Paying Attention in Troubled Times

March 12, 2019 | By More

Let’s face it .. these are stressful times. And the more stress people experience, the less resourced they become, especially when faced with difficult challenges. I recently wrote a piece that received a lot of online engagement:

The anxieties that plague us are, for the most part, a sane response to insane situations and circumstances. But we rarely treat them as such. Instead we look for fixes to overcome the sense of powerlessness, despair, or anxiety informing our emotional and mental states. We rush out to buy self-help books, we align our chakras, sign up for programs to still the mind or ‘transform’ ourselves, take meds, convince ourselves that we’re distraught because we must be ‘coming from fear’. The assumption is that people who ‘come from love’ aren’t ever agitated .. or angry .. or that they never judge. The assumption is that ‘coming from love’ is commensurate with wisdom. Well friends, to learn discernment is vital to life itself .. it is to have your wits about you. It’s the ability to look head on at what is in front of us and recognize what serves life and what doesn’t. 

The challenge of our time is to pay attention, to learn how to employ one’s mind, to deprogram it from the regime colluding indoctrination it has been subjected to, and to become discerning in a manner that will in fact be of service to life, the earth and those yet to be born. So if you’re feeling sad, agitated, angry, confused .. consider that you’re not actually messed up and in need of a personal tune-up but rather you’re in need of a sane culture.

Many people commented on how powerfully these words spoke to them. You might call it good news to find out that your angst doesn’t actually come from you but rather from the world around you, specifically the constructed environments that are more hostile than kind towards our deeper humanity. The bad news is we’re quite limited when it comes to having significant impact on those external influences. You may not agree with the level of technology in our lives for instance but it’s difficult to completely cut oneself off from it let alone stop it.

And so as the troubles brew in our midst, there’s really no place to go to get away from it all. The meditation pillow or 10 day trip to somewhere warm is short lived. We still have to live with each other and contend with the ever-growing challenges of living in a fast paced world that shows no signs of slowing down. 

The one very valuable gift we can give to ourselves and each other is our way of speaking and listening. It’s more important than ever to consider what comes out of our mouths and how it contributes or interferes with our ability to serve life and care for each other. Here then is where the personal tune-up is crucial especially when we recognize that our suffering and challenges are more collective and cultural than they are personal even as they register so personally. Cultural repair must be emphasized in our personal work. And it must show up in how we speak about what plagues us. 

The point of convergence between our inner and outer worlds is our speech and action. What we say and do is no small thing. This is a time to bring increased awareness to our speech and actions and to grant them the proper respectful and disciplined approach they deserve. 

Rachelle Lamb’s lifelong interest in human development, relationship dynamics and the roles that culture and ecology play in people’s lives, along with her ability to skillfully pave the way for transformational dialogue between people consistently produces powerful learning experiences for individuals and audiences. Learn more at

Category: Articles, Health & Natural Therapies

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