The Convergence Magazine Issue 4 - February 2019

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P r e s e n t s


Issue 4 - Winter 2019


WAKING UP and GROWING UP The Conscious Business World Summit

Joining the Conscious Business World Summit with a selection of articles on “Waking Up and Growing Up” from our book inspired by the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions

The Convergence Magazine Issue 4 - Winter 2019 “Waking Up and Growing Up: The Conscious Business World Summit”

Contributing Editor, Issue 4 Kurt Johnson, PhD Managing Editor • Rev. Shannon M. Winters, MS Graphic Layout & Design • David M. Winters Copy Editor • Roxanne Bank, MA

Welcome to The Convergence magazine! The Convergence magazine serves the amazing work that is ongoing with the UNITY EARTH network, a global collective of change-makers who, through experiences and spiritual practices, are creating greater harmony among our human family and with Earth itself, towards the cultivation of planetary consciousness and peace. The Convergence features contributions that strengthen and connect weaving of unity within the colorful diversity of the Human Family and with the ecosystems that sustain us. Honoring all traditions and lineages, UNITY EARTH is inspired by the collective wisdom of humanity to foster community, connect cultures and cultivate peace.

UNITY EARTH: One people: many cultures One planet: many challenges One colorful diverse human family The opinions expressed in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or editors of The Convergence Magazine. 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. We make every effort to obtain proper permission to reproduce images. Images and artwork that do not include a citation for use where they appear in The Convergence are from Pixabay or licensed from Shutterstock. Please contact us with any information related to the rights holder of an image source that is not credited. ©2018 UNITY EARTH All rights reserved.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Welcome from the Editors Dr. Kurt Johnson and Rev. Shannon Winters.................................................................................................................................4

THE CONSCIOUS BUSINESS WORLD SUMMIT Welcome from Humanity’s Team Steve Farrell...........................................................................................................................................................................................5 The Evolutionary Leaders “Conscious Business Synergy Circle” Rev. Deborah Moldow.....................................................................................................................................................................6-7 Spirituality in Conscious Business: An Introduction Ken Wilber..........................................................................................................................................................................................8-9 The Conscious Business World Summit Panels..................................................................................................................10-11 Backgrounding the Summit Steve Farrell....................................................................................................................................................................................12-14 Presence First: The Impulse of the Conscious Business World Summit Stephen Dynako............................................................................................................................................................................15-16 The Conscious Business Declaration......................................................................................................................................... 16 Summing It Up for UNITY EARTH Ben Bowler........................................................................................................................................................................................... 17

CELEBRATING WAKING UP AND GROWING UP The New Human Story: From Evolution by Chance to Transformation by Choice Gregg Braden................................................................................................................................................................................19-20 Law as a Significant Tool to Design Solutions for Global Change Denise Scotto................................................................................................................................................................................21-23 Evolutionary Enlightenment Andrew Cohen.............................................................................................................................................................................24-25 Eco-Governance and The Vitality Code Shelley Ostroff..............................................................................................................................................................................26-29 St. Francis Ecological Paradigm Patrick Carolan..............................................................................................................................................................................30-31 Humanity’s Journey Home: We Are Bio-Cosmic Beings Learning to Live in a Living Universe Duane Elgin...................................................................................................................................................................................32-40 Normalizing the Non-Ordinary: Developing Evolutionary Resilience Julie Krull........................................................................................................................................................................................41-42 A Bottom-Up Grand Strategy to Reinvent the Planet, Building Second-Order Change Capacity around the Five Strategic Levers: Climate, Development, Peace, Knowledge, and Money David Gershon............................................................................................................................................................................. 43-44

UPDATES FROM UNITY EARTH The New York Convergence and UNITY EARTH Liftoff Dr. Kurt Johnson and Rev. Shannon Winters........................................................................................................................ 45-47

Welcome from the Editors We are so happy to welcome you to the Conscious Business World Summit “Waking Up and Growing Up” issue of The Convergence magazine. The Conscious Business World Summit, a virtual event March 7-9, 2019, has evolved as a cooperative initiative of Humanity’s Team (co-sponsors of the original “Conscious Business Declaration”), members of The Evolutionary Leaders, and UNITY EARTH. As Steve Farrell notes in “Backgrounding the Summit” below, synergy began as early as UNITY EARTH’s “Crestone Convergence” Event in 2017 (see Steve in the video from that Convergence event online). Soon, when The Evolutionary Leaders (“EL’s”) held their annual gathering for 2018 in Santa Barbara, California, movement was afoot to create a “Synergy Circle” aimed at Conscious Business. This came to fruition when a team of Evolutionary Leaders—Deborah Moldow, Kurt Johnson, and Steve Farrell—joined Stephen Dynako (Humanity’s Team’s Program Director for Conscious Business Innerprise) in facilitating nearly thirty EL’s for such a “Synergy Circle” to create the Summit. The rest has evolved rather seamlessly! UNITY EARTH is pleased to offer its media outlets—The Convergence magazine and The Convergence Series on VoiceAmerica—to further enhance the Conscious Business World Summit. For UNITY EARTH, it follows more than two years of global events and media initiatives with its many network partners. UNITY EARTH is one of many great experiments going on now worldwide, where transformational communities are joining into “networks of networks” to see what can be achieved together and how this can influence the greater global conversation for good. From events at the United Nations Church Center Chapel to Australia, Africa, India, Rome-Assisi, Japan, Crestone Colorado/Four Corners to the Toronto Parliament of the World’s Religions, and numerous magazine issues and internet radio broadcasts, UNITY EARTH is showing itself as an effective gathering point for transformational work. And we look forward to joining with so many others. Together we are visioning the possibilities for real change. Following our UNITY EARTH Liftoff celebration and a Visioning and Leadership Conference in New York City on February 1 and 2, 2019, we are pleased to be moving right ahead with support of the Conscious Business World Summit. The Convergence magazine will also be publishing a subsequent special edition on the results of the Conscious Business World Summit later in 2019. Both issues will join content on the Summit with articles from prominent voices featured in our upcoming book inspired by the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions entitled, Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up. We’re also pleased to include, in line with his introduction to the “Waking Up…” book, a new introduction by Ken Wilber for the Conscious Business World Summit. We welcome you to this special issue of The Convergence magazine!

~ Dr. Kurt Johnson, Contributing Editor

~ Rev. Shannon Winters, Managing Editor


THE CONSCIOUS BUSINESS WORLD SUMMIT A free virtual event March 7-9, 2019 Broadcast by Humanity’s Team

This is a World Summit shaking things up with World Leaders gathering to reinvent global business with a 3rd Wave of Conscious Business on the move. The Summit is being convened by a group of leaders called the Conscious Business Synergy Circle, who are based all over the world. During the summit, these leaders will share information on emerging conscious trends in business and how to use them to be more successful on your own mission. They will explore how our interconnectedness can and is being used to profound advantage by those businesses who are on the leading edge of this change and acting as guides for others.

Welcome from Humanity’s Team I’m Steve Farrell, the Worldwide Executive Director for Humanity’s Team and one of the organizers of the Conscious Business World Summit along with Deborah Moldow, Kurt Johnson, Stephen Dynako and a Conscious Business Synergy Circle with leaders based all over the world. As you may know, this Conscious Business World Summit is anchored by the Conscious Business Declaration created in 2015. Its objective is to create awareness and skills for 3rd wave Conscious Business. The Declaration creates a foundation for truly transformed global business. The first principle states, “We are One with humanity and all of life,” and goes on to lay out important principles for business serving life so we create a flourishing earth as part of the product and services development cycle. It takes a systemic approach to transformed business, so we create repeatable process regardless of where the business is located. A “Being state” is integral to the culture of the organization and informs collaboration and decision-making. To learn more, please visit, and see more about the Declaration below. Leaders on the panels of the Conscious Business World Summit will be talking about conscious business practices including inner practices and being states that inform collaboration and decision making. We will look at best practices, models, trends, challenges, successes, and important transformational education programs that are reinventing global business. We’ve gathered important global business leaders to be part of this Summit. I know you will find great value in exploring the wisdom shared by these leaders. I’m pleased that this issue of The Convergence magazine will also be excerpting pertinent further comments by me on the global movement toward conscious business from a number of media sources. So, for now, I welcome you and invite you to enjoy the materials in this issue. We hope they will draw you to further participation in the Summit, March 7-9. ~Steve Farrell Worldwide Executive Director, Humanity’s Team Steve Farrell co-founded and led two high-growth technology companies based in Silicon Valley in the 1990s that were featured in INC 500 Magazine. His companies included some of the brightest minds in the technology corridor. Steve walked away from the Valley because he felt a deeper calling to transform an emerging vision into reality. At its core, this vision was about a shifting paradigm where business attunes to the interconnection among all stakeholders, including stockholders, employees, and the community, as well as with the sacred inherent in all life. Steve now leads the Humanity’s Team non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, which he founded with Neale Donald Walsch, the bestselling author of the Conversations with God series of books. The organization is focused on helping people throughout the world awaken too their deeper Self and the interconnectedness of everything in the Universe. Humanity’s Team also co-founded the Conscious Business Alliance that created the Conscious Business Declaration, as well as the Conscious Business Initiative that provides training, certification and consulting services. The organization also sponsors the annual Global Oneness Day Celebration Event, along with various other programs that advance its mission in the world.


The Evolutionary Leaders “Conscious Business Synergy Circle”

What is “conscious business”? Well, let’s start with what it isn’t: business as usual. As the crises around us multiply on a global scale, it becomes clear that we cannot simply go ahead with our lives assuming that things will get better. As we live into the awareness that we are one human family sharing a living planet whose ecosystem is gravely endangered by our way of life, we are awakening to the consequences of our collective choices. Many on the cusp of this emerging consciousness are feeling overwhelmed in the face of such large-scale issues.

Yet the Walt Disney Company, for example, is actively implementing ambitious goals of zero net greenhouse gas emissions, zero waste, and conserving water resources in theme parks and on cruise ships that would make any town or city proud. It’s also making inroads in responsible supply chain management, international labor standards, and corporate responsibility. From 2012-2017, the company reduced its net emissions by 41%.

The Evolutionary Leaders Circle, a project of The Source of Synergy Foundation, is a community of visionary authors, scientists, and leaders in spirituality, the arts, media, as well as others whose fresh, creative insights have led them outside the box of our current paradigm. The EL’s come together with a shared mission to accelerate the conscious evolution of humanity and to increase the synergy among our efforts to make a difference in the world. EL’s who want to advance particular areas of interest join together in Synergy Circles. Three of us—Steve Farrell of Humanity’s Team, Kurt Johnson of UNITY EARTH and I— launched the Conscious Business Synergy Circle based on our shared understanding that business, which has brought so much abundance and so much destruction, could be a powerful engine to drive significant change when it operates at a new level of consciousness. In the past, we looked to governments to address widespread problems, but governments—especially our cherished democracies—are responsible to diverse constituencies. There is an inherent challenge with the growing demand within the emerging consciousness for consensus that looks for win-win solutions, which makes it increasingly difficult for democratic governments of any size to make decisions. A perfect example is the Paris Climate Accord, where even well-meaning governments of wealthy nations were unable to set targets for reducing fossil fuel consumption that were bold enough to achieve any meaningful reduction in carbon output, according to UN Environment.


This is not to say that the world needs to look like Disneyland, but rather that corporations are capable of making change happen. The new consciousness manifests through the actions of people, so it is of great importance to do what we can to help infuse the new consciousness into all levels of business, especially at the top where every decision can have real impact. The visionaries in the Conscious Business Synergy Circle, many of whom are members of the Evolutionary Leaders, have united around the principles of the Conscious Business Declaration to explore and implement ways to transform business not only from the older mindset of profit as the primary goal to the forward-looking sustainability model of working for people, planet, and profit, but all the way to the level of unity consciousness, where business strives to be the powerful force for good in a flourishing society that is its destiny. At the Conscious Business World Summit, a free three-day online event from March 7-9, 2019, members of the Conscious Business Synergy Circle will share ways in which business and philanthropy are becoming more conscious, along with visionary roadmaps, the key role of consumers, and tested methodologies for creating transformed business to build a transformed future. Rev. Deborah Moldow Founder of the Garden of Light Co-Director of the Evolutionary Leaders 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, providing an online platform for the emerging global spirituality so that this community can become visible as a powerful force in uplifting the human spirit. She served for more than 20 years as the Representative to the United Nations of the World Peace Prayer Society, which promotes the universal prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Deborah is Co-Director with Diane Williams of the Evolutionary Leaders circle, a project of the Source of Synergy Foundation that brings together visionaries committed to the acceleration of the conscious evolution of humanity. She is also a Creative Consultant at UNITY EARTH and a co-facilitator of the Conscious Business Synergy Circle. Rev. Deborah leads monthly Interfaith Sundays at the Chapel at Croton Falls.

