By Giles Hutchins
There is a profound shift underway in our cultural story, sense of purpose and organizational logic. Deep and complex influences within our own psyche, our collective consciousness and in the structures pervading organizations are being challenged to radically reshape. At its heart, this paradigm shift challenges the very way we view the world and ourselves. It has the potential to change everything, and can be summarized as a shift from separateness to sacredness.
The indigenous elders of Peru explain the complete cycle of humanity as going through three movements: time of creation, time of conservation and time of renewal. The big change happens in the time of renewal, which the wise elders say is upon us now. Fundamental to this is a radical change in perception – a shift in conscious awareness – which affects how we attend to life, how we be, do and become. This time of renewal we find ourselves in can be very upsetting and painful while also profoundly liberating, as we free ourselves from old mental constructs, regulations and habits that keep us imprisoned in the status quo.
"I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation." — Gus Speth, U.S. Advisor on climate change
It is easy to become inured and institutionalized by the status quo and hard to break through beyond. And so the biggest challenge facing humanity is not climate change, consumerism or capitalism but our own ingrained mindsets, behaviors and beliefs -- and our ability to overcome them. The future depends not on techno-fixes but on our ability as leaders, change agents, employers, employees, neighbors, family members and friends to become aware of our true nature and sense of purpose in this world -- in other words, to become deeply aware of who we are and what we are here for.
"The new systemic understanding of life that has been developed at the forefront of science comprises biological, cognative, social and ecological dimensions. It applies to all living systems – individual organisms, social systems and ecosystems. Hence, it is relevant to virtually all professions and endevours." – Fritjof Capra
We are living through a supreme moment of our evolution of consciousness. The old worldview has had its day. This was a worldview of organizations, societies and individuals perceived as competitive self-maximizing units embroiled in an evolutional process of selfish ascendency where we either dominate or become dominated. The emerging worldview perceives a deeper inter-relatedness beyond the narrowing-down lens of our alienating ego-consciousness (and left-brained reductionism). This new worldview opens us up to an ecological consciousness (of head, heart and hand ‘bodymind’ awareness), which perceives the nature of our selves immersed within a sentient sea of entwined mind and matter.
It is our forgotten sense of the sacred sentience of life that underlies all of our current crises. Deal with this and you deal with causes (materialism and anthropocentrism) and their downstream effects (social, environmental and economic degradation). And there are many people actively involved in helping this transformation in consciousness take root (for more on this see The Future of Business article on TriplePundit). This sacred vision and deeper way of relating is not some luxury add-on which can be dispensed with in times of economic strife: It is foundational to who we truly are; without it we become rudderless, tossed this way and that by inauthentic, egotistic whims – distracted, dis-eased and deluded. Enter the contagion of consumerism in our midst.
Narcissistic > Empathic
Materialistic > Soulful
Ego as master > Ego as assistant
Patriarchy > Reciprocity
Separation > Inclusion
We can realize this sacred vision of the world through our joyful attunement of our body and environment. By letting go of habituations and narrowing-down constrictions in our minds, we create space for a deeper awareness of life beyond the illusion of separation to radiate through us. After all, it’s our true nature and, when activated, it feels like a homecoming.
It is through our deepening awareness that we begin to realize the truth of the poet William Blake’s words, "Everything that lives is holy." And through our awareness of what is in this present moment of life, we realize this holiness. This is our beginning. From here we can breathe into the new paradigm of reverence and respect, becoming all that we truly are in this enchanting and deeply wise world.
Giles Hutchins applies twenty years business experience to the emergence of new business logic inspired and in harmony with nature, for a short video see here.