Revolutionary Change

The Great Transformation and The New Story

Principles of the New Paradigm

Presencing the Future

The Feminine

Bearing Witness
















About Rabia

RabiaIt’s time to change our Story
As a culture we seem to be approaching a certain awareness that things must change, and not just superficially. This awareness is arising, in part, because of the obvious decline in planetary health. But recent decades suggest that a sense of environmental ethics alone is not sufficient to provoke the level of change that is needed.

What does seem to be motivating people, however, is the growing awareness that many of the difficulties, problems and conflicts we experience as deeply personal—depression, poverty, joblessness, marital breakdown, loneliness, non-fulfilling work, sick children, the food we eat and medicine we are given—are related to the framework of beliefs and behaviors provided by our cultural world view or paradigm.

Since we tend to pattern ourselves and our collective institutions after this cultural world view, if this model of reality is faulty or disordered, then we ourselves are disordered in the same ways. Is there any way, then, not to let the dominant paradigm in which we currently exist define who we are? And on which level, the personal or the cultural, can our problems be resolved?

To change our world view, we begin by questioning the Big Story that validates the way things are. History shows that when people stop believing the stories that justify the social order, it begins to change. These changes can happen relatively quickly and a new identity emerges, or they can fail—and the larger system self-destructs.

This uncertain place is where we are today. The traditional Big Story that has guided us into modernity emphasizes separation, individualism, competition, monocultures, power–over, and unending economic progress. Although the story is still hard-wired into most of our institutions, it is steadily losing ground; a growing number of people no longer believe it is able to answer our most pressing problems. It is failing us at such a fast pace that more and more people are losing hope in the future. The poor feel they have no power, turning to drugs and crime. The middle class and the wealthy are kept distracted by busyness, technologies and an addiction to acquisition. Those who have the time and heart to care simply do not know what to do to make a difference.

Without story there is no “self”
Human beings are creatures of meaning, naturally seeking ways to give our days value beyond ensuring our own survival. For most of us, meaning comes from living in ways that align with a persistent cultural story that we are exposed to from birth. We are naturally social animals. A shared story enables us to survive together.

As we grow, this Meta-story is reinforced by the many smaller stories about family, place, gender, race, caste, etc. that become built into the structures we encounter every day. Collectively, the most enduring stories of meaning become part of the human unconscious; usually unacknowledged, they are our map of reality. We don’t think to question them, unless we, our people, our culture or our land is suffering terribly under its narrative.

A story is not our “understanding” of reality. The story is our reality. It literally determines what we can see and what we cannot. Eight thousand years ago, most people believed that God was a woman. Over time, with the ascent of patriarchal values, the story changed to one where people believed that God was a man. That women were witches with evil powers. That the Earth was flat. That the sun revolved around the Earth. That kings ruled by divine right. That everything important was written in one holy book.

We grow up internalizing most of the stories our society provides. What I internalize becomes my identity. The stories I tell literally create me, and I reinforce them by acting in ways that validate them. The history of humankind is made of such stories. Through them we have created our world; we accept the world that we story together as “the way things are.” They are reality.

We never grasp the world as it is in itself, apart from our stories about it. We do not experience a world and then make up stories to understand it. Whatever we experience is immediately transformed into a story. The limits of my story is the limit of my world. We cannot engage the world without storying it.

Through this mutual creation of reality we know who we are, what to teach our children, what is valuable, what counts for knowledge and how things happen. “Without stories there is no way to engage with the world because there is no world, and no one to engage with it, because there is no self.” *

A New Story is emerging
This view of life as story is not an assertion that the world exists only in our mind. Poverty, famine, drought, species extinction and climate change cannot be storied away—though some do try. However, to try to respond to the suffering caused by such events we need a story—a big story—that makes it important and possible.

The good news, perhaps the best news coming out of this historical moment, is that we are learning about the emergence of a New Story. This emerging Meta-story appears to hold answers and possibilities to address our interconnected personal, ecological and societal problems. This story is being transmitted around the globe through new technologies and a growing group of social entrepreneurs faster than any other major shift in our history.

Waking Up Together is designed to move this creative evolutionary process forward by bringing together the findings of science, nondual spirituality, and feminine wisdom to consider the implications of this emerging new paradigm for social change. But Waking Up Together it is not only a forum for creative thinking.

We are also using our connections and experience with a worldwide network of activists—men and women working for justice, peace and environmental sanity. The insights of social entrepreneurs and citizen activists are often ignored in the telling of the New Story. The emphasis so far has been on learning from scientists, New Age educators, philosophers, systems theorists, and spiritual teachers. But it is the activists “on the ground,” the grass roots “change agents” that who are moving ideas, insights, possibilities from the New Story into projects, programs and organizations, testing the ideas before the books are finished being written.

The full meaning of the new Meta-story and its impact on the way we interact with each other and the planet is not clear. No one scientist or avatar or world leader is going to write the New Story for us all to intellectually grasp and implement. It does not work like that. Meta-stories are largely unconscious, and usually have fuzzy edges—we don’t know exactly where or how they begin or where they are going. The best we can do is notice (and comment on) the reciprocal engagement between this New Transformative Story and what we are experiencing. They will change together.

* David Loy, The World is Made of Stories.