Transformation Fall 2019 - Issue 5
Spiritual Practices & Inspired Lifestyle
Leadership and Transformation Featuring
Deepak Chopra & Global Change Makers
CHUCKSTRONG with the NFL's Chuck Pagano Tribute to Greta Thunberg
M A G A Z I N E Spiritual Practices & Inspired Lifestyle Light on Light Magazine Issue 5 â€“ Fall 2019
Host Editor ............................................................................ Karuna Contributions Editor ...................................................... Kurt Johnson, PhD Managing Editor ........................................ Rev. Shannon Winters, MS Book Review Editor ..............................................Swami Shraddhananda Graphic Editor & Layout ............................................................... David Winters
We at Light on Light Magazine are dedicated to illuminating the light of wisdom and compassion of spiritual practices and inspiring lifestyle features for the flourishing of health, mind, and spirit every day. Light on Light Magazine welcomes authors, spiritual teachers, and our readers, to contribute ideas and brief concepts for content in future issues. We welcome light-filled submissions of wisdom, inspiration, and transformation for feature articles, personal transformation stories, poetry, fictional short stories, music, artwork, #ShineYourLight inspirations, and more! Please send a brief description of your content or idea to email@example.com for consideration. Except for fair use extracts with full credit, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher.
Deepak Chopra Cover Photo credit: Emmanuel Abreu Acknowledgements: The editors gratefully acknowledge Roxanne Bank, MA for copyediting the feature articles in this issue.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor's Welcomes Welcome, and in Celebration of Change by Karuna.......................................................................................4 Welcome by Dr. Kurt Johnson and Ben Bowler......................................5
Columns The Mystery, Magic, Mastery and Majesty of Life by Yanni Maniates.................................................................... 6-7 Are You s Change Maker? by Rev. Deborah Moldow.......................................................8-9
Feature Articles Metahuman: A Call to Wake up by Deepak Chopra, MD........................................................10-11 Why "You Are the Universe" is True by Deepak Chopra, MD and Menas C. Kafatos, PhD.... 12-13 I Am But A Pencil In The Hand Of God by Audrey E. Kitagawa........................................................ 14-15 The Spiritual Quest by Jean Houston................................................................... 16-17 Staying CHUCKSTRONG for Cancer Patients by Chuck Pagano..................................................................18-19
Spotlight on Change Makers Welcome and Introduction by Rev. Diane Berke............................................................20-21 Welcome to the Post-Individualism Age by David Sloan Wilson.......................................................22-23 The Perennial Quest for Peace on Earth by Michael Bernard Beckwith................................................ 24 How Your Ethical Life, Ethical Lifestyle and Values Are Central to Who You Are, Your Voice, and Your Role as a Leader by Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian and Amb. Mussie Hailu.............................................................. 25-27 I Am A Peace Ambassador by James O'Dea........................................................................ 28 America 7.0 by Stephen Dinan................................................................29-30 The Change-Making Power of Awe by Claudia Welss ................................................................. 31-32 Winning World Interfaith Harmony Week 2019 what winning means to us by Rev. Berry Behr............................................................... 33-34 Evolutionary Meetings: "How" We Meet by Dr. Ron Friedman and Victoria Friedman...................... 35 Evolutionary Media's Role in Creating A Brighter Future by Randall Libero...................................................................... 36 Evolutionary Leadership for a Transformed World by Rev. Deborah Moldow.................................................. 37-38
Illuminations Co-Creating a Great Transition by Lynnaea Lumbard.........................................................39-40 The Trust Frequency: Opening Our Hearts to a Higher Reality by Ka'nahsohon Kevin Deer, Sally A. Ranney, Andrew Cameron Bailey, Connie Baxter Marlow........ 41-42 Unity Earth by Brian McLaren................................................................ 43-44
Inspired Voices Tribute to Greta Thunberg with artwork by Vinnie Neuberg by The Editors......................................................................45-46 A Tribute to Drs. J.J... and Desiree Hurtak: Cosmologists who have been ahead of their time by The Editors....................................................................... 47-51 Tribute to Fr. Thomas Keating: A legacy event July 12-14, 2019 by The Editors......................................................................52-54
Music Transformation and Spiritual Leadership Through Music: an Interview with Antoinette Rootsdawtah Hall by Erik Rabasca................................................................... 55-57
Travel - Along the Journey Along the Journey by Joanne Kujawa..............................................................59-60
Book Review The Way of Grace: The Transforming Power of Ego Relaxation by Miranda Macpherson by Sw. Shraddhananda Saraswati........................................ 61
Preview of Next Issue Light on Light Magazine Conscious Business by Rev. Shannon Winters..........................................................71
Welcome, and in Celebration of Change! Karuna, Host Editor, Light on Light
Welcome to this “CHANGE MAKERS—Leadership and Transformation” issue of Light on Light magazine. This special publication has been in the works for nearly two years and is planned to coincide with the urgent issues of the United Nations’ September to October “event season” which run from the 11 Days of Global Unity to the International Day of Peace (September 21) and on to the UN’s “Week of Spirituality” in late October. With Light on Light reaching so many people we had planned for over a year a special issue on wonderful people we know who work for, and make, change! This Issue Starting from Deepak Chopra, who has done so much and celebrated with us in New York City the launch of his newest book Metahuman in early October at the famed United Palace, we’ve also created a special on VoiceAmerica which moves from Dr. Chopra discussing the human potential implications of his new book with the Institute of Noetic Science’s Board Chair, Claudia Welss, to major United Nations representatives linking this out to address the multitude of challenges we face now worldwide. Ambassador A. K. Chowdhury, previous UN Under Secretary and President of the Security Council, aptly links these visions with discussion of over a half dozen other UN and global leaders hosted by Rick Ulfik, co-founder of “the 11 Days”. Enjoy that special broadcast here. In this special issue of Light on Light we spotlight many of these same voices and faces— Deepak Chopra with our cover and cover feature; the Parliament of the World's Religions Chair Audrey Kitagawa; UN and African Union Ambassador Mussie Hailu; famed activist and United Palace Chair Jean Houston; Michael Beckwith, founder of Agape International; Stephen Dinan, founder of The SHIFT Network; Brian McLaren, Diane Berke, and Ben Bowler, outstanding global interfaith leaders; David Sloan Wilson, co-founder of the Prosocial Movement, Victor Kazanjian of the United Religions Initiative; and, lastly, my own brother, coach Chuck Pagano of the National Football League with his outstanding work for cancer victims and survivors. The issue also has four special tributes to Change Makers. Upfront we review all the contributions Ken Wilber has made to our publications, broadcasts, initiatives, and events. And, later in a special section we honor Greta Thunberg, Sweden’s young climate change activist (with original artwork); the Drs. J. J. and Desiree Hurtak for their outstanding “ahead of their time” work in science and consciousness; and the late Fr. Thomas Keating who many of us celebrated with a “Legacy Event” in Colorado this summer. Along with these many Change Makers, we also have updates and short reports from other major Change Makers who are part of Light on Light’s Circle of Friends who have graced our pages over the months and years. We want to celebrate and thank all of these amazing people working for change. We have to hope and believe it will make a difference! Change Change isn’t easy for anyone—whether we’re talking about the individual or our global collective but, for sure, as David Sloan Wilson says herein, we’re entering an age where change just at the individual level won’t be enough. The change subject is a big one. Globally, there are so many recipes to sift through, so many ways we can imagine how things can be put together, individually collectively, etc. And, we’re realizing we’re living in a time where, truly, we have to finally “get it right.” This special issue is full of people who have taken their calling to a role in change seriously. And, it points to others— witness Marianne Williamson who has brought the voice of the Great Wisdom Traditions to America’s presidential race. These are persons who felt their voice and contribution were not only needed but likely crucial. These are people who looked past their own miss-takes and just kept giving and giving, people who didn't think about their credentials but about their sense of urgency for change. It’s been a journey of personal courage in each case. That tenacity, that tenacity of the heart, may well be the source of the shift we’re all looking for.
Sending thanks to all, And love to all. Enjoy this inspiring issue! Karuna Host Editor Light on Light Light on Light Host Editor, Karuna, with CHANGE MAKER Ken Wilber. 4
and, with an upfront note on the Change Maker contributions of integral visionary Ken Wilber We want to welcome you to this issue of Light on Light magazine, “CHANGE MAKERS— Leadership and Transformation.” This issue is timed around the observances of the International Day of Peace (September 21, annually), as mandated by the General Assembly of The United Nations. This is also the time, into October, of the “Week of Spirituality” at the United Nations.
Self Care to Earth Care Conference, Denver 2015, “Introduction to Integral Spirituality” 150,000 views at YouTube Introduction to “The Convergence” Series on VoiceAmerica, 2016 (Episode 1) Video Introduction to The Crestone Convergence, Crestone 2017
Accordingly, this issue marks the “Change Maker” theme that typifies all these global activities—especially as personified by the “11 Days of Global Unity” theme and activities of this season.
Video Narration of the Crestone Convergence Video 2017
This issue of Light on Light is filled with global change-maker leaders, many of whom are household words around the world. So, we are happy to bring you not only this special issue of Light on Light but also to have been part of the “11 Days” celebrations of our partner We, the World at WE.net and our special program with them for this season on VoiceAmerica.
Video Introduction to the Parliament of the World’s Religions Pre-Event— The Toronto Convergence 2018
We especially want to thank all the global change-maker leaders who have given time to create contributions for this issue, from Deepak Chopra on our cover, and his cover features, to Audrey Kitigawa, Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chuck Pagano of the NFL and his amazing cancerrelated work, and Jean Houston, among so many other things Chair of the United Palace in New York City who hosted Deepak Chopra’s special program in New York on October 2. And, so many others! With a notable thanks to Rick Ulfik, founder of WE, with whom we have partnered our activities this year. But we cannot complete a Welcome and Introduction to a “Change Maker”themed issue without recounting the contributions that Integral visionary Ken Wilber has made to this work since the partners of UNITY EARTH began their work together at precisely this time, the Week of Spirituality, in 2016. To launch all the “Change Maker” messages in this issue we want to begin by recounting and linking the contributions that Ken has so graciously made since 2015. We hope that your reference to each of these videos or feature articles will further bolster your own vision and action for change-making.
“A Truly ‘Inclusive’ Spirituality” – Introduction to The Convergence magazine for the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions (Preview) (Whole Text) Inaugural Issue of Light on Light magazine “An Integral Approach to Transformation” with Dustin DiPerna 2018 Introduction to the Conscious Business Summit “Spirituality in Conscious Business” in The Convergence magazine 2019 Introduction to “Conscious Business for a Flourishing World” in Light on Light magazine Special Issue on the Conscious Business Summit 2019 (upcoming) Introduction for the book from 2018 The Parliament of the World’s Religions
Dr. Kurt Johnson Contributions Editor, Light on Light With Ben Bowler, Executive Director of UNITY EARTH and the staff of Light on Light Magazine, a UNITY EARTH Partner
We are pleased to announce that Kurt Johnson's book with Stephen Blackwell, Fine Lines (Yale University Press 2015) has won the Brian Boyd Prize for scholarly writing for the period 2015-2019. Click here for the announcement. 5
“A Truly ‘Inclusive’ Spirituality” in Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up 2020 (upcoming)
Ken Wilber creator of the revolutionary AQAL Integral Framework.
The Mystery, Magic, Mastery and Majesty of Life By Yanni Maniates
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived. Thomas Merton I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it. Kat Cathey Most of us habitually try to control all aspects of our lives: our relationships, our work environments, our health, etc, but usually we fail. We do this to feel safe and secure. We do this so that we can be happy. But the irony is that in tenaciously holding on so hard, we waste most of our precious energy in trying to control things. We exhaust ourselves trying to anticipate what may happen next and we squeeze all the joy, creativity and spontaneity out of life. By spending so much energy trying to make sure that everything and everyone in our life follows a specific script that we have in mind, we miss a myriad of opportunities to really enjoy and experience life. We never allow for life to simply come to us. We are constantly trying to force it to “go our way.” We leave no room for creativity, wonder, mystery and magic. We always want to know what is going to happen next, but by doing so we limit the limitless possibilities that are available to us. Life isn’t a script to be followed word by word, but it is a new, fresh potential that is waiting to be revealed one moment after the other. It is only when we allow for the unexpected and unknown to happen that magic or real life can happen. All that is new, fresh and joy filled can only be found in the unknown. The known is stagnant and calcified. Embrace the unknown and there you will find life. Tenaciously hold on to the known and there you will find stagnation and limitation. Allow for the mysteries and magic of life to delight you. Learn to live in the moment, to be free and to be a master. Learn to trust that you live in a “friendly universe” and it is all there for you. Each moment will take care of itself. Each moment is a new blessing—a new revelation. Become a master of the mystery, majesty and magic of life.
Cease trying to work things out with your mind, it will get you nowhere. Let your whole life be led by intuition and inspiration Let your whole life be a revelation. Eileen Cady
In order to allow yourself to be in the moment, to experience the mystery and magic of it all, experiment with the following. Whenever you can, just stop; take a couple of deep breaths; and then become aware of your body by doing a brief body scan from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. This will bring you into the present. Then allow your attention to be simply in the present, only focused on the rise and fall of your abdomen as you breathe in and out. Suspend all thought and then just feel. Don’t think. Feel. Then ask and allow for an insight or an inspiration to reveal itself to you. And sit back, with your mind disengaged, and absorb and enjoy whatever you receive. It may come as a thought, an impression, an image or a feeling, but most importantly it will be new—a mysterious, magical, majestic new moment/experience that the Universe wants to reveal to you.
Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses, and, also, quiet in your body. Then, when all these are quiet, don't do anything. In that state truth will reveal itself to you. It will appear in front of you and ask," what do you want? Kabir Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence. Deepak Chopra In the current issue of Light on Light we are introduced to Change Makers who truly understand that we need to look beyond the horizons of the known and explore instead the mystery, magic and majesty of the infinite potential that the Universe wants to reveal to us and have us manifest and experience. Allow yourself now to drop into the essence that is beyond the limitations of any of these words.
Whenever we moderns pause for a moment, and enter the silence, and listen very carefully, the glimmer of our deepest nature begins to shine forth, and we are introduced to the mysteries of the deep, the call of the within, the infinite radiance of a splendor that time and space forgot. Ken Wilber A tremendous "knowing" comes effortlessly into the mind when it falls into Silence, when it gives up trying to understand, when its reel of stored images no longer projects abstract pictures onto the clean screen of simplicity. This kind of knowing is transmitted to us as pure revelation, as a clarity untouched by words or other symbols of meaning. When we allow this knowing into our minds, our very lives become as clear and startling as this knowing. Robert Rabbin
Yanni Maniates, MS, CMI, is a spiritual mentor and consciousness pioneer who has been teaching Intuitive Development, Meditation, Healing, Hermetic Wisdom, Ancient Mystery School and Metaphysical subjects for 30 years. He has trained over a thousand people to successfully meditate and deeply develop their Intuition. He is the author of six Kindle books on Meditation and Intuition, three Meditation CDs and numerous courses. As well, he has been doing “Soul Readings” for decades. The primary focus of his work is to help people experience the “still, small voice within,” or as he prefers to call it, “The Embrace,” and then to help them live a fulfilling life that is bursting with real passion and grounded in true integrity. He loves helping people discover who they really are. http://www.insideoutjourneys.com/ In addition, as a sacred activist he works with UNITY EARTH as its Global Projects Director and as chair of its United States 501(c)(3) Board. As well, he is a core member of the contemplative practice community Transformation 365 firstname.lastname@example.org 7
LIVING LIGHT is a regular column for Light on Light Magazine intended for those who feel called to live more fully into the emerging consciousness.
Are You a Changemaker? Living Light Column for Light on Light Magazine By Rev. Deborah Moldow
I just moved to Mexico. I got the cosmic email about seven months ago and immediately felt strong, clear inner guidance to sell my lovely, comfy home in northern Westchester, get rid of at least half of my possessions (not sure whether I quite accomplished that lofty goal), and find a place to live in a developing country where I don’t speak the language and know only one person. And here I am. My friends reacted with a combination of horror and admiration for my courage. I think that’s when I began to notice what a major decision I had made. And yet the pull toward this enormous change in my life was greater than the desire to stay cozy in the patterns of my last two decades. Is change calling you, too? “Nothing's quite as sure as change,” sang the Mamas and the Papas some 50 years ago. And yet who among us doesn’t resist giving up the comfort and safety of the familiar: our home, our relationships, our daily routine, our favorite foods and entertainment, even that old pair of jeans? With the world around us seeming to spin madly out of control, these attachments serve as anchors, making us feel safely moored to a base. The pace of change all around us can feel overwhelming these days. We have more technology, more products, and more choices than at any time in history. Just look at the cereal aisle in the supermarket! And yet the pressures of climate change, along with the realization that we are poisoning the air, water and soil that give us life, have begun to awaken us to the fact that a different kind of change is needed: a profound transformation of consciousness, perhaps even an upgrade to a new level of what it means to be human. This is a tall order indeed for a species that tends to resist change! Where do we begin? We admire celebrities and politicians with big ideas and the money to back them, but few of us feel capable of making a real impact. Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is
a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” So perhaps the small but significant changes we make as we grow and mature are just what are needed to help grow and mature the entire human race, evolving us to be more compassionate, forgiving and understanding.
columns It’s interesting to see the way certain changes catch on in our society. When Massachusetts voted to allow same-sex marriage in 2004, it was a shocking reversal of long-held beliefs. Yet a mere fifteen years later it is legal in all fifty states. When did we all start drinking bottled water? Social advancements such as politically correct language and the inclusion of women and minorities in decision making have taken hold rapidly. Yet these are precisely the kind of changes that scare the change adverse among us and bring forward some most unpleasant anchors, like nationalism and feelings of racial superiority. That’s what fear of change can look like in the extreme. So those at the forefront of the evolution of consciousness are being called to step boldly into the current of positive change. The change makers of our time are those who don’t resist change but embrace it like children looking forward to the first day of school each year. Can we look forward to our next birthday the way we did when we were turning 16? The “world as we have created” it is teeming with our “stuff,” filling our homes to bursting and our oceans with garbage. Can we let go? This has been the traditional path of monks and nuns in various religious traditions as a powerful way to deepen their spiritual path. Our intensely material civilization may be considered as a challenging obstacle to our collective awakening. It’s no wonder that organizing specialist Marie Kondo’s movement toward “tidying up” has gained widespread popularity. Still, we struggle to release the objects that tell the story of our past. And perhaps the most important change we can make on a personal level is to let go of injured feelings. The path of forgiveness, long taught by religions but rarely embraced by followers, was popularized by the 20th century spiritual tome, “A Course in Miracles,” but has lately also been seen as beneficial to our health. I don’t know why my personal call to move to Mexico was so strong, but it initiated a chain reaction of changes, as I discover a whole new way of life, new community, and new aspects of my missions here on planet Earth. In the process, I am also discovering more about who I am. In the words of 13-century Persian poet Jellaludin Rumi, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Are you a changemaker?
Rev. Deborah Moldow is an ordained interfaith minister committed to assisting in the transformation of human consciousness. She is the founder of the Garden of Light, an online platform for the emerging global spirituality. Deborah is Co-Director of the Evolutionary Leaders circle, a project of the Source of Synergy Foundation. She served for 22 years as the Representative to the United Nations of the World Peace Prayer Society and the prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Rev. Deborah has led monthly Interfaith Sundays at the Chapel at Croton Falls and is a Creative Consultant at UNITY EARTH. 9
feature articles By Deepak Chopra, MD Every day we all make choices, big and small, and these change all the time. But surrounding these daily choices are decisions we’ve made about our lifestyle that remain the same. These decisions have been well publicized once it was realized, about three decades ago, that your well-being, and especially your health, depends on your lifestyle. You have the freedom to choose a lifestyle that includes tobacco, alcohol, no exercise, and a diet heavy in processed food, but there’s enough information available to give pause. As a result, better choices are being made. You might even ask “What is the absolute best lifestyle?” This can be a life-changing question. Let’s assume that you have already made good choices about diet and exercise. That’s a big assumption, because age and education has a major impact in those areas. For example, about 50% of adults under thirty take regular vigorous exercise, a number that falls off with every passing decade, reaching a low point with adults over seventy. But let’s stick with the assumption that you enjoy a healthy lifestyle, to which we will add that you meditate regularly and perhaps attend yoga class. As beneficial as such a lifestyle is, the key to the best lifestyle hasn’t been found. What statistics fail to reveal is that modern secular society has some dominant trends that work against true, lasting well-being. These trends include the following (they don’t make for nice reading): •
A deluge of distractions including the Internet and video games
Rampant consumerism spreading to more countries
Faster and fast pace of living
Increasing rates of aging and dementia
Dislocation and crumbling of traditional families
An epidemic of anxiety and depression
Collapse of trust in public institutions and politics
Global problems such as climate change, terrorism, and refugeeism Runaway disparity between rich and poor
These challenges are persistent. You hear about them every day or actually experience them. They are inescapable, and the individual is powerless to solve them. Any single issue on this list is enough to overwhelm your life if you get too close to it. Dealing with malaria in Africa, opiate addiction in the Rust Belt, suicide among veterans, or the looming prospect of Alzheimer’s—take any one of these and you can devote every waking hour to it. For the average person, however, the real issue is that no one can block out or escape these trends. They provide a background of troubling chaos. You cannot put your head deep enough in the sand to be unaffected. The most enlightened diet, exercise, meditation, and Yoga program do not provide a solution.
feature articles With that in mind, I wrote a new book titled Metahuman, which takes its title from the Greek word meta, which means “beyond.” I set out to find the best lifestyle that brings lasting wellbeing in the present chaotic condition of the world. You might be surprised to discover that this isn’t a spiritual lifestyle—I deliberately avoided even using the word spiritual in the book. The best lifestyle needs to include the spiritual and yet go beyond it—in other words, we need a “meta” lifestyle. The best lifestyle can be described in a single phrase, waking up. When you lead such a lifestyle, you devote yourself to going beyond the everyday routines that people live by, the second-hand beliefs and opinions we have all adopted, the stories we continually cling to, and the agenda of the ego. Waking up is about evolution, higher consciousness, and the infinite potential that belongs to every human being. Every problem listed above is mind-made. We find ourselves trapped at a level of consciousness that not only fuels chaos and confusion but which adds to them. Unknown to ourselves, we inhabit a kind of virtual reality walled in by constricted consciousness. Literally the reality we take for granted is a dream, spell, or illusion—choose any word for it you like. The “real” reality lies deeper inside us, at the source of pure consciousness that is the field of infinite possibilities. Modern secular society can be seen as the most perfected virtual reality ever devised—you can spend a lifetime on your computer if you want. Taking that perspective, modern life is the ultimate trap, and nothing on the list will be solved. But there is an alternative. Modern life is so open to freedom of choice that it provides the best setting ever devised for escaping the illusion. In Metahuman I took the second perspective, because each of us can clearly see that evolving to higher consciousness—in other words, waking up—is the only true solution. If you seek a solution to any problem, you can either struggle at the level of the problem, which is frustrating, or you can live form the level of awareness where solutions unfold through the infinite power of consciousness. This level is real, and it is accessible to all. No doubt each of us is deeply embedded in a lifestyle dominated by routine and habit. We have to wake up to the traps we’ve laid for ourselves, and at the same time find fundamental truths to live by. Mistaken beliefs are the hidden glue that keeps our virtual reality intact. They block the true nature of reality. Here are a few examples. Mistaken belief: I am separate and alone. Reality: The separate self is just a mental construct. Mistaken belief: This is my body. Reality: The body is part of the play of consciousness, which is universal, not personal. Mistaken belief: The physical world is the basis of everything. Reality: The physical world is one appearance that the play of consciousness takes. Mistaken belief: My life is bounded by time and space. Reality: Everyone lives in the eternal now, which is boundless. I am only offering the barest sketch of what waking up is all about, but I wanted to highlight that there is such a thing as the best lifestyle. Nothing that’s good in your present life has to be sacrificed—waking up expands every aspect of fulfillment. What’s really at stake is making the decision to wake up. That’s the first step in the direction of a future that works instead of a present that defeats us. Metahuman is the purpose we should all dedicate ourselves to in the name of collective humanity and every person in it.
DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and founder of Chopra Global and cofounder of Jiyo.com, is a worldrenowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is the author of over 86 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest book is Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, publishes October 1, 2019. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as "one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century." Dr. Chopra is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, and hosts the #1 health and wellbeing podcasts Deepak Chopra's Infinite Potential and Daily Breath. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked “Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine.” www.deepakchopra.com 11
Why “You Are the Universe” Is True by Deepak Chopra, MD and Menas C. Kafatos, PhD
here’s one relationship in your life—in everyone’s life—that has been kept a secret. You don’t know when it began, and yet you depend upon it for everything. If this relationship ever ended, the world would literally disappear in a puff of smoke. This is your relationship to reality. A huge number of things must come together perfectly to construct reality, and yet they do so completely out of sight. Think of sunlight. Obviously the sun can’t shine unless stars exist, and our sun is a medium-sized star floating beyond the center of the Milky Way, our home galaxy. There are few secrets left to discover about how stars form, what they are made of, and how light is produced in the incredibly hot cauldron at the core of a star. The secret lies elsewhere. As sunlight travels 93 million miles to Earth, it penetrates the atmosphere and lands somewhere on the planet. In this case, the only somewhere we’re interested in is your eye. Photons, the packets of energy that carry light, stimulate the retina at the back of your eye, starting a chain of events that leads to the part of your brain known as the visual cortex. The difference between being blind and being able to see lies in the mechanics of how the brain processes sunlight—that much is clear. Yet the step in the process that matters the most, converting sunlight into vision, is totally mysterious. No matter what you see in the world—an apple, cloud, mountain, or tree—sunlight bouncing off the object makes it visible, but how? No one knows. The secret relationship contains sight, because seeing is one of the basic ways of knowing that an object is real. The brain has zero light inside it, being a dark mass of oatmeal-textured cells enveloped in a fluid that is not terribly different from sea water. Because there is no light in the brain, there are no pictures or images, either. When you imagine the face of a loved one, nowhere in the brain does that face exist like a photograph. Sir John Eccles, a famous British neurologist and Nobel laureate, declared, "I want you to realize that there exists no color in the natural world, and no sound – nothing of this kind; no textures, no patterns, no beauty, no scent." What Eccles means is that all the qualities of Nature, from the luxurious scent of a rose to the sting of a wasp and the taste of honey, is produced by human beings. The most distant star, billions of light years away, has no reality without you, because everything that makes a star real—its heat, light, and mass, its position in space and the velocity that carries it away at enormous speed—requires a human observer with a human nervous system. That’s why the secret relationship is the most important one you have or will ever have. You are the creator of reality, and yet you have no idea how you do it—the process is effortless. When you see, light gains its brightness. When you listen, air vibrations turn into audible sound. The activity of the world around you in all its richness depends upon how you relate to it. This profound knowledge isn’t new. In ancient India the Vedic sages declared Aham Brahmasmi, which can be translated as “I am the universe” or “I am everything.” They arrived at this knowledge by diving deep into their own awareness, where astonishing discoveries were made. Lost to memory are Einsteins of consciousness whose genius was comparable to the Einstein who revolutionized physics in the twentieth century. If “You are the universe” is true, modern science must offer evidence to support it—and it does. Even though mainstream science is about external measurements, data, and experiments, which builds a model of the physical world rather than the inner world, there are a host of mysteries that
feature articles measurements, data, and experiments cannot fathom. At the far frontier of time and space, science must adopt new methods in order to answer some very basic questions, such as “What came before the Big Bang?” and “What is the universe made of?” Ours is a participatory universe that depends for its very existence on human beings. At this moment there’s a growing body of cosmologists developing theories of a living, conscious, and evolving universe. A conscious universe responds to how we think and feel. It gains its shape, color, sound, and texture from us. Therefore, the best name for it is the human universe. The human universe, if it exists, is the real universe, the only one we have. The personal dimension How you view your own life matters to you, of course, and everyone’s life is embedded in the matrix of reality. If we are insignificant specks in the vast black void of outer space, that reality must be accepted. If instead we are creators of reality living in a conscious universe that responds to our minds, that reality must be accepted. There is no middle ground and no second reality that can be chosen because we happen to like it better.
Metahuman Launches at the United Palace in NYC By Richard Miner
On October 2, the worldwide book launch of Dr. Deepak Chopra’s new book, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, premiered at the majestic United Palace in New York City. Illumination filled the evening, beginning with an inspirational introduction by Dr. Jean Houston, world renowned author, speaker and founder of the Human Potential movement. Dr. Chopra continued with a thought-provoking presentation about his new book, and the important implications it contains for us as individuals, and for our society as a whole. The worldwide premier took place at the historic United Palace of Spiritual Arts in New York City. Originally conceived and built in 1930 as one of Loew’s Wonder Theaters, the United Palace has been the host of important spiritual, cultural and entertainment events for 90 years. The United Palace is the largest house on Broadway with over 3,400 seats. Follow this link to purchase your copy of Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential. For more information about programs and other important upcoming events, visit unitedpalace.org. For more on the question of "Science and Truth" see the Op. Ed. by Dr. Kurt Johnson, p. 54.
Our book, You Are the Universe, unfolds how the human universe can be proved, and more importantly, how best to live in it. In this short space we can only say that the human universe gives you a completely different view of yourself than before. If the human universe exists, this means it must exist for you as an individual. The present-day universe is “out there” spanning immense distances, therefore having little or no connection to how you live your daily life. But if everything you see around you needs your participation, then you are touched by the cosmos every minute of the day. To us, the biggest mystery is how human beings create their own reality—and then forget what they did. No matter how many billions are spent on scientific research, no matter how fervently religionists keep faith with God, what finally matters is reality. The case for the human universe is very strong; it’s part of the paradigm shift unfolding all around us. The reason for saying “You are the universe” is that nothing less than that is the truth. All of us live in a participatory universe. Once you decide that you want to participate fully with mind, body, and soul, the shift becomes personal. The reality you inhabit will be yours either to embrace or to change. 13
photo credit Jan Goldstoff
photo credit Jan Goldstoff
photo credit Emmanuel Abreu
photo credit Jan Goldstoff
photo credit Emmanuel Abreu
I Am But A Pencil In The Hand Of God By Audrey E. Kitagawa
Contemplating upon the life of Mother Theresa who said, “I am but a pencil in the Hand of God,” I see a humble nun who answered an inspired call to forego a comfortable life to serve the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. An authentic leader, whether serving in the slums anywhere in the world, or living a life of comfort, carries a humble heart that recognizes and honors the Sacred Life that is inherent in the multitudinous life forms across all spectrums. I had the privilege of meeting an enlightened master who told me, “God is Love.” She was a simple householder, a wife and mother of five with an eighth grade education, who grew up in the little sugar plantation of Waipahu on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii. The great mystery of the Divine that is silently interwoven into the fabric of life itself brought us together in an encounter that would transform my life. An uninterrupted stream of the most exquisite exposition on the Divine poured out of her nonstop for five hours at our very first meeting. She spoke rapidly, and I wanted to capture every precious word that was pouring out of her, but there was so much that she was saying in a language of the heart that was at once uplifting, inspiring, peaceful and powerful. She looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to try to remember anything I am telling you, for I am not communicating with you. I am transmitting to you, Spirit to Spirit, Heart to Heart, Infinite to Infinite and not mind to mind. Whatever you may need of what I have transmitted to you will spontaneously arise whenever you need it.” Strangely, while I said very little about myself, I felt completely loved and understood. Though my eyes were looking at this simple, elderly Japanese lady in front of me I felt that I was in the presence of a spiritual giant, unknown to the world at large. I was blessed to spend the next 20 years of my life with her that signified a journey of profound inner transformation that was natural, organic, sometimes imperceptible and sometimes dramatic, immersed in the mystical; touched by a mystery full of awe, wonderment and a profound peace. I went from a chronically tardy person to a prompt person. I observed how she never wanted to inconvenience others and impose upon their time, for in the world of form and structure, time represents the unit of measurement of one’s physical life. In every moment, she was respectful of every person’s life by being fully present and giving of her complete attention. Although there were often many people around her, I somehow felt as if I was the only person with her, so absolute was her focus and attention on each one of us. Every Sunday she called me to have dinner with her. She cooked the meals with her own hands, wearing an apron which I see so clearly in my mind’s eye. All that she cooked was so delicious because it was infused with her love. She was luminously beautiful, and I was always riveted by her 14
radiance. I learned from observing her that in the seeming ordinariness of everyday living, such as cooking a meal, or washing the dishes, that the precious Divine Life is made manifest in its full glory, in all those little, simple ways that whispers, “Love is here, now, in this moment. Open your eyes and bear witness to its grandeur.” Over the years many people came to her to hear her powerful, spontaneous expositions on the Divine, and to witness pure love in action. A spiritual community grew around her of people hungry to receive her spiritual wisdom and transmissions. She was a change maker because she transformed lives and made us all better people. She was an authentic leader because she led us back to our own selves where the Divine Life already exists and emanates from within the sacred chambers of our own hearts. I learned from her that the actualization of the Living Reality of God in our lives exists in every loving thought, word and action emitted by each person, for God is Love, living and expressing in and through us every moment. I discovered in my sacred journey with her, that this love is humble, kind, compassionate, pure and sweet. It is the immense power of that love that transforms lives that marks an authentic leader, who moves from that Sacred Ground of Being from which all of life arises, and to which all of life returns, but is at all times, inseparably rooted within It. In the recesses of all of my interactions I hear her question that she asked often, “Can you love the ‘un-love-able(s)’?” The scriptures from the Book of Matthew in the Bible always came to mind, “I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink, I needed clothes, and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison, and you did not tend to me.” The Living Christ in the form of the “un-loveable(s)” awaits the sufficiency of our own spiritual development that ultimately allows us to see Christ in the vulnerable and marginalized who we must serve with love. Everywhere in the world there are unknown, authentic leaders of transformation, who are quietly serving and helping others, making this world a kinder, gentler place. To these leaders who are the true change agents in our lives, my deep and abiding gratitude.
Audrey E. Kitagawa, JD, is the Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, President of the Light of Awareness International Spiritual Family, and the former Advisor to the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict at the United Nations. She wrote the chapter, Crossing World Views, The Power of Perspective in the Hawaii Japanese American Experience, which was published in a book about multiculturalism, communication and Asian women entitled, Learning In The Light. Her chapter, Globalization As The Fuel For Religious And Ethnic Conflict has been published in the book, Globalization And Identity, Cultural Diversity, Religion and Citizenship. Her article, The Role Of Identity In The Rise And Decline of Buddhism In Hawaii, The 50th State Of The United States Of America, has been published in Sambhodi, a Buddhist Journal. She published articles in World Affairs The Journal Of International Issues, entitled, The Power of Om: Transformation of Consciousness, and Practical Spirituality. She wrote the chapter, The US In Foreign Affairs: Source of Global Security, Or Source of Global Fear? in the book, America & The World The Double Bind. She has been listed in Who's Who Of American Law, Who's Who Of American Women, Who's Who In America, Who's Who In The World, and Prominent People of Hawaii. 15
By Jean Houston
If I am to know God directly, I must become completely God, and God I, so that this God and this I become one I. --Meister Eckhart
The complexity of the present time seems to demand a deepening of our nature if we are going to survive. Deepening requires exploration. And for all its byways, exploration leads ultimately to the spiritual source of our existence and to the quest for a faith that will support our continuing explorations. Not since the days of Plato and Buddha and Confucius, some 2500 years ago, has their been such an uprising of spiritual yearning. But instead of being a Mediterranean and Asian phenomenon, as it was then, the explosion of spirituality is now happening worldwide. Though the varieties of contemporary religious experience may look or sound different, they share a core belief. It is a tradition found in every spiritual path--Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as the beliefs of indigenous peoples. Though expressed in different words, the tradition holds that each human being contains a godseed, a divine essence that can be nurtured through spiritual practice into a fully matured expression of the god stuff within. The recommended practices to grow this godseed vary from culture to culture and from person to person--yoga, meditation, contemplative prayer, mindfulness, as well as the many explorations into God many readers of this article practice. And of course, the United Palace of Spiritual Arts serves as a meeting place for the magnificent range of spiritual exploration and practice. But all paths seem to agree that in addition to inwardly directed practices, spiritual growth also requires simple acts of compassion and service based on the recognition of the divine presence in all beings and the wish to serve the God in each other. A famous Buddhist painting of heaven and hell illustrates why serving others matters. In hell, people are sitting at a banquet of magnificent foods with spoons so long they can never reach their mouths. In heaven, people are sitting at the same kind of banquet, using the long spoons to feed each other. Moreover, belief in a divine essence as the basis of reality is not limited to explicitly religious paths. Scientists of a spiritual bent explain reality in terms that are not much different from those mystics use. While mystics speak of steps on the path to union with the Infinite, scientist-seekers talk about the frequency bands of consciousness, some of which are closer than others to Universal being. Speculative scientists often use the metaphor of the hologram to explain humanity's place in the Universal Mind. Each part of a hologram contains an image of the whole. Break a hologram image up, shine a special kind of laser light though any of its pieces, and you get the whole picture back again. In spiritual terms, we might think of ourselves as fragments of the great hologram of Reality. Shine the proper light of consciousness through us, and we each reflect the whole--starfish and sequoias, the sap rising in the winter trees and the yearning of God for each of us. . . This yearning to know our true nature is universal. We're all a bit like the philosophy student who goes to his professor's office. His eyes are red rimmed with exhaustion, his brow puckered with worrisome thought. Trembling and angst ridden, he approaches his gray-haired mentor, "Please sir, I've got a question that's eating me alive. I've got to know! Sir, do I exist?" 16
feature articles The professor turns to him with a withering look and replies, "Who wants to know?"
All of these would seem related to each other so perfectly that we would know that we are in the presence of an artistic masterpiece.
Saint Francis posed a similar question when he was describing the goal of the spiritual quest, "What we are looking for," he said, "is who is looking?"
We would feel overwhelming appreciation of the simple ordinariness of things--a child's freckles, washing dishes, the sound of milk pouring into a glass.
Discovering who is looking is what life is ultimately all about. If the mystics are to be believed, the answer is itself a riddle that points to the Infinite Answer. "The eye by which I see God," medieval mystic Meister Eckhart said, "is the same eye by which God sees me."
When I have studied or talked with seekers who have had this experience, they have told me of a joy that passes understanding, an immense surge of creativity, a instant uprush of kindness and tolerance that make them impassioned champions for the betterment of all, bridge builders, magnets for solutions, peacemakers, pathfinders.
To help us bridge the great divide in consciousness between the divine eye and our limited local vision, try for a moment to imagine how it might be to experience reality from the divine point of view. What would we perceive if we could magically switch perspective and be EVERYTHING experiencing ourselves, rather than the other way round? Would we be filled with the knowledge that our local mind is but a focusing down of universal consciousness? Would we know absolutely that the ground underlying our finite human self is the infinite divine Self, the Great WHO bubbling Itself up in an interesting corner of space and time, mind and body, called Robert or Margaret or Jean or Frank? Very young children seem to know this secret in their own way: "Where did you come from, baby dear?" "Out of everywhere into here." Like children, spiritual questers through the centuries have always suspected that Self-ing is something Infinity does for fun. Underlying the finite human self, they have taught in their various ways, is an infinite Consciousness, a Great Who, experiencing Itself through the mind and body of that bubbling up of Being in space and time called You! And what is more important, the God-self within is a natural birthright that comes with being human. "Closer than breathing, nearer than hands and feet," say the Scriptures about the presence of the divine in our lives. If we could only know this absolutely for a minute, drop our boundaries, release our brain cataracts, it would be like waking up from a dream. There would be a powerful clarity and vitality to everything--people, trees, rocks, jet planes, our own body. Dr. Jean Houston is Chairman of the Board at The United Palace of Spiritual Arts in New York. A world renowned scholar, philosopher and researcher in Human Capacities, and visionary activist, she is long regarded as one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement and one of the leading experts today in the field of myth and archetype. She is co-founder of The Foundation for Mind Research, founder and principal teacher of the Mystery School (a cross-cultural school of human development) and Founder and Program Director of the International Institute for Social Artistry and the Jean Houston Foundation. A prolific writer and author of nearly thirty books, her recent book Jump Time explores a new Global Paradigm and speaks boldly of a regenesis of human society. The questions raised in this book and the exciting suggestions of possibilities inform her current passionâ€“ Social Artists â€“ working on the frontiers of this new global society. 17
Best of all, other people feel enriched and nourished around them. Everyone they touch becomes more, because they themselves are more.
Staying CHUCKSTRONG for Cancer Patients By Chuck Pagano
After spending most of my life playing or coaching football, I landed the opportunity of a lifetime in 2012 to be a head coach at the highest level of our sport—the National Football League. Then, a few months into the job, I began to feel unusually tired. Strange bruises began appearing on my body. Before I knew it, a doctor was in front of me saying the words no one ever wants to hear: You have cancer. A couple of questions come to mind when you hear them. Can I beat this? How is that going to work? But after the shock settles in—after you face your worst fears about what this could mean to you, your wife and your three daughters—another question occurs to you. Why me? Finding the answer to that question has changed my life. The fact is that cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about your age or gender or religious beliefs or whether you just became the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. Every day in the United States, 4,700 people hear they have cancer. Cancer happens to babies who haven’t cut their teeth, to teenagers who haven’t learned to drive and single moms who haven’t seen their children graduate. At some point, cancer touches all of us. If not personally, then it’s almost guaranteed to touch a spouse, a child, a parent or someone else we love. That’s just how cancer is. That’s why I want to end it.
Football is a tough sport. It can punish your body and punish you professionally. You play well or you get cut. You coach well or you get fired. There are no pity parties along the way. As tough as that sounds, it’s nothing compared to cancer. I was blessed that my cancer treatment took just three months. But those were the toughest three months of my life. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t have the strength to take a shower or brush my teeth or even get out of bed. Everything was difficult. In those dark hours, I found strength from others. The team at Indiana University’s Simon Cancer Center was great. The Colts were incredibly supportive. What I never expected was the outpouring of love and encouragement from complete strangers. People from Indianapolis and across the country sent me emails and texts and books and quilts. At the lowest point in my life, I realized how many good people there are in the world. It’s so many more than you’d think from watching the news. The most meaningful support I received came from people who knew what the dark days were like themselves. A 9-year-old boy who had beaten cancer sent me advice on how to handle it if the chemo caused sores to pop up in my mouth. He told me to eat popsicles. His favorite was
strawberry. I met another boy who’d been a star athlete in high school but who was in a wheelchair because of cancer. When we met, he somehow managed to find the strength to stand. That’s when he told me, “You can beat this thing. You’re going to beat cancer, coach.” That boy died a few months later, but I never forgot his words. People like him are warriors. Not all warriors survive. But they inspire those of us who go on. Inspiration is important. But what ultimately saved me—what enabled me to beat cancer—was medical research. The folks at IU were able to treat me—and bring me back to health—because of research that had been done years, even decades before. Had people not supported that work, I might not be here. The same is true for millions of other people who are still walking around after cancer. That’s why I feel obligated, after coming through the darkness, to work to raise money for cancer research. With the help of the Colts, the community in Indianapolis and beyond, we’ve been able to raise $7.5 million since 2012. That money has helped pay for the work of multiple cancer researchers and the equipment they need to look for treatments to save lives. My hope is that, 10 or 20 years from now, somebody’s child or sister or father will survive cancer because of the money we’re raising today. Beyond money, one of the most rewarding things I get to do is encourage others who are going through the darkness of cancer. I call people I hear about. I visit. I tell them I’m thinking about them and praying for them. I tell them they have what I takes to beat cancer. A lot of times, I just sit and listen. This isn’t work for me. It’s blessing.
Which brings us back to “Why me?” I’ve come to understand that cancer didn’t happen to me. It happened for me. Because of cancer, I’ve been touched by the warmth and kindness of people I would otherwise have never met. And, yes, I’ve been able to give some of that back. I coach in a kids’ sport. But this is life and death. I’ve learned so much and grown so much as a man and in my faith only because of this experience with cancer. No one ever wishes for a disease. But this has shown me things that are so much bigger than wins and losses on a football field. Through all this, I’ve come to understand better than ever that we are all put here on this planet for a purpose. And we’re put here for just a short time. You’d love to do something that outlives you—that when you’re gone, everybody else is going to look back and say, “Here’s what your legacy is.” I want my legacy to be that I was a light to the people going through the darkness. And that I helped the people who cured cancer. Chuck Pagano is in his first season as the Chicago Bears NFL team's defensive coordinator. He most recently spent six seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2012-2017 and serving as a consultant for the NFL in 2018. He previously served as defensive coordinator in the NFL once before, holding the top defensive coaching position with the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. A native of Boulder, Colorado, Pagano became only the second head coach in NFL history to earn at least 11 wins in each of his first three seasons with a team and became the third head coach in Colts history to reach the playoffs in each of his first three years. Pagano's first season with the Colts in 2012 proved to be one of the most challenging, yet inspirational, stories in NFL history when he was forced to take a leave of absence just three games into the season after being diagnosed with a curable form of leukemia. Pagano's battle with leukemia led him to form the CHUCKSTRONG foundation, which has raised more than $5 million for continued cancer research. Chuck and his wife, Tina, have three daughters, Tara, Taylor, and Tori, and three granddaughters. He is the author of Sidelined: Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance.
