The pandemic, climate emergency and other crises are creating overwhelm and uncertainty. What is so significant about this time is that these crises are exposing and challenging the underpinning values of our society. This is our opportunity to usher in a new set of values capable of generating a more awakened world and society. Isira calls these The Four Pillars.
The link between personal and societal values and our world crises
Listen to conversations about what is happening in the world and you may hear very different stories. For some it’s a time of hope and new possibilities. Yet for many it is overwhelmingly disturbing and creating uncertainty.
Without a doubt, we are in a social and political dilemma of global scale. Our current and ongoing crises, the pandemic and climate emergency to name just two, are challenging our value systems on every level.
At the root of our crises lie both our societal and personal values. It is critical we understand and address this, as it is our personal values that underpin our emotional perceptions, and in turn drive our actions, and lead to our shared values and the world we live in. So if we seek to change anything, we must first address our underlying values. Through this quest we can uncover great possibilities.
Possibility of a more awakened society
Contrary to how it might seem, uncertainty is most often the needed catalyst to unlock new possibilities. It’s during times of great uncertainty that people’s minds are most open and vulnerable. Here, we have ripe, open, fertile ground where new vision can be embraced and new seeds sown. And along with it, a real sense of hope. One that is grounded in truth, and, within reach.
Yet only a new narrative and set of values can deliver this.
We also know that some people believe the old value system is doomed. It is collapsing. But the keepers of this dominating system don’t want it to die so they are fighting like hungry wolves, trying to maintain and control it even more.
Globally, control is intensified, as freedom and liberties are threatened and removed.
Some sociologists predicted that we would enter a phase of civilization collapse. Are we in that window right now?
Fear and hopelessness can lead us to extreme ideologies
When you have disenfranchised people you have people who are afraid and lost. People who are broken, who feel alienated, and without true purpose or meaning.
In this state of mind people are raw and ready to receive a new ideology, a new story; a new set of societal values. They want restored hope and faith. People are not just ready, they are hungry. And when a story touches on the collective mind it makes it even stronger.
Perhaps you have noticed the rise of more and more extreme ideologies, and more polarisation. This is a symptom of an unsustainable society in the throes of collapse. It is also a sign of the struggle to re-organise ourselves or to unconsciously gain control.
We can easily be lead into unsustainable values
When a crisis is not met consciously, we can easily be rolled into another set of values, and ones that are not necessarily sustainable or serving our well-being. Before we realise it, one set of values (or stories) is replaced with another. This is how new ideologies are created and adopted.
In other words, in times of crisis you can very easily plot a story that is the most immoral and heinous one imaginable (like Hitler’s regime). And then implant this new story, and a new set of values, in any person or society who are really lost, broken and fearful. Such a story can be cloaked in the guise of ‘the common good’, or a ‘higher cause’. It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of faith.
This is how extremism is created. Extremists are the people that are the most broken, the most lost and vulnerable. Their whole field is completely open, ready for the implantation of a new story. And in this environment, any set of values that gives an individual a feeling of hope, meaning or belonging will do. This is also how dictators rise to power.
Some say we are in a spiritual crisis. Others say we are in an ideological war. I say, we are in a crisis of values.
Values can lead us to true solutions
The confusion that is occurring (whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually) in all groups of people; scientific, medical, political, spiritual or religious; is the same. It is the clash of conflicting and unsustainable beliefs. Consequently we struggle to find true reform, and sustainable solutions.
We might be tempted to adopt new (or even old) ideas. But we can’t find a solution with our reasoning mind alone. We need to dig into our emotional foundation. We need to address, understand, upgrade and restore our values. Otherwise we are going to continue to suffer.
The unsustainable value systems of the world
The current value systems, on which our world is largely run, are fundamentally self centered, divisive and controlling. Based on consumption and a mindset of separation, they are sorely deleterious.
Current world values are primarily about:
- Objectification ~ of self and others
- Self centredness ~ individual self gain; self possession.
- Materialism ~ perpetual economic growth and capitalism
- Transactional mindset – action as a means to an end
- Competing, conquering and succeeding
- Dividing, controlling, possessing
- Rules based – reward/ punishment system
We all know these values are failing us. This model is based on an adolescent stage of thinking: I can control my actions and/ or the world to either gain pleasure or avoid pain. They are a means to an end, and lack inherent value.
At best they have us caught in an underdeveloped emotional framework. At worst they are unsustainable, fraught with corruption, and have us on a course to our own demise. If we don’t mature emotionally, we remain caught in a dysfunctional loop.
We know we need to redress our values and adopt a new, more evolved model, fast. We may even believe we have already taken on better values.
What's driving our societal values? Is the wolf cloaked in sheep's clothing?
What if, in this crisis, the new values that are being created are actually the old values in disguise?
We know the challenges we are experiencing have left many people feeling afraid, lost, and hopeless. Naturally, people are open to guidance and solutions.
The narrative we are being told is, yes you’ve lost your freedom and your security. But we have a solution that will “give you back your freedom” because “we’re all in this together;” and “we need to look after each other.”
However, the questions we need to ask ourselves are:
- Has the value system really changed?
- Or are our personal and/ or societal values still serving the pre-existing system?
- Are they the same, just packaged in a new way?
- What if they are still being created from the same level that has caused our great conflict?
- Who and what has designed these values?
An opportunity for consciously choosing new values
Of course it really is not all bad. There is also a lot of good emerging. This crisis has given us the space to rethink our lives.
