Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

"If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him...We need not wait to see what others do."
- Mahatma Gandhi

At our best

I was on the fence about participating in the women's march on Jackson January 22, knowing I would not be a fan if the prevailing tone were one of anger and divisiveness. To my delight the vibe among the crowd of participants was positive and inclusive, attributes coming from love rather than fear. Women and men and children were standing up together for the greater good of all people and for the Earth. It felt noble and inspiring, an example of how it can be.

The experience gave me pause to reflect on the consciousness of evolution, of being an evolutionary and how it differs from the consciousness of revolution, or being a revolutionary.

Evolutionary consciousness

The consciousness of evolution has an element of grace, which is powerful and understated. It is turning toward and unfolding a higher state of being. Its hallmark is moving forward without taking a position for or against what is or what was. Being evolutionary is about taking purposeful steps to upgrade oneself from the inside out, so that the best of who we are and what we create in the external world reflects the wisdom and universal truths of higher states of consciousness.

Getting there

The process is about clearing the way for the heart/soul to be in the driver's seat of life and to place the ego in the passenger's seat. Living through the lens of the heart/soul means being who we truly are. That lens connects us with the higher intelligence and love of the universe. It's something like removing static on the line so we have a clear connection to call home and for home to contact us.

The evolutionary bottom line is to make it a way of life to choose love over fear. This shift happens naturally as the byproduct of healing and letting go of old hurts, living a healthy lifestyle, practicing forgiveness, dismantling outdated beliefs, retiring from the ego driven life, and choosing to live through the lens of an open heart. Science has discovered that we are hard-wired to seek and to reap the benefits of growing in these ways. It is not about perfection; it is about continuing to move in the direction of embodying higher states of being.

Revolutionary consciousness

The consciousness of revolution is fueled by anger and frustration. It is fighting against something, overthrowing something or someone considered the enemy, usually by force. This kind of change is accompanied by deep polarizing convictions of who's right and who's wrong. It typically creates change with collateral damage. There are always winners and losers, victims and perpetrators.

Regardless of who wins or loses, the negative energies and the wounds incurred don't disappear. They are buried like splinters in the collective psyche of both sides. And like splinters, they will inevitably work themselves to the surface again. Polarities will always flip-flop; when there's war there will be peace and vice versa.

Room for both

The consciousness of revolution and that of evolution are both calls to action reflecting two different paradigms. Both have their place. One focuses on identifying and defeating an external foe (the way it has been for thousands of years). The other begins as an inside job to bring forward states of being, which are not about polarization and offer a lasting quantum leap in human evolution.

Your calling

You might enjoy a bit of soul searching now. If you are interested, here are some important questions to ask yourself. What are your deepest, bottom-line values? What form of contribution and change nourishes your core values and therefore most enlivens you and supports your soulful self-worth? At the end of the day, is the path of the revolutionary or the evolutionary, or a combination of both, most congruent with who you are? Give yourself ample time to reflect on your answers and act on your clarity.

Two ways to play a game

The revolutionary and the evolutionary consciousnesses lead to different experiences, states of being, and outcomes. This very simple example of two different ways to play a volleyball game can illustrate the options. One way to play the game is to be on opposing sides of the net, put the ball in play, try to beat the other team, and the side that scores the most points wins. The other option is to have a team on each side of the net, put the ball in play, and see how many times the ball can be successfully passed back and forth over the net. Think about it. PJH