Editor’s Note: This article by Peter Russell was written in 2009 and is more relevant now than ever.
In recent times there has been growing interest in the possibility that the global crisis is coming to a head in the year 2012. It will be a time when we will see major changes, major transformations of humanity, perhaps an awakening of the human spirit. Most of this focus on 2012 stems from the Mayan calendar and the fact it completes its 5125 year cycle on December 21st, 2012.
There are other predictions in the world which may not be so precise in terms of the date, but which also suggest we are facing major changes. In ancient India the Vedas talked about an age of Kali Yoga which lasts thousands of years and is dominated by greed, corruption and materialistic values. They say this age is coming to an end and we are entering an age called Sat Yoga, a golden age.
In North America the Hopi Indians talked about the coming of an end of an era, when there would be a great purification. Astrologers talk about the Age of Aquarius that we are entering into, a time when we learn to live in peace with each other and with the planet.
Many other people have had similar visions that we are moving into times of catastrophic change which will be accompanied by a great spiritual awakening and a shift to a wiser, more loving, more compassionate way of being, perhaps the emergence of a global consciousness.
Whether there will actually be momentous changes in 2012, or even on December 21st, 2012 remains to be seen. For me the exact date is not so important. I see 2012 as a symbol of a critical period in human history. The first two decades of the 21st century seem to be the time when this crisis is really coming to a head. In fact many environmentalists say that if we don’t change by 2020 we are going to be in deep trouble.
The year 2012 sits in the middle of this period. Rather than being a precise date at which major changes happen, I see it as the temporal epicenter of a cultural earthquake. No one actually knows what is going to happen in the coming years. There may be breakdowns in the systems, major social disruptions, perhaps even completely unexpected calamities. And at the same time there’s probably going to be breakthroughs, some positive transformations, people letting go of old attitudes ands beliefs. In reality its probably going to be both. All that we can probably say with certainty is that there is going to be a lot more change, and some of it totally unexpected.
People sometimes talk about the winds of change. I think we’re heading into a storm of change. The question is how can we prepare ourselves for this, how can we cope with an increasingly unpredictable world?
We can get some clues by looking at what helps a tree survive a storm. First, it needs strong roots, so it does not blow over. Similarly, we need to be able to remain stable so that we are not shaken by every unexpected change. If we loose our inner balance, if we react emotionally to everything that happens, we end up getting more stressed and more likely to burn out.
Second, like a tree we also need to be flexible. We need to be able to move with the flow of change. This means letting go of past assumptions. We need to learn to think more clearly, allow new ideas in, let deeper intuitions and feelings come to the surface.
And third, just as a tree is much better off if it is protected by other trees in the forest, so too we will be much better able to withstand change if we have a strong sense of community. We need to care for each, support each other in times of need. We need to develop greater care and compassion, to open our hearts to kindness, and have our vision guide us in these turbulent times.
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