The Conscious Business Synergy Circle currently includes: Neil Alcala * Richard Barrett * Lawrence Bloom * Ben Bowler * Michele Bongiovanni * Rinaldo Brutoco * Kate Buck Jr. * John Clausen * Kenneth Cloke * Jude Currivan * Stephen Dinan * Stephen Dynako * Justin Faerman * Steve Farrell * Alan Gegenschatz * William Gillingham * Adam Hall * Sean Harvey * Laurence Hillman * David Hofstatter * Ross Hostetter * Kurt Johnson * Aaron Kahlow * Chris Laszlo * Ervin Laszlo * Erik Lawyer * Randall Libero * Moses Ma * Peter Matthies * Rod McGrew * Axel Meierhoefer * Deborah Moldow * Alexis Neeley * Richard Olivier * Michele Risa * Robert Schram * Gerard Senehi * Robert Smith * Sergey Solonin * Jeff Vander Clute * Paul Ward * Claudia Welss * Troy Wiley * David Sloan Wilson * Tamsin Woolley-Barker See biographies for these persons at “Who We Are”


Spirituality in Conscious Business An Introduction By Ken Wilber

The very first principle of the Conscious Business Declaration states unequivocally that “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.” I personally have no doubt that is absolutely true. The problem comes with exactly what we mean by “One”— because that issue has actually been a very contentious item that has been hotly debated over humanity’s entire history. What I’d like to do here—in brutally brief, introductory terms—is outline what appears to be one of the most comprehensive, inclusive, and embracing versions of Oneness that has yet been offered. We call it the “Integral” approach. It starts, indeed, with the core of the world’s great wisdom traditions and, in particular, their meditative and contemplative branches. These are the aspects of the world’s religions that maintain that the deepest core of spirituality is not simply hearing and agreeing with some sort of mythic narrative (like “Moses really did part the Red Sea” or “Mohammed really did fly to moon on his horse and cut it in two with his sword” or “Lao Tzu was 900 years old when he was born”); but rather the real core of spirituality is a psychotechnology of consciousness transformation. The central idea is that human beings can follow a meditative or contemplative path that will directly take them from their typical, broken, fragmented, dualistic, and deeply partial condition to a state of real Oneness, unity, and enlightened wholeness, fully one with a Ground of All Being (however conceived). This awakened Oneness is found in virtually all of the major civilizations around the world and is well‑known with names like Enlightenment, Awakening, Metamorphosis, Fana, Moksha, Satori, the Great Liberation—in short, what we generally know as “Waking Up.” This is indeed a genuine and profound type of Oneness—what the Sufis call a “Supreme Identity,” where you feel a direct Oneness with the entire universe. Having practiced a path of Waking Up for some 50 years now, I myself don’t doubt that. The pressing question is, just how “whole” or “fully complete” is that particular Oneness? Well, it turns out to be significantly partial. Not wrong, just not totally inclusive. First of all, you can have a genuine satori—which we’ll say is a Oneness with the entire interconnected world—and yet that awareness will tell you hardly anything about the specifics of finite details. For example, you can have a major satori and still think the sun circles the earth—you feel a Oneness with both of them, for sure, you just have no idea how they are actually interconnected (and, in fact, the majority of early Ch’an and Zen realizers who had a satori still believed that the sun circled the earth). Nor will satori or an enlightenment experience itself tell you anything about the existence of quarks, atoms, molecules, cells, immune systems, and galaxies and planetary orbits, nor about the world’s different languages or ethnicities or races—or hardly anything else about the finite, manifest world—and none of the great original paths of Waking Up, from Advaita to Zen, show any accurate knowledge of any of those. This type of “Oneness,” it turns out, is actually fairly partial. This is where an Integral approach comes in. It fully acknowledges that a genuine Waking Up—an Enlightenment, Awakening, Satori—is the deepest core of any authentic Oneness, and it starts with that. But there are other areas of oneness or unity or wholeness that have continued to be discovered as humanity’s own consciousness continued to grow and evolve. Thus an Integral Approach to any discipline includes practices (of your choice) that help with the Waking‑Up process (such as a mindfulness of any of your professional activities, including business); but it also includes other areas known, for example, as “Growing Up,” “Cleaning Up,” and “Showing Up” (along with others that include “Opening Up,” “Linking Up,” and others)—and each of those ends up increasing the amount of Oneness and wholeness there is in a person’s awareness. Let me give some very brief examples of three of these, so you can see what I mean. Start with “Growing Up.” It is now generally acknowledged that human beings have, not just a single monolithic intelligence (usually measured with an IQ test), but rather have up to a dozen “multiple intelligences” (such as cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, moral intelligence, aesthetic intelligence, mathematical intelligence, verbal intelligence, and so on). There are now several dozen major models that outline the general stages that all of those intelligences move through as they grow and develop 8

(in the book Integral Psychology, I include charts of more than 100 of these developmental models). What is so interesting is that all of these models generally agree that there are around 6‑to‑8 major stages of development that all of these intelligences go through. But none of these stages can be seen by looking within, introspecting, or meditating. They are not firstperson direct experiences, like Waking‑Up experiences are. Rather, they are third‑person preconscious grids—much like grammar—that govern the actual functioning of each of the multiple intelligences and thus govern how we actually see and experience our world. The stages of Growing Up are indeed much like grammar: even though you and I are both following the rules of grammar, neither of us can look within right now and see any of these rules, although we’re carefully following them. Likewise, when you are at one of these 6‑to‑8 major stages in any intelligence, you will have no idea you are at that stage or what it looks like or what its rules are. This is one of the major reasons that, although states and stages of Waking Up were discovered several thousand years ago, the stages of Growing Up (in any intelligence) were not discovered until around 100 years ago. But these stages, in general, move a person through levels of being and awareness that become more and more whole, more unified, more One. They go from very egocentric stages to ethnocentric stages to worldcentric stages to integrated stages, increasing the amount of Oneness at each and every stage (and a “Oneness with humanity” doesn’t even start until the world-centric stages begin). Studies show that a person will interpret their Waking‑Up experience according to the stage of Growing Up at which they are—and those two processes can develop very independently of each other, so that a person can be very high in one and quite low in the other, and vice versa—and, in fact, that’s usually what happens (a person can have a very profound Waking Up and still be at a low, ethnocentric stage of Growing Up; and they can be at a high, integrated stage of Growing Up and have no idea what a satori is). “Cleaning Up” has its own kind of specific increase in wholeness and Oneness. The basic idea here is that a person can split off, dissociate, or repress aspects of his or her whole psyche, creating a small and partial “persona.” The aim of therapy is to re‑unite the persona with the split‑off shadow elements to create a whole and unified psyche—another kind of increase in Oneness, and one that is desperately needed in our world of rampant shadow‑boxing. Finally, “Showing Up” means to include all the known, major, existing dimensions of a human existence in more complete multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary or integral approaches to any area that we study. This includes, at the very least, first-, second-, and third-person methodologies—studying subjective, intersubjective, and objective spaces—the traditional “Good (second), True (third), and Beautiful (first).” Those pronouns are found in all the world’s major languages because they reflect very real realities. Integral calls them the “four quadrants,” and they are a central part of any more inclusive and comprehensive approach, significantly increasing the degree of wholeness, unity, and Oneness. The point is that, as consciousness continues to grow, evolve, and expand, we want to stay at the leading‑edge of that evolutionary development (we saw how recently the stages of Growing Up were discovered), and we do so by increasing our own Oneness and wholeness as well—including Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, and Showing Up, an increase in all of which will increase our degree of Oneness in profound and truly significant ways. It turns out that these are all relatively independent—you can be high in any one, medium in another, and low in yet another—and you won’t even know this unless you adopt a more genuinely Integral Approach. Waking Up alone is no longer anywhere near enough. This is true for anything from a Conscious Spirituality to a Conscious Business.

With over two-dozen published books translated in nearly as many languages, Ken Wilber has created what is widely considered the first truly comprehensive Integral Map of human experience. By exploring and integrating the major insights and conclusions of nearly every human knowledge domain in existence, Wilber created the revolutionary AQAL Integral Framework. He is the founder of the nonprofit think tank Integral Institute, co-founder of the transformational learning community Integral Life, co-founder of Source Integral exploring the nature of Integral Society, and the current chancellor of Ubiquity University.


The The Conscious Conscious Business Business World World Summit Summit Panels Panels Host and panelists

Panel Name

Panel Description

The Conscious Business Declaration – A New Standard for Business in the 21st Century

This panel brings together the four NGOs that initiated the Conscious Business Declaration in 2015. Humanity’s Team, The Club of Budapest, The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of Public Benefit out of Case Western Reserve University and the Goi Peace Foundation spent over a year creating the Conscious Business Declaration. Their aim in creating the Declaration was to bring truly transformational process to business in a systemic way so that business anywhere in the world serves the health and well-being of communities and the planet. Panel members will share their vision for how things will unfold in the global business economy in the months and years ahead as consciousness takes hold as an essential feature in business and civil society.

Host: Steve Farrell Panelists: Ervin Laszlo Chris Laszlo Hiroo Saionji

Conscious Philanthropy

Who are the new philanthropists and how can they leverage their charitable giving to create transformational change? The Conscious Philanthropy panel shares visions of how to impact society’s most pressing problems at both the individual and systemic level through the conscious allocation of capital. Panelists explore new models for empowering the underserved with financial dignity, transforming the concept of philanthropy for both the beneficiary and the giver, bridging communities of wealth and social entrepreneurship, and directing the flow of capital toward improving the health and well-being of the planet, of humanity and of the web of life.

Host: Claudia Welss Panelists: Robert Smith Rod McGrew Jenny Santi

Tools & Trainings that Transform the Way Global Business is Done

Education and training offerings about conscious business are not yet mainstream, but they are available. In this panel, we explore the essence of three such pioneering programs that provide a combination of principle, theory, inner reflection, and practice to support expanding consciousness among business professionals and leaders.

Host: Stephen Dynako Panelists: Peter Matthies Jeff Vander Clute Sarah McCrum Bibi Shanaz

The Science of Conscious Business

There is a widespread assumption that while cooperation is to be encouraged in some aspects of life, the unbridled pursuit of self-interest reigns in the business world. This assumption is an illusion, based on the “greed is good” ideology of orthodox economic theory. An alternative view is provided by evolutionary

Host: Kurt Johnson Panelists: David Sloan Wilson Michele Hunt


science, which far from justifying unbridled competition, shows how cooperation can be a winning business strategy. Special conditions are required, however, and knowledge of evolutionary science is required to structure the business social environment so that nice individuals and nice firms finish first.

Richard Barrett Tamsin Woolley-Barker

New Conscious Business Structures, Networks & Community

This visionary panel explores transforming business from the inside out, offering innovative approaches to creating a higher order of healthy, profitable and sustainable business through inspired servant leadership, transformative organizational structures, bridge-building and impact communities.

Host: Deborah Moldow Panelists: Aaron Kahlow Jude Currivan Michele Bongiovanni Justin Faerman

Reinventing Global Business

The Reinventing Global Business panel will discuss conscious business practices including inner practices and being states that inform collaboration and decision making. It will look at best practices, models, trends, challenges, successes and important transformational education programs that are reinventing global business.

Hosts: Steve Farrell & Stephen Dynako Panelists: Rinaldo Brutoco Marilyn Tam Derek Rydall

BONUS Panel: Details on CB Training Programs

This panel takes a detailed look at the particular features and benefits of the programs discussed in the “Tools & Trainings that Transform the Way Global Business is Done� panel. Specifically, these programs include the Conscious Business Innerprise Training & Certification Program, the Conscious Business Institute, and the Consciousness of Money.

Host: Stephen Dynako Panelists: Peter Matthies Jeff Vander Clute Sarah McCrum Bibi Shanaz

For more information, go to


Backgrounding the Summit By Steve Farrell Editor’s note: portions of this article were previously published in Kosmos Journal and are used here with their permission.

