A recalibration of the status quo requires a critical mass of people understanding the common bonds of life and demanding dignity across all layers of social and environmental interaction. This shift in consciousness will be facilitated by making decisions aimed at providing a joyful existence to everyone. To climb out of the mental ruts of thinking that all matters of life can be reduced to survival of the fittest for limited resources, we can reshape our mindsets by accessing the universal insights stored within us all.
Binary thinking only looks at part of a more complete picture. To expand our scope of awareness, we must look beyond our opposing views and focus on what unifies us throughout life.
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.” — Mahatma Gandhi
We feel that wedge issues with strict opposing positions confiscate too much attention in popular discourse. We can appreciate the simplicity of how categories like liberal and conservative can easily create sides for people to choose between. Yet, this divisiveness fails to address the nuances and complexities that exist within each individual.
Rigid rules and boundaries dictate expectations and control conditions, but they also put up big barriers. When it comes to complex, multi-faceted problems, single-use solutions won’t be sufficient. To work with intricately connected, and often invisible, issues, the best approaches involve agility and adaptability (a portmanteau of these two strengths could be called adapt-agility).
“If you identify with the ego plane, you’ll find you’re in time, you’re in space, you’re a little body. But go to the spiritual heart, and there will be a doorway to the next plane of consciousness: soul land.” — Ram Dass
Non-duality refers to a spiritual awareness that transcends dichotomies such as “me” and “you”, or “us” and “them”. In non-physical, formless terms, a spiritual connection to supreme complexity emerges through non-duality. Rooted in Vedic, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Judeo-Christian traditions, the notion of non-duality speaks to an evolved, and perhaps primary, state of consciousness that many spiritual practices have sought to describe. There are, by necessity, countless ways to arrive at non-duality. There is not even one universally accepted definition of non-duality. This lack of definitiveness also feels appropriate. There’s room for everything.
“I’ve walked the future, I’ve looked at a record, I’ve seen a place, I have all the data.” — Paul Atreides/ Muad’Dib, Dune, p. 32
This notion of variety gives rise to a unifying principle inherent in transcendental awareness that we can apply to our search for global systemic transformation. Variation and repetition are key ingredients to achieving whole-systems integration of diverse elements arranged seamlessly like a knitted fabric.
Our inclination is to give attention to the differentiated space between dualities, binaries, and even double-entendres. Because these inter-zones function like waves between fixed points, they can offer fertile territories for positive transformation. Of course, contradictions will inevitably occur. Oppositions will pop up. What can we do? Certainly not just drop our convictions. Yet, we can also learn to see that our convictions only tell a small piece of a story. Without complete context, there’s only so much that can be understood. Oh, and how much more there always is to experience…
You are at the centre of everything.” — Adam Curtis
The notion of non-duality symbolizes the eternal: where everything exists at once. The akashic record and quantum hologram are two names for the idea that everything in existence—past, present, future—is integrated within a whole system in which all information and metaphysical phenomena are stored.
Philosopher and systems theorist Ervin László discusses the “Akashic field” in his book, Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything, published in 2004. László’s work provides an understanding of the “Akashic field” as a “constant and enduring memory of the universe”.3 This field represents a way of seeing past, present, and future all bound within the same story. The acknowledgement that everything we ever encounter—whether in a current moment, after the fact, or even in the future—is available in this field has the effect of opening our minds and vision to a profound field of experience. Imagine looking around. In each direction, you see multiple versions of yourself extend outward in the field: younger versions, older versions, alternate versions. Each version silently acknowledges the limitlessness of expression of who you feel you are or might wish to become. Each stage of life is irreplaceable and integral to the narrative we each create and live out.
How might we learn to access a field of experience that accounts for the elegant complexity of who we are or might become? Rather than live with the belief that chance encounters shape the contours of our lives, might there be a way for us to intentionally experience non-duality as a means for leveraging the power of serendipity? Do coincidences really occur by chance and contingency? Or do they reveal a larger, potentially unknowable, field of coherence? We believe that by pursuing these questions, we might discover far-reaching answers that guide our journey into unknown futures with grace and the wisdom of immense experience.
The current digital space has been built around the assumptions that attention is a resource to be mined, that there are only so many potential users, and that those users have a finite amount of time to spend on a particular service. It’s time to reclaim how our attention is defined and solicited.
The seemingly unstoppable march of digitization is exacerbating the problem of uniformity. A far cry from the earlier, Wild West days of the Internet, the monolithic tech corporations now act as gatekeepers to vast repositories of information. The way these companies see fit to distribute information through algorithms is unavoidably linked with what is beneficial for their bottom line: user retention, eyeballs on screens, and the accumulation of profit.
The ad-driven monetization structure of the Internet creates a simple cause and effect: the more clicks you get, the more money you make. Hence the rise of clickbait. Clickbait is nothing more than a digital version of a practice that’s existed within human society for centuries: distorting the truth to attract attention. But this organization of online content is especially susceptible to manipulation. Shrewd creators recognize what content receives the most attention and configure their aesthetics to appeal to these baser instincts. Predictably, it is, time and time again, the most shocking and provocative content that draws in the most views.
There is much talk of the attention economy. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings identified his company’s users’ need for sleep as his greatest source of competition. But attention is much more than a resource to be leveraged against us. And it does not always need to be a means to an end. How can we redesign digital systems to try to reverse this detrimental trend and reestablish attention as a shared human value?
One answer may lie in exploring the concept of presence. To be present, mentally and physically, means to feel deep roots within your current moment of consciousness. Presence means being aware of your bodily sensations, being connected to what surrounds you, and having the ability to perceive the world with focus. Athletes speak of being “in the zone”, a state of existence wherein time seems to slow down and every complex movement comes naturally. Many types of meditation are essentially concentrated efforts to feel this heightened level of mindfulness. Yet, our digital systems seem to be manufactured to achieve the very opposite of presence. They often seem designed to leave us in a state of perpetual distraction.
The stream of experience passing through our perception, second by second, is our window to the very nature of being itself. It is all we are and all we will ever know. If we allow ourselves to just be, we can feel time ebb and flow. And this feeling can take us down untrodden paths. Perhaps even exciting ones. The concept of presence can also allow us to grasp the intangible and unquantifiable. It can become a mode not just for analysis or consumption, but for exploration. As well, presence is a helpful way to detach from the unrelenting urge to accomplish and progress. And it is a strategy to allow ourselves to have a moment of peace from stress-inducing forces. This is absolutely vital for our wellbeing. When we are calm, we are able to access a more pure mode of existence, feeling the enthralling blend of all our senses as they come together within the fullness of a moment.
- The Power of Humility
- Healthy Habits
- Environmental Actors
- Economic Priorities
- Lessons Ahead