We have to step up to a higher and more inclusive level of seeing what is going on in order to understand and solve great challenges. Certainly climate disruption represents one of the greatest tests humanity has ever faced because it is a much higher level problem than the actions which have created it: countless local actions (driving cars, running factories, etc.) have produced global consequences that respect no national boundaries and that imperil our collective future.
Here is how James Speth, former head of the Council on Environmental Quality and a top Washington policy maker, describes the up-leveling of perception required: "I used to think the top environmental problems facing the world were global warming, environmental degradation, and eco-system collapse.. but I was wrong. The real problem is not those three items, but greed, selfishness and apathy. And for that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation." The transformation that Speth speaks about is a shift to a higher level of attention and seeing the world from a more objective vantage point with a witnessing or reflective consciousness.
Simply stated, what is required is a shift from an "embedded consciousness" that is locked inside the habits of our thinking mind to a more spacious "reflective consciousness" that enables us to become a fair witness or objective observer of our lives. This does not mean we stop thinking; instead, we stand back and, without judgment, simply watch what we are thinking and how we are relating to both the world and ourselves.
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