Let’s start by clearly communicating an intention: this is more of a call to action than an article. Urgent action is needed if we are to navigate through an immediate U-turn to reverse the effects of unconscious business. Most of the challenge and chaos being experienced on Earth today is a result of unconscious living. Business is an enormous contributor to this; indeed, it is the primary contributor. But this is not a message of disparity—it is a message of aspiration and hope. There is an opportunity to heal the discord by embracing conscious living. I believe this is the change that we are being invited to make, individually, and collectively. If we are to create effective and lasting change, business must come to the front and lead. Business must become conscious. In 2017 at the invitation of UNITY EARTH, the “Crestone Convergence” gathered some 50 global leaders in Colorado. Many were also members of The Evolutionary Leaders. In my article thereafter in Kosmos Journal, I noted the rich and potent conversations that erupted there about this topic—Conscious Business. And, at a final supper gathering where the group agreed on priorities to follow going forward, the topic was put high on that list. Subsequently, the Evolutionary Leaders from that event, of which I am one, made good of this commitment in the forming of a Synergy Circle for Conscious Business. From this, has come the Conscious Business World Summit. It is a powerful affirmation that real change is on the horizon. When a topic begins to surface regularly, emotionally, and spontaneously, it is confirmation that an evolutionary tornado has landed. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the Movement for Independence in India are two examples of evolutionary tornadoes. Evolutionary tornadoes beckon change; they are disruptive and stubbornly resist premature closure. They always take civil society to a new destination, though the course may be halting, right and left, more than straight ahead.

The Legacy of Unconscious Business A movie called “The Big Short” talked about the role of the financial services industry during the great recession of 2007–2009. No-money-down home loans were artfully sold to an unsuspecting public and then repackaged and sold to investors. The fossil fuels industry and GMO and animal farming industries are notorious for the damage they inflict on the environment and on humankind. Other major areas of concern are cross-industry practices such as lack of economic, social, and ecological transparency in business and overharvesting of natural resources—to say nothing of restorative practices that are often lightly implemented or left out altogether. In Humanity’s Team, dysfunctional business was on our minds in 2014 when we reached out to partner NGO’s about creating a Conscious Business Alliance. During this time, we studied progressive business models such as B Corps, Conscious Capitalism, Natural Capitalism, and other models to understand what role they might play in curbing business abuse and creating conscious business systems that support a flourishing world. We determined that while these business models were valuable and pointed business in more healthy directions, they ignored real conscious business or stopped short of defining conscious business in a manner that can be uniformly manifested worldwide. “IN”—The Essence of Conscious Business Chris Laszlo of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of Public Benefit out of Case Western Reserve University—a part of the Summit—says that conscious business must include both inner transformation and outer transformation dimensions. B Lab and many other progressive organizations focus just on outer transformation—people, planet, and profit, for example. They share that business must focus on the welfare of people and planet, not just profit. In Humanity’s Team, we agree and, as Chris points out, inner transformation is also critically important if we are to bring flourishing to business. Inner transformation focuses on practices like mindfulness, but it 12

goes beyond to a deeper place where we commune with Source. There are many equally valid and compelling channels people individually hold in communing with Source, ranging from spiritual beliefs and practices rooted in a belief in the Divine to a deep resonance with the principles of quantum physics, which unambiguously establish that life is interrelated, interconnected, and interdependent. Everything is part of a single reality. We are all emanations of One thing. In 2011, during Global Oneness Day on October 24th, we began referring to a 4-P model: people, planet, presence, and profit. Presence brings in wholeness, unity, and awakened consciousness. It looks out at the world and sees a deeply spiritual or interconnected ecology. As we know, when we become conscious, everything changes. Many then see the

likeness and image of God in ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Others experience a resonate connection with Source in less spiritual terms, perhaps as an unambiguous, uplifting energy that threads through all things, connecting all life forms. “IN” Is Appropriate for Business Chris Laszlo shares that business models focusing just on outer transformation help businesses to do less harm, but these businesses cannot go all the way to flourishing. A flourishing business is partly a product of inner transformation where interior process comes into play. The inner journey embraces an experience of love, beauty, goodness, and truth. It is a soulful experience. It shapes how we see ourselves and what we see when we look out on the world. We become anchored in this new reality. Life is sacred, and we place our lives in service to the sacred.


Over the years, a few leaders have confided in me that they were conflicted about whether to act upon spiritual or scientific perspectives in business. Specifically, they’ve questioned if it was appropriate to bring their own perspectives to a business setting, and—even if it made sense—isn’t it likely that diverse religious and social sensibilities would create conflict in the work environment? These are interesting questions. In response, I’ve shared my own truth: that it is only a matter of time before these perspectives find their way into the workplace. Mindfulness, for instance, is already coming in strong. Furthermore, I’ve emphasized that it’s critically important that leaders facilitate the business dialogue in a wholly inclusive manner, avoiding prescriptive statements about a singular ideology or path. The great religions of the world honor Divine inspiration and connection with Source. And science is increasingly confirming

that all of the cosmos is connected. We are part of a natural and social web of life that nurtures and sustains us. Certainly, we can say that spirituality, religion, and leading scientific thought support a focus on inner transformation. Since this is true, it is true in all contexts, not just in a context that partitions it to certain social environments. Addressing business specifically, if the core values and culture of the company are open and inclusive, honoring diverse spiritual, religious, and scientific perspectives, things will fall together beautifully (Humanity’s Team is a case study). Conscious business creates the opportunity for integration of deeply held values. Unconscious business mostly ignores these values, focusing almost exclusively on financial gain. This is precisely why we stand in a social and economic quagmire today. Ken Wilber, one of the most important philosophers of our time and author of an Introduction herein to the Summit, says an over-focus on the outer world creates a “flatland” where consciousness is caught in a mundane experience of routines

and living that doesn’t nourish or inspire the whole person or whole organization. “Gone was mind and soul and spirit, and, in their place, as far as the eye could see, the unending dreariness of a world of its: a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colorless; merely the hurrying of material, endlessly, meaninglessly.” [Dr. Roger Prentice, September 26, 2007 in Sunwalked] The flatland experience is one of the most challenging and pressing problems in the world today. The Conscious Business Alliance The enormity of the problem caused Humanity’s Team and three other NGO’s to come together in 2014 to create a Conscious Business Alliance. We were joined by The Club of Budapest (Europe), The Goi Peace Foundation (Japan), and The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent for Public Benefit (Case Western Reserve University). Our first task was to create a Conscious Business Declaration that describes the role conscious business can play in creating a flourishing world. It took over a year to create the preamble and short declaration. We wanted the Declaration to be comprehensive, brief, and global in its description so businesses could easily grasp it and conform business models across intercontinental operations. Where You Fit IN Are you willing to engage? This is what the Summit is all about, and we hope it will further guide you to numerous opportunities to tap into the discussion and make meaningful steps forward with us. Will you join the emerging conscious business movement so we may course-correct and create a world that works for humankind, for the Earth, and for future generations? As consumers, there are powerful things we can do. We can focus on becoming conscious consumers. This creates economic prosperity while contributing to a healthy environment and improving human wellbeing. In our households, let’s become more discerning about the brands we place into our shopping carts. Vast droves of information are only a click away; we can quickly and easily become educated. Do our consumer brands nourish life, or are they toxic? Let’s look carefully at the

products, containers, and packaging we buy. Are products built for longevity? Are they easily recycled or disposable with zero waste? Do our consumer brands focus on going beyond sustainability to restoring the self-renewing integrity of the earth? Do we see regenerative practices when we look inside the companies we buy from? Do the companies we buy from operate with a conscious culture that supports the needs and desires of their employee base and all the stakeholders? Do suppliers respect human rights, and are employees honored, respected, and paid fairly? Do the companies we buy from share accounting, social, and ecological information transparently? These are some of the things we can focus on as conscious consumers. It is time we vote with our pocketbooks. We will not become educated overnight. It will take time to interrupt old buying patterns, but let’s get started. In starting down this path, we are aligning our values with our buying decisions. Conscious consumer brands will benefit, and our families will become an expression of our values through the products and services we acquire. This is a purposeful journey. It involves creating new behaviors, so it will be challenging at times. If we are to create a conscious world we must stretch, gain new understanding, acquire wisdom, express our values through our buying decisions, and then stretch again to progress conscious business and a conscious world. Imagine a world where only conscious business is present and where conscious practices are supporting our families and communities. This has been our dream since time immemorial. Let’s devote ourselves to manifesting this dream together. Let’s focus on this as though our life depends on it. Indeed, it does! As noted at the beginning, this is a call to action not an article written to casually entertain the reader. What is stirring inside you as a result of spending the last few minutes perusing my account? Are you prepared to join our journey? What is your very next actionable step? Join us for the Summit and move forward with an incredible group of pioneers in this crucially important arena!

Steve Farrell co-founded and led two high-growth technology companies based in Silicon Valley in the 1990s that were featured in INC 500 Magazine. His companies included some of the brightest minds in the technology corridor. Steve walked away from the Valley because he felt a deeper calling to transform an emerging vision into reality. At its core, this vision was about a shifting paradigm where business attunes to the interconnection among all stakeholders, including stockholders, employees, and the community, as well as with the sacred inherent in all life. Steve now leads the Humanity’s Team non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, which he founded with Neale Donald Walsch, the bestselling author of the Conversations with God series of books. The organization is focused on helping people throughout the world awaken too their deeper Self and the interconnectedness of everything in the Universe. Humanity’s Team also co-founded the Conscious Business Alliance that created the Conscious Business Declaration, as well as the Conscious Business Initiative that provides training, certification and consulting services. The organization also sponsors the annual Global Oneness Day Celebration Event, along with various other programs that advance its mission in the world.


Presence First: The Impulse of the Conscious Business World Summit By Stephen Dynako

The greatest vision for business is contributing to a flourishing world. This is where traditional business has fallen woefully short, existing for the separate and narrow purpose of generating profit. Fortunately, the conscious business movement is affecting the shift to a higher purpose that, “When aligned with Oneness, Business is the most powerful engine on Earth for creating prosperity and flourishing for all,” as stated in principle #7 of the Conscious Business Declaration. I am certain that each person who is attracted to the Conscious Business World Summit has gone through a waking up experience. This generally takes the form of some major event or insight that shakes a person to the core and makes them realize that the old paradigm of business is primarily self-serving, harmful, and holds little personal meaning. This waking up experience almost always marks a point of no return. With it comes the realization that doing business in the old paradigm is no longer an option, and it strengthens one’s resolve to find the evolved way. Waking up to the truth is only part of the process. Business aligned with Oneness is stewarded by people who have done their own inner cleaning up of attitudes, assumptions, and patterns of behavior that had been fear-based and self-serving. Now, by showing up as conscious business professionals—truly leaders, even pioneers—these stewards understand and practice the truth that we all flourish together through selflessness. The beautiful paradox is that such selflessness is not sacrifice but enriches everyone, including the giver. In the context of traditional business, we can refer to the dictionary definition of a leader as the “directing head” of a company, business unit, etc. Among the synonyms for leader, brings up the words: chief, commander, director, head, manager, officer, ruler, president, and boss. What we don’t see in this definition and its related words is any indication of leader as inspiring or as being in service. This is not to say that a leader—whether a chief, a director, an officer, or a boss—cannot inspire nor be of service. However, as long as our current definition of the word doesn’t explicitly include these qualities, institutions will tend to install leaders who operate by force first and by inspiration or service last, if at all. The good news is that in conscious business, leaders are installed and/or emerge because they inspire and serve. These are qualities of Presence. Think about your own experience in business. To which leaders have you been devoted? I don’t mean the ones who compelled you to be merely loyal by manipulation or intimidation. Rather, I mean the leaders who inspired you to do your best, not just for yourself but for him or her—and for the company. In the ongoing evolution of the Conscious Business Innerprise (CBI), the training and certification program offered by 15

Humanity’s Team, we have enthusiastically explored a concept we call Presence Leadership. In CBI, we teach that Presence is the fourth “P” essential to an expanded consciousness of business. Presence supports the higher purpose of “for-benefit” business virtues of people, planet, and profit. Presence is the unseen, though no less powerful, substance that underlies all human intention and activity. Being fully conscious of Presence in our business aligns humanity’s highest purpose with our ideas, our intentions, our intelligence, and ultimately our actions. Presence Leadership, then, consists of all the practical—that is, DOING—skills necessary to operate an organization, plus the emotional, energetic, and spiritual—that is, BEING—attributes to inspire people to show up in service to that which is greater than themselves. Leaders who inspire and serve are the ones who practice Presence First. They show up in the fullness of their humanity to lift everybody up versus suppress their humanity to keep everyone but themselves down. Therefore, when you seek a conscious business, look for the business leaders who practice Presence First. You will know them by their humility, their benevolence, and by how they are truly loved. I believe that for those drawn to the Conscious Business World Summit, there is a deep understanding that Presence must be core to the system of business. We, as conscious professionals, practice Presence First by showing up to contribute to expanding the consciousness of ourselves, our endeavors, of business at large, and ultimately of humanity.

