Aaron Hoopes, Contributor
In 1970 Alvin Toffler wrote a book titled Future Shock. In the book, Toffler defined the term “future shock” as a psychological state of individuals and, indeed, entire societies. It refers to what happens to people when they are no longer able to cope with the pace of change in their life and the world as a whole. It is basically having too much change in too short a period of time. The consequences of future shock included all sorts of symptoms and maladies, ranging from increased susceptibility to disease to depression, erratic behavior and even total emotional breakdown.
Back in 1970 Toffler believed that society was undergoing an enormous structural change from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. The accelerated rate of technological innovation was leaving people disconnected and suffering information overload.
That was forty four years ago. It was a time before iPhones and tablets, cell phones and PDAs. It was before there were laptops and wifi. It was more than twenty years before the internet. It was even before personal computers, windows, DOS and the invention of the 8-inch floppy diskette.
The rate of technological innovation has accelerated exponentially since then. Yet, while the pace of change is ever increasing and expanding into more and more areas of individuals’ lives, the capacity of human beings to adjust to this torrent of change they are experiencing, is finite and seriously limited.
So here we are in 2014 trying to make sense of a world that seems to be changing faster than ever, much faster than we seem able to react and adapt to. Everywhere people are facing major physical, psychological, and social pressures that are threatening to overwhelm them.
We are in shock.
Shock is a state of being which occurs when we are thinking about, or being subjected to unsettling events. It usually manifests when we encounter the undeniable prospect of long-term changes in our life. We can be shocked when we lose our job, have a car accident, or contract a life-threatening disease. In addition, the perception of growing old can create this feeling, as can a divorce or the death of a loved-one. These changes place a new set of limits on life that can be quite unsettling.
We have now entered a time of profound shock. We have reached a conflagration of stress and disorientation, not only from information overload, but from a critical mass of chemicals in our food, toxins in our bodies and destruction of the Earth that is unprecedented in the history of our planet. There is no going back to simpler times. There is no more space to maneuver around these problems. There is no avoiding it. We have to go forward through whatever darkness lies before us.
The primary thing to remember, as we navigate the difficulties ahead, is that shock can be a good thing. It reminds us that if we keep our mind open disturbing events can be positive and constructive. Instead of reacting blindly to shock, or worse, spiraling downward into despair, we need to adjust our attitude to accepting, even greeting, the challenges imposed by the new circumstances. It is a time to find our center, maintain our inner balance and stand up straight. If we look at the challenges that face us as the necessary impulse to find a new, more correct way of dealing with the difficulties we face we will be able to make it through these dark times with a minimum of hardship. We need to align ourselves with the greater good in all things.
Finding this answer often requires that we undergo some form of deeper spiritual development. Many of us believe we live spiritual lives, but often are quickly swayed by shocking events. Now is the time to put our faith and power into what is right. It is easy to start making compromises when times get difficult. Yet this only leads to trouble. In truth, the only way forward is to maintain peace and balance in our lives as we adapt to the ever-changing world.
Of course there are times in everyone’s lives when it is difficult to stay on the path. Events and circumstances often conspire to shock us in ways we never could have imagined. However, if we are sincere in our desire to be of service to others, we must get our house in order. Without a sincere core of integrity within, it is impossible to offer pure, positive energy to those we come in contact with.
The time has come for each of us to walk along the path of what is good and right and true. The time has come for us to become the true embodiment of the spiritual essence that exists within the core of our being. We have reached the point where our only option is to truly evolve.
As we become aware that there is a cosmic structure to the universe to which we are meant to relate and that we are meant to find our life’s meaning in relation to a higher form of consciousness, we need to find the truth within ourselves.
The road ahead may seem dark and forbidding. There are new shocks at every turn. We may have doubts as to our ability to continue. But the shocks are meant to help us recognize our natural limitations and wake us up to the higher consciousness of the universe. This is the time for each of us to step up, open our hearts and shine the light of truth and love out into the world.
Do not be discouraged. Now, more than ever, this world needs you. We are entering a future of uncharted territory. Everyone is experiencing shocks. Be compassionate and let the light of the truth within you be your guide.
About the Author
Aaron Hoopes is a student of nature and energy. He teaches tai chi, yoga, and other arts in the mountains of Vermont. He is the founder of Zen Yoga and the author of 7 books. Please visit his blog, http://wanderingsagewisdom.blogspot.com, as well as his other websites, www.mountainqi.com, and www.artofzenyoga.com.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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