Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
-- Bob Dylan
In January of 1964, when Bob Dylan wrote his classic song, "The times, they are a-changin," there was much turbulence in our society. The Vietnam War was escalating and our country's involvement and motives were being challenged from within. A mere five months earlier Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood at the Mall in Washington, DC and passionately delivered his "I have a dream" speech that electrified the nation.
Civil rights had become a national issue (finally) and women's rights were ascending to new heights of awareness. It was, as many in my generation referred to it, the dawning of the age of aquarius -- a time when the "energy of life" would be perceived differently because things were happening at a quickened pace.
This new energy was welling up from within the very soul of humanity. I was in high school at the time and so my perspective of it all was fairly juvenile. Nonetheless, I remember the feeling of anticipation and angst moving through me and those around me. It was obvious that change was at hand and no one really knew what that meant, what it would look like or when and where it would happen.
However, the die had been cast in the collective consciousness and we would all be part of the process, whether we liked it or not. Some would fight it, some would welcome it, but either way, change was underway. For me and many in my generation, it was the beginning of a growing sense of interconnectedness with all of humankind. With generosity, peace and brotherhood being laid as the foundation, the "system" was being challenged to change its ways.
Not at all dissimilar to what is occurring today. The question in Dylan's song seems as appropriate now as it did nearly 50 years ago: If we don't see the changes occurring (as challenging as some appear to be) as opportunities to evolve, we might just metaphorically "sink like a stone" under the wave of change. Perhaps that's a poet's way of stating the universal imperative, "Grow or die."
So, the question that really matters is, how do we see and interact with the changes occurring in our lives today? As stated in my book, "The Art of Uncertainty", "We already know that change in life is a given. There is no way around this fact. The larger concern should be how we manage the process when it does happen. If we are conscious, we can perceive change in a manner that allows us to understand the deeper meaning, value, and purpose in the experience."
Are we fighting or welcoming the change which is knocking at our door today? It's noteworthy that the propellant for change is often the desire to experience freedom from the tyranny of oppression in one form or another. What old beliefs and oppressive thought patterns might we be holding onto that no longer serve us in the evolution of our wellbeing and wholeness as individuals and as a species? This cresting wave of desired change is rising globally.
Consider the unrest stirring right now in the Middle East where many longterm regimes, despots and dictators are being challenged. If you and I are willing to hold the high watch and see what is going on in the world through the eyes of spiritually awakened beings, it will be obvious that what is happening in our individual lives, our country and our world has all the signs of a pending paradigm shift that has been 50 years in its unfolding.
Perhaps our values surrounding what really matters are being realigned or adjusted along with the marketplace "adjustments." Perhaps we are finally being led to embrace our interconnectedness as a species, recognizing our interdependence upon one another.
Dylan was right: Great change is at hand and we can either ride the crest of the wave and go with the flow, or sink below it like a stone. Those who "have eyes" to see that this is so will find it an exciting time to be on the planet; and they will be energized by the changes taking place rather than swallowed up by them.
The soul of humankind is again stirring, preparing for a quantum shift. Now is the time to explore where in our personal lives that change is seeking a place to happen by paying attention to that inner nudge. While the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, what we each bring to the whole matters.
The obvious opportunity and practice for each of us is to plug into the energy that drives this great wave of change and personalize it in our own lives. It is the heart throb of the universe pushing out at the speed of light. It is life unfolding into its own divine mystery; it is the evolution of the universal soul with which we are one, seeking outlet through us, inviting us to surf the waves of change and trust that the best is yet to come.
There is no question about it; the times, they are a-changin'. The real question is are we?