Stephen Dynako is Director of Transformation Education for Humanity’s Team and the leads its Conscious Business Innerprise (CBI) training and certification program.

As a global community of business leaders, we are committed to developing the awareness and skills needed to consciously evolve our organizations in alignment with these principles: 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. If you align with the Declaration, we invite you to sign it. Please invite your friends and co-workers to sign it as well. It can be found at We believe that the Declaration brings the fullness of consciousness to business.


Summing Up for UNITY EARTH

By Ben Bowler

I am delighted that UNITY EARTH in partnership with Humanity’s Team and Evolutionary Leaders is exploring the rich and vitally important field of Conscious Business. As the world undergoes this great and necessary transition towards greater sustainability, more equitable wealth distribution, and a “values-based economy,” the creative force of entrepreneurship is among our greatest assets to effect whole-systems-change. The last decades have seen the rise of social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, consumer activism, and other “mainstream” trends which have laid an excellent foundation for the emergence of “Conscious Capitalism.” The triple bottom line (People, Planet, Profit) has entered our cultural lexicon and spawned many variations. The 4th P of “Presence,” included by our friends at Humanity’s Team, is perhaps the most profound. In a world where institutions are slow to change, reluctant to cede power driven by the intractable dilemma of vested interest, commerce and entrepreneurship offer a remarkably agile and potent force for world transformation. Great developments in technology, when underwritten by the universal values of the Wisdom Traditions, offer great hope for a better, fairer, more empowered, and connected world. The growth in interest in Conscious Capitalism, Social Enterprise, Business-asa-Force-for-Good (a term favored now by Richard Branson), and other related themes represents a great movement forward, where the profit motive is married harmoniously to more altruistic and idealistic objectives. Using market forces to achieve social, ecological, cultural, and spiritual outcomes is an idea that is attracting a whole new breed of entrepreneur. Success in this field requires new thinking, innovation, faith, a loving community, and fierce determination. It is a space where the challenges are indeed great, and the opportunity is limitless. With the manifold and immense challenges facing our beloved planet right now, we urgently need all human endeavors to be in consecrated service to the whole. Science must be measured by its service to People and Planet. Religion must be evaluated the same way, and so ultimately must Art. In the same way, Commerce must be held to the same critical account. This edition of The Convergence magazine looking at Conscious Business is a step in that direction. Congratulations to Dr. Kurt Johnson and Rev. Deborah Moldow for taking this initiative and to our wonderful Partners through the UNITY EARTH Network involved in this edition. We look forward to further world-changing work in the future and hope, for that, you will join us on The Road to 2020 and the Caravan of Unity Across America. Ben Bowler Executive Director UNITY EARTH

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, 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.


Celebrating Waking Up and Growing Up from our book Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up.

Kurt Johnson, Shannon Winters, and Rick Ulfik, Editors

For the recent Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada, UNITY EARTH hosted a one-day pre-event—The Toronto Convergence: Unifying the Unifiers on the Road to 2020—at the St. James Cathedral Conference Center. Nearly one hundred global transformational and interfaith leaders attended and were joined by another seventy who contributed to our book compilation inspired by the 2018 Parliament: Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up, and Lifting Up. As announced there, we are also serializing these articles in issues of The Convergence magazine, following with the book in its entirety at the end. The book, in full, consists of articles by global thought leaders and change makers gathered under the banners of “Waking Up” (to our Divine Nature, our full moral capacity), “Growing Up” (building a world that reflects those Heart values), “Cleaning Up” (healing, reconciliation, and shadow work), “Showing Up” (activism and speaking Truth to power), “Linking Up” (creating cooperative and synergized work together), and “Lifting Up” (co-energizing and co-inspiring). The articles are joined by a special section, curated by We, the World’s Rick Ulfik, on “Universal Principles” and “Universal Action Steps” promulgated by diverse organizations, networks, and NGO’s from around the world. Below, we are happy to be offering eight articles much in “sync” with the theme of the Conscious Business World Summit by Patrick Carolan, Denise Scotto, Andrew Cohen, Shelley Ostroff, Gregg Braden, Duane Elgin, Julie Krull, and David Gershon. We also invite you to enjoy these videos from UNITY EARTH (click here) and to be inspired by Ken Wilber’s half-hour video from the Toronto Convergence—“Waking Up and Growing Up”—which introduced the “Unifying the Unifiers” event (click here and scroll to video). We thank all those who have been a part of making this exciting and inspirational book possible. As we move “from Me to We” at a global level, we need to co-create and share the expanding narrative that is evolving across all the arenas of transformational change. We think Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up, and Lifting Up (Johnson K., Winters SM., Ulfik R [eds], New York NY: UNITY EARTH, in press) is a helpful step in that direction.

~ Dr. Kurt Johnson, Rev. Shannon Winters, Rick Ulfik


The New Human Story: From Evolution by Chance to Transformation by Choice by Gregg Braden

We’re All On A Journey, And It’s A Big One

Who Are We? Why It Matters

Our journey is leading us to a place no one has ever been. We each hold a one-way ticket to another world—one hidden within our everyday lives. And it’s the choices we’re making each day that are taking us there. Together we’re barreling down a superhighway that’s crossing the traditional boundaries of religion, science, society, and culture. In doing so, we’re also blowing right past the beliefs of the past and the limits of what we used to think is possible. It’s the extremes of life that are our tickets to the new world and the new human story that’s emerging before our eyes.

Twentieth Century environmentalist and author Rachael Carson stated, “We destroy what we don’t value, and we can’t value what we don’t know.”1 As we witness the epic loss of human life and widespread suffering unfolding on today’s world stage, it’s clear that the truth of Carson’s statement is confirmed on a daily basis. It’s also clear that such atrocities are only possible because of a way of thinking—the thinking that stems from the loss of specialness attributed to human life.

Our Destination I can’t say for sure what our destination will look like. After the dust settles and we learn to adapt to our changing climate rather than trying to control it through technology; after new, sharebased economies replace those based upon Charles Darwin’s ideas of competition and scarcity that are failing today; after we embrace the discoveries that provide every bit of the energy we need without the devastating side effects of fossil fuels, I can only imagine what our lives and the world will be like. And when I do, I see a better place for us all. I see a world where we’ve raised the standard of living for everyone, rather than lowering it for many to support only a few. I see a world where the diversity of our skin color, religions, and sexuality are celebrated as strengths rather than reasons to hate, fear, and kill what’s different, and where the use of war to solve our problems has become obsolete. And I see the evolutionary shift in thinking that makes these things possible already happening in some communities and with some people today. To bring this shift to fruition on a grand scale, however, we must embrace the new story that guides our thinking as individuals and as a society.


Since the widespread acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution in 1859 and the role it is believed to have played in human origins, the world has been steeped in a scientific story of random mutations, competition, and struggle when it comes to understanding human life. It’s a story that leaves us feeling like little more than trivial specks of dust in the universe. The following definition of life, taught to students today from a college-level chemistry textbook, is a perfect example of what I mean here, stating “Life is a behavior pattern that chemical systems exhibit when they reach a certain level of complexity.”2 This kind of limited thinking has left us feeling that the specialness, sacredness, and value of human life has been reduced to little more than lucky biology. The New Human Story We need a new story because we live our lives, solve our problems, heal our bodies, create the borders that divide us, choose when to take a life and when to save a life based upon the way we think of ourselves. It’s precisely because the way we think of ourselves plays such a vital role in our lives that we owe it to ourselves to answer, “Who are we?” as truthfully and honestly as possible. This includes taking into consideration every source of information available to us, from today’s leading-edge science to the timeless wisdom of 5,000 years of human experience. This also includes making the

evolutionary choice to change the existing story when new discoveries give us the reasons to do so. New discoveries ranging from human evolution and genetics to the emerging science of neuro-cardiology—the bridge between the brain and the heart— have recently overturned 150 years of scientific beliefs when it comes to the way we think of ourselves in the world. The new human story reminds us of our specialness showing that: 1) Anatomically Modern Humans mysteriously appeared 200,000 years ago, fully enabled and fully intact with all the capabilities and potential that we have today already formed rather than developing these capabilities slowly and gradually over a long period of time as evolution would suggest. 2) DNA analysis reveals that Anatomically Modern Humans have not changed in genetics or physiology from the time they appeared until the present day—we are the Anatomically Modern Humans. 3) The genetic shifts that provide for uniquely human qualities—such as sympathy, empathy, compassion, and the self-regulation of emotions— cannot be explained by evolutionary processes as they are known today. The new story demonstrates that we are more than the lucky biology that we’ve been led to believe in the past. And while science has yet to determine precisely why the changes that make us who and what we are have occurred, it’s clear that, from our beginning, we’ve been “wired” for extraordinary abilities that include our potential for super-learning, super-memory and recall, conscious triggering of a super immune response, the longevity enzymes that reverse aging in our cells, and more. The bottom line is simply this: The better we know ourselves, the less we fear change in the world, the less we fear one another, and ultimately the less we fear ourselves and our own power. To unlock the new world that awaits and our awesome potential within that world, we must follow the new evidence to the story that it reveals, even when that story does not support the conventional narrative of the past. New Discoveries Mean a New Story It will take work to change the way we think about ourselves—to change the textbooks, computer files, teachers’ class notes, and the displays in museums throughout the world. It will take work to teach the new human story to our children and then to theirs. The question now is: do we believe we’re worth it? Do we believe we’re worth the work it will take to embrace the extraordinary evolutionary potential that lies waiting within each and every human being? We won’t need to wait long to know how we’ve answered. We’ll know by the world we leave for our children. References 1) Rachael Carson, Silent Spring (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mariner Books, Wilmington, MA.) 2) Dickerson and Geis, Chemistry, Matter and the Universe, An Integrated Approach to General Chemistry (W.A. Benjamin, Menlo Park, CA.) Gregg Braden is a degreed earth scientist, a five-time New York Times best-selling author, and is internationally renowned as a pioneer in bridging science, spirituality, and human potential! From 1979 to 1990 Gregg worked for Fortune 500 companies as a problem solver during times of crisis. He continues problem-solving today as he weaves modern science and the wisdom preserved in remote monasteries and forgotten texts into real-world solutions. His discoveries have led to 12 award-winning books now published in more than 40 languages. Gregg has shared his presentations with The United Nations, Fortune 500 companies, and the U.S. military, and he is now featured in media specials including the History Channel, and the award-winning series Missing Links, now in its third season. The United Kingdom’s Watkins Journal lists Gregg among the top 100 of “the world’s most spiritually influential living people” for the fifth consecutive year, and he is a 2018 nominee for the prestigious Templeton Award. The award was established to honor “outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to expanding our vision of human purpose and ultimate reality.”


Law as a Significant Tool to Design Solutions for Global Change by Denise Scotto, Esq.