News and Media Story in The Athletic: “After a year off, Chuck Pagano is stronger than ever and ready to lead the Bears defense” Colts/CHUCKSTRONG story: “Colts, Bears, And IU Simon Cancer Center Come Together For #CHUCKSTRONG”
spotlight on change makers
Welcome & Introduction By Rev. Diane Berke
Truly, the best thing any of us have to bring to leadership is our own transforming selves.1
- Ruth Haley Barton
A leader is a person who must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside him- or herself, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership cause more harm than good.2
- Parker Palmer
The theme of this issue of Light on Light magazine – CHANGE MAKERS: Leadership and Transformation - and the articles by our contributors extend an invitation to each of us to explore the quality of leadership we express in our own lives, as well as what we personally require to insure that our influence as leaders supports positive change and transformation in consciousness as well as in the outer structures in which we operate and live. Although we often limit our thinking about leadership to what is called positional leadership – occupying a formal role as the designated leader of a group, organization, company, government, etc. – in truth leadership is something that goes far beyond that. Quaker author and educator Parker Palmer writes, The truth is that we are all called to lead wherever we are planted: in the family, the workplace, the community … The deep and abiding reality – the reality that we do not invent, the reality we really have to cope with – is that we are interconnected beings born in and for community. If this is true, and surely it is, then leadership is everyone’s vocation, and it is an evasion to claim it is not. When we live in the close-knit ecosystem called community, everyone follows and everyone leads. Leadership … simply comes with the territory called being human. Everyone who draws breath “takes the lead” many times a day. We lead with actions that range from a smile to a frown; with words that range from blessing to curse; with decisions that range from faithful to fearful. ... … with every act of leadership, large and small, we help co-create the reality in which we live, from the microcosm of personal relationships to the macrocosm of war and peace. When I resist thinking of myself as a leader, it is … because I have an unconscious desire to avoid responsibility. … I am responsible for my impact on the world, whether I acknowledge it or not. So what does it take to qualify as a leader? Being human and being here. As long as I am here, doing whatever I am doing, I am leading, for better or worse. And, if I may say so, so are you.3
spotlight on change makers The contributors to this issue are people who have recognized and embraced responsibility for their impact on the world. They have dedicated themselves to supporting the evolution of consciousness and contributing to the co-creation of a world that is loving, just, ecologically regenerative, peaceful, and life-affirming and -enhancing for everyone and for all of life. They have cultivated and offered their gifts in service, and they have developed the skills and integrated the practices needed to sustain their vision in the face of discouragement, persevere through disappointment, re-center in clarity and peace when tempted into reactivity, and repeatedly choose love over fear as their compass. It has been said that “transformed people transform people.” There is an essential connection between the inner work of personal transformation and the outer work of transforming our social structures and institutions so that they serve life rather than diminish or destroy it. If we are to be leaders within our own spheres of influence who can effect positive change in the lives of others and in the world around us, we need to be committed to our own ongoing transformation. In his book The Mystic Heart, Brother Wayne Teasdale articulated nine elements of a mature, universal spirituality, which could also be considered nine essential characteristics of any mature spiritual leader*. Wayne described one of these elements - engaging in regular, ongoing spiritual practice - as the fundamental “technology for inner transformation,” the process through which we move from a state of ego-identification to a way of being in which our ego functions serve our true nature, or authentic Self. Embracing and integrating ongoing spiritual/contemplative/reflective practice into our lives is an important foundation for effective leadership under the best of circumstances. In the face of the unrelenting challenges facing all of us today, it is more than important. It is crucial. The contributors to this issue have recognized and demonstrated the interconnection of inner work with outer engagement and effectiveness in their own work and lives. May their example and the words they share with us encourage and inspire us all.
Rev. Diane Berke is the Founder and Spiritual Director of One Spirit Learning Alliance and One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. Ordained in 1988, she has been a pioneer in the field of interfaith/interspiritual education and the training of interfaith/interspiritual ministers. In addition to her ordination, Diane holds degrees in sociology, psychology, and therapeutic counseling, and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in New York State. She is the author of three books, Love Always Answers, The Gentle Smile, and Developing and Deepening Your Spiritual Practice: An Interspiritual Approach, as well as numerous educational manuals. Diane has been a member of the faculty of Andrew Harvey’s Institute for Sacred Activism, a founding member of the Contemplative Alliance of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, and is on the core team of Transformation365, an online initiative to support people in cultivating or deepening their contemplative practice. As an educator, spiritual counselor, and therapist, Diane is known for her compassion, clarity, and ability to create and hold space for healing and transformation. For more information, visit www.1spirit.org and www.transformation365.org.
The nine elements are an actualized moral/ethical capacity; solidarity with all living beings; deep non-violence; humility; spiritual practice; mature self-knowledge; a life of simplicity; selfless service/compassionate action; prophetic voice for justice, compassion, and world transformation *
Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.
Parker J. Palmer, “Introduction,” in Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner, Leading from Within.
Welcome to the PostIndividualism Age By David Sloan Wilson
The hardest thing for a fish to see is water. This adage aptly expresses the difficulty we have understanding our own cultures. We spot the foibles of other cultures--even our own cultures in the past--but are blind to our current foibles. What is the water of our current culture, which we can scarcely see? Individualism, the unquestioned assumption that the individual person is a fundamental unit and that all things social can only be understood in terms of individual thought, preferences, and action. Individualism exists in a number of forms, which tellingly are not always consistent with each other. In economics, it takes the form of Homo economicus, a fictional being who cares only about maximizing his personal “utility”, which is uninfluenced by anyone else’s preferences. In the social sciences it is called Methodological Individualism. In my own field of evolutionary biology, it is called the Theory of Individual Selection and Selfish Genes. In everyday life, it is captured by former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s famous claim that “There is no such thing as society; only individuals and families”.
…all of the fast-paced changes currently swirling around us and even within us, as evolvable entities, can be understood in terms of multilevel selection. Even the concept of mindfulness, derived in large part from Buddhist and other contemplative traditions, ironically can succumb to the assumptions of individualism, as if the main goal is for the individual to achieve enlightenment, with scant attention to what this might mean in terms of social action. Our culture was not always this way and also is not homogenous in the present. A hundred years ago, society was conceptualized as something in its own right that couldn’t be reduced to individual psychology or biology. Often that “something” was described as itself an organism, which made individuals part of something larger than themselves. The concept of society as an organism stretches back to antiquity in religious and political thought and is represented by words and phrases such as corporation (derived from the Latin for ‘body’) and the body politic. In fact, it was so common and unquestioned that it was the water that our predecessors couldn’t see. When it was questioned in the middle of the 20th Century, it was largely rejected as too axiomatic, as if all aspects of all societies must always have an organ-like function. It was the rejection of organicist views of society that led to our current Age of Individualism. The word “largely” is important because social histories are not as clear cut as I am able to relate in a short essay. The roots of individualism stretch back centuries and the concept of society of organism persists here and there to the present. Is our culture destined to swing back and forth, like a pendulum, between organicist and reductionistic views of society? No. Advances in evolutionary science have reached a new plateau of understanding that is permanent and provides a foundation for improving wellbeing at all scales, from individuals to the planet. To begin, it is important to distinguish between two kinds of causation, which evolutionists call proximate and ultimate. Proximate causation refers to the material basis of life and its study is reductionistic. Not
spotlight on change makers
only does proximate causation reduce societies to their individual members, but it reduces individuals to their cells, genes, and molecules. There is nothing privileged about the individual organism as far as proximate causation is concerned. Ultimate causation refers to the environmental forces that shape the properties of organisms by the process of selection—artificial selection in the case of domesticated plants and animals and natural selection in the case of all other species (even domesticated animals are shaped by natural in addition to artificial selection). When a poultry breeder selects individual hens to produce as many eggs as possible, the hen becomes an egg laying machine and the parts of the hen, right down to its molecules, become coordinated to achieve that end. The hens might interact in groups, but those social interactions will be byproducts of how they were selected to lay eggs as individuals. In other words, even though hens can be studied from molecules to society, the individual hen does become a privileged unit as far as ultimate causation is concerned because it is the unit of functional organization. Realizing this is essential for studying everything both below and above the individual level.
…knowing this, we can begin to manage the cultural evolutionary process to achieve cooperation at the global scale. But this is only because the individual was the unit of selection. Imagine what would happen if poultry breeders decided to select whole groups of hens to produce as many eggs as possible. Now their social interactions would be shaped by artificial selection, in addition to their individual physiologies. The social group would become the unit of functional organization and therefore the privileged unit of analysis as far as ultimate causation is concerned. The actions of individuals could be understood only in terms of their contribution to the common good, defined by the poultry breeder as the total number of eggs. These two artificial selection experiments are not hypothetical. Both have been conducted and resulted in very different outcomes. The individual egg-laying machines that resulted from the first experiment achieved their productivity in large part by suppressing the productivity of other hens. That’s not what the poultry breeders had in mind, but it is what resulted from selecting at the individual level and led to a collective decline in productivity. The group egg-laying machines that resulted from the second experiment resulted in sociable hens who didn’t interfere with each other. Needless to say, poultry breeders learned from these experiments to select hens at the group level, which is where the eggs in your refrigerator come from. This example is fascinating in its own right but has broader significance for our discussion of individualism and its alternatives. Identifying a privileged unit of analysis, such as an individual or social group, need not be axiomatic. There are principled reasons for deciding whether a given unit qualifies as a unit of functional organization on a case-by-case basis. It all depends upon whether it was a unit of selection. Combine this insight with the fact that natural selection takes place at multiple levels throughout nature! That everything we call an organism is a highly cooperative group that evolved by group-level selection. That the eusocial insects (ants, bees, wasps, and termites), famed for their collective efficacy, qualify as superorganisms because they evolved by colony-level selection; that humans are largely (although by no means entirely) a product of group-level selection, first at the scale of small groups throughout our genetic evolution and then at the scale of ever-larger groups during the last ten thousand years of cultural evolution. That all of the fast-paced changes currently swirling around us and even within us, as evolvable entities, can be understood in terms of multilevel selection. That knowing this, we can begin to manage the cultural evolutionary process to achieve cooperation at the global scale. Welcome to the Post-Individualism Age.
David Sloan Wilson is President of the Evolution Institute and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. More on the subject of this short essay can be found in his latest book, This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution. David has made foundational contributions to evolutionary science and its applications to human affairs. He is also the author of: Does Altruism Exist—Culture, Genes and the Welfare of Others and Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society. He is a co-founder Prosocial magazine and www.prosocial.world.
The Perennial Quest for Peace on Earth
By Michael Bernard Beckwith
Today’s news and social media make it impossible to avoid the blunt reality that we are living in a post-truth society wherein breaches of trust, respect, compassion, and dishonoring of the rights and dignity of our global family have become the new normal. Alternative facts fill the airwaves, attempting to convince us that we are not interconnected and interdependent, that only a proliferation of nuclear weapons can protect one nation from the encroachment of another. It appears that we have forgotten how the world’s harbingers of peace such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dolores Huerta, Mother Teresa and Malala Yousafzai have proven that by affirming our oneness as a global family we move the evolutionary impulse in the direction of peace on Earth. Through them we have come to realize that there is no separation between our political, social, and spiritual endeavors—that together we co-create the destiny of our world by recognizing that on this round planet there are no sides, that we are planetary citizens, that borders separating country from country are artificial demarcations drawn in the sands of time by the forceful human hand, for never did the Divine Architect design such divisions. There is no time like the present to dispel the illusion that we are separate from one another, that the borders between countries are real. I appreciate this statement made by Socrates: “I am not Greek, nor even Athenian. I am a citizen of planet earth.” Whether we are of Tibetan, Hispanic, Israeli, American, Asian, Canadian, Palestinian, or African heritage, the desire for safety, security, well-being and peace is similarly felt by us all—and crafted by us all. Like no other time in history, the technological revolution has accelerated our ability to reshape our world. Visionary solutions to challenges including global warming, world hunger, healthcare, and education have been put in motion. As the paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin coined, the next label for Homo sapiens may be “homo progressivus,” while visionary architect and inventor Buckminister Fuller suggested we will evolve into “hetero-techno sapiens.” What they are both telling us is that we human beings are the essential vehicles for fulfilling our perennial quest for peace on Earth. It is through our individual inner work and spiritual practices that we embody that mandate and put it into action as the beneficial presence on the planet that each of us is. The truth is, we can no longer afford not to recognize how the actions of our global family impact the entire planet. When traveling the corners of the world, I speak with political dignitaries, religious leaders, and individuals living in humble villages. It is from their stories that I have learned firsthand how playing with the fire of violence creates the ashes of destruction. And, fortunately, as human history continuously demonstrates, from the ashes of destruction there arises a phoenix of transformation, one that is capable of ushering in peace on Earth.
Clearly, how we choose to govern our individual lives determines the collective international character, for there is no distinction between one’s individual future and the world’s future. In order to move in the direction of peace, we must make a choice to live in love rather than fear, to practice wisdom rather than ignorance, value nonviolence over aggression. The question I ask myself is, “Am I willing to do the inner work required to cultivate unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness—qualities that dissolve a sense of separation from the wholeness of life, that hold together the fabric of the created world?” Each of us is a choice-point in the center of the universe. What will be your choice? Are you willing to cultivate a heart of love as wide as the world? Our collective “yes” is vital to the realization that there is no separation between one’s individual good and the good of others, because it is one-and-the-same good. As Thomas R. Kelly put it, “The relation of each to all, in God, is real, objective, existential. It is our eternal relationship that is shared by every stick and stone and bird and beast and saint and sinner in the universe.” This realization is how we will move from an egocentric to a world-centric point of view. As the acknowledgment that we are members of one global village finds its home in more and more hearts, it announces that now is the season to become a spiritual evolutionary who realizes that the solution to the world’s challenges is a spiritual one, that only through love, compassion and peace can we create international well-being. Such a response to Spirit’s clarion call to recognize and honor our interconnectivity as one world family acknowledges that we are aware of the verdant, beautiful inner landscape of goodness that is inherent within all beings. It is through such an awakened state of consciousness that we can move forward united as one global heart, together beaming a cosmic smile across the universe. I personally have every confidence in our collective ability to transform our world into one that honors the nobility of all sentient beings because, in spite of appearances, at no other time in our history has there been such a widespread recognition of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life. As world citizens, we have the opportunity to proclaim that now is the time to bring a halt to dehumanizing our global brothers and sisters, that now is the time to put an end to war, bigotry, racism, misogyny, economic imbalance, world hunger, lack of education, climate change, violations against animals and Mother Nature. Our undeniable oneness transcends outer religious, cultural, racial, historical, and political differences. Schools of ancient wisdom and contemporary spiritual traditions alike proclaim our common Source. And as each of us embodies the qualities of an emissary of peace, we will actualize the wise words of Pythagoras when he said, “Take courage, the human race is divine.”
Michael Bernard Beckwith is the founder of Agape International Spiritual Center, a multicultural community of thousands of local members and global live streamers in 212 countries. He is president of the Association for Global New Thought, and co-chair of the Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence launched at the UN in 1998. An award-winning author, he has appeared on Dr. Oz, Oprah’s Super Soul 100, OWN, and in his own PBS Special, The Answer Is You. Every Friday at 1:00pm PST, thousands tune into his weekly KPFK radio show, Wake Up: The Sound of Transformation. For more information please visit www.agapelive.com.
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How your ethical life, ethical lifestyle and values are central to who you are, your voice, and your role as a leader By Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr., and Ambassador Mussie Hailu
More than ever, our world needs peace and the healing of its wounds to bring about social justice, reconciliation, unity, harmony, equal opportunity for all, and working together for the preservation of Mother Earth. It is with this core belief that people of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and Indigenous traditions throughout the world established the United Religions Initiative (URI) to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, justice, and healing for the Earth and all living beings. URI is cultivating peaceful coexistence among different religions and cultures by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and their environment. As the world’s largest grassroots, interfaith peace-building organization, members of URI are tasked with living the words and meaning of their mission statement to act as a living model of peace in action, every day. It is an inspiring example of lifestyle in accordance with ethical values that shape who we are, how we affect those around us, and how we lead peacebuilding efforts by example. One way URI leads by example is by living through the Golden Rule – seeing others with empathy and compassion. There is some form of this teaching – “Treat others as you would like to be treated” – that is taught by every faith tradition on Earth. The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian Jr., Executive Director of URI, and Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Director of Global Partnership; Representative at the UN and African Union; and URI-Africa Regional Director, are two URI leaders who keep the Golden Rule in mind as they guide and navigate the challenges of building peace in high-conflict regions. Executive Director Victor Kazanjian explains the significance of the Golden Rule to the ongoing work of URI: “The Golden Rule is the thread that binds us one to another. It is a principle shared by people of all traditions in the world, emerging from our different beliefs, inviting us into a common way of being in the world. It is a principle that deeply respects and honors the beauty of each other; it is a way of seeing and being that ensures peaceful coexistence.” “There is much at work in our world these days that is intended to divide us and separate us along different lines of identity. And there are many who use rhetoric that dehumanizes people different from themselves and legitimizes their abuse. The Golden Rule exposes such rhetoric, and the hateful actions it inspires, as inhumane and opposed to the spiritual values which hold all humanity, all life.” “At URI, we live by the Golden Rule in that we respect the sacred wisdom of all traditions, respecting differences and discovering the common thread that binds us one to another. Sisters and Brothers, as we commit ourselves to living out the Golden Rule in our daily lives, may the power of our convictions influence purpose into our actions, so that we may be part of extending peace to this precious planet and its beloved inhabitants.” 25
Ambassador Mussie Hailu describes how the Golden Rule is essential for peacebuilding work: “Our wellbeing increasingly depends on how well we interact and live together with others based on the teaching of the Golden Rule, which says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” For a culture of peace, interreligious and inter-cultural harmony, respect among nations, human dignity, and justice to prevail on Earth, it is high time to promote the teaching of the Golden Rule throughout the world.” “Reflecting on the Golden Rule will help us to understand the interdependence of human beings and to celebrate our cultural and religious diversity. It will help us to get to know each other and to build trust and understating.” Guided by this empathetic and inclusive leadership style, URI as an organization strives to not only live in accordance with its ethical guidelines, but to encourage others to live in accordance with their own ethical teachings and beliefs. In 2007, URI-Africa and Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (a URI Cooperation Circle member) declared April 5 as “Golden Rule Day” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Every year since 2007, we as a global community celebrate, and encourage all to celebrate, that universal ethic to treat others as we want to be treated, which can be found in all our faiths and traditions. Golden Rule Day became an internationally celebrated occasion thanks in large part to Ambassador Mussie Hailu, who is also one of URI's founding members and one of the world’s strongest advocates and practitioners of peaceful interfaith cooperation. Ambassador Mussie Hailu has been working tirelessly for years to promote the message of the Golden Rule -- and to emphasize its global nature. Last year, he made a peace mission to Burundi, where he met with mayors of Bujumbura in Burundi and Juba in South Sudan. Both mayors proclaimed the Golden Rule Day and agreed to join URI and the Charter for Compassion to make a compassionate city program. Ambassador Mussie also gained support for Golden Rule Day from the President of Ethiopia, the President of Burundi, and the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union. Since its official declaration in 2007, about 700 organizations in 165 countries have joined in proclaiming Golden Rule Day. The message is spreading quickly. Every April 5, URI now partners with like-minded organizations such as the Charter for Compassion and Golden Rule Project to mark this date with an all-day web broadcast of videos from around the world showcasing examples of ethical lifestyles and actions from small, meaningful gestures to gigantic, city-wide gatherings. By living in accordance with our purpose statement and letting our ethical beliefs guide our lifestyles, URI members are able to act as living examples and leaders in the field of international peacebuilding. We need to acknowledge that peace is only possible in the world when each and every one of us start to make peace within ourselves, families and in our respective communities. 26
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Synergizing the Impact of Golden Rule Day
by Jon Ramer
Here’s a story of how we are overcoming barriers that have stopped us in the past. We say we want to work together but remain apart. Many impactful innovations are isolated and challenged to find resources and exposure to effectively scale. How do like-minded solutionaries lend resources and support to each other to scale-up the most impactful innovations for the good of the whole?
Each of us needs to commit ourselves as best as we can to become nonviolent and to make personal pledges to peace and to live according to the teaching of the Golden Rule. Let us be instruments of peace and a living example of the teaching of the Golden Rule. Let us “walk the talk” by taking practical action and live according to the principle of Golden Rule. May Peace Prevail on Earth The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr. Executive Director The Rev. Victor Kazanjian leads URI’s global grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network of over 1,000 groups working in more than 100 countries and at the United Nations to build bridges of cooperation between people of all beliefs and cultures. Prior to joining URI, Victor served as Dean of Intercultural Education & Religious and Spiritual Life and Co-Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Wellesley College, and as visiting faculty at the Malaviya Center for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, where he served as Fulbright Professor of Peace and Justice Studies. Co-Founder of Education as Transformation Inc., an international organization that works on religious diversity and spirituality in higher education, Victor is also an author, educator, recognized thought-leader and trainer in areas of intergroup dialogue, multicultural and interreligious understanding, conflict transformation, diversity and democracy, social justice, community organizing, and peacebuilding. He is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and was trained as a community organizer working to address the systemic causes of poverty and injustice through the support of community-based groups. He holds degrees from the Episcopal Divinity School and Harvard University.
Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peace-builder who is working at national, regional, and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation for the preservation of the environment. He considers himself a Citizen of the World, believing strongly in the inter-dependence of human beings. He celebrates cultural diversity, seeing the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. He has served many national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Mussie also served as Diplomat in the rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President. Currently, he serves as URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the United Nations and the African Union, and URI-Africa Regional Director. He is a founding member of URI. 27
SINE - the Synergized Impact Network Exchange - addresses the fragmentation, silo effect, and missed opportunities that limit how we turn what we have into what we need. The SINE solution is to co-create Brave. Kind. Fun. Results. SINE empowers our collective capacity to produce social change. The purpose of SINE is to develop, disseminate, and implement new concepts of synergy and unprecedented unified action. There are now over 150 members of SINE with a combined reach of more than 20 million people. We syndicate our social media assets to maximize our reach. Here’s an example of a synergized impact. The United Religions initiative and the Charter for Compassion are members of SINE. During the International Golden Rule Day (GRD) the SINE Network made nine SINE Waves combining over 70 SINE Members Facebook pages into a syndicated network for sharing the GRD livestreams. During 24 hours we coordinated nine Global SINE waves that reached over 1.3 million people. This is the power of WE in action! Here's a link to the report that was prepared. The SINE Network is based on “trusted-sharing” and is fueled by transparency, accountability, and integrity. The SINE Network amplifies and empowers our members to create social change innovations that are designed to scale-up and reach all members of our human family. Apply to be a SINE Member here.
SINE Wave Timeline video Jon Eliot Ramer is an entrepreneur, civic leader, inventor, and musician. He is a co-founder of several collaborative technology companies. The designer, author, and cofounder of several Deep Social Networks, in support of the Charter for Compassion he launched the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities. As a result, there are over 450 Compassionate Community Campaigns around the world. In 2012, Ramer conceived of and produced the "Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest." Over 18 million people have been served as part of the Games. In 2018, Ramer formed SINE (Synergized Impact Network Exchange) an alliance of social change innovators committed to large-scale behavior change through collaborative learning, innovation, and unprecedented, unified action. For more, visit http://sine.network and http://compassiongames.org
This Declaration and Affirmation has been shared by peacebuilders of different faiths and cultures in over thirty countries.
I Am a Peace Ambassador By James Oâ€™Dea
I am moving from being locked into anger and outrage at war and violence or being defined as a protest movement to creating a culture of peace from the ground up and from the inside out. I am moving from reactive finger-pointing condemnation and judgment of others arising out of my presumed superior moral positions to engaging in dialogue, listening and non-violent communication strategies. I am moving from making those who disagree with us as the enemy to recognizing the inherent flaw in creating hostility or enmity as a peace strategy. In this way my work attempts to dissolve polarizing approaches and behaviors. I am moving from a consciousness that is problem-sourced to one which is solution centered. This has a radical impact on how I organize. I am informed by vision and my tactics are not always defined by the opposite side of the problem. I am moving from relying on partisan ideological frameworks and abstract intellectual theories to integrated approaches that are embodied manifestations of peace at individual and collective levels. I am moving from activism which leads to burn-out and relationship breakdown to one in which working for the cause of peace requires self-care and time for quality relationships. I am an ambassador of love and compassion I am moving from piecemeal, feel-good, band-aid approaches and interventions to whole system maps and whole scale systemic transformation. I am moving from the battle ground of proving who is right and who is wrong to understanding worldviews and how they are transformed and exploring who is wounded and how they can find healing. I am moving from an obsession with punishment to the search for truth, reconciliation and restorative justice. I am moving from demanding rights to assuming our responsibility to create environments which promote rights and emphasize individual and collective responsibility for an ecologically sustainable, socially just, democratically vibrant and healthy world. I am moving from merely critiquing the absence of humanity in others to honing our collective capacities for compassionate action, deep empathy and authentic forgiveness. I am moving from any form of privileged exclusion to embrace all aspects of inclusivity and racial, ethnic and gender healing. I am moving from any form of religious superiority and dominance to interfaith dialogue and reconciliation based on spiritual oneness. I am moving from a worldview centered around materialism to one based in conscious consumption, ecological sustainability and reverence for Nature. I am moving from any notion that consciousness is a byproduct of evolutionary process to one in which it emerges out of spiritual reality as the driver of evolution. I am a peace Ambassador and I am moving towards planetary peace. I am becoming an embodiment of peace from my inner life, my family, my community to whole scale systemic transformation.
