Let’s Focus on the “How” Instead of the “Why”

2012 has been a year of accelerating shifts, change, and evolutionary opportunities, many of which have been less than positive. This year (granted, the past few) has been rife with unsettling and chaotic if not tragic events both collectively and for many of us, personally as well. Inevitably it seems that the negative makes a more profound and lasting impact on humanity than the positive.

Lest we despair, it helps to remember that just as the sun cannot shine without casting shadows, even the darkest days are not wasted. They provide the contrast required for us to recognize light and consciously seek it.

There is no more fitting a time to explore this theme. As I write this, the northern hemisphere is in the midst of the winter solstice when daylight is in shortest supply. So it also seems timely to explore the shadow side of life, to learn how to utilize it for growth and good, and to understand how to reap its full potential.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy aptly illustrates the typical, almost instinctive human reaction to negativity and tragedy: we seek a reason for it. We need to know why. How many times in the last week or two have you heard people ask “why” the Newtown, CT massacre happened? Why a troubled young man went on a violent shooting rampage? Why he targeted the school – and why that school? Why his mother left guns in the house? Why he was not diagnosed and treated or otherwise given help before? Why, why, for the love of God why?

We’ve all been there too when our personal tragedies strike, wondering why a family member becomes ill, why a relationship fails, why a job is lost, as if understanding why the thing happened could have prevented it in the first place. As if there were even a single reason. Therein lies the logical fallacy.

Sometimes on an intellectual level, understanding “why” can prevent or greatly reduce the probability of a specific outcome. Understanding that penicillin fights smallpox can prevent smallpox. Understanding that the human body is 70% water and drinking enough of it can prevent dehydration. Understanding that smoking, obesity and lack of exercise increase one’s risk of heart disease can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and prevent a heart attack. But these examples have direct cause-and-effect relationships. Assuming all of life does as well is a flawed assumption.

My spiritual teacher has a saying. “Why’s aren’t wise,” he says. I’d like to suggest we take that to heart, and instead of focusing on, analyzing and trying to dissect and unpack the chain of events leading to anything (which, if you’ve studied even a little physics and math, you know is impossible anyway) we instead focus on the “what” and the “how”.

In the face of Sandy Hook or any tragedy, dwelling in the past to unravel the “why” serves little purpose. It happened. We are left to face the dark reality of it and allow that darkness to cast its shadow. The shadow in turn motivates us to learn. The shadow brings us to the brink of tolerance and into pain so intense that the prospect of change is now far less daunting than maintaining the status quo.

So I ask you:

  • What would you like the future to look like?
  • How do we go about creating it?
  • How do we change and evolve as both a society and individuals so this doesn’t happen again?
  • What are we aware of that we couldn’t see before?
  • How do we remain open-eyed, open-minded and open-hearted enough in the face of pain to effect meaningful change? To take inspired action?
  • How do we constructively process our emotions?
  • How do we meaningfully connect to one another in order to heal?

In this season of darkness, I encourage you to contemplate how you wish to BE in the world. Not how you think you should be or how you plan to become, but how you want to literally behave, in action and spirit, from moment to moment and with person to person. Then contemplate how you wish that world to be.

Use this sacred window, this time of transition between darkest hour and growing light, to be still, to sit with those questions, and to allow the answers to well up from the divine within you.

Then, go forth in inspired action and shine.

If what millions are saying about this galactic and astrological period is true, we have the opportunity to intentionally birth a new earth, to consciously evolve as humans, and to manifest a future of our choosing. For the first time in human history, we also have the knowledge, awareness, technology, communication infrastructure and connectivity to actually do it.

High time we get to it.