Pressing societal problems affect people in their daily lives everywhere around the world. Law is a significant tool when used to design solutions to our global challenges. It can stimulate thinking about how to use it to better society in the context of both collective community and individual members. It has the capacity to drive change and build partnerships who take coordinated action to achieve results. At the same time, the law itself is a limited mechanism. For many reasons, law is not being implemented, and that doesn’t serve the progress of humanity. Beyond that, the law is used to benefit vested interest groups and, in many instances, puts them above the law. This happens, in part, because the law is a logical concept which only engages the mind. A mind divorced from the heart doesn’t necessarily lead to sustained behavioral change

or long-term solutions for the greater good. Mind alone cannot acknowledge feelings that the heart holds so dear, and it estranges us from our human-ness. When open, the heart—the source of our human being-ness— gives rise to emotions of caring, kindness, and empathy. In listening to this sacred wisdom and following this calling, one’s understanding of our shared humanity and the awareness of law is elevated. By using the mind with the heart, one gains a realization of the practical application of the law and how it can bring progress and uplift humanity. In this way, the law can provide viable societal answers and insight into its valuable role in the evolution of human consciousness. Having been a public interest attorney litigating in the courts in the City of New York and working as a staff member in the United Nation’s New York Headquarters, I have seen how local, domestic, or even international law is an important instrument that acknowledges rights, sets standards of acceptable conduct, maintains stability, makes available a space for the most vulnerable to be heard, ensures engagement and participation, resolves differences, and provides a host of remedies. When law functions in its best sense, it propels change. It’s preventative and makes the necessary adjustments to avoid disagreements, or it greatly reduces controversies from escalating, thereby fostering a sense of peace. It is inclusive, providing access to justice, equality before the law, fairness and due process, dignity to parties, reconciliation, and overall good governance. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a groundbreaking document. It is celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year. Whether or not the drafters were people of faith is irrelevant because, while engaging their minds in this task, they followed the sound of their hearts that experienced deepest suffering, sorrow, humiliation, and despair in their own lives and on behalf of the world’s people. They felt the collective pain of the heart of our human family and joined together to use law as a means of advancing our human condition and human awareness. Significantly, this group, headed by US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, represented all regions, all legal traditions, different cultures, and different beliefs of the people of the world. The UDHR was conceived in the aftermath of World War II. The members of the drafting group were determined to avoid the atrocities that were committed and intended to save future generations from international conflict. They, knowingly or unknowingly, laid the bedrock of international human rights law protecting, preserving, and promoting our human dignity, our human rights, and our fundamental freedoms. They set out a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, as well as linking to peace. The UDHR starts with its Preamble referring to barbarous acts which have outraged the consciousness of humankind. It emphasizes principles of inherent dignity of human beings, the equal rights of men and women, and universality. It expands upon the concept of rights as contained in the United Nations Charter, and its thirty articles affirm an individual’s rights in various spheres of life. Because governments have continually cited it


for more than fifty years, legal scholars recognize it as a binding part of customary international law. Did you know that it is the most translated document in the world? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights serves as part of the International Bill of Rights, another milestone document that includes the UDHR in addition to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. It also serves as the underpinning for a comprehensive body of international human rights frameworks, some of which are legally binding on governments while others aim to set norms. The UDHR’s progeny has undisputedly influenced the adoption of national laws and policies and national constitutions globally. It solidified the foundation of the present-day UN human rights monitoring system in addition to forming regional mechanisms and developing national and local human rights machinery in many countries globally. There is an extensive existing body of “public international law” to which I have been referring, which has had a profound effect upon the law of every nation. It has enlarged the concepts of what it means to be a human being, the responsibility of government, and the rights of citizens and those within a county’s borders as well as their obligations. At the same time, it has broadened the understanding of justice, state sovereignty, development, and peace. It has been an important factor in shifting human consciousness forward. A clear example is children’s rights. I have been heavily involved in this advocacy having served as Chair of the Children’s Rights Committee of the NY Women’s Bar Association for more than fifteen years. In this capacity and as a UN staff member, I participated in organizing events relating to children in war and armed conflict, the situation of child soldiers, the worst forms of child labor, trafficking in children, the UN Special Session on Children (2002), and the negotiation of the first two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

At one period, the prevailing attitude was that children were exclusively seen as property to be bought, sold, exploited, and discarded. The specialized human rights treaty, CRC—which came into force in 1990 with its Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography—helped shift the mindset about the value and treatment of young people. The law has developed to the understanding that children are human beings, one of the most vulnerable of groups, with a distinct set of rights. They are not fungible goods or passive objects needing charity. The legal standard of the CRC is for governments to act in the “best interest of the child.” It addresses the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of people under the age of eighteen. It also obligates parents to discharge their duties and refers to provisions concerning abuse and neglect. There is a record number of 196 parties who have ratified it in one part or another. By ratifying its provisions, governments


are required to integrate it within their own domestic law. They are further mandated to provide reports on the status of progress on the treaty in their country by regularly submitting reports to the committee of experts known as the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee). Children’s rights continue to be violated, and we hear how they are abused, neglected, exploited, severely punished, and suffer from all kinds of egregious war crimes. There is good law but it is not enacted or enforced. This can be due to a number of reasons, including a lack of resources both financial and human, political will and strong leadership, and a lack of awareness of the dignity and worth of children. Although the law may exist and may be implemented, children’s rights continue to be transgressed. I’ve seen repeatedly how we haven’t successfully legislated behavioral change relating to the rights of young people and others. While the law, in and of itself, doesn’t change behavior, it can expand one’s understanding resulting in action for the greater good or resistance to it. Reasonable people don’t agree with one another on a multitude of subjects, and they don’t always act in a civil manner. Rather, they act in a manner that is quite cruel and inhumane. This reaches back to a lack of awareness of the connection to one’s heart, to humanity’s sacred heart, our human-ness, and our interdependence. What is clear is that, in each and every instance when a child or another human being is disrespected, it shatters his or her heart and can destroy his or her human spirit, as well as strains our shared heart. However, I have seen survivors of atrocities rise above their experience and transform their lives in the most extraordinary ways. Human resilience is remarkable, and this lightens our collective human heart. The power of the law, the rule of law, the administration of justice, and good governance are important to prosperous, sustainable, and harmonious societies and to empowered individuals who are engaged in their lives and in that of the community at large. Sourcing the wisdom of the heart and joining it with the intelligence of the mind in the area of law in the last 70 years has indeed contributed to impressive advances in society and in individual lives. In this way, this is one system that when used within the context of our humanness has an important part to play in answering our greatest global challenges and providing positive outcomes. It has also accelerated the evolution of our human consciousness and holds the potential to further advance the consciousness of the entire human species. Denise Scotto, Esq., is an attorney at law, policy advisor, international speaker, interfaith minister, Founding Chair of the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN & Treasurer of the NGO Committee on SVGC. Starting her legal career in the public sector, she was a litigator appearing in courts in all boroughs of the City of New York. Denise held leadership roles in professional bar organizations including: the NY State Bar, the NY State Women’s Bar, the International Law section of the American Bar Association, the UIA. With these associations, she organized numerous events at UN fora as well as at national and local levels on global issues of pressing concern including conducting the first legal education program in NY City and NY State on the topic of human trafficking. As a UN staff member in NY Headquarters, she worked on issues to reform the internal system of justice, then, in the Department for Economic & Social Affairs formulating policy to advance law, good governance and human rights. Denise has held leadership positions in the UN community including: the UNSRC Enlightenment Society, the Values Caucus at the UN, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, the International Federation of Women in Legal Careers, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, the UNA-USA New York City Chapter, Bridges of Hope Project, the Source of Synergy Foundation. Denise developed “mindful social justice” which additionally serves the legal profession through her 20+ years of meditation and her connection with diverse yoga masters & spiritual leaders.




i o t n u a l r o y v E ightenme n l n

By Andrew Cohen

The teaching of Evolutionary Enlightenment is about the profound awakening to evolutionarily enlightened consciousness and its manifestation and expression in the world. Enlightened consciousness, by whatever name, is the movement of consciousness beyond the personal ego or narcissistic separate self-sense. Traditionally, in most Eastern mystical schools, the attainment of enlightened awareness did not include being awake to evolution. Indeed, Eastern enlightenment traditionally meant something very specific: that one had awakened to the timeless, formless Ground of all Being. Typically, spiritual aspirants discovered this profound dimension of consciousness through the experience of deep meditation. That meant letting go of compulsive identification with and attachment to thoughts and emotions and sinking, slowly but surely, into absolute nonactivity. This happens when we slow down and cease compulsive thinking. Through focused concentration, we become both intensely still and profoundly awake. When, in this way, our attention begins to release itself from the conditioned mind and thought process, we fall ever more deeply into a deep meditative state. This is when we discover the limitless interior dimension of our own Being, when consciousness begins to open to itself to an immeasurable degree, and when we discover the unmanifest dimension of reality. In that mysterious domain, there is no time, no space, no world, and no mind. Nothing has happened yet. This absolute nothingness or void or emptiness is traditionally called the Ground of Being. When we discover the literally infinite, timeless, formless nature of this dimension, we recognize that “this is what it was like before the universe was created.” To attain direct knowledge of what enlightenment is, it’s important to understand that everything that exists—the entire universe, time, and space and all of life, including each and every one of us—is a manifest or material expression of that which does not exist. From nothing came something. The unmanifest

became the manifest. From the empty void, this whole material universe, which eventually gave rise to energy and matter, life, and the capacity for self-knowing awareness, dramatically emerged. Everything that exists came from this absolute nothingness. That means nothing is the source of everything that is. This fundamental mystical insight is basically this: that the ultimate essence of everything that exists is this no-thing-ness. Traditionally, this is the revelation that enlightens—that frees the self from attachment to the world, the process of creation, and everything in it. Evolutionary Enlightenment, however, is focused on the manifest or active or creative expression of enlightenment. It is a different orientation for spiritual development and a completely new context in which to understand our human experience. It is a radical embrace of manifestation in which you begin to see your own incarnation—whoever you think you are, including your human personality, your body, your mind, and your soul, all the way from the gross to the subtle, including your deepest spiritual revelations to your most mundane experiences and everything in between—within a truly cosmic‚ evolutionary context. You realize that who and what you are as a sentient being is a product of fourteen billion years of cosmic evolutionary development. Every dimension of who and what you are is intimately related to, connected with, and an expression of the creative process as a whole that began when something came from nothing fourteen billion years ago. In this new understanding you know that every part of yourself is not separate from that empty ground from which literally everything emerged when time began. That unmanifest dimension is always at the very core of ALL of your experience in every single moment, including this one, whether you are aware of it or not. 24

When seen from an evolutionary perspective, unmanifest nothingness is not nothing. There is nothing happening there, and yet, inherent in the nothingness is an ungraspable mystery that is deeply compelling. That is why, when you enter into a very deep state of meditation, it is always so absolutely enthralling. Why? Because, in that absolute nothingness, there always exists the infinite creative potential for everything that burst forth as the entire universe. That unmanifest domain is the indestructible, transcendental realm of infinite potential that forever abides before anything has happened. The unmanifest domain is a place where everything is possible but where nothing has ever happened. In this absolute emptiness there is a positive creative tension experienced as a profound and powerful state of suspended awakeness. This unbroken tension exists in the infinite depths of consciousness precisely because everything is possible but has not yet occurred. This is the vibration of empty-fullness that is so completely enthralling. When I speak about the manifest expression of enlightenment, I’m pointing very specifically to what happened at that precise moment when nothing took that unimaginable leap and became everything. What happens when nothingness, which is the essence of everything that exists, becomes manifest? It’s important to recognize that moment in your very own experience. What we’re interested in here is locating that same vibration— that same energy, that same intelligence that initiated the entire creative process at the very beginning of time and history—in your own experience. That energy and intelligence is the creative impulse, the urge to become. Traditionally it is called Eros. And the highest and most profound expression of that creative impulse is felt when a human being experiences the mysterious compulsion to become more conscious. One experiences the vibration of the evolutionary impulse when it becomes the spiritual impulse. And that impulse, which is not separate from the very same impulse that initiated the creative process and is driving it right now, doesn’t have a personal agenda. That’s why, to truly realize it, we have to be willing to let go of the ever obscuring narrative of

our narrowly focused narcissistic selves. Most people have no idea of the enormous spiritual potential that lies unrealized in this dimension of themselves. In Evolutionary Enlightenment, we call this potential; when it becomes awakened, we call it the Authentic Self. The Authentic Self is that same vibration of infinite potential that exists eternally in the unmanifest. And just as unmanifest Being is vibrating with the infinite potential to become everything, so the Authentic Self within you is fueled by the same sense of infinite potential to effect change in the manifest world. This evolutionary drive has been active since the beginning of time, but now it is beginning to become aware of itself in individuals who have reached higher levels of consciousness. The dramatic journey from Nothing to Energy and Matter to Life, Consciousness, and then Self-Reflective Awareness is the very same drive to become that has been the surging source of universal unfolding for fourteen billion years. And this entire process is just now beginning to awaken to itself at the leading edge of evolving human consciousness. In the highly developed, uniquely human capacity for selfreflective awareness, the process that originated with the Big Bang is not only awakening to itself but is beginning to take responsibility for itself at higher and higher levels of knowing and being. It is doing this through the sophisticated consciousness and complex cognition of the awakening human being at the leading edge. And that’s why truly understanding this is of ultimate importance for all of us. When you really get the purpose of Evolutionary Enlightenment, you realize that the demanding process of spiritual awakening is not about you as an individual; it’s about the evolution of the process itself. It’s the humbling realization that the universe is utterly dependant upon your conscious participation in the evolutionary process in order for it to be able to move itself forward. Knowing this, the depth of your engagement with life is determined by how profoundly you are able to take responsibility for this truth in the life you are living.

