Session 3 -- Spiritual/Psychological Issues
"...the true crisis lies much
deeper and can best be described as spiritual...our current emphasis
on what can be measured and owned is
disguising what we all really want and need from life.
I believe that we are hungry for authentic relationships with other individuals and with the natural world." (Robert Theobold)
"When we deny or repress our
pain for the world, or treat it as a private pathology, our power
to take part in the healing of our world
is diminished. This apatheia need not become a terminal
condition. Our capacity to respond to our own and others' suffering can be unblocked." (Joanna Macy)
Reflecting on our spiritual and psychological responses to the year 2000 problem.
Becoming better informed about the spiritual/psychological
reactions we may observe in others.
"What Sort of Spiritual and Emotional Challenges Does Y2K Present?" Tom Atlee.
"The Psychological Challenges of Y2K," Gordon Davidson and Corinne McLauglin.
"The Greatest Danger: Apatheia, The Deadening of Mind and Heart" (selection), Coming Back to Life, Joanna Macy.
"Y2K and The Human Psyche," (from "All Together Now: The 'Y2K Neighborhood' Takes on the 'Millennium Computer Bomb'), Larry Shook.
"Restoring Time -- A Way of Navigating the Rapids of Y2K," (selection), David La Chapelle.
"Y2K: An Opportunity In Disguise?", Dianne Brause, Talking Leaves, Winter 1999.
"Waking up to Life," Cathy Holt, EarthLight, Winter 1998-99.
"Ladakh ñ Lessons for the
Future," Helena Norberg-Hedge, Talking Leaves, Winter
What spiritual and psychological challenges does the approach of Y2K bring? How might these challenges affect our behavior and that of people in our families and neighborhoods? What are the consequences of ignoring our feelings? How can we use the experience of our feelings to inform our transformation and action?
Gordon Davidson and Corinne McLauglin observe that the psychological stages experienced by people confronting Y2K are similar to those they go through in relation to a traumatic event. In a selection from her book (Coming Back to Life), Joanna Macy speaks of apathy in the face of danger signals that on a smaller scale might trigger action; but instead we "pull down the blinds."
Larry Shook describes a range of responses to Y2K, from emotional to skeptical to "convert," reminding us that an honest look at the implications of the problem may not be very comfortable.
Our culture moves too fast, says David La Chapelle, who considers the year 2000 problem an opportunity to transform our relationship with time ñ an opportunity to return to "sacred time." Dianne Brause and Cathy Holt also think Y2K presents possibilities for transformation of our relationships with speed, technology and each other.
Helena Norberg-Hodge treats us to the
story of Ladakh, and the inspiration of a people who live in
relationship with their place, who spend a long time completing
what we might call primitive tasks, yet live at a "gentle
pace" and enjoy an abundance of time. Norberg-Hodge, too,
believes that we are being offered the opportunity to move toward
living more ecologically-balanced lives.
OPENING THE CIRCLE
ENTERING THE CONVERSATION (Each person responds)
What have been your spiritual/psychological responses to Y2K?
QUESTIONS TO DEEP THE STUDY
1. As most of us know, the psychological
stages are not linear. What is it like for you to revisit stages
you have previously experienced?
2. Carmichael says that technology has become an alternative to the human world. What do your daily rituals reveal about your relationship with technology?
3. To what, if any, aspects of Y2K do you react with apathy? With compassion?
4. Which of the psychological stages in another person is most challenging for you?
5. Do you agree with Norberg-Hodge that we are "spiraling back to an ancient connection between ourselves and the earth"?
6. What spiritual and psychological resources are available to support people in your neighborhood?
7. What would it mean to "slow down" in the face of crisis? Can we afford to?
WHAT ACTION COULD BE TAKEN?
REFLECTING ON THE CONVERSATION (Each person responds)
What spiritual or emotional resources can you draw on right away?
CLOSING THE CIRCLE OR
RITUAL (See "Ritual
RESOURCES & LINKS
Waking Up In Time, Peter Russell, Associated Publishers Group,
Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World, Joanna Macy, with Molly Young Brown, New Society Publishers, 1998.
Awakening: The Upside of Y2K, ed. By Judy Laddon, Tom Atlee & Larry Shook, The Printed Word, 1998.