by Mark Ballabon
This article first appeared in Watkins Mind Body Spirit, issue 33.[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen someone is asked, ‘what’s your vision of the future?’ and they reply, ‘world peace’, do they then meet with incredulity, or a cynical little snigger? Who is actually able to perceive a vision for the future that might one day achieve and go beyond world peace?
Developing a vision for the future depends on what we see the purpose for universal, human and planetary life to be… and on whether our vision is merely an extension of the past, or based on the fact of being alive now, inside an infinite unexplored universe.
Whilst there is war, we dream of peace. Whilst there is starvation, we dream of enough food to satisfy all. Whilst the planet’s climate is under major stress and destruction, we dream of a sustainable future.
But a vision based solely on remedying something out of balance is a limited one – and that’s often all we focus on these days.
Connecting to a vision of the future in the first place depends on not shrinking it down to our own personal experience, which is limited. Just think of how often you go through a day without ever looking up at the sky, or stopping to sense your own breathing, or sensitising yourself to the range and depth of feelings going on in you…
Vision is like the eagle that spreads its wings and soars to great heights because its view from the branch becomes limited. An open mind can do the same.
What vision your mind and brain see
Two of the major faculties that open up vision in us are presence of mind, and the creative processes of the brain.
We are born with an undeveloped mind, and a brain focused on survival. As we grow up, our progress depends on how we make up our mind, and then how well we’ve trained our brain to respond. For the brain can brilliantly process multiple thoughts in a second, yet the mind can contemplate deep and complex matters that the brain cannot even conceive of.
For the mind is the main residence of human consciousness, with an immeasurable capability for refinement, revelation and connection. A restricted mind however soon becomes absent-minded, mindless or even bloody-minded!
The mind naturally loves to discover the undiscovered, the mysteries and the causes, in its search for truth and wisdom. This develops mindfulness or presence of mind.
The brain however is much like a computer and processor, which, beyond automatic functions, is creative and responsive only according to what the mind programmes and guides it to do, or not. So without presence of mind, the brain becomes a camp-follower of the latest cultural opinions, trends and accepted norms, seeking only short-term results and ever more extreme stimuli to excite it. This stunts the long-term vision that a human is able to realise.
In these new times, we are rarely educated to develop mindfulness, which means that brains dominate. This leads to linear thinking about the future merely as a furtherance of the past, thus creating a sterile world of serving robots, homes controlled by central computers and microchip implants in the brain. There’s no future in this, especially with a population growing exponentially beyond seven billion people and dwindling natural resources.
Human technology however – our mindfulness, thoughts, concepts, feelings, projections – is an unlimited natural resource to create with.
Humans being human…
… now there’s a vision.
Even after thousands of years in this updated Homo sapiens sapiens model in which we now live, the extraordinary range and depth of human possibilities has hardly been explored.
How much of a nation’s vision of the future is rooted deeply within the greater development of inherent human talent, qualities and freedoms, rather than narrowly within the growth of GDP and the proliferation of consumerism?
A vision of the future can be looking out through our eyes now, yet it remains blocked whilst we continue to see progress mainly in terms of material things external to ourselves. For human vision is sight – but not eyesight alone. Our senses, minds and feelings all ‘see’, by the same technology with which we see images and pictures in thoughts, dreams, meditations or moments of clairvoyance. Hence the extraordinary technologies of intuition and extrasensory perception, discovering new ways to be natural with oneself and contribute to humanity.
So perhaps we need to look more deeply into ourselves, refresh our self-view, and develop more freely those amazing powers that we each have to explore what we can be and do as humans, each in our own unique way.
This may lead us to give to life more than we take from it – which is a great vision.
Meet the Author: Mark Ballabon is a natural philosopher and acclaimed author and speaker on personal development. He has given lectures and workshops to audiences around the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, North America and the Middle East. Mark’s last book was the highly acclaimed Why Is The Human On Earth?, a unique set of working contemplations with matching exercises and original illustrations. His new book, Courting the future, is a unique collection of essays and illustrations which deal with the future in a visionary, practical and entirely original approach.
Courting the Future: Preparing for a different world
£14.95, Available from Watkins Books
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