Andrew Cohen is an internationally respected spiritual teacher, and the founder of Evolutionary Enlightenment. Departing radically from a traditional Eastern approach, Evolutionary Enlightenment calls not for transcendence of the world, but for a deep and heroic responsibility for its evolution. In nearly three decades of teaching work, he has engaged with thousands of seekers worldwide, evolving his teaching in response to direct dialogue with students, teachers, scholars and philosophers. The community that formed around him eventually became known as EnlightenNext. From 1991 to 2010 he was the editor-in-chief of the award-winning EnlightenNext magazine, a publication that explored the deepest spiritual questions of our time with some of the world’s most noted thought leaders.


Eco-Governance and The Vitality Code Applying Evolving Consciousness to How We Organize Ourselves as a Species by Shelley Ostroff, Ph.D.

“What has contributed to the vast suffering and devastation we cause to ourselves, other humans, other species, the planet, and beyond?” “What can we do to heal what we have damaged and ensure a thriving future for all Life?” Decades of exploring these critical questions from multiple perspectives have led me to develop a holistic, integrative approach to whole-systems healing that encompasses an evolving blueprint for transitioning to a new form of governance aligned with the principles of life. The approach is rooted in and enriched by diverse traditions and disciplines and is inspired by the developing theories and praxis of our current cultural metamorphosis. This article outlines some of the meta-principles that guide the approach, as well as a range of initiatives that work together to provide practical pathways for citizens to transform our current governing systems by self-organizing around the common purpose of whole-systems health and vitality. Health is our most precious resource, yet it is a primary casualty of our current paradigms, cultural norms, and governing systems. As an interconnected living system, individual, collective, and planetary health are all interdependent. Positioning whole-system health as our shared priority provides a powerful unifying principle that transcends our divisive narratives and “us” and “them” politics of identity. It generates greater awareness of and respect for all parts of our living system. It cultivates a health-oriented culture of cooperation and a creative healing oriented public discourse embedded in the language of Life. Individuals, groups, organizations, and even nations orient our lives by the purpose and meaning we attribute to them. How we conceive of our purpose in the world has far-reaching consequences on our interconnected system. Transforming our stories ultimately transforms our reality. What if we were to align en masse around the idea that our individual and collective purpose in the world is to contribute to the healthy evolution of Life? Imagine the far-reaching consequences of nurturing a shared awareness that the only legitimate purpose of governance is to protect and cultivate the health and vitality of the planet and all its inhabitants for generations to come. Addressing the challenges we face in alignment with evolving consciousness involves applying the reality of our fundamental 26

interconnectedness with all of life to how we redesign our governance and social systems. It also entails conscientiously restoring and cultivating the sacred relationship of the masculine and feminine with each other and with all parts of creation. Our current mindset, systems, and culture are profoundly human centered. They privilege human perspectives and “rights” above those of other species and elements of creation. This domination paradigm has resulted in vast suffering, imbalance, disease, and devastation. One of our key evolutionary challenges involves shedding our “colonialist” mindset and shifting from a human-centered concept of the world to an eco-centered one, which situates humans as one among countless interdependent species and aspects of creation. An eco-centered mindset honors and stewards the foundations of Life, including the elements, the codes of relationship in nature, biodiversity, the migration routes of animals, the climate, and the biosphere. It ensures the representation of all human and non-human parts of the ecosystem in all aspects of how we make decisions, govern, and organize ourselves. An eco-centered mindset catalyzes a transition from a country-based concept of governance that goes against nature’s organizing patterns to one that organizes according to interdependent, mutually nourishing ecosystems and bioregions. In this holographic ecocentered model, all parts of the whole are part of multiple ecosystems simultaneously and respond from the perspective relevant to the context and issue at hand.

As we recognize the limitations of our patriarchal, centralized models of leadership and management, we are beginning to look to nature for inspiration regarding how to manage infinitely complex systems in life-enhancing ways. Nature does not organize according to centralized leadership of any form. Instead, Nature self-organizes according to Codes of Life that permeate the entire system, enabling all parts to take up their roles in resonance and balance with the healthy evolution of Life. Simply managing complexity involves implementing root organizing codes and principles that provide the foundations for optimal self-organization in service of a thriving world for all. I refer to the primary code and principle of nature’s self-organization as The Vitality Code. The Vitality Code is the code of accurate mutual nourishment that ensures all parts of the system receive precisely what they need in order to manifest their unique potential in mutual nourishment with all parts of the interconnected whole. It is a code that, with exquisite efficiency, cultivates harmony and vitality in ever-enriching diversity.


Applying the Vitality Code to how we re-invent governance, economy, education, agriculture, infrastructure, media, justice, and other social systems provides an uncompromising compass for synergizing rapid systemic transformation and healing. The Vitality Code recognizes that our talents do not belong to us alone. The bee does not patent or hoard its exceptional pollinating gifts and hold the rest of Nature ransom. As in all of Nature, our unique gifts are nourished by the whole and must in turn nourish the whole. This understanding of the profound interdependence and complementarity of all parts of the whole helps us to move beyond a competitive, dysfunctional, and siloed approach to managing ourselves to one of learning from and with Nature about deeply cooperative, efficient, and life-enriching energy management. Simply managing complexity thus also means radically transforming our understanding of leadership and followership as we learn to fluidly and generously bring both of these capacities to serving and following the Codes of Life. Eco-Governance that is in service of all Life needs to be informed by self-organizing councils and communities of expertise and stewardship that represent the different parts of the planetary ecosystem. These councils must be aligned with the wisdom of the First Peoples, who practice right relationship with Mother Earth and the entire Web of Life. Distilled knowledge and wisdom from different traditions, perspectives, and disciplines must be represented and optimally integrated into our organizing structures and processes. Transforming deeply ingrained systemic norms requires a globally coordinated, multi-dimensional approach that offers alternatives not only for the existing structures but also for the narratives that inform them. It means ensuring that distilled information, new stories, resources, and frameworks are accessible to diverse cultures and age-groups, while taking into account the full spectrum of human learning styles and backgrounds. Cultivating widespread awareness of the broad range of interdependent challenges we face, as well as the abundance of existing solutions, is an essential part of the process. Ancient and modern healing wisdom and technology provide powerful frameworks for understanding and healing the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual imbalance, fragmentation, disease, and trauma in our interconnected ecosystem. When we approach the current crises from a holistic healing perspective, a range of innovative, complementary, whole-systems healing pathways emerge. Holistic healing wisdom attends to the physical health of living systems, as well as to the complexity of individual and collective layers of human social conditioning, consciousness, mythologies, archetypes, intelligences, and behaviors. It addresses the individual and collective conscious and unconscious trauma, “shadow� dynamics, habits, and resistances to change that ultimately determine the wellness of any culture. In order to maintain a healthy and consciously evolving ecosystem, it is essential to embed within it action-learning processes and nuanced self-improving feedback loops. These processes enable the whole and all its parts to efficiently access the most relevant information at any given time in an ongoing iterative and adaptive manner. It is now possible to use big data to identify collective needs, resources, and whole-system health priorities to create self-reflective processes for the system as a whole and to track and refine the way in which energy is distributed and moves through the system. 28

The following interdependent and complementary initiatives of Together in Creation reflect the praxis of the above principles and holistic approach. These and other aligned initiatives are at different stages of development and co-creative process with partners from across the globe: Deconstructing Democracy: An exploration into the fundamental flaws of our current governing systems, exposing the imperative for a radically new way of organizing ourselves as a species. Eco-Governance: An evolving integrative blueprint for a new form of local and global governance dedicated to the health and vitality of the planet and all its inhabitants for future generations. Citizens for a Healthy Earth (CHE): An evolving social infrastructure and platform to serve the meta-movement of citizens dedicated to whole-system healing that enables self-organization around the principles and practices of Eco-Governance. Evolving Virtual Ecosphere (EVE): An evolving framework for a multi-dimensional digital platform enabling members of CHE to self-organize effectively and evolve together as a thriving global-to-local community, pooling resources efficiently for the good of the whole. Solutions for a Healthy Earth: An evolving design for mapping and curating a user-generated digital database of global challenges and solutions for a healthy Earth. Ubuntu 4 Animals: A platform for raising awareness to end the suffering of animals at the hands of humans and inspire healing relationships with all species. The Climate Code Manifesto: Core principles for transforming our relationship with the climate and the shared environment on which we all depend. 7 Days of Rest: An annual global event held during the first week of the New Year that contributes to the collective field of consciousness, intention, and action for the healing and replenishment of the planet and all its inhabitants. The first event was held January 1-7, 2018. Thriving Earth: A concept for a community-building and crowd re-sourcing platform that enables global citizens to organize effectively for implementing whole-system healing solutions for communities and ecosystems in crisis. Follow the Flow: A concept for a suite of tools and initiatives designed to cultivate a deeper understanding of interconnectedness, consequences, and how energy in its different forms (behaviour, information, resources, emotions, etc.) flows through the entire ecosystem in the most efficient and vitalizing way. Whole-System Health Index: A holistic evaluation system for the whole-systems health status of societies, as well as for measuring the whole-system health impacts of policies and organizations, goods and services. From Democracy to Eco-Governance: A social media page dedicated to developing awareness about the global challenges we face and the existing and emerging solutions and inspiring Citizens for a Healthy Earth. Together in Creation: A meta-platform for developing and showcasing information, initiatives, and global partnerships dedicated to the healing and replenishment of the planet and all its inhabitants. When we adopt The Vitality Code as the organizing principle for our local and global communities—from the personal to the planetary—we begin to ask many new questions that in turn catalyze ripples of rich inquiry and creativity in the system. The Vitality Code offers a compelling attractor for generating deep coherence in community intentionality. Rather than imposing a pre-conceived outcome, the shared commitment to following The Vitality Code rather than any leader, organization, or ideology generates an exciting process of co-creative discovery nourishing to all human and non-human inhabitants of our shared home. With deep gratitude to Yan Golding for his contribution to this article.

Shelley Ostroff (PhD) is a planetary activist, leadership consultant, social architect, author, mystic and teacher. She is the founder of,, and other initiatives dedicated to the healing and replenishment of the planet and all its inhabitants. Deeply concerned by the suffering and devastation humans cause each other, other species and the planet, she has dedicated herself to exploring systems dynamics and integrative healing wisdom from diverse disciplines and traditions. She has worked with people from all walks of life, from different sectors of society and across continents as a therapist, consultant, mentor, and creative partner in cultivating individual, collective and whole-system wellness. Through her ongoing research and practice, she has developed a unique holistic approach to human and whole-system healing and transformation that includes evolving blueprints for a new form of global Eco-Governance aligned with the principles of Life.


St. Francis Ecological Paradigm By Patrick Carolan


hroughout most of Christianity, the dominant social paradigm reflects the theory of human domination over nature. St. Francis of Assisi proposed a completely different paradigm, one that seeks total ecological integrity. He did not separate the spiritual world from the material world. He viewed the Earth and all nature as God’s creation, a place of continual incarnation. St. Francis taught that we had to live in relational solidarity with all creation. His spirituality is beautifully expressed in the poem “Canticle of the Creatures.” When St. Francis would go out and preach to the birds and trees, it was not some crazy Dr. Dolittle “talk to the animals” idea. His idea of caring for all creation was not a paternalistic concept of having dominion over creation. God told St. Francis to preach the Gospel to all his brothers and sisters, and St. Francis believed all creatures were his brothers and sisters. In his poetry, when St. Francis talked about “brother sun” and “sister moon,” it was not just flowery language but a belief in the connectedness of all creation, a wholeness of being. In her book A Franciscan View of Creation, Dr. Ilia Delio, a Franciscan sister, talks about the link between creation and incarnation. She says, “Francis’ respect for creation was not a duty or obligation but arose out of an inner love by which creation and the source of creation were intimately united…” Francis saw himself as part of creation, as being in this intimate relationship with creation.

