Human beings have such a long and unfortunate relationship with life that every religious culture in the world says basically the same thing:
1) Life on earth is unfortunate
2) It is better elsewhere (in heaven, or its equivalent).
It has been such a struggle for human beings to survive on earth, we tend to view struggle and suffering as our lot in life, as the nature of life itself.
It is not true, but we have a long history that seems to say otherwise.
Our lives becomes a constant struggle to learn, to thrive, to live peacefully with one another when surrounded by limits:
limited awareness, limited knowledge, limited resources
That ends in adulthood........ideally.
Three Basic Stages of Development
Individual human beings have the potential to mature through three basic stages of development in our relationship with life.
This is true also for entire societies and cultures.
The stages are: childhood, adulthood, and the transition between them, adolescence.
Now consider your experience of life in each of these stages.
Optimally, childhood is a time of innocence, safety, and the joys of experiencing the diverse wonders of life. This comes to an end, however, as you mature, become self-aware, and notice how your parents and others in your life struggle to survive or succeed.
During adolescence you become aware of the adult world without becoming part of it.
Gradually, you are introduced to the demands adults must meet, the tasks they must perform to survive or succeed.
You begin to experience your relationship with life as a burden.
By the time the developmental tasks of adolescence are over and you are ready to enter the world of adults, you can barely remember the sweetness of childhood.
By the time you assume the demands of adulthood, you are usually bitter about life, disillusioned that the memories of childhood have been tainted forever.
You dismiss those joyful years in favor of the more mature view of life as an onerous burden.
In adulthood, you have the awareness, knowledge, and resources you need to survive and succeed. Adulthood ends the developmental struggles typical of your formative years.
It is a time of graceful self-expression, not a struggle to survive........ideally.
Historically, the human race has been struggling through the developmental tasks of childhood and adolescence.
Our collective childhood we remember in our myths....
Our adolescence is something we are living through right now.
Our struggles are entirely due to limited awareness, which results in limited intelligence, knowledge, and resources (and the squandering of resources due to limited awareness, intelligence and knowledge).
Our historical childhood and adolescent experience of life is about to end.
Just as the struggles of adolescence end in adulthood, so too our historical struggles are about to end......perhaps.
The difference between childhood/adolescence and true adulthood can hardly be overstated. The wondrous and glorious nature of full human maturity is utterly unknown to us because full human maturity is the condition of being fully alive, a condition we heartily resist.
Ending that resistance is the developmental task we must complete to go from adolescence to adulthood.
It is done through a Rite of Initiation all human beings must survive to become fully human beings.
That Rite of Initiation is the healing ordeal of being filled with life.
The condition you are most afraid of, life, is the condition you must embrace to move from adolescence into full humanness and adulthood.
Whether most, many, or any human beings will make the transition to a new relationship with life from adolescence to maturity, creating a stable and sustainable culture and society of fully human beings, remains to be seen, but the transitional crisis is already here.
Its most overt form is dwindling resources.....
Adolescents live in and create a world of limited resources and we are running out of the resources to continue living as adolescents.
We are in an energy crisis, but the energy we need to live as fully human beings will not come from wind, or sun, or oceans, or earth.
It will and can only come from life itself!
The energy we need to create a glorious future is the energy of being fully alive, fully aware, fully intelligent.
Only as fully human beings will we have the inner resources to solve the problem of limited outer resources that we have created as adolescents.
So how can we make the transition to a relationship with life from adolescence to adulthood?
How do we become fully alive and fully mature human beings?
First, we must look at the world or reality we have created and see how we created it.
We will then know what we must do to create a future that is sustainable and desirable.
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