FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS, THE 21ST CENTURY WILL BE A GREAT JOURNEY
The world is getting more and more complex. We live in an era of volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times. These adjectives bring multiple uncertainties and changes. We see a turbulent, crazy, fast, disruptive, intense and dynamic world that creates a big gap and we don’t know what values, attitudes, feelings and solutions we can use to fill it. Today, we face this complexity gap between the demands we receive and our ability to respond to them.
This turbulence has a great impact on three aspects of our life: our systems, with things happening ever faster and more interconnected. Our relationships with communities, countries, and personal relationships, causing an important conflict of ideas. We see, at global level, a fight between the traditional and the new, a conflict that causes suffering such as it its impact on values and customs. And finally, our individual alienation: we are more anxious, depressed, furious, and emotionally confused than ever.
IT’S TIME TO UPDATE OUR OPERATING SYSTEM
Why is this global complexity causing such a bad effect on us? According to Sean, it’s because we’re looking at it the wrong way. We have to stop treating complexity as something to be faced or solved. We have to adapt ourselves and evolve to live within such complexity. After all, it’s our new reality. And to live well with it, we have to integrate our hearts and minds. We need to change into different people. We need to improve our abilities. This process starts when we work on our thinking systems.
WE USUALLY USE THREE TYPES OF THINKING:
Linear thinking: that famous black-and-white oversimplified thinking. It is a good method to solve simple issues requiring only one viable solution. But it’s too simple to address the current complexity.
Own thinking systems: this type of thinking uses a complete system with different polarities and takes into account more than one context. It compares, analyzes, and provides some viable solutions. However, it deals with one system at a time and it too can not support our new reality.
Advanced thinking systems: we have a third way of thinking that we still need to develop. It relates to entire systems of interactions, solutions, polarities, and contexts, identifying links with one another to solve problems. This way of thinking solves not only complicated but complex systems too, proposing several viable solutions.
However, we have to go beyond that. There’s still another type of thinking, which is more complex and comprehensive called integral thinking.
This way of thinking addresses multiple abstract systems and chaotic scenarios; it proposes adaptable solutions and synthesizes options, offering a result of countless viable solutions to different contexts.
The more complex type of thinking mean stronger integration of our hearts, minds and bodies, and more integral combinations – which is still so departmentalized from analytical and artistic knowledge.
WHERE’S THE PUSHBUTTON? CLOSER THAN YOU IMAGINE
But, how can we do this? How to improve our way of thinking and acquire this ability to address the complexity of this world? In fact, it is less complicated than it seems. There are two ways to do so.
We should be intimate with ourselves. It can be achieved through therapeutic, somatic and spiritual work. Even small things like writing a diary can be very useful for such purpose. But you have to be persevering and sincere; remember that an important part of self-investigation involves looking at internal aspects that no one else looks at (and would not want us to look at) in ourselves and understanding such dynamics.
One of the methods to practice self-investigation, recommended by Sean and frequently studied by science today, is meditation. It’s a free, easy, fast technique that doesn’t require any special tool and has no adverse side effects. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, using different approaches, styles and techniques. There are over 3,000 scientific studies that identify more than 100 positive effects of meditation in our lives.
These good effects include physical benefits such as improved immune systems, energy levels, breathing and heart rate; reduced blood pressure, heart and brain problems, and inflammatory diseases such as asthma; increased longevity, reduced symptoms in menstrual cramps and menopause, prevention of arthritis, fibromyalgia and HIV. In addition, it has emotional benefits such as decreased levels of anxiety, concern, impulsiveness, stress, fear, loneliness and depression; improved self-esteem and self-acceptance, optimism, relaxation and attention; higher level of resilience and resistance to pain; enhanced sense of mood and emotional intelligence; and finally, it helps control eating habits and addictions related to emotional factors, as well as building positive social connections.
Meditation also has a number of mental benefits, such as better focus and attention; improved memory retention, cognitive skills, information processing, decision making and problem solving; and it is a tool in the treatment of attention disorders. We can also mention the spiritual benefits, which include improved sense of peace, the possibility of a connection with a greater purpose, stronger relationships and compassion, access to sensations of joy and state of grace, dissolution of differences between mind, body and ego, support to reach states of transcendence and mindfulness as well as increased ability to quieten the mind.
It should be noted that all these lists were taken from scientific studies, based on a meditation sessions of only 20 minutes a day. We should take into account how each of these benefits increases our self-intimacy. By developing this ability that already exists in us to understand the fullness of our body, mind and spirit, it will be easier for us to deal with the complexity in the world and our life.
2. INVESTIGATION OF THE OTHER.
But there is also another way to improve our skills and fill the complexity gap. This is done by developing intimacy with other people; it is about exploring other people’s views, getting to know them better, understanding their reasons, analyzing why they think the way they think, and building understanding.
We can do this by putting things in perspective – that is, looking at a situation from different points of view. It is a simple practice, as it doesn’t require anything from us, except good imagination. It’s interesting to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine how this person thinks.
But there’s another way to investigate the other, which is a little more complex, but far richer, method: look for new perspectives. More than imagining what people think, the key is to approach them and ask them. It is also important to listen with an open heart, ready to try to understand what makes them think and act the way they do.
After analyzing these perspectives, there’s a last task: coordinate these perspectives. It means creating something new, bringing all that has been learned in this immersion into the mind of the other, and putting it all together into one action.
By combining self-investigation with the investigation of the other, we can understand and fill the gaps in an incredible way. We cultivate the ability to integrate: integrating with our own systems and integrating with the rest of the world. We become more aware and present. The complex world needs us. By allowing more self-intimacy and intimacy with the others in this new reality, we will be able to create a more beautiful world than our heart can envisage or our mind imagine.