The End of Paradigm Paralysis

Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation

We have been considering paradigm paralysis, a condition in which the world has been thought of in a certain way for so long that it takes choice and energy to let change occur. The paralysis relates to believing that change can’t occur because the culture is too strong or you are not strong enough. There was a story in the news this week that is a comical example of paradigm paralysis.

“Despite the small matter of his death, Neculai Ivascu was re-elected as mayor for the north-eastern village of Voinesti in Romania last Sunday. Supporters weren’t going to let an inconvenient truth like the incumbent mayor’s mortality stand in the way of their balloting issues. A pro-Ivascu villager told Romanian television: ‘I know he died, but I don’t want change.’” (The Daily Mirror)

Talk about paradigm paralysis!

This is the time of the solstice, our longest day of the year. Last night we had our Saturday night meditation call and we had a group of people from Australia with us. This is their winter solstice, so they were having their shortest day. The arc of connection was strong, with abundant life moving through both groups of people. The fact that the sun was in its shortest day did not influence the amount of life and joy moving through them. They were a pretty vibrant group! But regardless of the circumstances, everyone online felt the opportunity on hand for life to move, and change to occur.

In the human state, paradigm paralysis is often the result of human beings thinking that the situation they’re in is far more comfortable than anywhere they can go. David Karchere was speaking last week about everything in the whole wide world being connected to me. So everything that I’m feeling and everything that’s going on is all a part of one big package. We just sang about the river of Judea. What about some other rivers that we know about—the flooding rivers of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois? Are you feeling that circumstance? It’s part of me; it’s part of us.

David also spoke about peak oil, as experienced from limited human consciousness and from the Earth’s perspective. What do you think the Earth is experiencing with all the flooding? “Finally, a great bath!” We have confined her rivers with dams, with houses and with levees. What’s it like for the Earth? Look what happened in New Orleans because human beings weren’t listening to the Earth. Perhaps another experience of paradigm paralysis! How much life can we hold back? Sometimes life takes an outbreath and change comes, and because we may have been in paradigm paralysis the change is not our choice. You will not change, so you must change.

Change, even in the way I’m talking about it, sounds ominous, scary, awful. But the inevitability of change is actually built into our DNA. It is what we do all the time. Every time we breathe, we change. Every time we eat, we change. Every time we fall in love, we change.

I don’t know about you, but I fall in love every day. The other day I fell in love when I walked into the hoop house on the Farm. I walked in, and I just started crying. Tomato plants all lined up! What could be more joyous?!—the orderliness, the smell and the heat… I was a different woman when I left the hoop house. Cells in my body changed because I fell in love in the hoop house. Deborah Parker’s substance was in there, Michael and Sara Puharich’s, everyone who has been in there, every intern’s substance was in there—but the tomato plants were in there too, clapping their hands, standing there saying, “I’m gonna make tomatoes! And you get to eat them!” And we get to be one with them, and be changed together because of that.

Sometimes when I hear the stories about the floods in Iowa, even though I have compassion for the heartache and loss, I feel the spirit of the river too. I feel its passion. I’ve lived on the Mississippi River. That’s a big river. I feel the land that has had asphalt on it for decades finally feeling the water on it again.

There’s so much magic in this world; and, to a considerable degree, humanity has stopped engaging with it, stopped enjoying it, because it seems to be easier to think in small ways.

Change. Who is willing? My good friends Bob and Judy Hollis are moving. Change. I don’t like it much when it comes to my friends leaving. But they’re so excited about it, how could I not be thrilled with the magic that something wonderful is happening? I’m getting older—change. What’s the other option, if you don’t get older? Hmmm…I’ll choose getting older!

Many people think of paradise, of the Garden of Eden, of utopia, as a changeless place. What do you think? Everything is all lined up, we all know the rules, we all know what we’re not supposed to touch, and we’ll just stay in an edenic utopia because nothing changes—we won’t make any mistakes and it will all stay perfect. That would be certain death. We are perfect and we are changing. Every time you breathe, every time you’re with a person, every time you engage, there’s change.

We have this beautiful Farm, and some people were willing to take it into their hands. It’s actually all about giving it back to the creative process. We say yes to receiving, but we give it all back. The cycles that Sara and Michael have been studying, such as in permaculture and holistic management, are all about giving the Earth back to its own natural rhythm. The human experience has often been about taking, and asking for more, asking to have things change for my sake. When we give it back so much is naturally given in return. We are part of everything, and it is all part of us. In an understanding of the natural processes of giving and receiving, we have the opportunity of standing in a place of assurance and authority in the midst of it.

Last night on our meditation call, Cecily Bills from Adelaide, Australia, was talking about all the feelings of anger, hate, fear and greed that arise, and what do you do with them? In a very similar vein, Wendy Mason in Devon, England, was talking about holding attunement with all the things of despair and all the frustrations that come to her. Both these women spoke about victory in that, not victimhood… We may feel something other than assurance and authority in the midst of the creative process.

When we hear about the flooding of the Mississippi, or when we experience what seems to be a more personal calamity, we may note the emotions that Cecily and Wendy described. But, as they said, what a privilege to know how to be responsive to the cosmic peace and order that is behind all change, so that all the hate, all the fear, all the greed, all the anger and despair is taken to a higher place; it’s all received in the place of cosmic peace and order that we know.

The choir sang about the river of Judea. While the Mississippi is a mighty river, the river of Judea that we sang about is the internal current, the flow of spirit that is within each of us, and all of us together. Our ability to navigate the external currents in our lives is directly related to our movement with that internal flow. The river of Judea is ringing, it’s singing, and it’s receiving all that flows into it. I heard of it long ago and maybe I forgot about it, but I hear it today. Feeling that internal river, I hear the singing of the rivers of the world, the clapping of the trees, the clapping of the thunder that came this morning, the joyous sound of the tomato plants, because I am in the river of Judea.

Sometimes a person may curse its movement, saying, “I don’t want any more.” If so, it is because they have become identified with the shore or the rocks—the territory through which the river is moving. Being the river, I can hold a million worlds. I am the river. I see it; I feel it. You can call me a liar, you can call me delusional, but I want you to go walk in the hoop house, and tell me it’s not there. Wake up and see the elk in the morning sun grazing in the field and tell me the river is not flowing through all things. I don’t believe it. The river is there for you because you are there.

So, as we welcome the summer here and the winter in the Southern Hemisphere, I want us to welcome all the seasons that are moving through us. Sometimes internally it feels like winter right in the middle of summer.

We have the authority to be the river of Judea. We get to be the sun and the stars in the middle of the fall. We get to welcome change so that we don’t feel compelled to vote for dead people. That is a sad, sad thing, voting for something and holding on to something that’s dead because you believe it’s better than what’s alive. If you’ve forgotten how wonderful it is to move with what’s alive, come and talk to me. Go stand in the hoop house. Go cut your roses. Go smell them. Let all that is around you remind you of the abundance you are connected to and the wonder that you are.

Let the mountains and the hills break forth before you into singing! They already are, and all the trees of the field are clapping their hands. Let the shift happen because paradigm paralysis ends.

Jane Anetrini
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