Global Citizens in a Time of Crisis

Listening to our heart's call helps us navigate difficult times.

Posted Jan 12, 2021

We are all global citizens, members of this earthly population that includes ALL people, all life. We find ourselves in this or that country, this or that family, career, time zone, etc. We have personal and political beliefs. We relate better to some folks than to others. We approve and disapprove with regularity, of everything from our dinner to our politicians. We are so very human. So how do we do this human thing, in times of crisis? How do we work with everything that is going on? How do we hold it all without defaulting to our own most primal, defended, survival instincts? Can we rise up when the world around us seems to be falling down? 

The answer is an uneasy “yes.” If it were easy to rise into our goodness, our deepest knowing, our love and compassion, the whole world would be doing it. 

But it is so tempting (and so easy) to just take a side, play out a polarity, choose our own set of good guys and bad guys, rights and wrongs, us versus them. It’s a shame that it is so easy to do that and it so hard to be bigger, more open, more wise.

So, let’s look at how we do this difficult thing, of being our best, as individuals, as citizens of a country, as human beings sharing life on this spinning blue marble, because that is what we are called to do.

And if we choose to take that high road, a useful metaphor in this moment, it is not a passive path. It is not a path that lacks moral ground or deep beliefs or core values that we stand for. It is not a way to remove ourselves from all that is happening, to hide or look away. In fact, that “high road” gives us better vision. We see more from that higher ground. And look we must, to be good citizens and good people. 

One of the early pioneers of transpersonal psychology said this: 

The soul of a nation manifests itself in three ways: 1) great individuals 2) collective manifestations 3) steady influence of its best citizens. —From the archives of Roberto Assagioli

The soul of an individual does as well. It manifests in our moments of greatness, in our lifelong manifestations and in our steady influence in the world we live in. 

To take the high road means showing up for whatever comes our way. And these days that is a lot. For so many of us, the weight we carry is personal, in losses we have lived through, in fears that confront us, in challenges to our very basic life needs. It is also bigger. We see the challenges everywhere, and they range from difficult decisions to be made in communities, to potentially world-shattering events that come into our consciousness every day. 

I’d invite each of us to take stock, as a first step. What do we have? What do we need? What are we grateful for? What should we be grateful for that we are taking for granted? Also, what hurts? What is frightening us? Where is our sadness, grief and confusion showing up? 

Holding all of that, breathe. And again. Deep, slow breathing helps. It helps our bodies, our minds and our emotions. It helps us find ourselves again. And who am I, when I find myself, outside of all the furor, angst, uncertainty and danger? I am a fellow human being, moving through a life cycle that every one of us shares. I am a planetary citizen, giving it my best shot to create a better world. 

My heart’s deepest desires point me towards my best actions. My psyche’s deepest wounds point me away from those. Hiding to stay safe, I lose my power. Driven to action by fear, I lose my wisdom. What is the middle path? The high road that allows me both power and wisdom? The choice points that are driven by fear, will cost us dearly, whether we hide or fight. We are more than those instincts and that is the Call of Self that wants to awaken in us. On this high road, we will walk and stumble and get up again and help a fellow traveler. We will see sunrises and sunsets and feel rain and wind and warmth. There will be surprises and dangers and comfort. We will be helped. We will have allies. The path will rise to meet us, and when it doesn’t, we will find a way around whatever obstacles are in the way. In all of this, there will be, always, a choice. 

Assagioli also reminded us about being on that path, on any path, on the path of our life… and he gave us some advice.

Passing in inner quietness, slowly listening to hear the right word, I am obeying certain conditions. Shall I take this road or that? Shall I respond to this call or await another?

That is our work: the synthesis of wisdom and power. Holding both we will know which way to turn. We will know how to let our truth guide us. We will know how to be best citizens.