ warm-hearted, forgiving, grateful and compassionate fits in. Generating loving energy within oneself – and for one’s self – then pushing it outward toward others, near and far, works wonders from the inside-out.
Yes, in the fulness of time, it does.
For maximum effect, though, it does need to be accompanied by forgiving, loving energy for ourselves, as well.
Which often proves to be the most difficult ‘home’ work to master.
Patience and perseverance are also values that keep us on the path.
Patience and perseverance are what has enabled anyone who had aspirations to reach their hoped-for level of personal success. Patience and perseverance will bring humans to Mars in a bid to escape earthly confines without having to die first.
Patience and perseverance are what will allow us to reach beyond our emotional limitations.
But neither patience nor perseverance comes bundled inside a quick-fix kit.
Yes, in these, the early months of the Covid era, the way we did ‘life’ and the way we imagined our lives ‘in the future’ have both changed.
Yes, we realise that we are able to develop a sense of spaciousness within.
Yes, at times, we are able to feel peaceful.
Yes, we know we have the capacity to innovate on several fronts.
Yes, we have the ability to allow a higher vibration to move through us.
Yes, we can practice smiling more – a lot more often
Smiling to ourselves works as well as smiling at others.
Energy is everywhere.
Energy is in every thing above and below the sun.
It is in every thing to the right and to the left of the moon.
It is in every thing in front and behind MACS0647-JD, believed to be the farthest known galaxy from the Earth.
‘Every thing’ includes our thoughts, our words, our emotions and the actions or inactions they trigger.
Energy is everything – and everything has a vibration which science calls electromagnetic frequencies.
Smiling automatically activates the endorphins in our body which help us balance our energy.
And let’s never underestimate the power of a good thought, of a good deed, however small, when delivered with the energy of our heart.
Yes, Soul’s voice, our intuition is guiding us to trust that we are genuinely not alone. “Flow,” she whispers. “Trust What-Is. Flow with it.
Let it enfold gracefully. Do not fear its content.
Be a curious child. A young child.
Be the resilient one you once were who, learning to walk, fell on its bottom time and time again.
You cried sometimes.
You giggled at other times, didn’t you?
Sometimes, your creative attempts were dismissed, smiled at, or laughed at. You didn’t take it personally.
When you were older, you learned to cycle, surf, skate, or rollerblade.
You crashed many times. You grazed your knee. You bumped your head. You might even have broken a limb.
You cried, but you got back up on that thing again and again.”
Now, we still have the same ability to get back on our feet. We have the same ability to achieve balance.
All that’s needed from us is to cut the cords to the limiting thoughts we have accepted and cultivated passively – but at great pains – since our childhood.
They’re the ones that got our heart all tied up.
When we were babies and toddlers, we never thought, Things will get worse.
The choice is ours to not think that now.
Yes, once off the meditation chair, or as a result of good guidance, having done the very best we can for ourselves, for our loved ones near and far, and for all animals, plants and minerals, we can surrender the moment to a higher power, to the one in which we have placed our faith.
To the one who, by karmic design, is the real us inside our 3-D body – the trademark of human life on planet Earth.
John E. Fetzer, a communications magnate and one of the wealthiest persons in America, died in 1991.
He once wrote, “I feel that we are on the threshold of a new order where people will be seeking enlightened change. This will all come about with the infusion of spirituality into science.”
If John E. Fetzer was right, the enlightened change millions of us are currently seeking might incrementally move humanity of the future beyond adaptation to evolution.
Dear Reader, fierce Warrior, perhaps this is where we’re at the moment.
So, just in case, let’s say, ‘Bring it on!’ for the sake of our descendants more than ours, as we will have long departed from planet Earth by the time that possibility comes to pass.
According to Albert Einstein, ‘There are two ways to live. We can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.’
Bottom line: tomorrow is another day.
We know how we would like it to pan out but, the serious question is: what sort of day are we ready to make it?