James Oâ€™Dea is award winning author of The Conscious Activist, Cultivating Peace, Soul Awakening Practice and other works.Â He is a former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Washington office director of Amnesty International and CEO of the Seva Foundation. He has taught peacebuilding to over a thousand students in 30 countries and mentored emerging leaders. He has also conducted frontline social healing dialogues around the world. He is a founding member of The Evolutionary Leaders group and on the Advisory Board of The Peace Alliance, and a Fellow of the Laszlo New Paradigm Institute. www.jamesodea.com 28
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America 7.0 by Stephen Dinan
When America’s Founding Fathers risked their lives to sign the Declaration of Independence, America became a free country. From that point forward, Americans have had to rely on ourselves to govern, regulate our economy, pass laws, and organize a common defense, as well as protect the rights and liberties of our citizens. In other words, we had to build a new “operating system” for our country, which we can think of as the foundational assumptions, laws, and social institutions that allow us to operate together. The first attempt to organize our activities involved the Articles of Confederation—a way for states that were at the time highly suspicious of any centralized power to form a loose national confederation while retaining most of their power. In the language of software operating systems, we can view this as America 1.0. Looking in the rearview mirror of history, the Articles of Confederation seems to be an exciting triumph. In practice, it proved to be a mess. The poor performance of our 1.0 operating system led early American leaders to almost immediately begin thinking about an upgrade. The Constitutional Convention faced all the problems and inefficiencies created by the Articles of Confederation and devised our Constitution, which was ratified in 1787 to create the current federal system, which balanced power better between the federal government and the states and laid out the balance of powers between different branches of government in a clear way. This upgrade to a 2.0 operating system for our country was an enormous advance not only for America but for the world, which received a new template for democracy. Our Constitution continues to shape every aspect of our current American society. However, it was designed such that new laws, protections, beliefs, and values can evolve on top of this core, a process that has distinct parallels with building new operating systems on top of the original base of code. In many ways, each upgrade of the operating system represents a deeper application of the sacred principles built into America from the beginning. Historians differ in what they see as the major fulcrum points in the history of America, often choosing to focus on wars or presidential administrations. I see America’s growth through the lens of the evolution of new levels of consciousness that expand our respect for the freedoms and rights of others and which are then institutionalized in the form of law. This view of our history does not dwell on lateral expansions, such as the addition of states, or on external wars, which reflect how we 29
engage with other countries. Instead, I see the deepest and most enduring activities as those that lead to an evolution in our worldview and the societal systems that support it. To help understand these, again, I use the metaphor of the evolution of computer operating systems. Here is my list of the major upgrades to the American operating system in the last 240 years: 1. America 1.0 (1776–1787): Nation is born; Articles of Confederation 2. America 2.0 (1787–1865): Constitution and Bill of Rights 3. America 3.0 (1865–1920): Slavery is abolished 4. America 4.0 (1920–1933): Women included as voting citizens 5. America 5.0 (1933–1960): New Deal legislation expands role of government to create safety nets 6. America 6.0 (1960–2000): Civil rights movement and women’s movement expand full inclusion of more citizens 7. America 7.0 (2000–present): Emergence of truly global era, with globalized Internet, trade, travel, and movement of finance In most of the upgrades, a precipitating crisis reveals design flaws in the beliefs, values, principles, or practices built into the last operating system. After passing through the crisis, which typically sheds light on the problems of the last operating system, there is an expansion of freedoms and rights along with better safeguards to institutionalize the advances of the past and to protect those who have been disenfranchised. For example:
•· •· •·
Problem: South secedes from the Union à 3.0 upgrade without slavery Problem: Great Depression à 5.0 upgrade with a better societal safety net and financial protections Problem: Social unrest of the sixties à 6.0 upgrade with more integrated society and protected civil rights
Before each new evolution, we often pass through a period of increased resistance to change. This time of stability is an essential part of integrating the gains of the past and allowing them to become part of the new “tradition” of our society. However, the stabilizing aspect of tradition can turn into stagnancy and block further evolution. So something needs to stoke the fires of change. In addition to the collective crises that give a “push,” inspiring leaders emerge that offer a “pull” to lead American society forward, visionaries such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr.
The upgrade to America 7.0 hasn’t been distinguished by one single crisis as an evolutionary driver but a series of them that have begun to force a shift in our orientation from being nation-centered to being global citizens. Financially, the major 2008–2009 global meltdown began to reveal how deeply interconnected we all are economically. In the first decades of the new millennium, we’ve been roiled by the spread of terrorism, fear of global pandemics like Ebola, and an increasing challenge to the sustainability of our planetary ecosystems.
psychology. The operating system of our nation cannot simply reject the old code. It must evolve in an integrated fashion, which means completing the unfinished parts of the last stage. That’s why our maturation as a country requires facing what is no longer helpful about our beliefs, thoughts, and habits as well as what we’ve hidden in our shadows.
And now, we are torn by the Trump administration and all the crises that it has sparked in the rule of law, the trust in our media, and the commitment to support the international order. In some ways, by embodying much of older operating system, the Trump administration is propelling the forces of America 7.0 to organize and mobilize.
The 7.0 operating system for America is very much a global operating system. It is not defined by thinking only of American citizens but by expanding our care for the world. It requires releasing old animosities and building new strategic alliances. It builds upon a global Internet and media, with international travel growing each year. Most of all, America 7.0 is about seeing ourselves as global citizens and American citizens, as an increasing number of us do.
Ultimately, these crises are forcing us to begin to think and act out of concern for the whole world rather than just America, even while it doesn’t seem that is the case just yet. That’s because we are globally interconnected now to a degree that is unprecedented in history, which has been driven by the rapid interconnection of the Internet as well as finance, trade, media, and travel.
Although it remains dominant, the nation-centered culture is declining in power. On the Internet, national boundaries are nonexistent. So, while nation-centered culture still wields great political power, the underpinning psychology and infrastructure are starting to shift in dramatic ways, which will ultimately mean a shift toward a global sense of culture and identity.
The America 7.0 operating system is thus slowly emerging in the first decades of this century, pushed by many evolutionary drivers. It’s leading us toward a fundamentally new operating system for our country that will take decades to fully realize even while some changes have already begun to emerge. It is our first truly global operating system, which corresponds with a real sense of becoming global citizens. At the root level, America’s 7.0 operating system is built upon the evolution of a new level of consciousness as a country, which then leads to a new set of governing assumptions, political structures, and our national
America 7.0 holds great promise, not only for our citizens but for the entire world. It is a fulfillment of millennia of cultural evolution, striving toward better systems of governance, culture, and consciousness. It may not be our last operating system, but I believe it is the operating system that can help us transition to a peaceful and thriving planet. And that will be a gift for which we will all be eternally grateful.
Stephen Dinan is the President and CEO of The Shift Network and a member of the Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders. The Shift Network was founded in 2010 and has served over 1.7 million people worldwide, with customers in 180 countries. It delivers virtual summits, courses, and trainings featuring over 1,300 thought leaders in domains as diverse as spirituality, peace, holistic health, psychology, parenting, enlightened business, shamanism, indigenous wisdom, and sustainability. Stephen is a graduate of Stanford University (Human Biology) and the California Institute of Integral Studies (East-West Psychology). He helped create and directed the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory & Research, a think tank for leading scholars, researchers, and teachers to explore human potential frontiers. As the former director of membership and marketing at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, he was the driving force behind the Shift in Action program and the One Minute Shift media series. He has been a featured speaker at the World Cultural Forum in China, the Alliance for a New Humanity in Costa Rica, Renovemos Mexico in Mexico City, and the University of Cuenca in Ecuador, as well as many US conferences, events, radio programs, and online summits. He is also the author of the bestselling Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All and Radical Spirit. 30
spotlight on change makers By Claudia Welss
The Change-Making Power of Awe
"If somebody had said before the flight, 'Are you going to get carried away looking at the earth from the moon?' I would have said, 'No, no way.' Yet when I first looked back at the earth, standing on the moon, I cried." -Alan Shepard, Astronaut on Apollo 14 in February 1971
In the upcoming drama/sci-fi feature film Lucy In the Sky, Natalie Portman plays an astronaut (loosely based on astronaut Lisa Nowak) struggling to readjust to life on Earth after experiencing the vastness of space. It’s well known that seeing Earth from space has a profound effect on the human psyche. Less well known is that this effect has a name — the Overview Effect — and that it may provide a clue to the important role of awe in changing our world. The majority of astronauts (to date, almost 500, or twothirds) have reported experiencing what author Frank White termed “The Overview Effect” (OE), a phenomenon that signifies the highly predictable outcome of astronauts needing to develop radically new philosophical points of view to accommodate the radically new physical perspective of seeing Earth from space. Unlike Lucy, some astronauts appear able to integrate the experience into their existing lives and worldviews with relative ease. Others report coming home needing to readjust to life in new, “deeply religious" or mystical states, with a heightened empathy that comes from a sudden sense of deep interconnectedness. For these astronauts, the result can be truly life-altering. Increased attention is being paid to this phenomenon because of its power to transform. Imagine knowing Earth not from the pedestrian perspective of human concerns, but as a unified and fragile presence, with a paper-thin atmosphere protecting all her inhabitants from the harshness of space. Concepts like Buckminster Fuller’s “Spaceship Earth” — where rather than passengers, we’re all crew — become visceral realities instead of abstract ideas. But it's the accompanying cocktail of overwhelming emotion created by feelings of wonder, reverence, humility and oneness that appears responsible for astronauts being prompted into sudden, unexpected moments of self-transcendence (the expansion of one’s sense of identity and purpose) through an awe experience. Such was the case with Dr. Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot and 6th man to walk on the moon. Gazing at Earth from space, Dr. Mitchell had what he described as "an explosion of awareness and a profound sense of interconnectedness accompanied by ecstasy... an epiphany." This sense of oneness with all of life expanded his view not just of our planet, but of himself, humanity and humanity’s potential for determining its future. He saw that it was critical to our collective survival that we change the stories we tell ourselves about the limits of our capabilities as human beings. In fact, he believed his direct experience of unity foreshadowed a new wave of evolution in human consciousness, and this belief changed the course of his life.
Dr. Mitchell noted, “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.”
So on his return, Dr. Mitchell set out to understand his experience by applying the same scientific rigor that was being used by NASA to study outer space to the study of inner space, or human consciousness. In 1973, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) whose mission in the 21st century is to illuminate the interconnected nature of reality through scientific exploration and personal discovery, empowering a more compassionate, thriving world. Today, this mission translates into two major initiatives. IONSx is a five-year multidisciplinary program to understand the relationship between mind and matter in an effort to advance the current scientific paradigm beyond its dominant materialistic stance. The IONS Discovery Lab (IDL), hosted online and at Earthrise (our 200-acre Northern California campus named after that famous first image of Earth from space), aims to be the largest study ever done on unlocking the mechanisms of wellness, personal transformation and extended human capacities that transcend our current understanding of space and time. Perhaps someday we may even be able to measure markers of transformation in astronauts as they encounter the Overview Effect in space. For those of us close to the Institute, it’s sobering to realize that if Edgar had looked out of the lunar module and simply seen what he expected to see — his planet of origin, the moon, and tons of data — rather than having a direct experience of Earth as part of a whole living system that included himself and the entire cosmos, IONS wouldn’t be here. This feels related to a T.S. Eliot quote I used with corporations when I worked at UC Berkeley’s business school: “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” How does awe cut through the increasing challenge of so much data, and an abundance of untapped wisdom?
“The feeling of unity is not simply an observation. With it comes a strong sense of compassion and concern for the state of our planet and the effect humans are having on it. It isn’t important which sea or lake you observe. You are standing guard over the whole of our Earth.” -Soviet Cosmonaut and first human in space Yuri Gagarin
Virtual reality pioneer David Beaver has said that a mass experience of the OE caused by space travel will “eventually be seen as a major driver of one of the greatest shifts in world awareness in the modern world, equivalent to or greater than the Copernican Revolution." Experiences of awe that lead to an expanded self-awareness can "forever alter the life we think we’re living and world we think we’re in." What if we found more ways to invoke the transformational power of awe, right here, where we stand, in whatever field we’re working for change? What new worlds of inspiration would open to us then?
Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available... a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” -Astronomer Fred Hoyle, 1948 Claudia Welss is Chairman of the IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) Board of Directors and the board Science Committee. She’s also founding Chair of Invest in Yourself at Nexus Global Youth Summit and Network, bridging practical consciousness research with philanthropy, impact investing, activism, and social innovation. As a funder and citizen scientist, Claudia advises experimental projects with the potential to accelerate large-scale change, like World Future Coin, HeartMath’s Global Coherence Initiative, and Flow Genome Project. Previously, she pioneered the concept of collaboration labs by founding NextNow Collaboratory, once described by the director of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence as a “new kind of collective intelligence.” Claudia’s collaboration with IONS started when President Willis Harman invited her to join a five-year “Peace-building Through Business” inquiry at Fetzer Institute while she was director of the University of California, Berkeley Haas School‘s center for designing and delivering strategic learning programs for corporations while initiating social responsibility and sustainability curriculum. This experience led her to explore consciousness as the most powerful leverage point for inspiring regenerative culture. 32
spotlight on change makers
Winning World Interfaith Harmony Week 2019 – what winning means to us Rev. Berry Behr – Chairperson, Cape Town Interfaith Initiative
WIHW event – And then we won. Cape Town, South Africa is a beautiful city and February is a radiant month. But the skies were uncharacteristically overcast on Sunday 3 Feb, 2019 as we gathered for the annual Prayers for the City event. Cape Town Interfaith Initiative started hosting Prayers for the City in 2013, moving it in 2015 to the first Sunday in February as part of our UN World Interfaith Harmony Week observance. WIHW is an annual UN observance from 1-7 Feb, started after King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan proposed it in 2010 during a moving speech to the United Nations. Participants are invited to log their WIHW events on an online calendar. From 2013, post event reports were considered for a prize by a panel of luminaries representing many faith traditions. CTII had many times submitted our Prayers for the City. Our 2019 event was humble. Advisory Council member and founder of one of our grassroots associates, James Ellman of Faith Hope Love Communities, had offered to co-host 2019 Prayers with us in his own impoverished neighbourhood. James’ community had recently cleaned up a disused plot that had become a crime hotspot, as part of a campaign to improve safety on their streets. We loved the idea of taking the Prayers to the people: we called it Love of Neighbour – Our Prayers for Our City. The impending rain kept many people away. Fifty of us met at the Siddique Mosque two blocks from our venue. The holy call to prayer opened our event, and we walked to the site in contemplative silence, symbolising the community’s 33
intention to once again walk safely and fearlessly through their streets. There, we arranged our chairs in a circle, a few sat on cloths on the ground. Baha’i children sang, Buddhists meditated, Christians prayed, Brahma Kumaris led us into mindfulness and everyone present contributed – a poem, a thought, a prayer, gratitude. A deeply moved local pastor hoped this would be the first of many heart-warming, healing experiences on this land that had known such pain. The Imam and his team unexpectedly supplied refreshments carefully carried on a table from the Mosque. Sharing these goodwill offerings was a communion – a sacrament of unity, friendship and common purpose for the Greater Good. Simply, profoundly neighbourly. And then, on the day of the full moon of 21 March, the announcement came: we had won. Before we knew it, James and I were off to Amman, Jordan, to receive our prize in person from HM King Abdullah. It was extraordinary, inspiring and life changing. Please read more about the trip here. What an honour to deliver a speech on behalf of all the prize winners! Standing alongside His Majesty for the official group photograph, the King turned to me and said: “Berry, people like us must continue to spread the message of interfaith harmony. It is so important in the world today. Please keep speaking, please keep doing the work.” His Majesty’s encouragement touched me deeply and remains as a commandment in my heart. Sandwiched between the tragic killing of 50 Muslims in Christchurch on 15 March and the horrendous Easter Sunday Massacre of mostly Christians in Sri Lanka, the benchmark moment of the Prizegiving ceremony at the royal palace in Amman took on a contextual poignancy. In Cape Town, the Afrikaans Christian church hosted Interfaith prayers for Christchurch. A mosque reciprocated with a ceremony for Sri Lankans and the San Diego synagogue victim killed that week. We felt the healing of our own historic, painful divisions in those Observances of Compassion; we learned that in an unsafe world, it is in making friends with those of different faiths that we are strengthened, upheld and protected in our own sacred places. Interfaith friendship is our new superpower. For CTII, the unexpected blessing of our WIHW prize goes beyond the financial windfall, which will go towards a sustainability programme for our organisation and work. It is an invitation to raise our voice for peace in our city, and a platform to encourage the immense dedication of our grassroots interfaith network throughout Southern Africa. Through United Religions Initiative (Southern Africa), we are connected to 34 such groups. We join global voices Unity Earth and SINE to amplify the message of Interfaith Harmony, and will celebrate 7 Sacred Days in Cape Town 1-7 Feb 2020 with an international group (email email@example.com for info). For Faith Hope Love Communities, the miracle of our WIHW prize has meant the rewarding of deep, deep trust as it has paid for the 2 year Interfaith/ Interspiritual Ministry programme undertaken a year ago by the organisation’s founder, James Ellman. FHLC will use the balance to expand their peace movement into more schools and establish another branch. The joy of winning is equalled only by the joy of our gratitude, and the joy of giving back. This prize is not ours. It belongs to all who walk with us, all who have gone before, and most especially to those who are still to come.
Rev. Berry Behr is a graduate of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary of New York. She is the Chairperson of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, and the South African co-ordinator for the Charter for Compassion. She has presented internationally and regularly co-ordinates multifaith, multicultural events aimed at promoting an inclusive society based on understanding, compassion and respect.
spotlight on change makers
EVOLUTIONARY MEETINGS: “How” We Meet By Dr. Ron Friedman and. Victoria Friedman Co-Founders Vistar Foundation
An Evolutionary Meeting is one where the participants have the intention of shifting into dimensions of higher consciousness thereby progressively losing their relative orientation. From that profound standpoint, our personal lives, the relationships to each other, and the issues confronting the world are seen from a new perspective with its new possibilities. An Evolutionary meeting emphasizes the importance of the process of a meeting, not only the content. It is not only the “what” and the “why” we gather, but the “HOW”. Most meetings come together with an objective to solve problems, plan events, dialogue about specific issues or share an experience. They often do not pay attention at their own process which is accepted as a given. It is really amazing how much of a blind spot this is. Most of us assume that we somehow know how to be in a meeting, in a one to one conversation, in a family gathering, a committee, a Board room, in Congress. Is that True? Structure and the “how” of meetings have become unpopular in “Green Meme” circles. In that post-modern approach, any hint of rules, leadership or structure is considered to go against “The Flow.” Our experience proves that if a meeting is going to take us to higher ground beyond the level that we started, an agreed upon foundational structure is essential. We are not saying that structure creates a field of group consciousness, we are saying that the structure helps it to be revealed. For 32 years, through on the spot observations, we explored and refined the elements of a meeting which obstruct or facilitate the opening of a larger field of awareness. When these became apparent, we formulated a new guideline called a “GuideRule”, experimented with it and watched to see the result. When there was an unmistakable shift in the Energy/ Quality/Atmosphere (EQA) of the meeting, we applied it across the board. For us, the “how” practically manifests as a structure that serves as the springboard to the Field called Collective Consciousness. That structure includes Five GuideRules, Three Roles for participants and Three Sections for the development of the meeting. These became the backbone of all our meetings.
In the invisible realm of motivation, conscious intention and vision, there are three facets of awareness that are vital for an Evolutionary Meeting. We call them the “Contextual Triad.” The First is the willingness to become aware of one’s own patterns of behavior in the meeting. The Second is to be mindful of needs of the progress of the meeting itself. The Third is to consider how the meeting serves the evolutionary process of humanity. These three facets of awareness are not vague and ephemeral. They are force fields and their presence and relationship to each other determine the outcome of the meeting. There is an analogy that we often use for the progress of a meeting. In a building, there are many levels. A meeting might start in the basement. In basement consciousness, we have to deal with little light, perhaps some rodent attendees, damp environment and moldy furniture. There are people that do not know they are in the basement and don’t care. Some are aware that the setting is not as they would like it to be and decide to redecorate. And then there are others who know there is a living room, but do not know how to get there. Suddenly, one day, a step is discovered leading out of the basement. Taking that step leads to another we find ourselves on the Ground Floor. The ground floor has more light, open windows with views to the outside and nicer furniture. Some want to stay, it’s pleasant enough. Things get done. We seem to get along. Then there are those that would like even more light, an overview of the street level below and feel the pull of a larger vision, a larger purpose. An evolutionary meeting is not for everyone. It is for explorers who want to investigate, and dive consciously into the process of “how” we evolve together and establish prototypes for communication in the future. We quickly realize that the meeting is a microcosm for issues that are confronting the whole of humanity and that we carry within ourselves all the forces which have led to our present predicament as a species. Evolutionary Meetings then become a setting where these archetypal difficulties can be seen, acknowledged, and transcended. Is evolutionary law telling us that we must find a new way of working together as a species? Is our survival dependent on it? It is possible that this is a mandate that we cannot refuse. Our upcoming book, “Evolutionary Meetings: The Vistar Method”, launching in December 2019, will detail and expand on our findings.
Ron Friedman, MD, and Victoria Friedman are co-founders of Vistar Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the Power and Potential of Collective Consciousness. They developed the Vistar Method ™, a structured format for Evolutionary Meetings. With 30 years experience in intensive group work, they provide Vistar Method Trainings and produce events that inspire and involve people in new co-creative forms of spiritual expression, with a focus on connectivity and conscious culture. Victoria, an artist, is the author of SPIRIT DOODLING: The Effortless Expression of NoMind and the children’s book Florissa the Fish. Ron is the author of two poetry books, unaccustomed looking: insights on the path and forevers looking. All available on Amazon. For more information visit www.vistarfoundation.org.
