This is an amazing time to be alive!
“Yeah, right,” my inner cynic says, “crumbling economy, peak oil, peak everything, melting ice caps, mass extinctions… and you have no idea how you are going to survive in your old age.” The list goes on and on… all woven together, I remind my cynic within, by the incredible, inescapable fact that we are living in a time when the old is crumbling, which is when there is the greatest opportunity to create something new.
And that IS an amazing time to be alive!
Those who believe that logistical preparation alone is sufficient as industrial civilization crumbles are deluding themselves. This article gives us a clue about what is in store for us emotionally. Are we prepared to cope with it?
In these turbulent times, it is both comforting and inspiring to hear the words of the mystical Persian poet, Rumi, who after more than 700 years is being passionately embraced by millions around the world who crave the juice and joy of poetry that speaks powerfully and personally to life in this age of uncertainty.
To find meaning and purpose, Carolyn advocates a process called ‘inner transition,’ which focuses the individual on answering two questions: “Who do I want to be?” and “What am I here to do?” The process is about redefining our relationship to work, to each other, and to the world around us – in short, redefining what “prosperity” means. For too many in the recent past, prosperity = money. In a future where many current professions and industries may no longer exist, those who respect the work they do – whatever it is – will find much more fulfillment than those remaining fixated on a specific income level that they may not be able to return to.
The massive problems and loss of opportunities that characterize current culture make it more difficult for individuals to find a meaningful orientation in the course of their lives. Young people face a world lacking in jobs, but flooded with uncertainties. At the same time, older folks live longer and longer, but face greater and greater insecurity.
Clearly, there are real fears and wild uncertainties in this rapidly changing world. There are many people waiting and willing to exploit the fears of others. And, the tendency to panic as part of the herd can suddenly strike anyone. Everyone feels some fear when panic is in the air. Yet, fear can also be a guide that clarifies what needs to be risked for a greater life to be found. That’s what I tell young people when they ask what to do as the world around us becomes increasingly riddled with great uncertainty and blind reactions.
Eckhart Tolle has explored this collapse of ego dominated structures in his writings and the dysfunctional egoic need for more, more, more, or infinite expansion, as the underlying cause. But the ego dominated structures of modern civilization are facing the “wall” of finite resources, and contraction or collapse is inevitable. Preparing emotionally and spiritually for this collapse will be the focus of our conversation with Carolyn.
For me, the topic of peak psychotherapy is not about wild speculation regarding the status of mental or other health care two decades from now. Will psychotherapy even exist, and if it does, what will it look like? We cannot answer that with certainty, but it is safe to assume that it will look very different from how it looks today and that however it looks in the future, it will be accessible to many fewer people than it is in present time—which may or may not be a good thing.
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To get the most out of the book, readers should prepare to take as long as it takes, even setting up an intentionally defined period of time to really leave space to answer its questions. I could see reading just one chapter a month, and dedicating a night or weekend each month to shut everything out simply to explore the questions. Or working with a partner or in groups to get feedback and share ideas.