Shifting to a Better World
Gregg Braden’s speaking voice could calm the roiling seas, its deep timbre and melodious tones soothing to the ear. And a good thing, too, considering he’s talking about December 21, 2012, which many people fear will be the date of a worldwide apocalypse.
Even rather alarming statements such as, “The Earth doesn’t need healing—it will be here … but will we be here?” go down smoothly.
Truly, if everyone who thinks the world is going to end on that particular date would take five minutes to listen to Braden, one of the foremost authorities on the Mayans and predictions about 2012 and “the Shift,” he’d be able to talk them all off the ledge.
Again, good thing, as the notion of the Shift is still a touchy subject not only among the New Age community that knows it well, but the general population as a whole. With apocalyptic movies giving the date a bad name and the growing awareness that the Earth is indeed undergoing a relatively drastic climate change at this very moment, 12/21/2012 is continuing to receive a great deal of attention. And it’s only increasing as even the general populace can’t help but notice the startlingly high number of earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, flooding, and other extreme weather that’s occurring—and that’s even before they add in all the societal and political upheaval.
All going according to plan
Best-selling author and sought-after speaker Braden, who has addressed different facets of the Shift in his previous works, including The Divine Matrix and Fractal Time, sees the need for humanity to change, but not to panic. This is yet another in a long line of cyclic World Ages, he says, which our ancestors experienced and recorded for posterity, most famously in the form of the Mayan calendar that Braden has studied and written about extensively in his many books. And, he says, we can learn from our ancestors’ messages—if we pay attention.
“I’ve been on every continent except Antarctica, and I’ve connected with people all over the world,” Braden says. “It’s universal—many cultures expected this and tried to give us a ‘heads up’ in the language of their time. We’ve had 2012s in the past, and if we know where to look, it gives us solid ground to build up our knowledge about what these cycles entail.”
Braden bucks predictive trends by asserting the climate changes we have been witnessing are not the fault of humans abusing the planet, but instead are indicative of a normal Earth cycle coming around again. He is quick to point out, however, that this doesn’t mean we can continue to live the way we have been, abusing Mother Earth and wasting our resources. Instead, he says, we are currently at a tipping point.
While the New Age community’s opinions range from a belief that the world is coming to an end—or, at the very least, that we’ll be unceremoniously booted back to the Stone Age to start over—to the view that next year’s winter solstice will be the greatest event ever to happen to mankind, ushering in a golden age of peace, Braden does not fit neatly into either camp. Instead, he says, how we choose to evolve affects the tone the new age will take. Braden says we’re in the middle of a small window of time—one that started in 1980 and extends to 2016—where we have the opportunity to choose our destiny.
“We’re living in the last years of a cycle that began in 3114 B.C. Scientists are trying to reconcile how we deal with these cycles. The answer is: We don’t. People who are not aware of the natural cyclic nature of our world see the Earth as broken, but it’s not true.”
Time to choose
Calling the present a “rare, pivotal time,” Braden says, “Our systems are stressed, and those that are not sustainable will collapse, like our economic system or our use of fossil fuels—namely, the ones where someone benefits at someone else’s expense. We’re facing two possible outcomes, one life-affirming, one dark. We can prop up the old, which suited us at the time, or embrace the new. It’s a choice.” However, he warns, “we’ll end up with the dark option if we keep going as we are now.”
While we’re already in the middle of the massive earth changes we’ve been warned about (“and we’re handling it well,” Braden points out, as society as a whole hasn’t imploded in a panic), people still fear the future, mainly because of the constant bombardment of sensationalism, courtesy of the media.
“In the 1980s, the media picked up on these end-of-an-age prophecies, but they focused on the frightening ones. Why? I was told by a person in the entertainment industry, ‘Peace don’t sell.’ I’ve also been told that ‘the economy needs war’—but peace is profitable if we change the way we think. We can manifest a positive destiny by choosing peace.”
