Support Your Glocal Consciousness
Several decades have lapsed since the term 'glocal' first appeared as a way to describe the nature of the postmodern world. A merger of the terms 'global' and 'local,' 'glocalization' or the term 'glocal' have since been used to describe the way with which tendencies able to affect us all at a global level back in, for example, the 1980s, seemed to simultaneously take place alongside other (sometimes antigenic) tendencies affecting us at a local level.
The term 'glocal' surfaced as a reminder of the way in which all of us, in our very own small lives, are affected daily by global phenomena we cannot see in ways previously impossible; but also to remind us of how we still have the power to affect the global sphere by the choices we make in our very own local lives. "Think global, act local" was the motto of the work of many NGOs during last few decades of the twentieth century, and when we look at life through the lens of Corona today, a full 20 years later, it still seems like a slogan worth remembering.
Strangers in a Strange Land
Indeed, we are living strange times. Once again, we are experiencing an unprecedented situation as the number of people infected with coronavirus skyrockets in most parts of the globe. As many countries and cities go back to full- or quasi-full lockdown, uncertainty, hopelessness, and a myriad unanswered questions make their way to the forefront of our imaginations. How long will this go on for? Will this be the last lockdown or will there be more? How did this even come about? When will things finally go back to 'normal'?
Corona has emphasized once more the precariousness of any notion of 'global citizenry,' not just by virtue of the way with which most countries have been looking for a different nation to blame as responsible for this calamity, but mainly by locking down entire nations and regions of the world from each other (and even from themselves) when many of us have been raised to believe that our world was literally and metaphorically 'borderless.'
To say that life feels precarious and very confusing at the moment is quite an understatement; and what is even more important is the way in which all of what we are feeling and thinking and hearing and experiencing individually and globally with regards to the current situation is affecting our 'glocal consciousness' levels. But, hold on one sec... what the hell is that?
Indeed, consciousness is not something merely of the body even if most of us believe consciousness to be housed within the body ––as in residing in the mind, often believed to correspond simplistically to the brain. Confusingly, scientists also don't agree on whether or not the mind may be fully mapped onto the individual body ––as in one body, one consciousness.
Psychiatrists as famous as Carl Jung or environmentalists such as the proponent of the Gaia Theory James Lovelock did in fact speak of the interconnectedness not just of the human unconscious, but of all the living beings populating Mother Earth; which essentially begs the question of whether or not we are all more connected to one another and to everything there is than we are able to think, let alone understand.
For yogis, the answer to this conundrum is clear: consciousness is not individual but global. And thus, we cannot speak of millions of consciousnesses coexisting with each other, but rather of One consciousness beaming its light into zillions of pairing devices.
Joseph Campbell, for example, argued that it would be of the utmost importance for all of us to, at least once in our lives, ponder on the nature of: "What am I? Am I the bulb that carries the light, or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle?" (Joseph Campbell, 1991: 88); and this exact kind of thinking perfectly illustrates the way yogis have come to think about the whole question of consciousness and of existence in general. Because, for yogis, our individuality ends where our collectivity begins, and vice versa.
To think that we are individuals living, rejoicing, suffering, and dying in isolation ––the famous 'we are born alone and alone we die'–– is just but one half of the equation, one way of looking at the mystery of our lives; because, ever since glocalization came about, it has become impossible to deny that we are also born together and ––sometimes quite literally–– together we also die.
Corona has, once more, made evident that the lives of people in places that have apparently nothing to do with one another are more connected than we ever imagined; and that a decision taken in a remote corner of the planet has the ability to affect the lives of millions in a very material way. This brings us back to the notion of consciousness and of supporting our 'glocal consciousness.'
When a massive shift such as the one caused by the outbreak of the corona pandemic takes place, millions of individuals in their very small local and individual lives switch from their usual and more or less 'manageable' level of stress to 'panic mode.' This alters our entire global frequency. All of a sudden, hundreds, thousands, millions of individuals rush to the nearest supermarket, to put an example, to buy, of all things possible, all the toilet paper they can find. So, if you think that global phenomena do not have the capacity to affect the reality of our lives on the daily, think again. Our behaviour over the past few months is a case in point.
All of us have seen our habits transformed. From where and when we go for holidays, to where, with whom, or how we get to socialise, the changes to the fabric of our lives have been major. And with these changes taking place person after person, a larger collective shift has occurred. We are growing more distrustful. We are growing more despondent. The lockdowns forced upon us from the outside are triggering locking-ins, and trapped within this idea of 'isolation,' a whole bunch of us is failing to realise the incredible responsibility we have in supporting and maintaining our glocal consciousness levels.
Support Your Glocal Consciousness
We Yogis believe that we are responsible for evolving out of the position of psychological immaturity we have been inhabiting for the past few centuries and take responsibility for our global situation by taking responsibility of our-selves. That it is on us to create within us the changes we would like to see happening globally on the outside. And so, it is in times like this that our practice ––including not only physical postures or breathing, but also what we do, what we say, what we think, and how we do all of this off the mat–– has the power to affect not just our own individual consciousness, but that of everyone else. Instead of automatically reacting to all the stimuli that is currently being thrown at us ––on the street, on the TV, or the Internet–– with fear, distrust, polarization, or rage, we can choose to become the patient observers of what's unfolding around us, take it all in, let it settle, and from that place of greater understanding, learn to be actively present in the reality of our daily lives both for others and for ourselves.
This is why, in one of the weirdest autumns most of us can remember, we suggest for us all to 'think global, but act local.' To think of and empathise with the world around us, but get to work on ourselves first. Where are we at psychologically, emotionally, personally at this particular point in time? What are the challenges the corona pandemic has brought forward for us in our inner lives? Have we been working on overcoming these challenges, on articulating our fears, on releasing our sorrows, on forgiving and letting go of that which no longer serves us? This is the work we should all be doing now.
Practicing more gratitude, being there for 'the others' of our lives, and committing to whatever routine of self-care we're most used to falling back on when the going gets tough are some of our other recommendations. But the main point is to remember that: "[t]hinking of ourselves in terms of the surface of the body and not developing an awareness of the interior leads to looking about in the world to find the cause of discomfort whenever we feel vaguely that things are not right" (Swami Rama, 1976: 11). And this vicious circle prevents us from getting to the core of the issue to erradicate the evil. It keeps us trapped repeating and reliving the same kind of mistakes, generation after generation.
So lets all of us make the effort to look inwards, remain calm, grounded, and present in our lives, observe both what's facing us from the outside and from the inside, and use our energy to thus support (and enhance) global consciousness by 'acting local' first of all.