Evolutionary Media’s Role in Creating A Brighter Future by Randall Libero
The explosion of new technologies in the digital age has put the power to tell stories and distribute them to the masses back in the hands of the people. These unprecedented changes happening across the Internet are truly historic, impacting not only how we access information and news, but how we see the world and ourselves in it. Information sharing through Internet media is changing and affecting the way we think, live, relate, and even dream. It’s having us question long held beliefs, thought and values about institutionalized religion, social culture, a number of scientific theories and paradigms, political institutions, human origins and the ancient past, even our place in the Universe and who else may be out there. Most importantly, online media has birthed a revolution in news reporting, as recently a new generation of citizen journalists has exploded on to the scene. As corporate institutional broadcast news is becoming less and less trustworthy as a source of news reporting by the mass public, these citizen journalists are the new social activists who are daring to reveal a separate reality that is driving current events. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this has been a process of exposing our collective shadow, a moving from deception into a greater transparency. The current global media culture is now expanding into an evolutionary phase empowering each us to decide for ourselves, from our own inner knowing, to choose what we accept as real, as factual, relevant, and meaningful — the truths we choose to believe and live by everyday. I feel a worthy mission of the current evolutionary media culture for this next decade are journalists, artists, visionaries, filmmakers, and thought leaders who can show us positive, inspiring, and hopeful visions of a brighter future world. When was the last time you felt inspired and motivated to dream, create, or imagine something highly positive by a film, TV show, online video, or article? Something you could share with your friends and even your children? People need to be shown visions of a brighter future so we can once again dream collectively together to bring it into physical reality. This is a future where technology does not dominate without humanity, where living beings of all forms are treated with reverence and respected as equally important, and wisdom and mindfulness are brought into the conversation on how business and international relations are conducted. Our world has transitioned into the Internet Age, yet it is still in its infancy. Like all good responsible parents, we all have a mission to feed it, guide it, and love it to serve our collective consciousness and spiritual evolution. Randall Libero is a producer and media ecologist, digital journalist, speaker, and radio/TV host who produces content for transformational personalities, best-selling authors, and business thought leaders. Randall is the Executive Producer of Light on Light's companion VoiceAmerica series The Convergence on VoiceAmerica's Empowerment Channel.
UNITY EARTH's VoiceAmerica Convergence Series hosts global leaders describing all the 2019-2020 events of the Road to 2020, U Day, and the Caravan of Unity; entitled "2019-2020 Events: Standing for Peace, and Change.” Posted August 9, Click here. UNITY EARTH's VoiceAmerica Convergence Series hosts Deepak Chopra and United Nations dignitaries; entitled "11 Days of Global Unity and the International Day of Peace." Posted Sept. 6, Click here.
spotlight on change makers
Evolutionary Leadership for a Transformed World By Rev. Deborah Moldow Director, The Evolutionary Leaders Circle A Project of the Source of Synergy Foundation
How does change occur in the 21st century? An idea is less likely to be dictated from the top in our times, but rather emerges through the worldwide network of interconnected humanity, like an electrical impulse firing up a human brain. The Source of Synergy Foundation, with the partnership of Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Foundation, began in 2006 to gather leaders to support the movement in evolving consciousness. Today, the Evolutionary Leaders Circle has grown from 35 to 170 members dedicated to strengthening and amplifying the field of connectivity, inspiration and conscious evolution. Many are well known teachers; all are bringing forth the new paradigm in their life and in their work. Itâ€™s no longer enough to be a lone voice for change. The new consciousness is of next-level unity â€“ not blind obedience to one voice, but a distributed model of mutual empowerment for the greater good. It is exciting to see the members of the Evolutionary Leaders Circle learning from one another, building new partnerships and coalitions, and strengthening the field of conscious community, co-creating together a new model of evolutionary leadership.
If you are reading this article, you are also leading the evolution. Think of it as a great wave of awakening that is sweeping toward the shore. There is no one drop destined to be the first to arrive, but miles of water surging forward with millions of droplets on the leading edge, driven by a shared energy that propels them all. We are all hurtling ourselves into new territory, guided only by our individual intuition – what Evolutionary Leader Jean Houston refers to as “the lure of becoming” – and the inspiration and support we receive from other like-minded surfers. So what is the magic ingredient that lifts us from our individual missions, no matter how glorious or how modest they may be, to the “we consciousness” that turns us from sparkling droplets to a mighty wave? It is synergy: the weaving together of our hearts and minds to become a whole greater than the sum of its parts. It’s what the late Barbara Marx Hubbard, Evolutionary Leader and longtime proponent of conscious evolution, called “joining genius.” The Evolutionary Leaders invite you to sign on to A Call To Conscious Evolution at https://www.evolutionaryleaders.net/ acalltoconsciousevolution/. This is a time for all of us to join together in synergy and make the changes so urgently needed to co-create the next level of human evolution. Let us be the wave of the future. For more information, please visit www.sourceofsynergyfoundation.org and www.evolutionaryleaders.net, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
By Lynnaea Lumbard
These are times of Great Transition. Where do we begin when we can't see ahead? Which path will we choose? How will we know? What do we need to make the journey a success?
Great Stories Choosing a Life Afﬁrming Future
Here are vital stories that can guide us as we co-create Humanity's path forward.
Unity Earth. The Road to 2020. Peace on Earth by 2030. The manifestation of these ambitious visions presupposes that we have the capacity to generate a great transition in human consciousness in a few short years. Many have been saying that we are already in a time of Great Transition, a meta-movement of human culture shifting from one paradigm to another, one core belief system to another. While there have been many large changes in the past, this one is particularly precarious because of its magnitude, involving the entirely of humanity and the planet. Can we do it? In any transition, the underlying questions are: “Where are we coming from?” “Where are we going?” “How will we get there?” And “What processes help us make a successful transition?” This is the work of Great Transition Stories, a project of NewStories: 1) to name the larger archetypal patterns we are in, 2) to highlight what living systems tell us about how to move from one state or stage to another, and 3) to illuminate emerging stories that are already embodying where we imagine going. These are stories that produce health and well-being. We can see them and follow their steps towards a life-affirming future. At NewStories we have found the Two Loops diagram, first named over a decade ago, to be a helpful tool for mapping the larger pattern of transition we’re in, finding our place in it, and choosing where our work is. 1990´s
2010´s ??? A Bridge from the old to the new
Old Paradigm New Paradigm
People start new things
Gradually, we begin to create a strong new normal
Where we come from? The first loop maps the rise and fall of our most recent paradigm, the core beliefs of the current dominant culture. These don’t represent the beliefs of indigenous people or all cultures, but rather ideas that grew out of the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution that have come to pervade the economies and ecologies of the world. When we get to the root of it, the story level, the belief systems that created our modern civilization are only a few hundred years old. The inflection point that changed humanity’s relationship with life was Newton’s postulation of the universe as a mechanical clock winding down, where Earth was dead and only humans had consciousness. Separation from nature took us down a path of individualism, extraction, subjugation, and consumption. Add to that the misinterpretation of Darwin’s work to indicate that life is only motivated by selfishness, and we have a recipe for long term disaster. While some amazing things have been created out of those beliefs—our entire modern industrialized civilization—their shadow consequences are becoming increasingly clear. Inequity, war, poverty, violence, addiction, and biological degradation are all on the rise. What worked for us once is no longer working as we push the limits of a finite planet. We are bearing witness to multiple levels of collapse, while at the same time many are working to resist and slow down the wanton destruction, mitigate the damage and ease or hospice what is dying. Where we are going? Meanwhile, there are also many new things being tried that are starting to build something new outside of the old paradigm. Some experiments fail. Others blossom. We have many conflicting world-views fighting for dominance now—fascism and global oneness, selfishness and compassion, I and 39
We, holding on to the old and venturing into the new. The new paradigm starts with a realization that we live in a living universe, that consciousness is ubiquitous, and that all life is interconnected. This changes everything about how we behave towards each other and towards Earth. While we cannot know all that the future holds, we do get to choose where we put our intention and attention, what we feed and nurture and how we work together to co-create something new. Which path will we choose?
NewStories, in alignment with all of the UNITY EARTH network, is pointing its compass toward a just, joyful, thriving, life-affirming future for humanity and the planet. David Sloan Wilson calls it steering towards altruism. Another way to focus our choice is to ask a different question: What god is in our temple? What are we worshipping, striving for, wanting to be in relationship with? What happens when we worship profit, hate, greed, violence, or power? What happens when we put well-being, love, or oneness in the center of our soul’s temple? Whatever god we serve determines our answer to all of life’s quotidian choices. We can choose to ask, in any given moment, “what choice leads to greater compassion and well-being?” Through the years, asking these questions and living into the answers, we at Great Transition Stories began to notice Emerging Stories that are already living the values of compassion, collaboration, creativity, care and respect for self, other and Earth: Permaculture, Biomimicry, Rise of Women, Integrating Indigenous Wisdom, Gender Reconciliation, Wholistic Economics, Interspirituality. These are the stories that are already contributing to the rising line of the new paradigm, pointing us towards “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible,” to quote Charles Eisenstein. These emerging stories are experiments in new ways of living, imagining and practicing what it is to live the future we want. Many of us are already engaged with growing these new possibilities. How do we get there? Once we know what we’re coming out of and where want to go, how do we get there? What guides our way forward? What might we need to sacrifice along the way? Here is where the Great Transition Stories come in, the stories and patterns of successful transitions and transformations through time. We draw these stories from Life: biology, psychology, history, mythology, spirituality: Birth, Growing Up, Initiation, Metamorphosis of the Butterfly, Becoming a Superorganism, Spontaneous Realization. These are the stories that give structure and guidance for the processes of transition. They can become the bridge for people to move from the old belief system to a new one. If we are to transition to a world of one spirit in infinite forms or one humanity in diverse forms living on one planet, we need to let go of our beliefs of separation, that some of us are right and others not, that only a few people have the truth and wisdom and others are less than human. To let go of deep-seated beliefs often feels like a dying, or dissolving, like the caterpillar. A woman giving birth sacrifices her maidenhood and her innocence to become a Mother. Neither are what they were and there is no going back. Yet now the Mother has a child and the butterfly can fly in three dimensions. Life does know how transformation works and we can learn how to be held in its patterns for our own transformation. For some it can be quite painful or shameful to recognize that a belief that shaped a life is not true, or no longer serves, and to have to open to a whole new way of perception. Imagine the times of Copernicus when people had to transform their fundamental belief that they lived on a flat planet at the center of the universe to a realization that we are but one of many planets revolving around a sun which is a mere speck in a larger universe. It took the Catholic Church 300 years to finally accept Copernicus’ change in worldview. May it not take us, as a people, that long to fully recognize our oneness with all life and that we live on a living planet in a living universe. May we each take our place in this Great Transition, whether we are hospicing the old, midwifing the new, changing the story, or learning to bridge the paradigms in ourselves and helping others across the same bridge to a more vibrant, life-affirming future.
Lynnaea Lumbard, Ph.D. is an ordained Interfaith Minister, Transformational Psychologist, Evolutionary Leader, community weaver, sacred activist, and socialchange philanthropist. She is Co-President of NewStories (www.newstories.org), a Washington State-based non-profit educational organization whose mission is to co-create the future we want to live in by evolving our deeper collective and archetypal stories. Dedicated to offering transformational resources for an emergent evolutionary culture, NewStories incubates and nurtures local, translocal and global projects that are actively creating new possibilities in communities around the world. Her most recent work is the website Great Transition Stories, Choosing a Life-Affirming Future (www.greattransitionstories.org).
The Trust Frequency: Opening Our Hearts to a Higher Reality by Ka'nahsohon Kevin Deer, Sally A. Ranney, Andrew Cameron Bailey, Connie Baxter Marlow
Climate Change Solution: The Trust Frequency. Indigenous Cosmology Meets Quantum Science Parliament of the World's Religions 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions 2018 ambassador Miranda Clendening moderated a presentation that weaved an inspiring tapestry of ideas, experiences and solutions titled “Climate Change Solution: The Trust Frequency. Indigenous Cosmology Meets Quantum Science.” Kanahsohon Kevin Deer, Mohawk peacemaker and faith-keeper; Sally Ranney, visionary environmentalist; Connie Baxter Marlow and Andrew Cameron Bailey, authors, filmmakers and futurists open hearts and minds to an understanding of the conscious, loving, abundant nature of the Universe, humanity’s place in it and our influence on the reality we experience. Welcome to the Trust Frequency. As we move into this higher vibratory state, beyond duality, where the laws are expanded we spontaneously make the shift to beloved from victim, to trust from fear, to abundance from scarcity, to generosity from hoarding, to ease from struggle, and to an understanding of the sacredness and inter-connectedness of all life. In order to prepare for a new future of peace, harmony and unity, a future that may be beyond our current understanding, we must act with intention and use information already available to us, as well as commit to listening to and learning from the Earth and all her creatures, and the universal energies, visible and invisible, encouraging peak performance through connectedness, choice and discovery. Opening: Ka'nahsohon Kevin Deer. Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as 41
we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one. Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address Sally Ranney: Climate change has unambiguously put humanity on notice that we are on the cusp of great change. A problem, as Einstein said, cannot be solved in the same consciousness in which it was created. In the case of climate change, one country, one community or one technology cannot solve it. Only collaboration at the global level will solve climate change because it affects all human and natural systems. Nothing and no one is immune. This high level of collaboration can only take place if we let go of the tenets of the existing paradigm. To do so, we have to dig deep into the root cause of humanity’s suffering and our unconscious, harmful actions against one another and Mother Earth. We are being called to explore and upgrade our current assumptions and belief systems, to awaken to the reality of the evolution of human consciousness; to find the “high road” to knowing the true nature of the Universe; to heal our planet and ourselves. We open the door to universal truth and awakened consciousness, examine the outdated assumptions of the existing worldview that have imprisoned us, limiting our experience of life, our full human potential, and our understanding of the true nature of things. Through deep inquiry
and a synthesis of quantum physics, ‘original knowledge’ of the ancients, and the living wisdom of indigenous peoples, we see that science is now confirming that consciousness is in all things, animate and inanimate, and everything is connected in the Oneness of undifferentiated consciousness. Everything. Separateness, differentiated consciousness, is a false assumption that we have collectively adopted.
deploy that genius without further delay. We must reconnect with nature and the wisdom of our indigenous relatives, we must examine and upgrade some fundamental assumptions, we must open our armored hearts, and we must use our brilliant science and technology to design and deploy global systems that will re-balance our atmosphere and our oceans to the pristine state they were in before the Industrial Revolution.
The “Oneness consciousness of Being” is unconditional, unimpeachable, un-corruptible. It is the omnipresent creative Force and Source of the Universe, experiencing itself through trillions upon trillions of manifest forms and the potentiality of the yet un-manifested. We are, like everything else, One with the creative Force and Source. We have the power to create our individual reality, and to co-create and participate in collective realities. We can create our experience of life deliberately or by default. The Universe doesn’t have a preference. It is up to us.
Believe it or not, climate restoration is not a terribly difficult thing to accomplish. It just has to be done in rapid-deployment mode on an unprecedented global scale, that's all. And we already know how to do that, do we not? It will be very profitable for those who invest in it. It involves some simple, intelligent behavioral changes, some relatively simple engineering, and the spiritual and financial will to take sacred action before it is too late. We can do it, and in fact, we will do it. We have no alternative! We simply have to wake up, grow up, show up, and get the job done.
Connie Baxter Marlow: When we understand that we are loved by an unconditionally loving Universe that must fulfill the requests which we transmit through vibrational signals activated by the seven aspects of our consciousness: awareness, assumption, attention, attitude, alignment, action and allowing, we are able to create a reality beyond anything we can conceive of. We enter a higher frequency where there is more beauty, balance, harmony and abundance that we can fathom, as we choose to walk in alignment with Universal Law. With expanded AWARENESS and accurate ASSUMPTIONS, we choose our ATTITUDE, consciously direct our ATTENTION, ALIGN with our highest inner promptings, take committed ACTION and ALLOW the Loving Universe to manifest beyond our wildest dreams. Andrew Cameron Bailey: The climate crisis presents humanity with a choice that we ignore at our peril: wake up and grow up now, or go extinct, like 99% of all the species that came before us. Fortunately the human species has potential that it has yet to manifest. The solution to the climate crisis is both a spiritual challenge and a practical, boots-onthe-ground one. Humanity possesses extraordinary genius. We must
Kanahsohon Kevin Deer: To conclude, my sincere hope is that one day all human beings will understand that the fire which exists in the core of our Mother Earth is the same fire (O:tsire) that burns within every human being and of which we are one family (Kahwa:tsire). We need to see that this sacred fire that illuminates within the soul of every human being is beautiful and must always be loved, respected, and protected. If this way of understanding was fully embraced and understood, all wars would cease, all famine and poverty would be eliminated. Our Mother Earth would also be loved, protected and maintained as the sacred garden that her entire body represents. So, the choice is up to us whether we treat our Earth Mother with the utmost respect or continue on the present path, which will ultimately end with the demise of humanity. So, let’s light what in native indigenous prophecy of Turtle Island is called the “eighth and final fire” which will be one of love, compassion, cooperation, and respect for all living and non-living things.
Ka'nahsohon Kevin Deer has been employed as a school teacher at the Karonhianonhnha Mohawk Immersion School since 1989. He is a Faithkeeper in the Longhouse and a resource person on Iroquoian world view, philosophy, treaties, land claims, and native-European historical perspectives. He worked for Mohawk language and spiritual revitalization for the past thirty six years. In September 2015 he brought the First Nation’s perspective to the Bretton Woods IV convocation on economic concerns. He presented Native spirituality at the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week and the World Forum on Theology and Liberation in Montreal. He participated in Standing Rock.
Sally A. Ranney is a true Renaissance woman: published author, public speaker, television anchor, gifted artist, pianist, composer, horsewoman, mother, wilderness guide, environmental activist, and green business strategist. She has dedicated her life to ardent advocacy to protect the genetic archives of the planet, securing conservation custody for millions of acres of wild places in the United States, Alaska, Chile, Argentina, Africa, and Canada. She has worked closely with three U.S. Presidents. She was appointed by President Reagan to serve on the Presidential Commission on Americans Outdoors. Her experience spans thirty years in the areas of land, water and energy policy, biodiversity, wildlife protection, and climate change. She is President and Co-Founder of the American Renewable Energy Institute, National Board Member of the National Wildlife Federation. Chairwoman/Co-Founder of ERA (Earth Restoration Advocates), is an impact investor and CEO of Stillwater Preservation, LLC, a wetlands mitigation banking company. She wrote the inspiring Foreword to THE TRUST FREQUENCY: Ten Assumptions for a New Paradigm. Her accomplishments and honors are far too numerous to mention all of them here. www.SallyRanney.com.
Connie Baxter Marlow is an author, filmmaker, photographer and futurist. Her uplifting worldview offers practical means of transcending the current paradigm through absolute trust in a conscious loving abundant Universe. She has co-authored the book “THE TRUST FREQUENCY: Ten Assumptions for a New Paradigm” which synthesizes Indigenous cosmology, quantum science and Eastern and Western mysticism into a framework that resolves several paradoxes which have plagued humanity for millennia. She pro-actively seeks to bridge the gap of separation between indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews through films, books, forums and inter-cultural networking. She believes the only way out is UP to higher consciousness. www.TheTrustFrequency.net and www.First50Years.us
Andrew Cameron Bailey is a filmmaker, photographer, inventor and author. He is a visionary thinker in the realms of human evolutionary potential and climate restoration. He has university degrees in literature, anthropology and chemical engineering, and has lectured in chemistry and mathematics at the college level. He is the founder and CEO of Sacred Earth Enterprises, an ambitious for-profit startup with a global vision. With a small but passionate team, he is developing a rapid-deployment solution to the climate crisis. The venture sets out to help Paris Climate Agreement signatories to fulfill their carbon-reduction obligations and to reach their Sustainable Development Goals. He is the co-author of the non-fiction book "The Trust Frequency: Ten Assumptions for a New Paradigm," author of the historical mystery novel "The Mayflower Revelations" and director of the films "IN SEARCH OF THE FUTURE: What do the Wise Ones Know?" and " SEEDS OF FREEDOM: A Vision for America." His climate work can be found at: www.SacredEarthEnterprises.us 42
Unity Earth Convergence By Brian McLaren
I remember a joke making the rounds when I was a parent of adolescents: Q: What is an adolescent? A: It’s a person who vacillates between acting ten years younger than their age and ten years older, all in the same hour. In other words, a fourteen-year-old can act like a four-year-old at one minute and a twenty-four-year-old the next. It feels like humanity is at an adolescent stage these days. In the US, we elect a Barack Obama and then a Donald Trump. Europeans create the EU and open borders, and then Brexit happens and there’s talk of the whole thing crashing down. I work in the world of religion, where I think you can take the adolescent formula and multiply it by ten or twenty. Members of a religion can act like they’re living on 2120 or 2220 one day, and the next, other members of the same religion act like they’re living in 1820 or 1920. I believe religion at its best works as a culture’s moral imagination. It asks, “What kind of world is possible next? What are our next steps to grow toward that better world?” This is a progressive, prophetic, or evolutionary way of understanding religion. Of course, in an adolescent time, just as progressive elements in our religious communities are leaning forward and seeking to be communities of the future, regressive elements dig in their heels, drive in reverse, and live, not by vision, but by nostalgia, as colonies of the past. A few years ago, I helped organize a multi-faith gathering in Washington, DC, to affirm Pope Francis’ powerful “letter to the world,” Laudato Si, which was a call to humanity to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” I am a committed Christian, and one of the participants is an equally committed Muslim. After the event, he said to me, “Brian, when I was with these progressive faith leaders from many different traditions, I felt more at home than when I am at gatherings that are exclusively composed of my Muslim brothers and sisters. Something is happening among us in this progressive multi-faith movement. We are like a vanguard within each faith community, and we are hearing the same message and singing the same song.” His words, I think, capture the challenge and potential of this moment in human history. Visionary, creative, progressive leaders across traditions are coming together as never before. We are discovering a common vision of a future defined by the common good and undergirded by common values. We envision each of our traditions transitioning to a new phase of maturity in which we are neither enemies nor competitors to one another, but neighbors, colleagues, and friends. We each bring unique treasures to the table, treasures our counterparts need, just as we need the treasures they bring. We are finding ways of being genuinely ourselves while at the same time welcoming and appreciating one another. 43
An older, wiser mentor might give a young adolescent some advice … avoid high-risk behaviors, stay in school, build and maintain relationships with older people who can serve as your mentors, travel and read all you can, develop a good work ethic and learn persistence and perseverance, try new things and go on some great adventures, etc. What counsel might the progressive multi-faith movement need at this moment when it is so greatly needed? I would offer these seven: 1. Discover and name the treasures of your tradition that can be shared with others. One of the things that I have greatly appreciated about my Hindu and Buddhist friends is that they freely share insights from their traditions without expecting me to convert. For example, the Buddhist principle of “no independent origination” has greatly enriched my social justice work, reminding me not simply to treat symptoms, but to deal with conditions. As a Christian, while I wouldn’t expect my friends of other traditions to accept the Trinity as a doctrine, I would gladly offer the core insight of the teaching, namely, that there can be diversity that doesn’t undermine unity, and unity that doesn’t eradicate diversity. 2. Discover and name your deficiencies and your needs for others’ treasures. My own Christian tradition has too often defined itself as a system of beliefs, and minimized itself as a way of life. As a result, Christians have often thought of themselves as “good Christians” simply because they held the expected doctrines, even though they might have been unkind neighbors and careless of the earth. This weakness in my tradition has opened me up to, say, my Jewish and Buddhist friends, for whom religious identity is much more a way of life than a system of beliefs. 3. Build and articulate a strong and benevolent identity. As I explained in one of my recent books, we all know how to do two things well: how to have a strong religious identity that is inhospitable or even hostile to other religious identities, and how to have a weak religious identity that is tolerant of other religious identities. What more and more of us need to learn is the third option: to have a strong religious identity that is benevolent to other religious identities. In other words, the better a Christian or Muslim or Sikh I am, the more dedicated I am to loving, respecting, and protecting my neighbors of other traditions. 4. Build relationships with your progressive counterparts in other traditions. Creative and progressive adherents are often attacked, insulted, or even threatened by their more conservative religious sisters and brothers. In other words, one’s greatest opponents are often within one’s own tradition. For that reason, we need strong relationships with
our counterparts in other traditions, for safety, strength, belonging, and encouragement. In addition, by our multi-faith friendships and partnerships, we model for our co-religionists the strong and benevolent identity that many of them have not seen - or even yet imagined possible. 5. Build bridges to the antagonists within your own tradition as well as across traditions. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and similar injunctions to peacemaking can be found in many traditions. Given the fact that our greatest antagonists can sometimes be in our own tradition, this makes bridge-building work especially important. When they criticize, instead of defending ourselves in anger, we can use their criticism as an opportunity to graciously clarify our position. While the most vocal antagonists may not be won over, their children and grandchildren are watching, and our graciousness could be their onramp to a more loving path of fidelity. 6. Focus on younger generations. Around the world, I've observed many younger people being driven away from religious identification by the harshness of the more regressive, restrictive, and combative forms of faith. If they don't see a progressive alternative, many will become disillusioned and drift away from faith altogether. Some who do so may go on to become wonderful human beings, allies in our concern for the common good and colleagues in embodying humane values. But many will be vulnerable to recruitment by violent and harmful groups or will simply join the ranks of the stealth religion of selfish consumerism. For that reason, progressive multi-faith leaders have to invest extra time, intelligence, money, and energy in reaching out to and involving the young. 7. Discover deep hope. None of us know how strong the regressive forces in our religions and nations will be in the months and years ahead. A few arrogant, ignorant, and power-hungry people in high places can cause great suffering for millions. When setbacks occur, cheap hope will die. We need an alternative to cheap hope and dead hope: we need deep hope. Deep hope motivates us to do what is wise and good, not because we are optimistic about quick or easy success, but because that is who we are, who we have chosen to be. Deep hope of this sort can face the most dire facts and seemingly hopeless situations because it is rooted, not the odds of success, but in our deepest identity. Human civilization is going through a turbulent adolescence. People like you and me, as creative and forward-leaning leaders rooted deeply in many faith traditions, can embody maturity, wisdom, and generosity. This is our calling. This is our privilege.
