The concept of a shift in global consciousness appears throughout spiritual and new age teachings. It's essentially the idea that humanity will experience a shift in its values and perception of the world. Think of it as a kind of new cultural enlightenment, in which we come to embrace a more peaceful and thoughtful mode of existence.
The details vary depending on whom you ask. New age author Eckhart Tolle, for instance, envisions a time when humanity will free itself of self-centered ego and usher in a era of peace and compassion. Psychologist Susan Blackmore ponders to what extent our growing neuroscientific understanding of consciousness will alter our sense of identity as a people.
How does 2012 paranoia factor in? American therapists Barry and Janae Weinhold interpret the culmination of the Mayan Long Count Calendar on Dec. 21, 2012, as not an end of civilization but rather a promising new and peaceful chapter for all humanity. They back this up with such factors as growing numbers of progressive, liberal people in the U.S. and Europe and increasing quantities of invisible torsion wave energy emanating from the center of the universe. This energy, Weinhold stresses, has the same frequency as unconditional love.
So while a 2012 global shift in human consciousness is as unlikely as Planet X t-boning Earth, you have to admit it's a lot more optimistic.
How to Prepare: Should you happen to feel your own consciousness shifting toward the compassionate, remember that you can assist disaster survivors with cash donations to reputable aid organizations, volunteer work through nonprofits or the donation of requested goods via charity organizations.
For more information on the end of the world and disaster relief, explore the links on the next page.