At last, 2012 has arrived!
As we enter into a pivotal year for us and our world, it’s clear that the role of community has become key to the way we navigate the huge changes that life seems to be bringing our way.
I’m taking the opportunity to personally express my deepest gratitude to you for all that you do to make the big community of our world a better place.
I want you to know that I’ve never been more optimistic about our future and the world that is emerging before our eyes!
From the oral traditions of ancient peoples throughout the world, to the theme of the world’s most cherished spiritual traditions, the significance of our 2012 “window of change” has been no secret. Our ancestors knew this time of change was coming, because it always does. They understood the cyclic nature of Earth’s shifting environment. (Fractal Time, 2009) They also knew that our future would be determined less by the changes themselves and more about us, and whether we choose to fight one another, or work to help one another, as we go through the changes. (Deep Truth, 2011)
For very different reasons, the best minds of today agree. Scientists, engineers, social architects, religious and spiritual leaders throughout the world are warning us that the choices we make in our immediate future will determine nothing less than the fate of our nations, civilization itself, and the future of life here on Earth. (Crossroads for Planet Earth, Scientific American, September 2005)
I’ve been asked by many people, from many places in the world, to comment on the events of 2011 and where I believe they’re leading and what we can expect for 2012 and the years ahead. Rather than responding to hundreds of letters individually I’ve chosen to answer in one letter to our community.
The Stage is Set:
It’s no secret that the world of the past is gone. The conventional ways of thinking and living that we’ve grown accustomed to — the ways we’ve thought of jobs, careers, money, wealth, security, healing and the role of America in the larger world are falling away before our eyes, faster than even those who knew the changes were coming could have expected. It is a fact that you and I are witnessing the greatest shift in power, wealth, resources and thinking in recorded history. And while the experts have their viewpoints regarding what lies at the root of specific crises and what “went wrong” with this or that, when we step back and look at the big picture, the reason for such massive change becomes obvious: the world of the past is no longer sustainable.
From our policies of energy, economics and technology to the way we think of security and how nations work together, the choices made in the past no longer work in the world of today. As we discover the limits and experience the consequences of the vast learning curve that has led to 2012, we’ve arrived at a turning point with only one of two possible outcomes – transformation or collapse.
Choice Point 2012
While ancient traditions and modern science underscore the magnitude of our time in history, they also remind us of a powerful fact: it is through our choices that the outcomes will be determined. The question is this: How do we tip the scales of peace, cooperation and healing in our favor? Specifically, how do we create an environment that supports fair and sustainable economies? That shares Earth respectfully and compassionately with all life? That bridges the issues that tear at the fabric of society?
The diverse body of work that I’ve developed over the past 25 years is my answer to these questions. The choices we make in life are a reflection of the way we think of ourselves, our relationship to the Earth, our past, and to one another. I believe that when the facts of these relationships are clear, our choices become obvious. Those of you that know me personally know that I’m an optimist. I’m also a realist. I’m optimistic about our future, while I realistically acknowledge that we are poised on the brink of what will either become some very bad choices, or very some good decisions. For me, knowing that choices exist, and that we’re living a time that gives our choices a greater potency, gives new meaning and renewed hope to this 2012 year of emergence.
The Shift in Thinking
So, what do I think 2012 has in store?
Honestly, I can’t say because we’re still in the process of choosing. What I do know is that it will take every one of us, and the diversity of our beliefs and ideas, and the love for life that we bring to our global community to birth the world of our greatest destiny rather than succumb to the darkness of our greatest fears. For those who can embrace the learning curve of our past without judgment, the future becomes the palate for new industry, new jobs, new forms of expression, and new communities based upon sustainable ways of thinking, living, and being in our world. For those who cling to old and unsustainable ways of living by clinging to old and unsustainable ways of thinking, 2012 may, in fact, look like the fulfillment of history’s darkest prophecies.
Perhaps one of the most powerful keys to determining our experience of the months ahead comes from a shift in thinking that invites us beyond asking,
“What can I get from the world that exists,” to asking, “What can I offer to the world that is awakening?”
The way we answer this question as individuals becomes our collective answer to what comes next.
Personally, I’ve never felt better about the future and the possibilities that await us. Now it’s up to us. We’ve already made the choices of peace and cooperation in our hearts. Now it’s time for us to live those choices in our world. I look forward to working with you as we do so, together, throughout this new year of 2012, and beyond.
© Gregg Braden