Sometimes it seems there’s a whole generation of people who are perpetually triggered and always tense. They live in a state of constant reactivity. They’ll often report the reasons are things like systemic injustice, racism, sexism, etc. And so their anger and agitation is justified. Maybe so.
As a generation Millennials (and Gen-Z) are not unique in their exposure to stressful stimuli, each generation has had its reasons to fret. For the Boomers it was civil rights and Vietnam, for Gen-X it was the hopelessness that typified the Cold War and the inevitability of nuclear annihilation. That same apocalyptic perspective is freshly clothed in the current climate crisis. For most people the everyday struggles of life itself; work, health, money, family are an inevitable source of tension.
Now I’m not going to get into the veracity of the issues, rather I’m interested in our response to them, as the need to deal with problems small and large is part and parcel of the human condition.
Getting to the root of not just specific problems but problems as a whole is the ideal approach. If we’re going to solve problems and also stop creating them needlessly we need to change our consciousness as well as our thinking. This means waking up. And not just in a political or social way, but all the way; nondual, transpersonal, spiritual awakening.
But I’ve come to feel that most people don’t really want or aren’t ready for this awakening. They need a bridge, and intermediary stage to lead them from their current malaise or overwhelm to the possibility of more ease, more peace, more capacity. They’re not ready to let go of all their perceived problems, they’re more interested in trying to fix them directly. Fortunately many teachings offer a way to more intelligence, more creativity, more energy, etc. Practices such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness for example.
Maybe it’s a trick this progressive path, this path of evolution. Is it disingenuous to offer it up as such, knowing that it results in its own transcendence? Is it a lie to not disclose the whole truth of where it’s heading or is it skillful means?
Ramana Maharshi was asked by Paramahansa Yogananda what was the means of liberation, what was the method. Ramana replied that it depended on who was asking, because the level of consciousness of the person would determine the appropriate approach for them. He said that there can be no single, universal prescription for Self-realization. Of course this doesn’t mean there are none, or that there are, practically speaking, infinite ways. It means there are many and one should pick the correct practice or method at any given stage of one’s evolution. Ultimately all methods are transcended. Because there can be no doing if there’s no do-er.
My point is whatever the method, however long and winding our path might be, we’ll never be happy and free of affliction or able to face our problems fearlessly and compassionately until we discover our true nature, the Self. And that true Self is not a perfected person of some kind but consciousness itself, the field of infinite intelligence and creativity. This is what we already are, we only have to recognize it.
So in regard to the problems of the world the question of do we fix them, accept them, or transcend them; it seems to me the answer is all of the above.