How can we feel fully alive — in spite and in service of the changing world before us? How do we shape ourselves, as individuals and a collective species, in ways that will allow all of life to flourish?

We’re living in a time of great change. Most of us don’t have to look far to see the shifts happening in our biological, social, and ecological worlds. As the resources in our eCourse “Reclaiming Aliveness: How Great Fullness Can Transform Our World,” illustrate, technology is exponentially accelerating, the ecological systems holding the planet in balance are rapidly changing, and the social structures guiding our relationships as humans seem to grow more tenuous by the minute.

In “On What the Year 2050 Has in Store for Humankind,” author Yuval Noah Harari says, “Humankind is facing unprecedented revolutions, all our old stories are crumbling and no new story has so far emerged to replace them. How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties?”

Though we cannot predict the outcomes, change is certain. And change, especially on a large scale, often creates stress.

Surely our charge is not merely to survive and manage the transformations and uncertainties before us – it is to thrive as well. How can we feel fully alive — in spite of and in service of the changing world before us? How do we shape ourselves, as individuals and a collective species, in ways that will allow all of life to flourish?

Though we cannot predict the outcomes, change is certain. And change, especially on a large scale, often creates stress.

“To survive and flourish in such a world, you will need a lot of mental flexibility and great reserves of emotional balance. You will have to repeatedly let go of some of what you know best, and feel at home with the unknown,” says Harari.

This way of being may be at odds with how we naturally engage with the world. Many of us feel uneasy with uncertainty, as is consistent with our default biology.

But it is this uncertainty — and our capacity to face it — that invites us to play an active role in a paradigm shift, rather than to passively experience it. In “Authoring a Paradigm Shift,” Jeff Carreira says, “Those of us who are recognizing the limitations of our current paradigm and aspire to play a part in manifesting a new one must find the inner strength and emotional fortitude to face the existential insecurity of not knowing what tomorrow may bring. How terrifying and how exhilarating at the same time.” Indeed.

“We have to invent the inner spine, each one of us, and then we come back to this spirituality that ties us to our true self, to one another, and to all.”
~ Br. David Steindl-Rast

Somewhat paradoxically, Carreira suggests that we allow a new paradigm to emerge with a receptive, rather than assertive, approach in which we access a space of “pure experience” and stillness. “We cannot write the story of a new paradigm, but the new paradigm can write its own story through us if we let it. Once we enter into the non-conceptual space of raw possibility it is not our job to create. It is our sacred work to allow creation to happen through us.”

As the bulk of our eCourse explores, the sacred work of channeling creation is what it means to live with aliveness. In “From Disconnection to Connection,” Brother David says, “We have to invent the inner spine, each one of us, and then we come back to this spirituality that ties us to our true self, to one another, and to all.” Inner work that emphasizes the development of emotional intelligence; that cultivates mindfulness, creativity, and contentment; and that engages our capacity for compassionate action supports us in developing that inner spine. In the words of Brother David, “That is our great task today.”

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