Outsourcing is everywhere.
Our love-affair with cheap stuff means we outsource most of our manufacturing to third-world sweatshops and our self-imposed busyness impels us to pay for services–such as child-minding and aged care — once given freely by family, friends and neighbours.
We are even in the process of outsourcing ourselves.
A business can now hire Virtual Employees (lawyers, accountants, IT experts, architects and other professionals) for as little as $1095 per month. Who needs on-site staff when you can employ someone living in India at a quarter of the cost?
In a culture like this, is it any wonder we outsource self-development? Why do inner work when it can be delegated to a long-vanished, semi-mysterious civilisation? At no cost.
Fortunately, outsourcing has its limits and this, I’m pleased to say, is one of them.
As you know, the Maya Long Count calendar quietly ticked over on December 21st, 2012, unaccompanied by pestilence, biospheric mayhem or a mass consciousness shift. This is expected given the Classical Maya – who lived on the Yucatan peninsula over a thousand years ago – said precisely nothing about an impending Earth barbecue or humanity’s ascension to dizzying seraphic heights.
As the more lucid 2012 aficionados – including independent Maya scholar John Major Jenkins and the brilliant writer/journalist Daniel Pinchbeck – have repeatedly said, the Maya did not prophesise destruction or sudden beatification. Rather, they were far more interested in observing and recording life’s natural cycles than in scaring future generations witless with images of gut-churning pole shifts and malevolent asteroid impacts.
However, what they did encode in their Long Count calendar for December 21, 2012 was the beginning of a great new cycle called a 13th bak’tun. The Maya considered a bak’tun beginning (particularly a 13th bak’tun beginning) to be a harbinger of great change and they made use of ritual and their own inner resources to deal with it.
This era was important to the Maya and it looks significant for us also given the extent of our environmental, financial and personal distress. As such, we may be wise to reflect on how they would conduct themselves at inflection points like this.
Firstly, they would be expecting change and this expectation would likely entail an acute awareness of the external world (what’s coming over the hill?) and a more intense awareness of inner processes (how will I deal with change?).
It’s unlikely these astute and sophisticated people would have outsourced their inner work – and their need for meaning and transcendence — to another culture. After all, their sages and astronomers spent centuries keenly observing the earth and sky to formulate their own cosmology and this became a means through which they could anticipate, accept and prepare for change.
We don’t have a grand and profound cosmology such as this and we’re drawn to cultures who do. It’s time to find our own way.
So, let’s not ride on Maya shoulders any longer. Whilst they did suggest our era contains the possibility of great change, let’s honor that by taking responsibility for our own inner work and leave them in peace.
Top Four inner work books
In this spirit, I offer my Top Four books to take you into the 13th bak’tun. Read each with care and you will have insourced your very own 2012 (and beyond) consciousness-shift:
A New Earth: Eckhart Tolle’s masterful explication of the human ego – what it is, why it’s dysfunctional and practical ways to work with it.
Loving What Is: Who knows where Byron Katie came from but she is a spiritual teacher of the highest order. If you really want to be free of your mind’s less appealing tricks, then go immediately to your nearest bookstore and grab this book. You can also download the Kindle version in seconds. What are you waiting for?
Breaking Open the Head: Daniel Pinchbeck is my favourite author of all things weird, otherworldly and provocative. He also happens to be a remarkably gifted writer and his true tale of imbibing ritual hallucinogenic drugs with indigenous shamans is mind-blowing.
Born to be Free: Once you’ve read the first three, you may be ready for Jac O’keefe. Enough said.