So how did we get from this beautiful theology of oneness with God and all of God’s creation that St. Francis lived to a world of separation and individualism? A little over 50 years ago, Lynn White gave a lecture entitled “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” What was interesting about this lecture is that White was neither a theologian nor a scientist. He was a historian and a professor of Medieval History. He argued that because our Christian theology is, as he suggested, based on the idea of dominion over creation, in effect it is essentially exploitative of the natural world. White’s lecture and subsequent article ignited a firestorm of controversy, challenging us to rethink both environmentalism and Christianity. Shortly after St. Francis died, two theologians considered to be among the greatest thinkers and leading Christian theologians entered the scene: St. Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican, and St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan. While they were contemporaries and even attended the University of Paris together, their theologies, especially around creation, were at opposite ends of the spectrum. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that non-rational creatures do not have moral value. He believed that the world was created by God as an ordered and unique whole displaying its beauty, as well as the beauty of the Creator, and was bequeathed to man that he may have dominion over it. While Aquinas wrote that it is morally wrong to be cruel to animals, his rationale was that such cruelty would make it easier for a person to develop a moral character 30

in which he or she would be more inclined to express cruelty to human beings. According to Aquinas, created things are made by God for the sole purpose of leading us to God. Bonaventure developed a different theology of creation. For Bonaventure, creation is relationship. He understood and believed that there was and is, as Delio described, “a deep intimate relationship between creation and the triune God.” Bonaventure understood the purpose and meaning of “all of creation is relationship” in a triune sense—a relationship between God and humans, a relationship between God and all creation, and a relationship between humans and all creation. The Noahic

covenant, as described in the book of Genesis, is not between God and Man but between God, all humanity, and all living creatures. Bonaventure described the created universe as the fountain fullness of God’s expressed being. As God is expressed in creation, creation in turn expresses the creator. The 11th century mystic Hildegard of Bingen said, “The Spirit of the Lord fills the earth. This means that no creature whether visible or invisible lacks a spiritual life.” If all creatures have a spirituality and reflect God, perhaps our paradigm should be as St. Francis taught, one of humanity in service to creation not creation in service to humanity. Richard Rohr, OFM, states, “Without some form of incarnation, God remains essentially separate from us and from all of creation. God, who is Infinite Love, incarnates that love as the universe itself.” Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “We will not save what we do not love. It is also true that we will neither love nor save that which we do not experience as sacred.” In his book The Sacred Universe, Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest, describes religious experiences as “emerging as a sense of the awesome aspects of the natural world. The divine could not imagine itself in any single being so the divine brought into being an immense variety of beings.” The whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly and manifests it better than any single being. St. Angela of Foligno, a 13th century Franciscan mystic, said, “My soul in an excess of wonder cried out, ‘This world is pregnant with God!’ Wherefore I understood how small is the whole of creation—that is, what is on this side and what is beyond the sea, the abyss, the sea itself, and everything else—but the power of God fills it all to overflowing.” Think about that image: the world pregnant with God overflowing with endless love. Each moment of creation as a new birth of God. God reflected in all creation. Every part of creation considered sacred. The Franciscan emphasis on the goodness of God and creation has many ramifications. Creation is the outpouring of God’s love into the universe. Creation reveals to us God’s love for us and God’s beauty. Our faith in a good God has implications for the Incarnation and salvation history. The Word of God became incarnate not because the world is full of sin but in order to transform the world into a communion of love. Almost 50 years after Lynn White, Pope Francis today calls us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution. He calls for us to rise up, not in a revolution of guns but a revolution of Spirit—to stop living in a world where we are all separate and come together in a world of interbeing, a world where we are part of God’s creation not separate from creation.

Patrick Carolan has been Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network since 2010. He is also a Co-Founder of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, an organization working on global climate justice issues, as well as Faithful Democracy, a faith coalition focused on the issue of Money in Politics, working to educate on the corruptive influence of big money on our democracy. He is a recipient of the 2015 White House Champion for Change Award for his work on Climate Change. He is personally dedicated to social justice to bring about individual and societal transformation.


Humanity’s Journey Home: We Are Bio-Cosmic Beings Learning to Live in a Living Universe 1

by Duane Elgin © Duane Elgin November, 2017

We are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home. ~ Father Giovanni (1513) Humanity’s Most Urgent Challenge For at least 50,000 years, humanity has been on a journey of separation—pulling back from nature and becoming ever more differentiated, individuated, and empowered. In recent decades, we have become so dominant as a species that we are producing Earth-changing trends—global warming, species extinction, unsustainable population, massive famines, waves of migration, and more— that threaten humanity’s future. Now, with stunning abruptness, humanity is being challenged to turn from the familiar path of progressive separation to an unfamiliar path of global caring and cooperation. The transition from self-serving separation to world-serving cooperation confronts us with an evolutionary crisis: Who are we? What kind of Universe do we live in? Where are we going? Because we are confronting the limits of the Earth’s ecosystem to carry the burden of humanity, we are also confronting our assumptions about the nature of the Universe and our evolutionary journey. Do we continue our rapid march into materialism, grounded in the assumption that we live in a Universe that is indifferent to humanity and comprised mostly of dead matter and empty space? Or do we open to a transforming insight from the combined wisdom of science and the world’s spiritual traditions: The Universe is not dead at its foundations but is profoundly alive, and we humans are an integral part of that larger aliveness? In the words of Plato, “The Universe is a single living creature that contains all living creatures within it.” Life within life within life. Our view of the Universe profoundly impacts how we live in the world. If we think we live in a Universe that is comprised of non-living particles without meaning and purpose, then it makes sense to exploit that which is dead on behalf of ourselves, the most visibly alive. Alternatively, if we have direct experiences of connecting with the aliveness in nature and the world around us, then it is natural to respect and care for the countless expressions of aliveness. These are two radically different ways of looking at the Universe and, in turn, produce dramatically different views of our identity and evolutionary journey. This leads to a startling conclusion: The most urgent challenge facing humanity is not climate change, or species extinction, or unsustainable population growth; rather, it is how we understand the Universe and our intimate relationship within it. Our deepest choices for the future emerge from this core understanding. At the Evolutionary Crossroads How have we come to such a critical crossroads in our evolutionary journey? First, in the last several hundred years, we have been spectacularly successful 32

in exploiting the abundance of the Earth’s resources to create a short period of unprecedented material prosperity for a minority of the Earth’s population. This burst of affluence emerged from a worldview described as “scientific materialism,” which regards the Universe as unaware of and indifferent to human existence in the unthinking and unfeeling dance of dead particles in a cosmic system without purpose or meaning. Second, based on this worldview, we have been consuming the Earth’s resources far beyond her rates of regeneration. Short-term material prosperity is being gained at the cost of long-term ecological ruin. As Wendell Berry reminds us, nature “has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” We are creating by our own hand a long-term future that is unforgivingly inhospitable for advancing human civilization. We are now being compelled by circumstances to come together—collectively and rapidly—to cope with profound climate disruption, massive human migrations, unsustainable population growth, critical shortages of key resources such as water, the threatened extinction of nearly half of all animal and plant species, and much more. As world-changing trends of enormous magnitude converge and amplify one another, the people of Earth will confront the unyielding reality that, unless we wake up and work together, we have only the legacy of a grievously wounded Earth and impoverished future to leave to our children and grandchildren. We require a new pathway ahead and are reminded of Einstein’s famous words that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” We are moving through a perilous phase of planetary transition. Will we have the species-wisdom to make deep, structural changes in our manner of living and turn toward a more sustainable future? If not, the alternatives are the collapse and even extinction of human civilizations. It is unwise to be complacent about the possibility of collapse, as this has happened numerous times throughout history. More than 20 major civilizations have collapsed over the millennia, including the empires of the Romans, Mayans, Aztecs, Easter Islanders, Anasazi, Mesopotamians, and the Soviets. Importantly, many examples of collapse involve climate change as a key, contributing factor. Although collapse has occurred numerous times in the past, today is different in one crucial respect: There are no frontiers left. The circle has closed. The entire world has become a single, integrated system—economically, ecologically, and socially. Never before has the entire planet been at risk of collapse and taking all the world’s civilizations down at the same time. Humanity has never before experienced the collapse of an embryonic but truly global civilization such as exists today. Our time of planetary transition is truly a great transition, unprecedented in human history and deeply formative in shaping the long-range future. To move swiftly through this perilous time of planetary transition requires unprecedented breakthroughs in how we live and relate to one another. Yet, cooperation will be difficult in a world that is unraveling and where most people are coping with chronic, planetaryscale, traumatic stresses. A natural tendency is for people to separate and seek islands of safety to ride out the disruptive storms of transition that are beginning to blow through the world. However, if we pull apart and seek our personal security by retreating from the world and isolating ourselves, then systemic problems are certain to escalate and produce the very future of ruinous collapse we most fear. The Remarkable Invitation Being unflinchingly realistic, it does not seem likely we will turn away from our current path of separation—with its growing inequities, overconsumption of resources, and deep injury to the Earth—unless we discover a pathway into the future that is so truly remarkable, transformative, and welcoming that we are drawn together by the magnitude and promise of its invitation. Just in time, that pathway is being revealed by insights converging from science and the world’s wisdom traditions. We are discovering 33

that, instead of struggling for meaning and a miracle of survival in a dead Universe, we are being invited to learn and grow forever in the deep ecologies of a living Universe. To step into the invitation of learning to live in a living Universe represents a journey so extraordinary that it calls us to transcend the wounds of history and begin a process of healing and reconciliation to realize a remarkable future we can only attain together. The Nature of Our Cosmic Home In contemplating a great turn toward this new pathway of evolution, it is important to ask: Is the Universe truly as Plato described—“a single living creature” that contains all living creatures within it? Seeing the Universe as a super-organism with a permeating aliveness is not new—this was humanity’s basic understanding for tens of thousands of years until gradually replaced by the worldview of scientific materialism roughly 300 years ago. Since then, the scientific community has been employing its ever more powerful tools to explore the nature of reality and has discovered a Universe of astonishing depth and subtlety. In turn, the ancient intuition of a living Universe is now being reconsidered freshly, as science cuts away superstition to reveal the cosmos as a place of unexpected wonder, depth, and sophistication. Here are six key attributes emerging from science and cosmology that point toward a living Universe: 1. A Unified Whole: In the last several decades, scientific experiments have repeatedly confirmed “non-locality” and the discovery that the Universe is a deeply unified system at the quantum level that communicates with itself instantly across impossibly vast distances. To illustrate, at the speed of light, it takes more than eight minutes for a photon to travel from the sun to the Earth and more than 14 billion years to travel across our visible Universe. Yet, quantum physics demonstrates these unimaginably vast distances are traversed and transcended, instantaneously, in the quantum realm. Science no longer views the Universe as a disconnected collection of planets, stars, and fragments of matter. Instead, the Universe is fully unified and connected with itself at every moment. In the words of the physicist David Bohm, the Universe is “an undivided wholeness in flowing movement.” 2. Empty Space is Not Empty: For centuries, scientists thought empty space was “empty.” Recently, scientists have discovered that an extraordinary amount of background energy permeates the Universe! This invisible energy accounts for an estimated 96 percent of the known Universe. In turn, the entire visible Universe—atoms, people, planets, stars, and galaxies—constitutes only 4 percent of the total Universe. Two kinds of invisible energy are known to exist: dark matter (a contractive force) accounts for roughly 23 percent of the invisible Universe, and dark energy (an expansive force) accounts for approximately 73 percent of the Universe. We are immersed within a vast sea of largely invisible, subtle, but astonishingly powerful energies, with an array of capacities we are only beginning to discover and understand. 3. A Co-Arising Universe: At every moment, the entire Universe is emerging freshly as a singular orchestration of cosmic expression. There is one grand symphony in which we are all players, a single creative expression emerging freshly at each moment—a Uni-verse. While an evolving Universe provides a stunning narrative of “horizontal” unfolding across time, the insight of an emerging Universe adds the “vertical” dimension of the Universe continuously arising in time. Despite outward appearances of solidity and stability, the Universe is a completely dynamic system. Nothing endures. All is flow. In the words of the cosmologist Brian Swimme, “The Universe emerges out of an all-nourishing abyss not only fourteen billion years ago but in every moment.”2 4. Consciousness at Every Scale: Scientists are finding evidence for consciousness or a knowing capacity throughout the Universe. From the atomic level to the galactic scale, a self-organizing, centering capacity is at work that is fitting for each scale. In turn, the capacity for centering self-organization points to the presence of some level of knowing consciousness. The physicist and cosmologist Freeman Dyson writes that, at the atomic level, “It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some 34

extent inherent in every electron.”3 This does not mean that an atom has the same consciousness as a human being, but rather that an atom has a reflective capacity appropriate to its form and function. Max Planck, developer of quantum theory, stated, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”4 An ecology of consciousness permeates the Universe. 5. Freedom at the Foundations: Quantum physics describes reality in terms of probabilities, not certainties. This means that uncertainty and freedom are built into the very foundations of existence. No individual part of the cosmos determines the functioning of the whole; rather, everything is interconnected with everything else, weaving the cosmos into one vast interacting system. In turn, it is the consistency of interrelations of all the parts that determines the condition of the continuously emerging whole. We therefore have great freedom to act within the limits established by the larger web of life. 6. Able to Reproduce Itself: A vital capacity for any living system is the ability to reproduce itself. A widespread view in cosmology is that our Universe may reproduce itself through the functioning of black holes, which represents the seeds from which a new Universe can blossom and grow. Physicist John Gribbin writes, “Instead of a black hole representing a one-way journey to nowhere, many researchers now believe that it is a one-way journey to somewhere—to a new expanding Universe in its own set of dimensions.”5 Given the presence of billions of black holes in our Universe, there could be countless other cosmic systems continuously being born by “budding off” from our Universe through the birth canal of black holes. Gribbin writes that Universes are not only alive; they also evolve as do other living systems: “Universes that are “successful” are the ones that leave the most offspring.”6 The idea that there have been countless Universes evolving through time is not new. A precursor can be found from 1779 when David Hume wrote, “Many worlds might have been botched and bungled, throughout an eternity, ere this system was struck out; much labour lost, many fruitless trials made; and a slow, but continued improvement carried on during infinite ages in the art of world-making.”7

