December 21, 2012. Winter Solstice. End of the current cycle of the Mayan Long Count calendar. Storied date. Inspiration for countless movies and documentaries. Source of much fear, panic, concern, and ridicule but also hope, renewal, transition, and inspiration.
That's a lot of pressure on one ride around the sun. I wonder if the other planets in our solar system are feeling a bit left out because they don't have their own December 21... but then, even if they did, there wouldn't be anyone around to be impressed by it.
December 21 represents three profound truths about the human race.
One, our obsession with Time. Ever since we learned how to codify our experience of our own existence into words and stories, we became obsessed with measuring and recording Time. Without Time, we would have no stories, no communication, no memories. Time is critical to our very identity, to our awareness of ourselves. In this sense, Time is more basic than food, shelter, money, or power.
Two, our archetypal fascination with the end of the world. It's a fascination that ranges from awe of natural laws to self-imposed guilt to mind-numbing panic. No doubt connected with our own mortality, a terrifically inevitable and absolutely reliable transition to a state no one ever born has been able to escape, the sentiment percolates through every crevice of the spiritual and religious traditions of all people on our planet.
... and Three—our love of ceremony and ritual intertwined with our infatuation with status, renown, and yes, even fame. This is the desire to feel special or unique in some way, a desire particularly acute in modern Western society, where we seek celebrity at virtually any cost and worship those who have attained it regardless of the means utilized.
This is why I believe, in my humble opinion and observations, we are so taken with the concept of December 21 as the "end date" of a cosmically vast era, a period of 5,125 years that took flight in 3114 BC and is now making its final descent on to the runway of our lives. It brings to us a near-tangible marker of the single greatest most intangible element of human consciousness, bearing the ceremonial staff of natural law of equilibrium, beginning and end, and the streaming multicolored ribbons of our collective psyche. Like Neil Armstrong who jubilantly planted a flag on the moon in the name of human exploration, the date of December 21 focuses the world's attention on its fantastically long yet fleeting history, bringing us together to be actively aware, in respect and awe-struck silence, of our tremendous potential and promise.
We, the 7 billion human beings currently inhabiting the planet (yes, there are now 7 BILLION of us), will have the great honor of witnessing this moment in the history of our kind. A moment decorated by the attention of our hopes, dreams, intentions, resolutions. A moment left breathless by the millions of hands outstretched and hearts impassioned in their quest to walk a higher path. A moment sent to us by a people too ancient for us to remember or understand, carved into the face of a pillar of stone too silent for us to ignore.
But the moment will pass, just as any other moment of Time has ever passed. The sun will continue its journey across the sky the next day the same way it has done for hundreds of millions of years, unimpressed by our thirst for meaning, for purpose, for the ability to carve our names into the Earth and leave a legacy that Time will not erase.
But perhaps we, living sentient beings and stewards of this singular blue planet, will have accepted the significance of this long, long-awaited moment, the Winter Solstice of 2012, and taken that critical progressive step toward a shift in the evolution of our civilization.
p.s. Now that December 21 has passed, for the most part quietly, all around the world, do you feel any different? Perhaps relieved that the craziness is over, elated and looking forward to the next era, or perhaps angry, as many have posted on our Facebook page, that there was so much fear and panic related to this date? Share your thoughts and sentiments below.