It has compelled us to consider what we actually need and don’t need. What is essential, and not essential. To value our friends, family and community. To care more about our environment and nature. And to rethink what true meaning and freedom is.
This crisis offers us an opportunity for changing our values, not just with new ideas, but engagingly; through conscious determination and action. We are compelled to grow up, to step beyond our adolescent values to a higher emotional level, and ultimately, to become truly conscious. If we don’t we will continue to repeat history.
When crisis is met consciously a new value system can be created
It starts with acknowledging that people are looking for hope, and that the only thing that brings hope is something that generates faith.
The path to true faith can only be founded on consciousness. Faith lies in our conscious alignment with a set of values that resonate with our true nature, with greater possibility, and ultimately – unity. Real hope arises when we create unity. When our values shift from segregation to integration. From reductionistic, to holistic. From unconscious to conscious.
For this we need a set of societal and personal values that creates a bridge between:
- Spirituality and the world
- Our inner and outer realities
- The individual and the collective
- Human life and the environment.
We need a value system that is first rooted in consciousness. One that is universal, regenerative and sustainable. And one that is empirically based rather than centred around the bias of beliefs and opinions.
A higher value system leads us beyond hope to true happiness and freedom
The irony of hope is that if we do not have a higher value system, we remain caught in a transactional mindset. Ie – if I have the right rules I can get the right result. This is the typical mechanism of hope. We want to bargain our way into a happier life. This is the adolescent mind.
The sad but honest truth is: you can’t conspire your way to happiness. Life is not something to control, it is something to live. However, hope can be a leveraging means to rise to a higher level mindset – one based in virtues. It takes values that are unconditionally based, rooted in consciousness, to arrive at a place of true happiness and freedom. And when you realise the quality of life rests on consciousness, you no longer have to hope for a better life. You can be a better life.
A new value system for a unified world.
Humanity, all of us, are searching for a way of living that is harmonious, workable and sustainable. We can only find it by living in a way that is based on principles and values that are grounded in sacred relating between each other and all life.
We don’t have to look far to find a value system that is unifying and holistic. The Four Pillars, founded on the sacred principles of indigenous peoples the world over, is a system that enabled sustainable living for thousands of years. It is empirical in nature. These ancient systems are still here, present as the fundamental elements to all life.
A Universal and Timeless Value System - The Four Pillars
The Four Pillars represent connection with our true self, with each other and all living beings, with the cosmic laws and with all nature. It is a value system, both personal and societal, that is universal and timeless; based on interconnection, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. It paves the way for true regeneration and sustainability. It is rooted in unconditional love, consciousness and sacred respect.
The Four Pillars values are based on:
- Conscious awareness
- Selflessness and unconditional love
- Empathy, care and respect
- Individual and group responsibility
- Participation and service, consideration and cooperation.
- Holistic living ~ integration between all parts of the whole
- Naturalism ~ valuing the natural world and our natural state over materialism
These are the values of emotional maturity. As adults we uphold what is virtuous, not as a means to an end, but because it is right and good for all. Put simply, as every religion espoused; ‘do unto others as you would have done to you’.
We need to Reconnect Consciously to recognise true values
However, it does take a little more than logic. We can’t just reason our way into new values. We need to reconnect consciously. We need to recognise the deepest truth of our self, each other and life. We need to feel the value of life and recognise that the only hope we have lies in our ability to act from a place of virtue: to do what is good and right for the sake of what is good and right – even if that means a little self-sacrifice. The payoff is that in the long run, you feel a whole lot better about yourself. And you have much higher quality relationships.
How to Consciously Assess Your Own Personal Values
It starts with you. Consciously assess your own values.
Start by asking yourself some questions:
- What strongly motivates you?
- What makes you very emotional or annoyed?
- What makes you feel proud and secure?
- What matters most to you?
- What fills you with joy?
Your answers and feelings will point to your values
- Do they align with your heart’s deepest truth?
- Which level of development are they serving (child, adolescent or adult)* See development chart in “Consciously Responding In Times Of Crises“?
- Do you need to gently surrender some outmoded beliefs, and welcome new, empowering values into your life?
Recognise that as you strengthen and evolve your own values you find greater clarity and empowerment. You, and the values you uphold, are the source of great hope and change. Your values, our values, are the foundation on which the future is to be built.
Together we can Usher In A New Set of Values
Let’s come together and share values that are unifying and holistic. Together we can restore those that uphold the world we truly wish to live in.
The Four Pillars give us a universal map, outlining the most sustainable values that belong to us all. With this map, we can navigate our way through our greatest challenges. We can restore the values that serve us all. We can write a story worthy of all people and rebuild a world of well-being and hope for all. Because after all, we truly are ‘in it together’. So let’s meet where our values lift us up, unite us all in love and create a more awakened society.
* Values Development Chart
Isira has created a values development chart to support us in ushering in a new set of values. She shares this chart and discusses the different levels of development in her Satsangs “Consciously Responding In Times Of Crises“
© 2021 Isira – Living Awareness
Consciously Responding In Times Of Crises
In these two Satsangs Isira shares how the challenges we currently face are calling us to find a new awareness and draw upon the truths and values that lie deeper within us. Through our strengthened “conscious connection” we can move into a more integrated place of conscious engagement, with ourselves and each other. And with this strengthened alignment, we can respond consciously and restore the values that will pave the way for a better life and a more conscious world – not just in hope, but in conscious action. Read more