The big question, Braden says, is how we will respond to these changes on a “personal, collective, and social basis,” and it’s here that New Age shop owners can contribute to the collective calming down of the populace, offsetting the alarmist content coming out of the mainstream media in its quest for ratings and profits, as well as providing a support system for those working toward a positive future.
An important job to do
The spiritual seekers who have incarnated now, whom some refer to as lightworkers, are facing a large and important task. “As the prophecies said, our ‘old system’ is being pulled out before the new is in place,” which can be frightening and chaotic, Braden says. “It takes strong people to bridge the two worlds without getting lost in fear. The key to our success is how we treat one another and accept or reject that ‘need’ for war to solve our problems.”
Braden says New Age retailers can help turn the tide away from apocalyptic expectations by encouraging a supportive environment to alter the collective perception. “Everyone learns differently and works toward a better world in different ways. Shop owners should share information with integrity and bring people closer in their relationships to others, themselves, their community. They can and should open hearts and minds to new possibilities.”
Braden has worked toward increasing understanding of the coming Shift with his various books. “Each book that I’ve written is a different facet to understanding our relationship with ourselves, others, and our world, to clearly and responsibly deliver a message of hope and empowerment.”
His latest is Deep Truth: Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate (Hay House, October 2011), which builds on topics he’s discussed in his earlier volumes and addresses certain scientific beliefs in detail. “Deep Truth was timed intentionally,” Braden says, “ahead of the curve, to help people not familiar with 2012 understand what’s going on.”
The book covers several topics that Braden says are integral to helping us make the transition to the new era: namely, knowing the truth about who we are and where we come from, and our actual history on this planet. Having this information, he says, will make a huge difference in how we face the future—and how we will create it.
A former computer geologist, defense contractor, and computer programmer, Braden has always advocated the synthesis of science and spirituality. He says we can bridge the gap between the two and be all the better for it.
In Deep Truth, Braden challenges assumptions humanity has accepted as correct, laying out arguments such as the idea that climate change has not been caused by human activity and that our civilizations are far older than we have assumed—a concept that he says is supported more and more by frequent new archaeological discoveries pushing the dates of civilizations further back than we previously thought.
“We’re discovering civilizations that existed at the end of the last ice age,” Braden says. “That doubles how old we thought civilization was.”
Even more important to how we handle the coming societal changes is his discussion of nature’s propensity toward cooperation and mutual aid instead of “survival of the fittest” biological competition—in other words, he says, Darwin was wrong.
“Darwinian evolution doesn’t work,” he says. Although “survival of the fittest” has always been accepted as the standard for biological behavior, Braden says we are more inclined toward peace than war, more wired for cooperative existence and mutual aid than competition.
He also discusses the concept of intelligent design. “Evolution is a fact, yes, but that doesn’t apply to us. We have a fusion of chromosomes that give our DNA uniqueness.”
Although Braden states that he doesn’t know who or what was responsible for our existence, he argues that our biological complexities are beyond the reach of random chance.
Be open and evolve
When asked if he will get some flak for backing the theory of intelligent design, Braden stands by what he’s written. “What I’ve put in Deep Truth about intelligent design is not speculation. I worked very hard on the research, and everything in the book is factual. If somebody has a problem, it’s with the data, not me.”
More important, he says, is that the science taught in our schools is woefully outdated, not just dismissing the idea of intelligent design, but also insisting on the use of the scientific method to the exclusion of all other types of research and verification. “When new information is revealed, we discount it,” he says.
“Humanity’s era of greatest suffering coincides with the use of the scientific method and the idea that everything in this world is based on competition—not just biological development, but all our systems, such as the economy. But it’s not true. It served us until recently, but it won’t work in the coming era.”
If we as a civilization continue to cling to old information and “produce another generation steeped in false assumptions” without making room for the new, Braden says, we won’t progress. However, if we open ourselves to the unexpected and the unknown, our future will be bright.
“The world’s problems are so big they will never be solved by one nation, but by us, individually and collectively. We will work together to survive, and when the need disappears, we will be in a better world—the new world our ancestors saw.”
First published in Vol. 25 No. 6 of Retailing Insight. © 2011 Continuity Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.