In this blog Ilia Delio shares some thoughts on this critical point in history and evolution, and the major paradigm shift we are now in the midst of. She refers to the relevance of the recent Women’s March, and to our Omega Center interview with mindfulness teacher and classroom innovator Amy Edelstein. In her work with inner city youth Amy empowers students through mindfulness training and the development of the inner resources and interiority that will be critical for navigating the times ahead.
After reading about the Women’s March and the success of the march around the world, I listened to the Omega Center interview with Amy Edelstein, an educator and founder of the Inner Strength Foundation, which is geared toward helping inner city teenagers develop mindfulness. Amy’s contemplative pedagogy helps teens navigate the complexities of life with purpose and compassion. She writes, “it’s my conviction that helping students perceive the profound interconnectedness of all things, from sub-atomic particles to planetary orbits in vast galaxies, while empowering them to self-regulate and cultivate compassion will prepare them to engage constructively with our increasingly complex world.” She goes on to say, “one of the best ways we can empower and prepare our youth is to familiarize them with uncertainty, introduce them to the fact of change, and the view of evolutionary unfolding. In this process-oriented perspective, we then show them how to connect the dots between large-scale influences and personal experience.” This is a revolutionary approach to education that is preparing youth for a new world up ahead. Amy sees teens as the architects of our shared future and she is helping them to build inner lives for a world of evolution.
That this interview comes on the heels of the Women’s March is no mere coincidence. We are in the midst of a major paradigm shift that began at the turn of the 20th century and is accelerating in our time, thanks to technology. Interestingly, while meditation and mindfulness have been with us for centuries, only recently have they enjoyed a renewed emphasis and practice. Part of the turn to mindfulness, I think, is related to the way the internet is rewiring the human brain. On the positive side, the internet connects us by bending space-time so that information travels from one location to the other almost instantly. The internet is creating informational selves that are more relational, insofar as the unbounded self is open to receive and transmit information at the touch of a button irregardless of race, gender, color, or creed. The internet is an extension of nature and reflects what quantum physics is telling us, namely, that we live in a networked universe. There are no “things” or “substances” in the physical world; rather, there are relationships and relationships give rise to things or being. Relationships are intrinsic to matter so that everything that exists is based on relationships. Quantum physics indicates an essential role for consciousness in the determination of matter so that, literally, mind matters to matter. Where my mind is, there too is my world. What I think shapes what I do and what I do is what I become. When my mind is scattered across multiple terrains, it cannot think so as to love, but when my mind awakens to the center of my being it awakens to love and all that love brings—peace, joy, and compassion. Teilhard said that consciousness is the “stuff” of life and love is the physical structure of the universe.
Teilhard spoke of evolution as the rise of the eternal feminine. He did not mean the rise of women alone but all who are attuned to a new consciousness, the rise of deep relationality, and thus the rise of a new unity marked by a new wholeness. I think Teilhard would have attended the Women’s March and would have seen it as a mark of evolution, a sign of a new movement towards planetization, a new type of humanity on the threshold of a new age. What is even more astounding, and I think Teilhard would agree, is that that the rise of deep relationality means an end to patriarchy. What we are witnessing in our institutions and government is the death of patriarchy (which is resisting evolution tooth and nail). In this respect, the Women’s March is not only a historical landmark for women; it is a landmark for all who seek a new world of relationality and all who hope in a new ultrahuman planet marked by compassion and love. We are at the dawn of a new sense of power and authority, as patriarchal systems can no longer sustain the forces of evolution. It is important at this moment that we do not sell our human freedom to technocracy or flatten ourselves out interiorly. We must focus on the inner energies of unity and love; we must center ourselves on the power of oneness within us, realizing that we have the capacity to help shape this planet (perhaps the universe itself) into a more unified whole, a oneness of deep relationality and compassion.
Amy Edelstein has brought together education and the power of mindfulness. May we learn from this wisdom teacher the rich resources within us, the uncharted power of the human mind and heart from which a new world is emerging. It is not necessarily the wealthy or elite who will inherit a new unified planet but it will be the mindful ones.