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a faculty member of The Living School, which is part of the Center for Action and Contemplation, and he co-leads the Common Good Messaging Team, which is part of Vote Common Good. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he has developed an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors, church planters, and lay leaders called Convergence Leadership Project. He works closely with the Wild Goose Festival, the Fair Food Program‘s Faith Working Group, and Progressive Christianity. His most recent joint project is an illustrated children’s book (for all ages) called Cory and the Seventh Story and his upcoming writing projects include The Galapagos Islands: A Spiritual Journey (Fall 2019) Faith After Doubt (Spring 2021), and Do I Stay Christian? (Spring 2022). 44
Tribute to GRETA THUNBERG with Artwork by Vinnie Neuberg by The Editors
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City August 28, in a zero-carbon emissions vessel, completing her 14-day journey to the United States from the United Kingdom to take part in the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September. Thunberg—who is taking the year off school—intends to also join the COP 25 climate change conference in Santiago, Chile, in December One can say with some assurance that, although she is only 16 years old, Greta Thunberg’s name is known around the world. Nothing like being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at 16! But these things can happen. What is now known as “The Greta Thunberg Effect” —her ability catalyze climate change activism around the world—comes undoubtedly from the combination of her youth (the power of youth speaking out) and her persistence about this passion area, not only since she was 8 years old but it resulting in a traumatic illness beginning at age 11. According to Greta, her family, and doctors, Greta became so impassioned by the inaction of the world against the realities of climate change, which she learned of at the age of 8 that, at age 11, she ceased being able to speak. This condition, diagnosed by a number of medical terms, only remedied when she became suddenly outspoken on climate change and, at age 15, begin public demonstrations and statements on a daily basis in front of the Swedish Parliament building. Moving soon beyond solitary protest she catalyzed what became the worldwide “school strikes for the climate” which, by 2018 had mobilized millions of companion demonstrations and initiatives, including some 1.4 million students in two 112 country-wide actions in 2018 and 2019. Momentum was spurred by spontaneous social media and internet video’s often quickly gathering tens of thousands of views. During this time she won a writing competition in the prominent periodical Svenska Dagbladet, which led to even more widespread media recognition of her views on the role of youth in spurring the climate awareness movement. This led to TEDx talks, a cover of TIME Magazine, and a place representing the energy of youth at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP 24”) in December the same year. This was capped off, in 2019, by Penguin Books publication of her book No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference. 45
Having become a global Icon, Greta’s effectiveness as a catalyst for highly visible climate awareness activism afforded opportunity after opportunity and global event after global event. She not only understood, and could skillfully convey, the realities of the impending possible climate catastrophe but she could inspire with her words. And they were strong words—in sync with the original messages of her solitary sit-ins in front of the Swedish Parliament where her flyers read: "I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.” When invited to confront politicians she would challenge them: "Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people." and "I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire—because it is." This did not make it an easy road. Suddenly a celebrity, she had to become aware of those who would take advantage of her. In one case she had to denounce a group that, without her knowledge, had raised millions of dollars for a profit making company that was using her name. Other politicians even warned her that she might die in “an accident”. Fortunately for Greta, her family appears to have stabilized the celebrity environment around her in a way that can continue to healthily support her work. As this publication is released she has been in New York City supporting well-publicized activities of the United Nations Climate Talks. We galvanized our desire for a piece in our “CHANGE MAKERS: Leadership and Transformation” issue about Greta when we met Vinnie Neuberg (www.vinnieneuberg.com), a young New York-based illustrator and art director whose socially aware work has appeared in dozens of major venues including The New York Times. And that led us to ask Vinnie not only about himself but why he has been inspired to create the artwork on Greta Thunberg which we feature here.
Light on Light Magazine with Vinnie Neuberg: Light on Light: Vinnie, tell us about your work and website-- who you are, what you do and why you do it. What are the social concerns that motivate you? I am an editorial illustrator and cartoonist based in Brooklyn, NY. I have loved drawing since I was a kid and today I am hired to create illustrations for various print and web publications. On the side, I also publish my own comics, and I play and record my own music. I hope that my work can remind people not to take themselves too seriously and to treat each other well. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the environmental crisis and I would like to create more work to draw attention to the cause. Looking into the history of climate change, it can be overwhelming to fathom the generations of corruption in governments and corporations all over the world that have brought us to this dire moment but seeing what impact one high school student can make has inspired me to want to play a role as well. You can see my work at www.vinnieneuberg.com or on Instagram @vinnieneu. Light on Light: What drew you to interest in Greta Thunberg? Why is she a heroine to you, and others? What do you want to emphasize about the importance of her work? Greta was an instantly inspiring figure to me. I frequently hear myself and many people around me asking what we changes we can make to our daily lives to live more sustainably and help the environment, but it seems like we are not willing to do much that would disrupt our routines or surrender the comforts that we have come to expect. It has been inspiring to see Greta make an extreme disruption in her life–dropping out of school, becoming a vegan, refusing to fly–and I think this has resonated with a lot of people (myself included) who have been too lazy or unwilling to sacrifice to make these changes themselves. On top of all that, she is an incredibly smart and compelling speaker and has used her platform to directly address some of the most powerful people in the world. Her work is important to me because it is proof that one person can make an enormous impact, igniting conversation and action, and giving strength to a movement. Greta Thunberg Online Facebook Twitter Editor’s note: Quotations of Greta Thunberg above are cited in Wikipedia References 18, 49, & 50 respectively.
Artist, illustrator and activist Vinnie Neuberg. See his autobiographical comments, and links to his work in our Q & A just above.
A Tribute to Drs. J. J. and Desiree Hurtak: Cosmologists who have been ahead of their time By The Editors
This is a tribute about scientists, change makers, or spiritual leaders who just happen to be ahead of their time. They do things, or champion ideas or views, before those views “mainstream”. They take flak for it and later, when some or many of those maligned ideas become mainstream (or even fashionable), it’s a human trait that the public often forgets this and it all fades into “oh we always knew that”. The history of this in academics is legion and it’s good to review a few iconic, and pertinent, examples. One prominent one is Continental Drift, or what is called today “Plate Tectonics”. Today it is a “no-brainer”, but before it was undeniably proven (by geophysics, from data sets accumulating from the late 50’s through the 1970’s) mainstream biology and geography rejected it, stridently. It only mainstreamed in biology in the 70’s. Alfred Wegener, who first championed Continental Drift, was maligned and marginalized. Another pioneer, Leon Croizat of Venezuela, not only could not get his drift views into the academic literature, he had to publish them on his own, in Spanish. They turned out to be right and the prestigious journal Systematic Zoology later published a tribute issue to Croizat. Another example is the bird-dinosaur relationship. Today, it's a relative “no-brainer” that our feathered friends are the tail-end of the lineages of the dinosaurs, evolving from the “Ornithischian Dinosaurs” (Ornithology being the study of birds). And, guess what, feathers didn’t evolve for flight; they evolved in dinosaurs for mate-finding display and warmth. They just ended up being perfect for flight. The evidence now is overwhelming but, as late as the 1980’s, if you believed it you could not get a job or a post-doctoral fellowship in the mainstream of science. 47
So, we need to acknowledge some of these unfortunate historical circumstances in our own backyard. One of the most salient examples is the Drs. Hurtak and the many arenas of science, metaphysics and spirituality where, frankly, they have just been ahead of their times. We’ll review a number of their expertises below but we’ll highlight here, in introduction, two that strikingly reflect this phenomenon of moving from maligned to mainstream. Acoustic Arachaeology The Hurtaks suggested and documented, for years, that many ancient structures-whose purpose and origin had either mystified, or been explained away as “this or that”, by mainstream archaeology-- were actually built to create atmospheres of certain wavelengths, vibratory features, musical features etc. which are wellknown today, from science’s brain-mind studies, to induce and nurture particular states of consciousness or wellbeing. Early on, this idea was not only maligned by the mainstream but it was extremely difficult to even get permission to bring in the technical equipment needed to actually study it. Today this idea has become an entire new scientific field: Acoustic Archaeology! If you “Google” it you will find 289,000 entries. It is a mainstream field that has exploded in the last five years and is peopled by countless young PhD’s who are out to find new data sets and, yes, make a name for themselves. Cosmology and Its Implications Another example is today’s radically changing view in mainstream science concerning the question of whether we-- or life-- is unique to our planet. A recent Special on National Geographic Channel noted that some 90% of young science PhD’s today start with the assumption that we are not alone, including the view that life elsewhere could be at diverse levels of sophisticated development. The size of the universe, the ubiquity of life on our planet, the number of “goldilocks zone” planets (planets in inhabitable zones) offer more and more convincing evidence concerning what our basic assumption should be. NASA held a panel discussion on this in July, stating it was highly unlikely that we would not find basic (microbial) life elsewhere (like on Mars)-- and who knows what else. Discovery Magazine profiled twenty big-visioned young scientists in a recent issue all beginning their work with radical new assumptions about the bases of reality. If you “Google” the question of “whether life is unique just to earth” you’ll find 63 million entries. If it’s likely we’re not alone, the question then arises whether anyone has “dropped by” and, if so, with what consequence? No matter how any of us feel about those possibilities, regarding ancient technologies, monuments, or even genetic interference, the landscape of the discussion changes when you start with the assumption that it’s likely we are not alone. The Hurtaks have championed the implications of this for many years. Going back to our former example— continental drift—all of biology changed once it was assumed, Yes, the continents 48
inspired voices have moved. Before that science had to explain why and how animals and plants got to where they are today without land masses moving. The results, in science texts, turned out to be a lot of science fiction. But the often famous authors of those texts worked hard try to keep Plate Tectonics out of the picture. Lastly, we are all familiar with the gradual, drip by drip, disclosure by government and military leaders, that (as summarized in the Washington Post) “UFOs exist and everyone needs to adjust to that fact”. Now, obviously, UFO’s may, or may not, necessarily be “ET” but the point is the landscape about very basic assumptions in mainstream science is changing radically. We could say so much more, in this upfront summary, but we want to list many of the facts about the achievements of J. J. and Desiree Hurtak with a deeper level of detail below. Drs. Hurtak established their international organization, The Academy For Future Science, over 45 years ago. It is a registered NGO with the United Nations ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) and DPI (Economic and Social Council), which works in areas of sustainable development through its branches in the USA and Europe, and also in developing countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa. J.J. Hurtak, Ph.D.(U. Calif.), Ph.D. (U. Minn.), M.A., M.Th., and Desiree Hurtak, Ph.D, (New School University), MS.Sc. (Syracuse U.) are world leaders in the new fields of Consciousness and Quantum Physics, Archaeoacoustics and Remote Sensing, Remote Viewing and Paraphysics, Astrobiology-Extraterrestrial Sciences and Futurism. Archaeology and Anthropology
In Egypt, they were the first to discover the “Tomb of Osiris” using ground penetrating radar and sonar, two years before Zahi Hawass announced its discovery on a Fox TV special in 1999. They have recently (2019) published Giza’s Industrial Complex: Ancient Egypt’s Electrical Power and Gas Generating Complex which details their many explorations throughout Egypt. In Yucatan, Mexico, theirs was the first scientific study made of the sound structures of the area’s major pyramids and temples, incorporating computer analysis of the various chambers. Their study of archaeoacoustics was recently published in the peer-reviewed Spanish journal sponsored by the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) called Arqueología - Num. 54 (2017) Segunda Época. They have also compared the pyramidal chambers of Mexico with the sound structures of the Pyramids of Giza and other temple locations along the Nile.
The Academy For Future Science has worked with several indigenous cultures in southern Africa and the Americas to implement new water systems in countries such as El Salvador and Peru. In 1995, Dr. J.J. Hurtak was given the Title of Honorary Chief by one of the Xavante tribes from the interior of the State of Mato Grosso in Brazil for their work in supporting the Xavante youth, especially through education.
Drs. Hurtaks together have written over 25 books and over 50 articles published in more than 20 languages, and with other well-known authors. Mind Dynamics in Space and Time (2016) is one of their recent books, co-written with physicist Dr. Elizabeth Rauscher. This book includes the remote viewing experiments from Stanford Research Institute in the 1970s and 1980s, evidence of government sponsorship for the exploration of the scientific basis of paraphysics and how consciousness can be used for the nonlocal sending and receiving of information. They continue to write articles on future science, many in collaboration with Dr. Rauscher, such as Examining the Existence of the Multiverse (2013), Reexamining Quantum Gravity (2016) and their upcoming article on What Time is it? What is Time? (2019). Interfaith Relations
As proponents of inter-spiritual dialogue, they have spoken at The Parliament of the World’s Religions in Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004), Melbourne (2009), Salt Lake (2015), and Toronto (2018).
Working with ancient Coptic documents, particularly those which detail the feminine principle as it was incorporated into early Coptic Christianity, they have translated and written Pistis Sophia, Text and Commentary (1999, 900 pages) and The Gospel of Mary (2008). For his support of Eastern philosophies, Dr. J.J. Hurtak received a Letter of Honorable Recognition for microfilming Tibetan Canon Texts from the Karmapa Lama and Sister Palmo (Frieda Betty) in 1973. These texts were brought to the University of California. Paraphysics and the Esoteric
Dr. J.J. Hurtak is best known for his paraphysical book, The Book of Knowledge: The Keys of Enoch® (1973). This book was to show NASA’s Mariner-9 (B-frame) documents (1973) on the so-called pyramidal features on Mars, and to suggest exobiological links with other life forms in the universe, the existence of a multiverse and the alignment of the Great Pyramid with Orion which continue to be published in articles, books and film reports. He was the first to bring out reports on several television networks via leading journalists such as Pedro Ferriz (Mexico D.F., 1977) and Bill Payne (Sydney, Australia, 1984) on the unusual pyramidal forms and patterns on Mars. The pyramids he identified were later called the Carl Sagan pyramids in the 1990s. As a researcher in remote viewing and remote sensing, he was a private consultant to scientists at Jet Propulsion Lab, Los Angeles.
Acknowledged as being among the first to develop a new type of graphic immersive film experience in multi-media, their films include: Merkabah, Voyage of a Star Seed (1997), Initiation: The Sacred Monuments of Giza (2000), Light Body (2003), and Credo Mutwa, Voice of Africa (2015). Their films on consciousness and archeology have received 15 film festival awards (Silver, Gold and Platinum), including Telley Awards.
They are also well-known for their musical compositions, lyrics and live performances. Three of Dr. J.J. Hurtak’s songs were performed for the “Concert of Empowerment” by the Deutschen Symphonie-Orchester (Nov. 2010) at the House of World Culture in Berlin with the famous singer Jocelyn Smith, where Dr. J.J. Hurtak also gave the introduction. He was a ‘founding faculty’ member at California Institute of the Arts (197073) where he worked with Mel Powell and Ravi Shankar. Together, Drs. Hurtak’s use of a cross-cultural music of unity (“global tone”) and their books have inspired many musicians such as Carlos Santana, Alice Coltrane and Steven Halpern. Cosmology and Its Implications
For over forty-five years, the Hurtaks have documented the important link between human consciousness and extraterrestrial communication in world cultures, an aspect generally overlooked by most researchers interested in looking primarily at the material technology of cosmic cultures. Thus, when American author, Sidney Sheldon wrote his novel, Doomsday Conspiracy (1991), in which he fictionalized the important subject of hidden government contact with cosmic intelligence, they, with Astronaut Gordon Cooper, were acknowledged as scientific consultants for his book, published in thirty languages. Dr. J. J. Hurtak was a major presenter on extraterrestrial contacts at the First World Congress on UFOs, Acapulco, Mexico (April 1977) with world experts like Dr. J. Allen Hynek of Project Blue Book. Hurtak was the first to release detailed information on extraterrestrial biological entities, with pictures of retrieved specimens, to the world press (El Universal, Novadades, The News, etc.) in Mexico City (July 1979). At the first U.S. Government’s Disclosure Program on the extraterrestrial hypothesis in Washington D.C., titled When Cosmic Cultures Meet (May 29, 1995), Dr. Hurtak presented his paper, Evidences of Extraterrestrial and Ultraterrestrial Intelligence, which was accepted by conference director, Dr. C.B. “Scott” Jones (former officer with the Office of Naval Intelligence), participant in the Lawrence Rockefeller Commission and Senate aide to Senator Claiborne Pell, Head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Drs. Hurtak continue to present their understanding that we are “not alone in the universe” at various conferences and world forums.
For more on this problem of "Scientific Truth" see the Op. Ed. of Dr. Kurt Johnson on p. 54.
Tribute to Fr. Thomas Keating: A legacy event July 12-14, 2019 By The Editors
Life-long interfaith and interspiritual colleagues from around the world, and diverse spiritual traditions, gathered at The Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado, July 12 â€“ 14 for a weekend-long tribute to the life and work of Fr. Thomas Keating O.C.S.O. The three-day program also focused on how to continue the change-making global work of this renowned ambassador of interfaith and interspirituality and of our world religionsâ€™ understanding of their shared contemplative heritage. Fr. Thomas was one of the most celebrated of contemplative writers and known worldwide for his role in founding Contemplative Outreach, the Centering Prayer Movement, and the decades-long work of his Snowmass Inter-religious Dialogue. A Roman Catholic monk and priest, he had joined the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (also called The Trappists) in 1944 and served as Abbot of two of it monasteries in the United States, returning to the Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts before his passing on October 25, 2018 at the age of 94. He was the author of over thirty books, many which were highly influential. These, along with extensive audio and video presentations, and even a feature film The Rising Tide of Silence propelled his prominence as a pioneer for our modern day understanding of the contemplative experience around the world. His decades long programs at the St. Benedictâ€™s Abbey in Snowmass Colorado, where he became Abbot after retiring from the same position 52
inspired voices at the St. Josephs Abbey in Massachusetts led to the publication of “The Nine Points of Agreement Among The World’s Religions” in a book entitled The Common Heart in 2007. This global view of the message of the world’s religions, along with those called “The Nine Elements of a Universal Spirituality” by a monastic colleague Br. Wayne Teasdale have become recognized “Foundational Documents” for the interfaith and interspiritual communities, committees and caucuses across the United Nations community. Members of the global interfaith and interspiritual communities remember Fr. Thomas as a mentor. Continuing the work of western monastics who were instrumental in creating the East-West and North-South dialogues among our world religions’ mystical traditions (through the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and other seminal networks) but who had passed before him—Thomas Merton, Bede Griffiths, Raimon Panikkar, and Teasdale— Fr. Thomas continued to gather the many pioneers of this growing universal spirituality through his auspices and encouraging and helping organize their work. From these gatherings came a pivotal international conference on interspirituaity in 2013 and the founding of networks and media which have continued this important work (see www. interspirituality.com). Teasdale, who in his most well-known work The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions had considered both Frs. Thomas and Bede Griffiths as his mentors and, in that book, had coined the now widely used terms “Interspiritual” and Interspirituality”. Organizers of the event at the Aspen Chapel were well-known interfaith authors, educators and retreat leaders Edward Bastian and Cynthia Bourgeault in collaboration with Nicholas and Heather Vesey who lead the chapel. They gathered over two dozen world interfaith leaders who had been a part of Fr. Thomas’s work, along with young contemplative leaders, for the event. Interviewed by The Aspen Daily News, Rev. Vesey reflected the group’s view of today’s global spiritual community, saying: “It’s a sense of community that’s important. That’s the direction it’s going: toward realizing that we are one community, that China’s problems are America’s problems, and America’s problems are China’s problems. If we can help solve each other’s problems through developing the wisdom to do that, that will be a major shift. We can model that in the traditionally divisive area of religion, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do: to m odel community.”. The newspaper also pointed out the words from a flyer for the event, from Bede Griffiths’ Return to the Center: “The goal of each religion is the same.”. 53
Dr. Kurt Johnson, Contributions Editor of Light on Light Magazine was among those gathered for the event and a part of the private and public discussions. Kurt was an attendee of the Snowmass Inter-Religious Dialogues and met with Fr. Keating, and interspiritual colleagues, regularly regarding the planning of major interspiritual events like the 2013 Dawn of Interspirituality Conference (photo below). Fr. Keating was an endorser of Kurt’s 2013 book The Coming Interspiritual Age and joined UNITY EARTH’s Convergence radio series on VoiceAmerica and its Convergence Magazine on several occasions. Light on Light is privileged to have this opportunity to further celebrate the legacy of Fr. Thomas Keating in this report on the 2019 Legacy Event.
Our Thomas Keating Aspen gathering left us wordless. We were melded into a state-of-being that words cannot touch. We experienced the sacred interspiritual silence of Thomas’ ongoing presence that forever connects us all. During his life, Thomas brought together countless people from all spiritual and secular perspectives to jointly experience this sacred silence, to become permeable, to dissolve our rigid identities, to relinquish our false sense of self, and to connect with each other at the deepest level of our being. This sacred silence is the foundation for both personal and global peace. Now, it is our responsibility to carry on his interspiritual legacy.
Edward W. Bastian, Ph.D. Ed is the founder of The Spiritual Paths Foundation. He is an award winning co-author of Living Fully Dying Well, author of InterSpiritual Meditation, author of Mandala – Creating an Authentic Spiritual Paths, contributor to Meditations for InterSpiritual Practice, and producer of documentaries on religion for the BBC and PBS. He is the former co-director of the Forum on BioDiversity for the Smithsonian and National Academy of Sciences, teacher of Buddhism and world religions at the Smithsonian, an internet entrepreneur, and translator of Buddhism scriptures from Tibetan into English. He is also a faculty member of Antioch University in Santa Barbara where he teaches courses on Buddhism, Mindfulness Meditation and religion.
