Embrace the future – it’s here

Mindfulness – the art of conscious living – is the new black, and not only in the overworked corporate world. “Mindfulness helps you to build what I call ‘mind strength’, ” according to therapist and meditation teacher, Ron Alexander. “Your awareness and consciousness become really toned. This is an excellent strategy for becoming successful in your profession, as well as the bigger game of transforming yourself and the people who work with and for you.” Alexander and his ilk advocate what Buddhists have believed for millennia: that the universe exists only at this time and at this place. A challenging concept for many, it might prove to be a critical technique for dealing with increasing levels of volatility and ambiguity.  “When we believe in a continuing line of time from past to present to future, it becomes very easy for us to construct mental pictures of the world, to construct theories about how the world works,” says the UK-based Dogen Sangha Buddhist group. “And because those theories, the theories of Newton and Darwin, seem to describe our real situations very well, we believe that they are true. We believe in the religion of science.” Unfortunately, many such unshakeable truths become debunked as society, and scientific knowledge, progress. How, then, to prepare for a future that threatens more upheaval and polarity than we’ve seen in generations? Perhaps by taking a leaf out of the book of science fiction author, William Gibson, who announced in 1993 that “the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed”. In a seminal piece on Generation Flux in Fast Company in January, writer Robert Safian notes the futility of searching for the ‘right’ forecast – the road map and model that will define the next era.  “The next decade or two will be defined more by fluidity than by any new, settled paradigm,” Safian says. “If there is a pattern to all this, it is that there is no pattern. The most valuable insight is that we are, in a critical sense, in a time of chaos.”

 

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