Is It Time For a New, More Mature American Dream?

Is It Time For A New, More Mature American Dream?

 The American Dream, which we’ve all been conditioned to strive for, offers the promise that if you work hard and apply yourself vigorously enough, you can earn a lot of money and eventually make it.  Since we’re taught that money makes life easier the more we can accumulate the happier we imagine we’ll become.
Something, however, is wrong with that vision, if we pause for even a moment to note what it lacks.  For where within that dream do we see any mention of humanity being an integral part of a larger living system that is our Earth?  And where does the dream honor our desire to fully enjoy our own lives and express our true selves?
The dream, though it offers us content, lacks context.  It fails to honor the fact that the health and wellbeing of our planet enables us to produce the things we hope to have someday.  Nor does it tell us that monetary success without personal mastery leaves us hollow and unfulfilled as human beings.  That lack of context helps explain why so many of us seem eager to ignore the damage we’re doing to our planet for the sake of commerce.  Reverently tending the planet that bore us has never been encouraged by our dream.  In that sense the dream is more childlike fantasy than something adults should aspire to achieve, because it encourages us to satisfy our every desire without respect for what’s made our existence possible: the amazing web of life that sustains us all.
Of course, were we to begin honoring Earth’s web of life and respecting our own place in it, those who’ve not yet achieved the dream would need to cease its mindless pursuit.  Meanwhile, those who’ve already achieved the dream would need to cease excessive consumption, to grant our planet some time and space to heal.  Many might therefore consider this shift unfair.  Even so, frustration because the dream is no longer viable won’t change the difficult truth: in our endless pursuit of money we’re destroying our planet’s capacity to support our continued existence.
As humanity matures we’re learning more about the world, and our place in it.  We’re discovering we’re a fully integrated, interconnected and interdependent living system, not separate from – or masters over – our world.  We’re learning we can’t own the system we’re in.  We’re learning that everything we do affects everything else; and that we can’t leave morally driven decisions about what and how to create, or how to distribute what we create, to heartless market mechanics.  We’re learning that cooperation advances us faster than does competition; and that human diversity can’t be compared and measured, because we’re meant to honor the beauty of each divine and precious being.
 We’re learning to accept life on its own terms, not argue with it based on how we think the world should be.  We’re learning that thinking longer term, in ways that benefit the entire system, serves us better than focusing on short-term personal gratification.  We’re learning our wisdom can grow in unlimited ways, but there exist important natural barriers to physical growth that we must honor.  We’re learning that sustainable and regenerative practices work better than do destructive, exploitative behaviors.  We’re that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand, and that we can’t enjoy the former without shouldering some of the latter.  We’re learning we don’t need more things to prove how successful we are, and that we can have everything we need if we’re willing to work together.  We’re learning to live more compassionately and kindly in community, and to honor the needs and feelings of other people.  We’re learning there’s no place in a civilized world for war, hatred or other destructive memes.  And we’re learning – one at a time, and day by day – to surrender to whatever wants to emerge through us into this world, and to relax and allow it to do so, for the greatest good for all life.
None of our original systems – not our religions, governments, economies, judicial systems, education or healthcare systems – coalesced while this higher level of understanding was birthing within us.  This newly arising awareness of our interconnectivity is therefore proof that it’s time for us to shed our old system and allow new ones to arise that can foster the expansion of a new, spiritually and socially unified consciousness in all our bodies, heart and minds.  The global challenges we’re currently facing present us with wondrous opportunities to usher in a new consciousness around the world; for, as Albert Einstein famously said, “You can’t solve society’s problems with the consciousness that created them.”
Clearly then, the most graceful thing any of us can do for our world, and for ourselves, is step willingly into this new, fully integrated consciousness and allow it to activate us.  Through this heightened awareness of the interconnectedness of all things, it becomes much easier to surrender our childish attachment to the American Dream in exchange for a full-on adult awakening to life, where we realize at last that we are eternal life…infinitely creating and embodying all we create, for the benefit of all that is.
Article by Eileen Workman, author of ”Sacred Economics: The Currency of Life”
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