The Perennial Struggle About Truth Opinion Editorial by Kurt Johnson PhD, Contributions Editor Re: the Hurtak and Chopra articles herein
Many of our readers may not be familiar with the dicey history science itself (an activity supposed dedicated to truth) has had with this very matter. People most often think this problem about what is factually true, occurs mostly in hindsight, when science sees from new data and new understanding that its former “truth’s,” now in the rearview mirror, were, in fact incorrect. But it is more complicated, and especially more complicated in the “Trump Post-Truth Era” where permission seems to be everywhere to “win at any cost.” If we talk about the “super mainstream,” Dr. David Sloan Wilson, in his book This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution, and a contributor to this Light on Light issue, begins with a long list of where “truth” in one scientific era appeared obviously false in the next. But what is forgotten sometimes is the collateral damage in careers and reputations that went on during those times as one generation of truth evolved to another. In the late 1970’s an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual conference held a session precisely on the careers that had been destroyed during the period where the biological science establishment stridently fought against the factual reality of continental drift (plate tectonics). It got especially dicey because it turned out that a lot of famous people had written intricate explanations of how flora and fauna got around the world when the continents had remained completely stable. Obviously, in spite of their good intentions, all of their complex scenarios (just like the epicycles used to explain how the sun revolved around the earth in Copernicus’s time) turned out to be science fiction. So, this happens. But dicier than this is if information media purposely distort, misrepresent or out right lie about factual truths (most often done to keep a competitor at bay). As a part of those discussions in the 1970’s I remember that those who advocated “win at any cost” proffered a list of methods to keep your argument ahead of a competitor. Three of them worth remembering are (1) create a “straw man” (create a false narrative); (2) “blow smoke” (obfuscate the conversations as much as possible, making your adversary appear not credible, irrelevant or fanciful) and (3) attack your enemy personally (suggest, for instance that they may be an “abuser” of some kind). These methodologies, even at that time, were “out there” enough they got discussed (sometimes as humor) across the editorials of various scientific journals. The Drs. Hurtak were certainly victims of 1 and 2 above. In my own career I had occasion to ask for written retractions by scientific periodicals who (unknowingly) published untrue statements about my work that were easy to disprove simply by furnishing the original publications to those editors to fact check. The journals published those retractions. But the problem was that sometimes those untruths had already become “urban legend” and so they lived on. Sometimes falsifiers rely on the fact that they may be slapped down but, since many people will never recheck a fact, the desired false narrative is out there. Our President of the United States is a master at this. Recently an article by NPR and Progressive Radio host Dr. Gary Null suggested that even our encyclopedia references may be now part of partisan battles about who’s narrative will “win the day” of public opinion. The article concerned the controversies partisans stir about the guest for our cover, and cover features of this issue: Dr. Deepak Chopra. A little research shows further how partisan these battles have become— partisan both as to politics and to what industries substantially control our commerce, like fossil fuels and pharmaceuticals. This along with the United States Navy recently confirming the authenticity of detailed videos showing dramatic UFO’s shows that challenging “data sets” are entering public and professional conversations. The matter also recently entered our Presidential election process with the debate about how “fringe”, or not, is the candidate, and spiritual teacher, Marianne Williamson. What is “fringe”? Clearly, one person’s “mainstream” is another person’s “fringe.” So, it is time for vigilance and increased discernment even about what we consider our standard reference sources. If these discussions become more and more partisan this kind of discernment will be even more important and perhaps can spark an even more lively, and hopefully actually fruitful, debate about the importance of authentic norms for factual truth in our world. 54
Transformation and Spiritual Leadership Through Music: an Interview with Antoinette Rootsdawtah Hall
By Erik Rabasca
in constant forward motion with clarity of vision and boundless energy in service of spiritual transformation, human rights and music. Recently I had the opportunity to discuss transformation and spiritual leadership with Antoinette. Erik Rabasca (ER): You’ve both led bands at the highest level of musicianship. You’ve built, maintained and sustained communities for yourself and with (Grammy-nominated reggae artist) Pato (Banton). And you also have helped Pato build his ministry over the last several years. What have you learned are the key attributes of leadership? Antoinette Rootsdawtah Hall (ARH): Pato gave me this great list which includes, vision, integrity, humility, empathy, courage, honesty, focus, inspiration among others. Integrity is especially important. We have to do what we say we’re going to do and ask it of others. And with all of those qualities as your foundation, you have to make decisions. Sometimes it’s not always the easy choice. So you have to be willing to take in new points of view and information and reevaluate to lead. A great musician creates unforgettable melodies and experiences, stirring the soul and spirit to sing, dance and feel something within oneself. An even greater musician performs her craft with dedication in service of something greater than her own self creating connections between artist and audience that build community. When the roots of musicianship and creativity are grounded in service, seeds are sown for transformation. No one embodies leading with a serving nature more than the artistry of Antoinette “Rootsdawtah” Hall and her husband, Grammy nominated reggae artist, Pato Banton. From Antoinette’s pioneering work with the all-female reggae group, Sistahs of Shaolin production team, to her current multiple roles as Musical Director and Manager of reggae legend Pato Banton’s Now Generation band, co-lead of the singer’s ministry and online communities and founder of her own Daughters of the Divine Mother group for women “as moral standard bearers” Rootsdawtah is 55
Of course, we believe in the power of creativity, especially when it’s tied to a vision. But you need commitment and passion to see [that creativity] through to its fullest potential. You have to be a good communicator and cooperate in the process of realizing that potential vision. And keep a positive attitude! When you’re working with other people, giving them space to be creative allows for empowerment. And I would add love to that list. ER: Which of these qualities do you most embody? ARH: Vision. Going back to when I was with Sisters of Shaolin [in the 90’s], everything I do begins with an idea, a vision. Once you see it, it won’t leave you alone… not that I have special powers, but I can see the steps it takes in advance easier these days having dealt with success and
failure. So experience comes into play for advancing an idea. ER: Yes, I’m with you there. For Light Warriors, the vision also came first... how do we channel light, tackling darkness with love in action through the universal language of music, serving the song first and in doing so, then serving and unifying our audience... It’s one thing to have vision, it’s another to execute, and to get everyone on the same page. How have you managed that effectively over the years? ARH: You get willing participants! With Sisters of Shaolin, I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So, I found the right people and built a team. Each person had their own responsibility within their own area of expertise like marketing, finance, etc. and then we made decisions. With online communities I’ve started over the years, they’ve only grown because I’ve asked the community for help in executing the vision. In bringing on more and more people, it [community growth] does the work itself. ER: In addition to music, you and Pato lead prayer circles and Urantia study groups. You work so closely together and are partners in life through marriage. How do you balance all of that and continue to deliver with consistent high performance levels? Do you need to push each other and how does that affect your life together? ARH: Pato does a lot on his own, but always attributes me with pushing him to do more like the weekly Urantia studies online. I push us to perform internationally more. I see him as boundless with incredible ability to touch people. There were a couple of times where he was going to step away from music. But I told him “you’re just getting started. There are so many more people who need to hear your message and experience the vibes together.” He and I will both work non-stop. At the same time, as hard as we work, it’s important to rest and take time
to enjoy life. So I push for that as well because we all need to rejuvenate. ER: As artists, we put a lot of energy into every detail of the music, from recording to performance, which is a full time job in and of itself. Then there’s all of the business elements for self-managed artists which challenges our need for creative balance. Pivoting from band to spiritual community is fascinating. When you both started the ministry, what was that process like? Were there doubts, concerns, challenges? Please tell us how the story of how this manifested. ARH: I’m always open and honest about what we do. So years ago, Pato became an ordained minister because his fans wanted him to officiate their weddings. They loved his spiritual message and his energy. He got ordained through the Universal Life Church, which is very interfaith, back in 2009. We did close to 300 shows in 48 states that year. He was doing a lot of weddings when we were on tour. One night at a concert, he said “I’m going to go out in the parking and start a prayer circle. You’re all welcome to join me.” He told me was nervous no one would show up. He thought he’d be the only one there. ER: Wow, that’s a scary moment. AHR: Yeah, he was really scared. But so many people came, and they’ve only gotten bigger over the years. We hear things like, “I can’t believe I prayed with a Muslim,” or “I was holding hands with a Buddhist.” There would even be Atheists in the circle just wanted to get the good vibes! And at this time I was talking with people about the Urantia Book. By 2010 when we were hitting some of these spots again, a woman said to me “I waited a year for you to return to discuss something in the Urantia book you shared with me last year,” and “I waited a year to pray again.” And this was crazy to me because I said to them, you can pray or be able to have that spiritual connection at any time, or you can simply call us, or email… 56
music take the lead in raising money. It went well for a period of time. But, in his counselling for depression, marital issues, suicide, etc. [Pato is also a licensed counselor], we had some challenges with people who were addicted to prescription drugs. When you don’t help people in their habits, they quickly turn on you. And we had to deal with this situation on a few occasions. Pato is adamant about not contributing to one’s demise. People would call us “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and accused us of theft. So, we had to be careful. It made people curious about us, and the more they investigated and learned about who we truly are, the more the ministry grew. ER: You’re interacting with so many people on such a regular basis. There are people at different levels of growth along the path of spiritual transformation. How do you balance your own personal spiritually and growth as a leader? ER: Is it fair to say a big part of leadership is availability and service? ARH: Oh yeah. In the Urantia Book, there’s a focus on the second mile of loving service. We had already brought these folks to this point through the first mile. So, we needed to be there and help them to build this community together. Every stop on tour, I invited all of the folks we knew and would introduce people so they can continue to build their own spiritual practice together. I love bringing people together. ER: It feels like the transformation community tends to really lean more into the positive and the feel-good while avoiding the friction that comes with challenges and growth. Was there something at this time you and Pato felt you both needed to grow into? Perhaps acknowledging, “Ok I need to work on this [trait]”? Or was it an easy, natural progression? ARH: It was very smooth, which was weird. It’s always scary to branch into new territory. But if it’s aligned with God’s will, it will be successful or connect. The Angels and the Celestials will move heaven and earth to make it happen. And I would say this to Pato because he was the one who taught me this in the first place. I flipped it on him! So we started doing an online community, which grew into a study group weekly and create a fellowship. We don’t teach. Everyone participates and shares. It’s more of a sharing circle. From there it moved into more personal gatherings. This led to an annual conference. The first year it was 50 people. This past year we had 200 for a three-day conference. Not all of it Urantia. It’s a spiritual conference. The band would play so we could ignite energy on a different level. Pato wanted it all to be free. But, there are costs. We had never asked for money for anything like this. Someone suggested starting a GoFundMe to raise money for the ministry. He said no because it wasn’t about the money for him. More people offered to contribute for all of the great work they saw him doing. They would say, “you’re helping me spiritually. You’re saving people from despair…” and so on. And he finally said ok.
ARH: Pato helps me with discipline in prayer and meditation. He himself takes the space and time he needs to be in communion with God. It keeps him grounded and focused. As it relates to levels, we talk about how we die is how we wake up in the next life. So, if you’re in a highly spiritual state at death, we’ll enter at a higher level of transformation in the next life. But we can’t judge where we’re at. Only God knows that. ER: How do you manage that with the day-to-day requirements of leading the ministry and the band? ARH: The ministry comes first. The band supports and funds the ministry. The two go hand in hand. We route our tours around people’s weddings, funeral, baptisms, spiritual events etc. The more we give in loving service, the more we receive in our secular band work. ER: It seems like your approach is very much in flow and also fully realized. And in doing so, it’s balanced. ARH: Yes. When I was in Asia recently, I was exposed to a lot of imagery that elevated women and [was inspired] to start the Daughters of the Divine Mother (FB group), for women to share how we want our representation to be in the world. It’s grown naturally since. And even with the ministry, Pato encourages others to become ministers to create spiritual family. People have to be self-sufficient instead of depending on one person to do everything. So we like to empower others to realize in themselves what they can achieve. My final thought which is one of my favorite quotes from the Urantia book and has helped us tremendously in all our work is “The meaning of life is its adaptability; the value of life is its progressability—even to the heights of Godconsciousness.”
ER: That triggers a lyric from one of my songs… “true leaders know when to lead and to follow.” He’s willing to listen to the community and take in information. And with your consultation, you’re really both a team in service. ARH: Yes. That’s a teaching in the Urantia Book. It’s the partner relationship that works the entire universe. So, we let the community
Erik Rabasca is a Musician/Producer/Singer-Songwriter, recording and performing as Light Warriors. He runs the indie music label Highest Frequency Records and is also a Reiki Energy Healer. 57
Greetings Light on Light Family! It’s been such an exciting ride over the last years with many UNITY EARTH events around the world and the amazing media publications that have brought together an amazing number of thought-leaders from all walks of life (www.unity.earth). Now into the back half of 2019 and we are entering what is sure to be the most exhilarating part of the journey yet with major events in Varanasi, India (November) and then U Day 2020 “Holy Land Living Water’ across Jordan, Palestine and Israel (in February). The Road to 2020 has been winding its way across the planet since being launched in October 2016 in New York at the United Nations. Bringing together the collective fires of so many lineages, from the Ancestral Spirit of the Mungo People, and many other indigenous peoples around the world as well as the fires of all the faith traditions converging as the Global Fire of One Love, which was lit with such solemn ceremony in Lalibela, Ethiopia during U Day 2018 Land of Origins. Standing on all this work, and our ongoing Standing for Peace Campaign (www.standingforpeace.org), the final act in September 2020 is the Caravan of UNITY Across America, beginning in Grace Cathedral on August 28 before winding its way across the continent to New York City on the International Day of Peace, a date that so many organisations and groups all around the world will be celebrating together as one global interconnected human family, standing for peace, for justice and for ecological well-being. Our world is at the greatest of crossroads– either we must come together, or we will fall apart. The choice is stark – it is time for us to come together, to foster a lasting Spirit of unity across the planet, once and for all. We are so grateful and so encouraged that you are here with us on the journey. Standing together there is no limit to what WE can achieve.
Ben Bowler is Executive Director of UNITY EARTH. He is a serial entrepreneur with a background in sales and marketing. In 2006 he and his wife Jildou moved to Thailand to volunteer along the Thai-Burma border. In 2008 they founded Blood Foundation together, a NGO focusing on education projects. In 2008 Ben founded Monk for a Month in Chiang Mai offering men and women the opportunity to experience Thai temple life and temporary ordination. In 2010 Ben launched Muslim for a Month in Turkey offering guests a first-hand experience of Turkish Islam and Sufism, underneath the spiritually inclusive banner of Rumi. In 2011 Ben launched World Weavers, offering spiritual immersion programs in Tibetan India, Nepal, Cambodia and Ethiopia. In October 2015 at the Parliament of World’s Religions Ben launched 1GOD.com, an online platform aimed at countering religious fundamentalism, relativism and western materialism. Ben is a Social-Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the prestigious INSEAD Business School and a blogger for the Huffington Post.
Along the Journey By Joanna Kujawa
hen we talk about inspirational leaders, we habitually mention the names of Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Mandela â€“ and with good reason. These are people who shifted us from one paradigm to another, who showed us that just because things have been done one particular way for as long as we can remember, that doesnâ€™t mean they cannot, or even should not, be changed. These people showed us that we need to move on to different levels of perceiving and thinking to reach our greatest individual and communal potential. I have taught many leadership courses and have noticed that the courses often focus on the innovation, perseverance, persuasiveness and charisma of great leaders. But I have also observed that most constant is the inspirational aspect of all change-makers. So, I would like to reflect here on inspiration and personal examples of this that come to us sometimes from the most familiar and unlikely sources. I donâ€™t want to talk about great women or men known from the history books or even talk about current events. But I will share some of my experiences as I have travelled through the world of people who have inspired me in a quiet but soulful way. Without the pomp of great names and movements, I want to talk about the everyday change-makers in our lives.
Let’s start from my earliest age with my Polish nanna (babcia), whom I loved with all my heart and who would have given her life for me if required. She taught me how to maintain a quiet resilience and spiritual strength in the face of most challenging situations. She taught me how to quietly love and support others when my parents were divorcing, and I was struck by my first sadness as a child. Then there is my mum, who has taught me how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life: a nice meal, the beauty of potted flowers on the balcony, and to exhibit a goddess-like defiance in buying an extravagant perfume when we thought that there was not enough money to go around. Then there were Roman and Lena, my mother’s friends, who took me under their wing and taught me the love of books, great literature and art; they taught me to aspire for greatness, even if I did not know what it was. When in Paris, in my early 20s, I remember one eccentric Frenchman (but not his name) who introduced me to the idea of esoteric spirituality. I remember laughing at him and his crazy ideas only to realise that now, 20 years later, I have begun to write about esoteric philosophies myself. In Toronto, I met Peter, a close friend of my first husband, then a Zen-monk and now university professor, who opened my eyes to different forms of spirituality, which included Nature and Compassion in its teachings – this was another great seed that flowered only 20 years later. In Toronto I also had a favourite philosophy Professor, Professor Wingell at the University of Toronto, who believed in me when no one else did, who saw the potential in a shy, determined girl with an accent who always came overprepared to class and who read all that he passed her way. In Melbourne, and now in Brisbane, my husband and best friend shows me the power of meditative stillness, integrity and love. And, I can’t leave out Humphrey, our companion in a dog’s body who teaches us every day the beauty of each moment, the power of now that inspirational leaders around the world also teach with great charisma. Humphrey teaches us through the example of his perfect presence to everything around us and the power of unconditional love and loyalty. There is a good reason why I am writing this piece on changemakers and leadership, and about these companions on my path. I write about them because we all have them in our lives, those beings who teach us great lessons in a quiet and ever-present way, who help us to see our own greatness while accompanying us on our paths. It is to them that I devote this little piece so they are not forgotten or overshadowed by the spotlight of charismatic names and so we can make a difference in other people’s lives. To them I say: ‘Thank you for changing my life.’
Joanna Kujawa, PhD, is the author of a spiritual travelogue Jerusalem Diary: Searching for the Tomb and House of Jesus and the Journaling to Manifest the Lost Goddess in Your Life Workbook. She is also co-author and co-editor of Tourism Management Perspectives' issue on Spiritual Travel and many other articles and academic papers on Spiritual Travel. She is inordinately passionate about her Goddess News blog.
Books Review Macpherson’s Ego Relaxation—Graceful as Melting Snow Reviewed by Sw. Shraddhananda Saraswati Light on Light Book Review Editor
Miranda Macpherson, The Way of Grace: The Transforming Power of Ego Relaxation The brilliance of Miranda Macpherson’s The Way of Grace: The Transforming Power of Ego Relaxation is embedded in the book’s title. What a delicious idea! To tell little ahamkara, the ego, to “relax,” rather than try to beat her up, play like she has no influence over us, or trick her defenses into submission. Just “relax,” little one, McPherson would have us say, lay your sword down on Shiva’s foot, and let your cobra go until you are skillful enough to wrap the sacred energy around your head. As Macpherson writes, “True surrender is really a process of “yielding back into our primordial condition.” It allows us to be “melting snow”--to wash ourselves, as Rumi wrote, of ourselves. In other words, Grace is always present. When we let down the ego’s guards, Grace is there to catch us and guide us to living less confused and tormented lives than those steeped in fear and the need to control. Assisted by humility, ego relaxation allows Grace to shine through and do its work. “ . . . ego relaxation provides a much needed vacation from your story,” Macpherson writes, alluding to the Buddhist emphasis on narrative as a creator of illusion and repeated patterns. It silences “that bad radio station in your mind.” Of course, not all the radio stations in your mind, or Macpherson’s, or mine, are bad, and most of our stories have some high points we wouldn’t want to bury in the sand or tuck in a stone crevice. From Macpherson’s life story, for instance, take the time in 2005 when she wandered down to South India to meditate in a cave that was home to Shri Ramana Maharshi, one of the most powerful and respected Gurus of the 20th century. In that cave, she was touched by Grace, and soon she found herself moving again to the United States where a body of teachings on Grace and Ego Relaxation began to emerge. Sounds like a major transmission, doesn’t it? Australian by birth, Macpherson was living in the UK when this seismic spiritual shift occurred. In England, she founded the One Spirit Interfaith Foundation, and for over a decade, trained more than 600 Interfaith ministers and spiritual counselors. She also offered spiritual guidance to students in Europe, especially within the “Course in Miracles” community. The ease with which Macpherson moves from one spiritual tradition and discourse to another is noteworthy. No doubt, her time as founding director of an interfaith seminary informs this facility. Continuing to teach and lead the Living Grace sangha in northern California surely enhances her ability to map truths gleaned from different spiritual systems--and from the silence of mystical depths.
In fact, Macpherson’s prose has a kind of easy-listening quality that might prompt some academics to accuse her of being an intellectual light weight. Definitely, not so. There’s jnana yoga, the power of knowledge, to burn in The Way of Grace. No less a spiritual and intellectual light than Sally Kempton has endorsed Macpherson’s book as being “eloquent, wise, and deeply helpful.” I couldn’t say it any better than my teacher and friend, known in her monastic days as Sw. Durgananda, now a major figure in the world of contemporary spirituality. But, I would add a symbolic archetype and a couple of adjectives to Kempton’s endorsement. The Way of Grace is a graceful book filled with a wealth of spiritual insights. It recalls qualities associated with the Hindu deity Shri Maha Lakshmi, goddess of abundance and beauty. It is lovely, subtle, and it doesn’t just sound true. It is profoundly true to the ongoing story of spiritual experience and transformation.
Sw. Shraddhananda Saraswati heads Anugraha Ashram and Slate Branch Retreat House. A college professor for 35 years, she has published numerous books and articles, most recently a collection of poems entitled Are You Dancing with Me, Shiva? She holds a doctorate from Emory University and has lectured on six continents. We welcome submissions for consideration for book reviews. Contact, Sw. Shraddhananda, Book Review Editor at: email@example.com
change makers: Updates from Light on Light’s Circle of Friends
Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., Nautilus Award winning author, speaker, and developmental psychologist
Robert offers workshops and presentations on his 2017 Nautilus Book Award winning The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness and his recently released Year of Living Deeply: A Memoir of 1969. He is a co-editor with Kurt Johnson and Deborah Moldow of Our Moment of Choice: Conscious Evolution and Reasons for Hope, featuring the personal statements of 40 Evolutionary Leaders, currently in production; the founder of StoryCommons (www.storycommons.org), a website for connecting the human family, one story at a time, by telling and sharing our stories that matter; and, the founder of the Piscataqua Peace Forum (www.piscataquapeaceforum.org), with the inaugural forum scheduled for September 25-27, 2020. www.robertatkinson.net.
