This reality offers an extreme amount of contrast; it can be the greatest heaven or the most unbearable hell. Unfortunately, it is not 50-50; not even close. For most people on Earth, suffering, on some level, is the predominant state of being. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose to change, but change only comes after awareness. As long as we remain ignorant and/or wait for the other(s) to change, change remains elusive.
If you have ever wondered why positive change in our world is so slow and why we allow the level of destruction, harm, and injustice that we do, from my perspective it comes down to four main reasons. They are not in the details of who is doing what, how, or when but in our general human condition.
1. Unable to Perceive Incremental Change
As writer George Monbiot shares, “We have a fatal weakness: a failure to perceive incremental change.” Think of the frog in the boiling water meme. Whether it is your relationship, your health, or the state of things in our world, if you ever found yourself saying, “How did this happen? How did it come to this?” chances are you missed the signs along the way, of which there are always many. We can overcome this fatal weakness though, through radical awareness. The more you invest in strengthening your muscle of mindfulness and see things as they really are in each moment, not as you wish/think them to be or dismiss them out of not liking what you see, the more you catch the signs and have an opportunity to change the course of the outcome in each moment.
2. Have a Short Memory
We have a very short memory, specifically where it matters, and all too readily accept the new “normals”, which are often far from normal. (For a thought-provoking read on this topic, I recommend the poignant novel Animal Farm by George Orwell.)
3. See Ourselves as Powerless
We feel hopeless and give away our power all too easily, always thinking that the external (physical or spiritual) controls us and our reality when it all stems from within. As long as we don’t see our participation in the very things we want and don’t want, as long as we don’t connect the dots, we remain the victims of our own predicaments.
4. Under Social Influence
We are social species, and too few of us are willing to go out on a limb and lead our own path, instead of following the herd. If the group is moving in a positive direction, no harm is done perhaps, but when the group is moving over the edge of a cliff, we are in big trouble. This stems from the fact that we care too much about fitting in, even at the cost of our own wellbeing, and that of others.
So what do we do? That all depends on what you are ready for and willing to do. The more aware you become of these four weaknesses of our human condition and when you are under their spell, the more you can liberate yourself to create positive change in your own life, and in turn our world, to enjoy more of the heaven that this reality can provide.