The First Turning

A worldwide climate of positive change and hope for the future.

On Meditation, Kobe Bryant, and Me.

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On Sunday morning I ran across a piece in The New York Times that made me stop dead in my tracks.

It was a combined interview with media mogul Arianna Huffington and superstar athlete Kobe Bryant.

And a central part of the conversation centered on not power, not success, not anything else you might assume about these individuals, but on meditation.

 

Meditation.

 

In The First Turning, I write of Centering Prayer, a system of prayer designed by a Trappist monk, Father Thomas Keating, that combines prayer and meditation.

Keating, Huffington, Bryant and many others have hit on a powerhouse. And they are bringing this concept into the mainstream of our society.

The topic comes up in the interview after the two are reminded of “nasty speed bumps” they encountered in their personal lives, and how they emerged greater from those crises.

Huffington is asked if she meditates and she matter-of-factly responds, “Every day.” Bryant describes his adoption of the practice as a type of “performance enhancement, as well as part of the journey of discovery”… as key to doing phenomenal things.

 

In 2010, I too, discovered meditation. I meditate 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. I try not to miss. If I don’t slow myself down, things just don’t feel right.

For you see, I have learned that meditation builds brain cells, increases empathy, heals trauma, lowers blood pressure, and has the curious side effect of helping us detach from the frenetic pace and chaos of the world.

Meditation is not “woo woo” stuff. It has a solid base in research that has existed for decades. I believe it should be added to our public schools and university curriculums. If we are to enter a true First Turning, then we must harness our minds, listen to the silence and realize that in that silence exists the truth of who we are meant to be.

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Author: thefirstturning

This blog was created as a way to continue sharing the information and emotion behind The First Turning: A Vision of America and a World at Peace. I wanted a platform that could persist beyond the stories and anecdotes published in the book, where an active dialogue can be maintained about the global community as we seek to uncover a new, more peaceful world. My book builds off of the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in The Fourth Turning, in which the authors identified a distinct generational pattern in American history that they further segmented into a four-fold cycle to describe the corresponding shifts in cultural mood, each one spanning approximately 20 years. Their research extended back to the 16th century and was consistent for over 400 years. The First Turning is a High—a post-crisis emergence of strong societal collectiveness. The Second Turning is an Awakening—an era in which public process is at its peak and people are eager to recapture personal authenticity. The Third Turning is an Unraveling—a time when individualism is flourishing but institutions are weak. The Fourth Turning is Crisis—a time when the nation’s survival seems threatened. Fascinated by their work after, I began to pay attention more closely to the national climate and discourse surrounding daily happenings. At the time, in 2009, we were deep in crisis. Economic collapse, war, natural disasters… I listened to and absorbed the chaos. While I was able to actively apply their findings and theory to the world around me, I noticed something different—something not fully accounted for in their work. I noticed on the one hand that it wasn’t just our nation in disrepair but, in many ways, the world. I noticed too that the dialogue surrounding these events was broad and diverse, not limited to our national citizenry. As my research deepened and expanded, it became clear to me that today’s technological globalization—only a distant vision when Strauss and Howe published their work in 1997—was creating both a domino effect among the economies and societies across the world, and that that same technology was also responsible for repairing the hardship. Technology today is animating our ability to reach beyond borders and barriers to inspire collaboration and affect change in every corner of the earth. As a result of this, it occurred to me that we as a civilization were nearing a First Turning much sooner than anticipated. Technology is actively influencing humankind’s evolution in the context of these generational tides. It is that evolution that I wanted to capture in The First Turning: A Vision of America and a World at Peace, and that I hope to continue with here.

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