Sacred Sites Work at Mt. Etna, Sicily Italy June 12, 2019 Update from Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz Director, Original Caretakers Initiative at the Center for Earth Ethics
Given the continuous deterioration of life systems of our Mother Earth and Nature, it is urgent to restore the most affected places in the world. The Ancestral Sacred Sites play a key role in the restoration of those affected places because Ancestral Sacred Sites are energetic points that elevate the capacity of Mother Earth to restore systemic balance. Spiritual Leaders from Mesoamerica and La Sierra Nevada, Colombia are in charge of carrying out this mission, and it has been underway since 2013, although we, as native peoples in our cultural regions, have been working on this purpose since immemorial time. The first phase involved attending Fukushima in Japan. For this, we needed to work in Mount Fuji (Japan) and Four Corners (USA) and Mount Etna (Italy) because they are three equidistant energetic points along the same belt of our Mother Earth and are directly interconnected. Mount Etna was revealed as one of the three key geographic locations in the Sacred Sites vision. At 11,000 feet high, Mount Etna is one of the highest mountains in Italy south of the Alps. As one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Etna has had a number of major eruptions over the last 100 years. In ancient times, the volcano occupied a special place in Roman mythology, as the home of Vulcan, their God of Fire. The etymology of the word volcano derives from this deity. In continuation of the Original Caretakers Program of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE), Forum 21 Institute and CEE carried out the Sacred Sites work of Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy. As in the work carried out in the Four Corners in 2018 (Mt. Blanca, Colorado) and Japan in 2017 (Mt. Fuji, Fukushima), this work is being endorsed by UNESCO (U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) because it recognizes the work of Indigenous peoples to protect and preserve nature’s most biocultural areas using their traditional wisdom and knowledge. This trip was co-sponsored by The Fountain. The Original Caretakers team was led by Mindahi Bastida from the Center for Earth Ethics and Ken Kitatani from Forum 21. To carry out this work, Mindahi and Ken travelled twice to Mount Etna. A preliminary research trip was made to determine the exact location of the Sacred Sites at Mount Etna, and to prepare logistics, in 2018. A suitable site was chosen for the 2019 ceremony, and the preparations were laid. After consultation, a small group of elders was selected to conduct the Ceremony. On June 12, 2019 Otomi-Toltec and Kogi elders went to the location in Sicily and successfully carried out the necessary prayers, rituals, and payments. The elders observed that this was the most significant ceremony to date. The elders who participated were three Otomi Toltec elders: Agustin Thaay Ranchero, Armando Robles and Mindahi Bastida; and two Kogi elders: Mamo Manuel and Hate Roberto. Other specialists who accompanied the trip were Fabrizio Frascaroli, a scientist and Stephen Vasconcellos-Sharpe. This ceremony and work at Mt. Etna concludes Phase One of the Sacred Sites Work. Preparations to continue with Phase Two of the Sacred Sites Program are being made now. 62
change makers: Updates from Light on Light’s Circle of Friends
Conscious World Citizens A Human Evolutary™ Change Project Update from Richard A. Bowell, internationally renowned Speaker, Author, Spiritual Mentor and Integrated Thinker
According to the scientific community, we are facing 17 major challenges that each, as part of an interconnected whole, threaten us with a ‘sixth great extinction’. The time for action is now – it may even be too late – we must tackle this problem and ‘sort out’ the mess as the United Nations has outlined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by 193 nations. So, why are we talking about a spiritual unfolding, a new permission of consciousness at a time like this? ‘Until we transform ourselves we cannot hope to transform the world!’ More and more people agree that the impediment to entering a new time is ourselves. This is the basis of our work on the 17 Sustainable Development Goal ALIGNMENTS that form the first platform of a new world consciousness from which we do not seek to ‘sort out’ the mess (we have created) but to grow new wires within the harmonious emergence of a newly generated natural world. As conscious lives, it is absolutely clear that this is the central issue of our times. Now the United Nations has shared this work across the world in 135 countries. Read the book, ‘An Urgent Plea from the Future’, with the SDGs and SDGAs for the first time by Richard A. Bowell – now available for purchase at the UN Bookshop in New York and also at: www.anurgentpleafromthefuture.org. Stay informed about Conscious World Citizens and the CWC Youth Movement on our Facebook Page: Conscious World Citizens Sign up here to receive our FREE newsletter: www.consciousworldcitizens.org.
The Global Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization – based in New York
INTERFAITH: The Musical Update from Ruth Broyde Sharone, speaker, author, filmmaker, Creator of INTERFAITH: The Musical, Southern California Parliament of the World's Religions, Co-Chair Emeritus, Correspondent, The Interfaith Observer
An award-winning filmmaker from Mumbai, India, who has worked in 34 countries, came to California recently to document a musical birthed in LA, INTERFAITH: The Musical. With divisiveness, religious violence, and acts of hate speech at an all-time high in many parts of the world, veteran interfaith activist and filmmaker Ruth Broyde Sharone created the musical "to celebrate our magnificent diversity and harness the power of art and entertainment to promote peaceful co-existence." Shaison P. Ouseph followed Ruth and her talented collaborators — musicians, vocalists and dancers-for a week as they rehearsed in preparation for their May 9 performance at the Pico Union Project in LA. The Indian filmmaker was drawn to the positive spirit reflected in such songs such as We Have More in Common Than We Knew, Let's Make Room at the Table and an inter-spiritual favorite, "Spiritual But Not Religious." Next stop for INTERFAITH: The Musical is University of La Verne for the November inauguration of their new interfaith center. For more info visit: www.interfaiththemusical.com 63
Updates from Andrew Cameron Bailey and Connie Baxter Marlow, original thinkers, writers, photographers, film-makers, and inspirational public speakers. It’s been a busy time since the Toronto Convergence. Coast-to-coast trips to the UNITY EARTH lift-off in NYC, the IONS conference in Santa Clara, CA, the Evolutionary Leaders Advance at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO, and numerous meetings related to the Sacred Earth climate restoration venture which is getting traction after four years of intense development. Sacred Earth is generating interest in Brazil, Kenya, Bangladesh, Europe, and numerous locations in the US – Boulder, Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, Crestone and more. We just wrapped up the 7th annual ARISE Music Festival here at Sunrise Ranch. Recently we attended the American Renewable Energy Summit Aspen, presenting at the Crestone Energy Fair, a series of Sacred Earth meetings in Santa Fe, the First Annual UN Climate Restoration Forum, and then Climate Week in NYC. We are developing a series of The Trust Frequency online courses and shopping The Mayflower Revelations screenplay in Hollywood. For more, visit www.SacredEarthEnterprises.us, www.TheTrustFrequency.net, www.First50Years.us
Update from Stephen Dynako, Co-creator of the Evolutionary Ambassador Academy Most recently, Stephen Dynako partnered with author and futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard to co-create Barbara’s legacy program, the Evolutionary Ambassador Academy, an immersion experience to actualize one’s creative potential in the world and accelerate one’s personal evolutionary power. Barbara delivered the last presentation of her life during the Academy, having made her transition on April 10, 2019. Stephen and the first cohort of Ambassadors continue to carry the torch of Barbara's legacy, taking the concept of conscious evolution to the mainstream. Educational programs based in conscious evolution produced by the Ambassadors and other evolutionaries will soon be launched on a platform Stephen is creating, called the Social Chrysalis (https://www.socialchrysalis.com/). Formerly, Stephen was program director of the Conscious Business Innerprise training and certification program. He was also one of the producers of the Conscious Business World Summit (https:// consciousbusinesssummit.org/) in March of 2019.
The Enlightenment Zone Update from Jeff Vander Clute, Consciousness coach, guide, and mentor who grows spiritually awakened people and organizations
The Enlightenment Zone has launched two online explorations – Virtual Satsangs: Journeys into the Heart of Awakening and Living in God-Realization – to support people in experiencing the profound loving Presence that is always available. In the Virtual Satsangs, a community is forming that celebrates the good, the true, and the beautiful as well as the epiphanies that participants are experiencing with increasing frequency. The Living in God-Realization sessions dive deeply into the nature of awakening, enlightenment, and divine embodiment. These explorations are co-led by Jeff Vander Clute and Yanni Maniates of UNITY EARTH, and they are open to everyone who feels a resonance. To learn more, visit the Enlightenment Zone website (www. enlightenment.zone), where you will also find inspiring articles, more innovative teachers with transformational offerings, and direct transmissions that have been fine-tuned to accelerate your awakening and empowerment. Come celebrate your true nature and participate in the beautiful new consciousness that is sweeping the planet. www.enlightenment.zone 64
change makers: Updates from Light on Light’s Circle of Friends
Community in Spirit Update from Rev. Garrett Foster, Ordained Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister, Emmy Award–winning storyteller, writer, and editor Community In Spirit is continuing to break ground as a safe and sacred space without walls. We appeal to those who are spiritual but not necessarily religious. We foster the kind of permission and spaciousness that is needed to practice, worship and believe in a personal and intimate way and not how someone else dictates. We follow the path of fellow mystics — past, present and future. We practice interspirituality and experience the divine though art, music, nature, writing, contemplation, prayer, service, ritual, social justice and more. Community In Spirit offers daily engagement, weekly blogs, prayer circles, book discussions, opportunities for worship, classes and more. Our intention is to look at all things through a mystical and interspiritual lens and to promote the work of others who are doing the same. We are currently creating a council of experts in diverse faiths, or no faith at all, and the many ways of connecting to Spirit. Visit www.communityinspirit.com
GOOD of the WHOLE Update from Julie Krull Ph.D., steward of the new earth, intuitive, integrative health practitioner/psychotherapist
GOOD of the WHOLE has launched the Global Heart Team (GHT), a free, public and inclusive community dedicated to co-creating a loving resonant field and taking a stand for LOVE. The mission of GHT is to shift the collective consciousness of humanity with Love for the good of the whole. We stand in LOVE for equality and mutual respect of all people We stand in LOVE for the health, safety and welfare of all living beings We stand in LOVE for abundant resources for all people We stand in LOVE for all people to share their gifts for the benefit of the whole We stand in LOVE for resolution of all conflicts to create a peaceful world We stand in LOVE for the wholeness of humanity We stand in LOVE for Mother Earth Join the Global Heart Team every month for the Love Bubble Hour. There are other ways you can get involved to cultivate an ethos of wholeness and nurture your innate capacity to live for the good of the whole. Join GOOD of the WHOLE every Monday on the Global Heart Resonance Zoom call and become a Mentoring Steward to build a field of coherence and mutual support each week. GOOD of the WHOLE holds a vision of a world where every individual feels valued, connected and whole. Watch for an expanded media platform, and an education and mutual support program for evolutionary co-creators launching soon.
Spirituality for the 21st Century and Beyond! By Rev. Heather Shea, Spiritual Director and Chief Executive Officer of the United Palace
Science and ancient wisdom traditions tell us that we possess creative powers and healing abilities beyond our imagination. From the earliest times spirituality and art have provided tools to access our potential for healing and creativity. Spiritual artistry brings these tools together in ways that empower us to transform our lives and heal the world. Our ability to love, to forgive, to heal, to sacrifice, to evolve, and to transform are given their highest expression in spirituality and art. Spiritual artistry brings this together in a conscious exploration of what it means to be human in a living cosmos. Through Spiritual Artistry we fully experience who and what we are by embracing artistic expression as a spiritual practice and spiritual practice as a form of art. Spiritual Artistry taps into our creative power through spirituality, and helps us find meaning through art, culture and entertainment. We are all spiritual artists!
Open Heart Conversations: Opening New Paths to Understanding By Rev. Dr. José M. Román, Spiritual Counsel, United Palace
Open Heart Conversations (OHC) invites teachers from all the world’s enduring wisdom traditions to come and share their faith. Presented at the United Palace of Spiritual Arts in New York City, and hosted by Unity Radio, OHC has given voice to teachers from a host of traditions. The goal of OHC is simple: help foster a deeper understanding of our shared humanity and a profound appreciation of the richness of paths to healing, growth, community, and transformation. Whether one is a devout follower, a spiritual explorer, an agnostic, curious, or somewhere in between, OHC’s allows one to explore, understand, and connect with different religions and spiritual traditions. The idea is simple; opening oneself to others is itself a transformative experience. The Dalai Lama wrote, “Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever.” 66
change makers: Updates from Light on Light’s Circle of Friends
Salgado Project Update United Global Public Inc. was founded in 2015, inspired by the documentary “The Salt of the Earth” and profoundly moved by the imagery and story. “One World” is an unprecedented immersive experience, inspired by the documentary. The documentary is a memoir of a legendary Brazil photographer. It offers extreme visions of beauty and horror in unlikely coexistence. His work, as his life, seem to transcend the authenticity and artistry of the images and can not be denied. In any context, they are unforgettable. In the US as well as globally relations are extremely distressing. Our mission is to promote effective human relations, the principle and values upon which a stable and interdependent global society may be based and educate the public opinion about the global challenges facing our planet. To engage and mobilize the global community to provide sustainable solutions education is the key. UGP developed an innovative approach to maximize social impact. We are designing live music and multimedia performance events which will draw diverse audiences. Our first event mixes symphonic music and breathtaking imagery that is imbued with no less than the spirit of humanity. Much like the story presented by the Transiberian Orchestra the music will be balanced, fading in and out with a professional voice presenting an emotional story line.
Update from Yanni Maniates, Spiritual guide, Consciousness pioneer, Author
Transformation 365 is an experiential practice network designed to help cultivate inner awakening through deep and sustained practice. A new practice is released every other week. We invite you to practice each day for at least two weeks to deepen and sustain your own personal practice. You can also connect and collaborate with other practitioners by registering for free at our website. Website: www.Transformation365.org Email: T365@contemplativelife.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/contemplativelife.org 67
The value of Education for a Cosmopolitanism beyond Comfort Zones By Silke Van Cleuvenbergen and Gaston Meskens, The New Humanism Project
What kind of education do our children need to make them more resilient to all kinds of capitalist, conformist and fundamentalist manipulations of our co-existence and to enable them to become self-reflexive, open and tolerant cosmopolitans or ‘world citizens’ capable of living better with each other in our complex society? What is ethical competence? These are the two starting questions of an initiative of the New Humanism Project. We aim to organize reflections about these questions in the form of a series of workshops that will take place in various places in the world, each time in cooperation with a local and/or international organization. The first workshop will be organized in New York on 27 September 2019. It is hosted at the Sukyo Center New York and done with support of UNITY EARTH, The Interspiritual Network, the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations and the Forum 21 Institute. The outcome of that pilot workshop will be shaped into a work document ‘on the need for an Education for a Cosmopolitanism beyond Comfort Zones’. That text will then be discussed in the follow-up workshops and finally be presented as a source of inspiration for anyone working on the spirit of education and of education reform. Introduction The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals initiative has education as one of the main goals, striving to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. Consequently, we think it is important to reflect on what education for sustainable development would need to be today and tomorrow, taking into account equality in terms of access to education and the fact that the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals is universal, independent as it is from national, cultural, religious or ethnic context. The basic idea to be proposed and elaborated in the workshop is that education should help any child and adolescent to become a self-reflexive, open and tolerant cosmopolitan or ‘world citizen’. There are reasons to conclude that, still today, most approaches to education now mainly prepare our children to function as one-dimensional uncritical subjects in the political, economic, social and spiritual systems of our society. Children and adolescents have the right to be educated differently, with the aim to make them more resilient to all kinds of capitalist, conformist and fundamentalist manipulations of our co-existence and to help them to live better with each other in our complex society. In other words: they deserve an education that enables them to think and act beyond the various comfort zones of power and profit strategically maintained in our society. As a consequence, the chances are bigger they would become more reflexive, responsible and tolerant adults later on. To make matters more concrete, we want to invite all relevant actors (civil society representatives, policy makers, activists, academics, …) to discuss this idea and its motivation, and to reflect with us on the possibility, need and feasibility of developing a universal curriculum and an educational toolkit that can be used as reference for first, secondary and higher education anywhere in the world. and this on the following topics: – Ethics. – Worldviews. – Human rights. – Human ecology. – The experience of art. – Religion in its social context. – Spirituality and interspirituality. – What can and should democracy be? – Science and technology in its social context. – What can and should sustainable development be? – What can and should a responsible market economy be? – The possibility of tradition, creativity, transition and innovation. 68
change makers: Updates from Light on Light’s Circle of Friends In addition to a curriculum of topics, the form of education is also essential. Whatever the level, setting or stage in the development of our children and youth, education should be organized as dialogue and mutual learning wherein teachers act more as moderators and facilitators than as providers of knowledge. This form of education can help (young) people to develop an ethical competence. We think ethical competence can be understood as ‘the ability to apply specific skills and attitudes to help orient your ethical sense’. That competence would consequently allow one to judge on ethical issues and to make ethical choices in dialogue with others. Important to note is that nobody can acquire that ethical competence alone. It can be developed through continuous dialogue with others, and obviously that dialogue should start at young age when one is most vulnerable for these capitalist, conformist and fundamentalist manipulations mentioned above. For children, becoming self-critical world citizens and developing ethical competence is not their duty, it is their human right. Want to join? If you think a dialogue on the meaning and value of cosmopolitanism and ethical competence and on their relation to education is relevant and needed today, you are most welcome to join. Contact us if you want to co-organize a follow-up workshop with us. For the New Humanism Project, Silke Van Cleuvenbergen and Gaston Meskens
Children have the intellectual capacity to deal with the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity of life. They make sense of it all through selfconstructed stories and satisfy their curiosity by asking questions. At the same time, they are vulnerable as they lack experience and insight to distinct what is true from what is fake when it really matters. They deserve an education based on philosophical dialogue and art as an interactive experience. (photo: a child making art in an installation made by RASA, a Belgian organization that brings children into contact with contemporary art; photo @ Gaston Meskens)
For us, as human beings, nature is our natural habitat. Nature can never be hold accountable for itself. We are responsible for what we do with it. There is nothing wrong with an anthropocentric view on nature (we cannot ‘escape’ from out of our own perspective). It’s important to tell our children about the value of nature and biodiversity, but also that we simply have to behave as responsible anthropocentrists, towards nature and towards each other. (photo: a pond near the city of Salvador, Brazil; photo @ Gaston Meskens)
Cities are condensed places of co-existence in our society. Aspects of diversity (origin, color, gender, ideas, views, wealth, …) become more apparent and therefore challenging. However, these challenges are also possibilities. History has shown that cities can be meeting and breeding places for social, political, philosophical and artistic ideas and for dialogue around them. Therefore, experiencing city life is as important for children as experiencing nature. (photo: Seoul skyline from Seoul Mountain; photo @ Gaston Meskens)
Politics is as much about consensus-seeking dialogue as about critical resistance to self-interested power. We should teach our children about what democracy is, what it can be and should be. And above all, we should invite them to participate. Youth has an important voice in political dialogue, as that dialogue will always affect them as adults later on. (photo: youth protests during the opening plenary of the United Nations Regional Climate Week in Brazil; photo @ Gaston Meskens)
Update from Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D, Author, Sufi Teacher Environmental crisis, climate change, care for the Earth, continue to be our most pressing concern. As the young activist Greta Thunberg simply states, “We are running out of time to save our planet.” More than ever there is a vital need to step away from the story of separation to the story of life’s living, organic oneness, the primal unity that alone can nourish and sustain us all. My own work has been to continue to articulate this story of living oneness, and its roots in the sacred nature of creation. Yes, we desperately need to reduce carbon emissions and pesticides, to stop turning rainforests into ranchland or palm oil plantations. But there is also a call to reconnect with the sacred within creation, with the spiritual lifeblood of the planet. We need to work together with the Earth, to include Her wonder and wisdom. And both our hearts and our hands are needed for this work. My recent book, Including the Earth in our Prayers, stresses the need for spiritual activism, for a response that understands and works together with the spiritual dimension of the Earth. It suggests ways in which this energy and transformative potential can be applied today, when humanity is at a tipping point and the Earth Herself is crying for our help. For more, visit https://workingwithoneness.org/
Codes for a Healthy Earth Update from Yan Golding and Shelley Ostroff
In the face of escalating social and ecological breakdown, millions of people around the world are calling for a fundamental system change. Codes for a Healthy Earth offers a foundational, whole-system healing framework to support citizens in working together across national, cultural and ideological boundaries for radical system transformation and rapid social and ecological regeneration. Codes for a Healthy Earth launched globally on International Peace Day, September 21st, 2019. The “Codes” are founded on the premise that as long as there is oppression anywhere within the Community of Life – true peace cannot exist. To achieve genuine and lasting World Peace, it is essential that we cultivate Peace with All of Life. Codes for a Healthy Earth was initiated by Shelley Ostroff and Yan Golding from Together in Creation, and is being developed with a growing global network of partners. The creation of the Codes has been a collaborative and consultative process with leaders from diverse sectors in over 30 countries on all continents. The framework can be freely adopted – in its integrity – by any group or movement as a collective compass for coordinated citizen-led action towards the healing and regeneration of the planet and all its inhabitants. To learn more about the Codes, join the global community of supporters and organize for action, please visit codes.earth 70
Preview of next issue
Light on Light presents The Convergence “Conscious Business for a Flourishing World”
“It’s not personal, it’s business.” For some this adage justifies cutthroat actions in the business world in an attempt to deflect the wounds created from decisions made in the interest of the company. I’ve always despised the saying because inherent in the words is immediate division—separating “business” from the heart. In a time wherein we are waking up and experiencing deeper levels of consciousness, we have become aware that everything is interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent. No longer can we continue “business as usual” or continue to stand by watching all of the damage done by many global corporations to our environment and to our food supply, or the competitive battles in which they engage, let alone, witness the inflicting of emotional, mental, and in some cases, physical distress on workers. Just as in our personal life and inner realm, the role of consciousness when it comes to how we approach our work is vital for the flourishing of individuals— even more so, vital for the successful flourishing of businesses themselves. A revolutionary movement is growing for conscious businesses. It aims at transforming business as it has been conducted to one that is framed on sustainability and thriving for all—humanity, society, and ecosystems— on a global scale. In March 2019, the Conscious Business Synergy Circle convened the Conscious Business World Summit. This group of leaders united from all over the world in collaboration with Humanity’s Team, the Evolutionary Leaders, and UNITY EARTH, sharing the emerging conscious trends in business, exploring how our interconnectedness is already in action through businesses on the leading edge of this transformative movement, and visioning perspectives of how greater flourishing is possible as a result of more businesses taking the step towards conscious work. The Summit, as well as other organizations, such as the Conscious Business Institute, who are pioneering the Conscious Business movement, are united around the principles of the Conscious Business Declaration created in 2015. The Declaration includes essential principles that improve human wellbeing, heal the environment, and aim to define a new standard for business in the 21st century, with the intention for creating abundance and flourishing for humanity and all life on Earth. This radical shift in perspective is already shared by our leading spiritual traditions and validated by modern science—it’s time for our standard operating business paradigm to wake up. We warmly welcome as guest editors to this transformative revolutionary issue: Steve Farrell Worldwide Executive Director for Humanity's Team Humanity’s Team is a global grassroots spiritual movement focused on awakening and embodying Oneness so humanity may enjoy a sustainable world of peace, harmony and happiness.
Peter Matthies Founder, Conscious Business Institute (CBI) CBI’s mission is to create a better, more healthy, inspiring, and sustainable way to work and live. CBI provides an end-to-end system for building more inspiring, conscious organizations.
Conscious Business Declaration A New Standard for Business in the 21st Century
1. We Are One with humanity and all of life. Business and all institutions of the human community are integral parts of a single reality — interrelated, interconnected and interdependent.
2. In line with this reality, the purpose of Business is to increase economic prosperity while contributing to a healthy environment and improving human wellbeing.
3. Business must go beyond sustainability and the philosophy of “do no harm” to restoring the self-renewing integrity of the Earth. 4. Business must operate with economic, social, and ecological transparency.
5. Business must behave as a positive and proactive member of the local and global communities in which it operates.
6. Business that sees, honors, and celebrates the essential interconnected nature of all human beings and all life maximizes human potential and helps create a world that works for all. 7. When aligned with Oneness, Business is the most powerful engine on Earth for creating prosperity and flourishing for all. To join the Conscious Business movement and sign the Declaration, go to www.consciousbusinessdeclaration.org. Namaste with love, Rev. Shannon Winters Managing Editor, Light on Light magazine www.lightonlight.us and The Convergence magazine Please send submissions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Light on Light from the Interspiritual Network, a partner of the UNITY EARTH network, is a free digital magazine dedicated to illuminating t...
Published on Oct 8, 2019
Light on Light from the Interspiritual Network, a partner of the UNITY EARTH network, is a free digital magazine dedicated to illuminating t...