The Tipping Point

By the Rev. Jill Lacefield

Recently, I tucked myself into bed and picked up Toward 2012 from my bedside stack. I had bought it after a late-night discussion with my son. He was distressed, and although an independence-driven teen, that night Liam needed his mom. He called me into his room, where I sat down, held his hand, and asked what was up.

Through a sleepy haze, he asked, “Mom, are we gonna be all right? I mean really all right? Do you think this 2012, end-of-the-world thing could be real? The apocalyptic film, 2012, had just come out; the week before, Liam had watched Inconvenient Truth in his biology class, and in world history, the current topic was the Holocaust.

While sufficiently stable, smart, and resourceful, Liam can worry. When he was 5 years old, he had his first awakening to the violence in the world and his worry-fests began. An older friend (she was a big 6) told him there were real guns in the world, not just toy ones. In a fit of distress, he asked her to go home and began pacing his room. “No, Mom. There aren’t real guns. That’s a different world. It’s not this world. And okay, so you and Zoe are big and you know everything, and I’m little and I don’t know anything! I don’t know if there are real guns, I don’t know if Godzilla is real, I don’t know if Godzilla wears swimming trunks when he jumps in the swimming pool.” The non sequitur mind of a 5-year-old is a fascinating one.

Thirteen years later, Liam still worries about things that are uncertain and out of his control. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for an 18-year-old, just the standard, stormy initiation into adulthood. He worries about the violence, suffering, and greed in the world. He worries about Mother Earth’s sustaining herself against all odds. He worries about cancer. (When he was an infant, I had aggressive breast cancer; maybe that was the Godzilla of his young mind.)

Of course, Liam is not alone in his concerns about the future. Our children are met with an updated list of global perils every time they look at a newspaper or watch CNN or sign on to the Internet. While no period in history has been without its tragedy or doomsday predictions, today’s homes are more porous than at any time before. The hysterical reporting of everything that is wrong in the world seeps daily into the sanctuary of our homes via mass media, ratcheting up individual and collective fear, 24/7. For older adults this may dampen our spirits profoundly, but for our children, this chronic onslaught of negativity generates an underground river of despair.

As Liam shared his fear, I tried to comfort him. I reminded him that every human being experiences fear, debilitating fear. I told him that while we can’t control life, we can control fear because fear is a thought we choose to think—maybe not the first time the thought arises but the second and third time, and so on. We choose to think “breathtaking” thoughts of fear over and over again, thoughts such as “Oh, God, will humanity blow itself up? Will it ever give peace a chance? Will we burn ourselves alive with climate change? Will I get cancer too? Will the 1 percent shrink to .05 percent and the rest of us swell to 99.5 percent only to watch our houses, jobs, and ability to educate our children fly out the window?” We entertain this runaway train of fearful thoughts until we make the choice not to, until we change our minds when the fearful thoughts arise and change our minds again and again, as long as it takes to turn the Titanic around.

That night, I told Liam that this is the “good news,” indeed, the only news fit to print. I told him, in fact, that it is not “new” at all. More than 2,500 years ago, the Buddha said, “A man becomes what he dwelleth on” and more than 2,000 years ago, Jesus said, “Be ye healed through the renewal of your mind.” Fast-forward to the late 20th century, when Bob Marley sang, “Only ourselves can free our minds.”

As a career teacher, I teach what I most want to learn. Passionate teaching arises from a passionate search for knowledge. Every time I teach Liam or my Butte College public-speaking students or friends who come through the door on Sunday at the Center for Spiritual Living-Downtown Chico, I learn. When I remind others that the Kingdom of Heaven is within and that the God we seek seeks us because we are One and the same, I remind myself. Truth spoken triggers an energetic exchange: The giver of Truth, or any information, is simultaneously the receiver because we are One. Truth begets truth, love begets love, fear begets fear.

At age 20, I stepped into a Brimfield, Illinois, eighth-grade classroom as a first-year teacher. I had been hired to teach English and U.S. history to an endearing, but rowdy, group of farmers’ kids and to coach the girls’ basketball team. Every night, I studied my U.S. history to stay a step ahead of my students as my degree was in English, not history. Every Saturday, I went into the gym to be trained by Moira, a first-string basketball player on the Brimfield High School girls’ team. Moira was patient, I was desperate, and, in the end, it all worked out, sort of (Wins: 4; Losses: 1,004).

Fast-forward to Sunday, March 4, when I stepped up to the podium at the Center for Spiritual Living-Downtown Chico as a spiritual teacher. At our center, I teach what I most passionately want to learn: how to wake up to my spiritual essence and stay awake 24/7.

I’m thrilled with my new classroom here at 830 Broadway. It has huge windows that invite in the sunlight and a big view of budding trees and the vast sky. Every Sunday, and days between, I greet myself as my sisters and brothers walk through the door to connect as community in this shared desire to wake up and, in doing so, give our most helpful gifts to a world in need.

In 2012, we are called to secure the conscious evolution of humanity and the survival of life on Mother Earth. We exist in a quantum field of interconnectedness. When one electron shifts, the whole shifts. When one awakens, others awaken, until the point at which a critical mass awakens (the so-called “100th Monkey”) and all of humanity awakens. When this happens, and it is happening now, we will usher in “the more beautiful world we know is possible,” as writer Charles Eisenstein lovingly describes it.

With our March opening and the opening of 100th Monkey Books, Center for Spiritual Living-Downtown Chico joins Chico New Thought Center for Spiritual Living on Hillary Lane, Center for Spiritual Living-Greater Chico in Philadelphia Square, and Center for Spiritual Living-Paradise. We are four unique centers with a single, unifying mission: “to awaken humanity to its spiritual magnificence.” We welcome you to join us in our mission.

The year 2012 is the tipping point and, in the words of the Hopi elders, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”