Monday, August 5, 2013

Inner Transition, the next stage of CIVIL-isation

Many towns and villages in the UK are already well progressed in their transition endeavours. You can explore the fabulous world of Totnes and Incredible Edible Todmorden, where whole populations have embraced a change of lifestyle which will enable every one of them to live comfortably and participate fully in a world with less stuff and more connections.

But what happens inside people when their external lives are transitioning? What internal state do we need to achieve in order to even begin contemplating transitioning? How do those who are ready help those who are not, to get ready? Is there something inside us, beyond transition, that will help us maintain and adapt, into the future?

These are some of the questions now being explored in some of the more advanced transition towns of the UK, in particular by a woman called Sophy Banks.

People who are stressed or displaced or faced with trauma all display a similar range of characteristics. This has been known for a hundred years or more. What is disturbing is that research shows that a great number of people worldwide are showing these symptoms even though their lives are not typical cases. It seems that just living a consumer lifestyle and working for a large corporation brings out the fight or flight mode in many people; making them defensive and argumentative. Moreover and even more worrying to me, is that when people are in this hectic lifestyle situation, their brains are actually incapable of broadening and their range of thoughts actually shrink. Decisions and opinions become black and white and their focus narrows.

For any change to happen peacefully, creatively and quickly people need to be open to all ideas, able to discuss and converse without animosity and to be able to see beyond today and themselves, to the future for humanity and the earth. The longer it is before the majority of people are participating in transition movements, the harder it will be to get the attention of those people still at the narrow, protective, argumentative, power-hungry stage. Their brains simply will not accept anything outside what they already have to deal with and they often feel threatened and unable to take action (which sadly seems to include members of most governments, who increasing are behaving in a very uncivil manner and refusing to take much needed action).

I think inner transition is akin to the Dalai Lama’s notion of inner peace and to the calm of meditation. When your brain ceases to be full of anxiety, worry, trauma and anger it is like a sponge, ready to soak up new ideas, ready to look outward and you are then ready to put your shoulder to a good cause. When the good cause actually reduces your stresses and makes you feel happy with your future, it is a win:win situation.

Life is good; get there fast then take it slow…. and don’t argue with those who say otherwise!

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