By Brianna Wiest

There’s a social theory that mankind’s development is not a linear progression, but rather, it occurs in cycles. Civilizations rise and then fall; collective intelligence peaks higher each time it does.  A brief mental sweep of history and a general understanding of nature would make this seem logical enough – we evolve spectacularly, and then catastrophe strikes.

It didn’t come from nowhere. The idea of a social cycle came from the Vedas and Upanishads. It’s the ancient belief that Earth is subject to it’s position on its procession of the equinox. Every 26,000 years, it completes a full cycle. Each time it reaches the closest point to the center of the Universe – where the concentration of energy is highest – we inch closer to awakening. We are currently on the upswing.

Regardless of the mythology, there’s something interesting happening in the world today. Our collective consciousness is expanding. We’re more aware of what’s going on (for better and for worse), we’re striving to understand ourselves, we’re learning to work with our emotions, and build lives that represent what we value, not what we’re obligated to. Whatever the cause, here are some of the everyday effects:

1. People are beginning to recognize their power. Self-empowerment, individuality and autonomy are seen as fundamental to living a whole and fulfilling life.

2. Positive psychology, emotional intelligence, personality typing, and other concepts for self-understanding are becoming increasingly popular. Positive psychology has been having a media heyday over the past 15 years, and between The Big Five, Myers Briggs, Astrology, Enneagrams and the like, we are starving for self-awareness, and this is how it’s presenting itself.

3. Social justice issues are making headlines like never before, and “ignorance” is being defined as anyone who doesn’t consider all beings to be equal. Certainly this is not the first time in history we’ve wanted to liberate ourselves from oppressive constructs, but with the help of technology, it is the first time that we think of healthy social “norms” as being those that are equal and accepting.

4. Yoga and meditation have become common practices in the West. Whereas just a few decades ago they would have been seen these things as strange, yoga classes are available almost everywhere, and research is showing that meditation actually changes the brain.

5.”Common knowledge” is expanding at a rate untouched before the internetWhereas we once only knew as much as we could remember, now, we can research virtually anything. Mainstream media has us consuming articles and ideas at record speeds. We’re learning in ways we never could before, and faster than we ever could, either.

6. There’s a newfound interest in organic foods and homeopathic remedies. People are suddenly concerned about GMOs, antibiotics, and the other plethora of chemicals our foods are being drenched in.

7. Everyone has a voice. Whereas the only messages that were communicated through media were once curated by a select few gatekeepers, now, everybody can speak and share their perspective. For better and for worse, everybody can share what they think, and while it may seem frustrating at times, it is crucial in recognizing where we’re at collectively.

8. People are questioning the system and learning to think for themselves. While some conversations are more constructive than others, we’re theorizing more than we’re accepting things as “truth.” We are becoming ever-more skeptical of major social structures, and with good reason.

9. We’re basing relationships on compatibility, not obligation. Gone are the days of marrying and parenting because you’re “supposed to.” Now, we want compatible life-partners, deliberate child-bearing, and happy (non-nuclear) family structures.

10. We’re talking about issues that have otherwise gone ignored – depression, sexual abuse, etc. – publicly and honestly. We’re slowly removing the shame and stigma around mental illness and abuse and becoming more understanding of those who need help by sharing, relating, teaching and healing with them.

11. We’ve just about had it with the employment model as it stands. We recognize that working ourselves to death does not make for a good life, yet, we also realize that we are essentially enslaved to capitalism for our survival. While part-time work and freelancing and work-life balance are becoming more popular topics of conversation, the overarching structure still stands.

12. People are becoming more intuitive. As well as empathetic, and curious, and informed, and tolerant of those who are different from them.

13. We’re recognizing the imbalance of feminine energy. We’re seeing how deliberately femininity has been oppressed in society, and the crucial importance the lost balance serves us in every aspect of life (and society).

14. We’re breaking out of the gender binary. We’re no longer defining ourselves simply by what we appear to be – it’s becoming increasingly more acceptable to discover who you identify as being rather than just accepting who you seem to be on the outside.

15. We’re becoming more concerned with the effect we’re having on natural climates. We treat the Earth as a thing, not an actual, living entity.

16. We’re dealing with the effects of long-suppressed emotions. Over the past five or so years, you’ve likely been a friend or family member of someone who has gone through radical, intense changes in their life and in their person – if you didn’t do so yourself! It wasn’t that we came upon hard times and got through it – we came upon hard times and awakened to something deeper.