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  • Bill Petrie

Dealing With a Very Uncertain World!

On the way to school one morning, I asked my son how he really felt about the world's future and his reply was: "uncertain." His answer was more of an opinion than a feeling but it certainly echoed the sense almost all of us have. We know that our financial institutions are unstable. We watch helplessly as economic power shifts rapidly towards the East even as China's growth falters. We are deeply aware that racial and religious intolerance are on the rise and we are know that we are well back into the 1000 year-old conflict between Christianity and Islam.

We are finding it hard to keep up. Knowledge, alone, is growing at such a rate that it is estimated to double every 12 months. Fashions seem to change at a moment's notice. The typical video game, for example, makes 60 to 70 percent of its money in the first four or five days after it is released. And, to add to it all, we are deeply concerned about our ecological future.

Deep down, most of us feel very insecure. We may try to cover this by blaming others. We may distract ourselves with everything from Facebook to alcohol. We may pretend to carry on as normal. But, the insecurity is still there.

So, how do we deal with this uncertain world?

Well, the first step is probably the most difficult and it involves acceptance. Acceptance means acknowledging that the world is unstable and changing fast. Acceptance also means allowing oneself to feel fully whatever sense of insecurity that one feels in the gut. Starting where you are is a way of coming back to the truth - to the reality of your situation. The fact is that world is just as it is. You feel as you do. Your circumstances are just as they are.

Having accepted all this (and that is a massive task in itself) the next step is to say to yourself: 'Given my circumstances, given the way the world is, given the way I feel, how am I going to adapt to this changing world? How am I going to play my way forward?

At first, you may feel helpless, confused or overwhelmed and it is very important to realise, when we find ourselves in situations where our old way of thinking and behaving are no longer working well, that these feelings are completely normal. It is simply the nature of things that the old ways of thinking have to break down before new ways can come about. It is the demise of the old patterns that induces the feelings of fear, helplessness and confusion as well as a sense of being overwhelmed.

The temptation, of course, is to go back to denial ('Keep calm and carry on') or blame (raging at the world). Although this helps a little in the short-term, the reality is that it leaves us as helpless as ever. The way forward lies in being able to sit with the fear, the uncertainty, the confusion and the helplessness. And, it is this ability to sit with the situation that allows new inspiration to arise.

The problem is that it is extremely difficult to do all of this. Experience tells us that only a deeply settled mind is able to sit with very difficult emotions and notions of a extremely uncertain future. This is where meditation and mindfulness really come into their own. With regular skilful meditation one finds that capacity to sit whilst, at the same time, keeping an open, attentive mind. If one is able to do this, one finds that solutions naturally arise.

So, with a deeply settled mind, acceptance is possible. Having achieved a certain level of acceptance, it is possible (with that same settled mind) to sit with the myriad of difficult emotions that accompany change. And, having achieved that, one is then able to be receptive to the inspiration that is naturally there. But, it all begins with meditation.

If you are interested, I am happy to run free online meditation training.

Please contact me at

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