In the opening keynote of our 2023 CEO Summit, Lynne Twist, Founder of the Soul of Money Institute and Co-Founder of Pachamama Alliance, offers a compelling challenge to the notion that some of the biggest crises humanity faces today are happening to us. Through moving storytelling, interwoven with visionary insights from Buckminster Fuller and Indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest’s Sacred Headwaters, Lynne advocates that these crises present the opportunity to reimagine our understanding of the world and shift from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance where there is enough for everyone.
Delivered in a way that will resonate equally with longtime Conscious Leaders and students contemplating the future of the world in which they will live, Lynne encourages each of us to stand in the future and bring vision into the present by playing our role in the evolution of humanity, and, together, unlock a more conscious world.
To set the scene for a world on the precipice of its next phase of evolution, Lynne provides a prediction, two prophecies, and a metaphor.
Standing in the future
Lynne is a transformative Conscious Leader who has committed her life to one of purpose through the nonprofit sector — what she calls the social profit sector — impacting countless people around the world through her efforts focused on ending world hunger and averting the climate crisis. A source of inspiration for her life’s work came from a prediction Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller shared at a conference she attended in 1978. Much like Lynne, Bucky was someone who stood in the future. From his business endeavors to his humanitarian work, Bucky was deeply attune to, as Lynne says, the intellectual integrity of the universe.
“He said, ‘Humanity has crossed a critical threshold. We now live in a world where there is enough for everyone everywhere to have a healthy and productive life,’” Lynne recalls. Bucky shared that this threshold moves from a paradigm of scarcity, a “you or me” way of seeing the world, to a “you and me” paradigm. However, Bucky predicted that we will not realize this for approximately 50 years because the systems and structures we have in place, such as our economies, education, and governments, are so deeply rooted in a “you or me” understanding of the world. It will not be until those systems begin to break down, Lynne explains, that we will be forced to shift our understanding of the world into one that acknowledges profound sufficiency and allows the dissolution of the systems that no longer serve us in creating the world we want.
The two prophecies Lynne shares are from the Indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest in a location at the base of the Andes mountains, who are stewards of what they term the Sacred Headwaters of the entire Amazon system.
The Eagle and the Condor Prophecy, told for millennia among the Indigenous cultures of the Amazon and Andes, says that a 500-year period, or a Pachacuti, will come to a close in the first 50 years of the 2000s — “right around now,” Lynne says. This was an era of dominance and darkness, where the mind dominated the heart of humanity, and the next 500 years will be the Pachacuti of balance and light. “But,” Lynne continues, “the prophecy says that the transition into the new era will bring huge disruptions. That Pachamama, or Mother Earth, will need to humble all her creatures by climatic events, so they find their rightful relation with her for the Pachacuti of balance and light.”
The second prophecy Lynne illustrates is from the Baháʼí people and the Cherokee people, which talks about the bird of humanity in the first century of the third millennium — which, as Lynne points out, is now — with a male wing and a female wing. The prophecy says that the bird of humanity has been flying for centuries with the male wing fully extended, over-developed, and nearly violent, while the female wing is folded in. “Thus, we will be and have been flying in circles for hundreds and hundreds of years,” Lynne shares. But during this century, the prophecy says, the female wing will fully extend itself, allowing the male wing to relax, bringing both wings into balance and the bird of humanity to, finally, soar.
It’s not happening to us, these crises, perhaps they are happening for us.”— Lynne Twist
Lastly, Lynne conveys a metaphor from her Indigenous partners about how they view the COVID-19 pandemic. “They called it an announcement,” Lynne shares; that the human species has been longing for something to disrupt the way we were living, and the virus was the answer to that longing. Lynne explains, “From the long view, it was an announcement that we need to rethink, reimagine, resource, redesign, recreate, reset the way we were living.” Lynne suggests, “I call the COVID period ‘morning sickness’…for a species that’s pregnant for a new way of being, a new kind of human being.”
Bringing the vision of a conscious world into the present
Through each of these stories, Lynne’s intention is to encourage us to view the crises we are facing not as afflictions but as the initial stages of a significant transformation to a more conscious world. As she shares about the prophecies, “It’s prophecy. It’s not true or false, but I find it helpful.”
“The climate crisis is not just about carbon and how many parts per million. The climate crisis is a crisis in the climate of thinking of our species…It’s a mirror of where we have lost our way and our capacity to take deep and profound responsibility for the role we have to play,” Lynne says, adding, “It’s a little scary, but it also ennobles us. It gives us the opportunity to live the most meaningful lives any generation of humankind has ever lived.”
There comes a point in nearly every story where the protagonist must either assume the role of the hero or make decisions more aligned with that of a villain. In this case, the protagonist — us, our collective humanity — has yet to determine which direction it will go.
“I say, if you’re born now, you have a role to play,” in determining the future of our world, Lynne shares. “Your role may not be a big role, it may not be a small role, it’s just your role. And if you play it with passion and heart and love, your life and our world will be the one we want, the one we dream of.”
“So, game on,” Lynne closes, “It’s not happening to us, these crises, perhaps they are happening for us.”
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