When we bring these attributes together, a clearer picture of our remarkable Universe comes into focus. As a provisional paradigm, the most meaningful description of our Universe seems to be that of a living, cosmic hologram—a unified super-organism that is continuously regenerated at each moment and whose essential nature includes consciousness or a knowing capacity that enables systems at every scale of existence to center themselves and exercise some measure of freedom of choice. In addition, the Universe appears able to reproduce itself via black holes within a vastly larger cosmic garden or multi-verse where our Universe is but one among countless others. Overall, the vision of our Universe emerging from science is that of a magnificent super-organism evolving in complexity and consciousness. We are completely immersed within this regenerative, holographic universe. How the Wisdom Traditions Regard the Universe How does the emerging, scientific view of a living Universe fit with the originating insights of the world’s major wisdom traditions? Is there a place of meeting in their respective views? Despite their many differences, when we penetrate the depths of the world’s major spiritual traditions, a stunning understanding about the Universe emerges that is in accord with insights from the frontiers of science: We live within a living Universe that arises, moment by moment, as an undivided whole in an unutterably vast process of awesome precision and power. The following quotes illustrate how this remarkable understanding is expressed across the world’s major religions (excerpted from my book, The Living Universe): 35

Christian: “God is creating the entire Universe, fully and totally, in this present now. Everything God created…God creates now all at once.”8 – Meister Eckhart, Christian mystic Islam: “You have a death and a return in every moment…Every moment the world is renewed, but we, in seeing its continuity of appearance, are unaware of its being renewed.”9 – Rumi, 13th century Sufi teacher and poet Buddhist: “My solemn proclamation is that a new Universe is created every moment.”10 – D.T. Suzuki, Zen teacher and scholar Hindu: “The entire Universe contributes incessantly to your existence. Hence the entire Universe is your body.”11 – Sri Nisargadatta, Hindu teacher Taoist: “The Tao is the sustaining Life-force and the mother of all things; from it, all things rise and fall without cease.”12 – Tao Te Ching Indigenous: “…there was no such thing as emptiness in the world. Even in the sky there were no vacant places. Everywhere there was life, visible and invisible…”13 – Luther Standing Bear, Lakota elder Beneath the differences in language, a common vision is being described. The Universe is continuously emerging as a fresh creation at every moment. All point to this same, extraordinary insight. The Universe is not static, nor is its continuation assured. Instead, the Universe is like a cosmic hologram that is being continuously upheld and renewed at every instant.14 A universal encouragement found across the world’s wisdom traditions is to live in the “NOW.” This core insight has a clear basis in physics: The present moment is

the place of direct connection with the entire Universe as it arises continuously. Each moment is a fresh formation of the Universe, emerging seamlessly and flawlessly. When we are in the present moment, we are literally riding the wave of continuous creation of the cosmos—reality surfing. A Living Universe in Everyday Human Experience How does a living Universe perspective fit with our everyday human experience? If the unity of existence is not an experience to be created but an always-manifesting condition waiting to be appreciated, then how widespread is this experience in people’s lives? Do many people experience the everyday world around ourselves as “alive?” Scientific surveys give us insight into this key question: A global survey involving 7,000 youths in 17 countries was taken in 2008. It found that 75 percent believe in a “higher power,” and a majority say they have had a transcendent experience, believe in life after death, and think it is “probably true” that all living things are connected.15 These views are in accord with a paradigm of aliveness. We can secure further insight from scientific surveys conducted in the United States that show a measurable transformation in mainstream consciousness is underway. 36

In 1962, a survey of the adult population in the US found that 22 percent reported having a profound experience of communion with the Universe. By 2009, the percentage of the population reporting a “mystical experience” had grown dramatically to 49 percent of the adult population.16 In a national survey of the US in 2014, nearly 60 percent of adults reported they regularly feel a deep sense of “spiritual peace and wellbeing,” and 46 percent say they experience a deep sense of “wonder about the Universe” at least once a week.17 A 2002, national Gallup survey asked respondents to rate the statement “I have had a profound religious experience or awakening that changed the direction of my life.” A stunning 41 percent of Americans (about 80 million adults at the time) said the statement completely applies to them.18 These surveys show that experiences of profound communion with the aliveness of the Universe are not a fringe phenomenon but, instead, are familiar encounters for a large portion of the public. Humanity is measurably waking up to a bio-cosmic view of ourselves within the Universe. Awakening to an intimate connection with the unity and intelligent aliveness of the Universe is often accompanied by feelings of great joy, boundless love, and the presence of a subtle, radiant light. To illustrate, below is a classic account of a spontaneous awakening experience. While an undergraduate student, F.C. Happold had this experience of communion with the permeating aliveness of the Universe: “There was just the room, with its shabby furniture and the fire burning in the grate and the red-shaded lamp on the table. But the room was filled by a Presence, which in a strange way was both about me and within me, like light or warmth. I was overwhelmingly possessed by Someone who was not myself, and yet I felt I was more myself than I had ever been before. I was filled with an intense happiness and almost unbearable joy, such as I had never known before and have never known since. And over all was a deep sense of peace and security and certainty.”19 Turning from spontaneous awakening to the intentional exploration of consciousness, for more than two thousand years, pioneering individuals have been investing their lives in solitude and sustained meditation to investigate directly the nature of reality. What these explorers of consciousness have discovered is not a grey, machine-like hum of a non-living Universe but, instead, an ocean of unbounded love, light, and creative intelligence whose nature is beyond the reach of words.20 When our personal aliveness becomes transparent to the aliveness of the living Universe, awakening experiences of wonder and awe emerge naturally. As we open into the cosmic dimensions of our being, we feel more at home, less self-absorbed, more empathy for others, and an increased desire to be of service to life. These shifts in perspective are immensely valuable for building a sustainable future. Humanity’s awakening is being further accelerated by virtual reality technologies that immerse people in alternative worlds of experience and expand how we think about the “ordinary world” around us. Inexpensive headsets with a computer interface are making immersive experiences in alternative realities widely available for education, medicine, games, urban planning, and much more. In a simulation, nothing real “really” exists—except as a computer program, and yet, when we put on a VR headset, within seconds our sensory experiences feel incredibly real. What is “reality”? By directly experiencing our immersion within an alternative reality that feels real to our senses, our curiosity can be awakened regarding the reality of our everyday experience. Virtual reality technologies are an evolutionary catalyst, awakening mainstream cultures to viewing the Universe as a continuously refreshed, cosmic hologram that can be known consciously and directly because we are an integral expression of it. As these diverse streams of awakening converge, they are forming a river of wisdom that is transforming global consciousness and culture.


Our Bio-Cosmic Identity and Evolutionary Journey Powerful trends are converging to awaken the paradigm of a living Universe in mainstream global culture: astonishing new attributes of the Universe from scientific discoveries, confirming insights from the world’s wisdom traditions, measurable growth in awakening experiences from around the world, accelerated learning through virtual reality technologies, and much more. What does this combined wisdom tell us about our identity and evolutionary journey? 1. Bio-Cosmic Identity: From a living Universe perspective, our identity is immeasurably larger than our biological selves. Recall from cosmology that 96 percent of the known universe is comprised of invisible energy. We are an inseparable part of the known universe, which means that 96 percent of who we are consists of invisible energy. The 4 percent of who we are is manifest in our physical biology and the remaining 96 percent is manifest as invisible energies. We are vastly more than a skin-encapsulated being. Our biological existence is inseparable from the larger aliveness of the living Universe. Seeing ourselves as part of the fabric of creation awakens our sense of connection with and compassion for the totality of life. Cosmologist Brian Swimme explains that the intimate sense of self-awareness we experience bubbling up at each moment “is rooted in the originating activity of the Universe. We are all of us arising together at the center of the cosmos.” We once thought that we were no bigger than our physical bodies, but now we are discovering that we are deeply connected participants in the continuous co-arising of the entire Universe. Awakening to our larger identity as both unique and inseparably connected with a co-arising Universe transforms feelings of existential separation into experiences of subtle communion as bio-cosmic beings. We are far richer, deeper, more complex, and more alive than we ever thought. To discover this in our direct experience is to enter a new age of exploration and discovery. 2. Cosmic Purpose: To be born as a human being is a rare and precious gift. Our bodies are biodegradable vehicles for acquiring soul-growing experiences. As compostable conduits for channeling learning experiences, our bodies are the current expressions of a creative aliveness that, after nearly 14 billion years, enables the Universe to look back and reflect upon itself. While we have the gift of a body to anchor our experience, it is important to recognize our bio-cosmic nature. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, “Take heed of the Living One while you’re alive, lest you die and seek to see Him and be unable to do so.” An ancient Greek saying speaks even more directly, “Light your candle before night overtakes you.” If the Universe were non-living at its foundations, it would take a miracle to save us from extinction at the time of death, and then to take us from here to a heaven (or promised land) of continuing aliveness. However, if the Universe is alive, then we are already nested and growing within its aliveness. When our physical body dies, the life-stream that we are makes its passage to a fitting home in the larger ecology of aliveness. We don’t need a miracle to save us—we are already inside the miracle of sustaining aliveness. Instead of being saved from death, our job is to bring mindful attention to our ever-emerging aliveness in the here and now. We are shifting from seeing ourselves as accidental creations wandering through a lifeless cosmos without meaning or purpose to seeing ourselves engaged in a sacred journey of discovery in a Universe with stunning depth and richness of purpose. An old saying goes, “A dead man tells no stories.” In a similar way, “A dead Universe tells no stories.” In contrast, a living Universe is itself a vast story continuously unfolding with countless characters playing out gripping dramas of awakening, inseparable from the artistry of world-making. The Universe is a living, unfolding creation. Saint Teresa of Avila saw this when she wrote, “The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.” If we see ourselves as participants in a cosmic garden of life that has been growing patiently over billions of years, then we feel invited to shift from feelings of indifference, fear, and separation to feelings of curiosity, love, and participation. In the words of Annemarie Schimmel, “Once the journey to God is finished, the infinite journey in God begins.” 3. Natural Ethics: If we are no more than biological entities, then it makes sense to think we could disconnect ourselves from the suffering of the rest of life. However, if we are all swimming in the same ocean of subtle aliveness, then it is understandable that we each have some measure of direct experience of being in communion with the larger fabric of life. Because we share the same matrix of existence, the totality of life is already touching each of us and co-creating the field of aliveness within which we exist. A


felt ethics emerges from our intuitive connection with the living Universe in the form of a “moral tuning fork.” We can each tune into the non-local field of life and sense what is in harmony with the wellbeing of the whole. When we are in alignment, we experience a warm, positive hum of wellbeing as a kinesthetic sense that we may call “compassion.” In a similar way, we can also experience the dissonant hum of discordance and dissatisfaction. In recognizing we can contribute with discernment to the unfolding story of cosmic evolution, we shift from a sense of existential disconnection to feelings of intimate communion with and regard for all that exists. 4. Sustainable Living: If a top priority is growing our experience of aliveness, then it is only natural for us to choose ways of living that afford greater time and opportunity to develop the areas of our lives where we feel most alive—investing our time in nature, nurturing relationships, caring communities, creative expressions, and service to others. In seeing the Universe as alive, we naturally shift our priorities from an “ego economy” based upon consuming deadness to a “living economy” based upon growing aliveness. An aliveness economy seeks to touch life more lightly while generating an abundance of meaning and satisfaction. Aliveness is the only true wealth. 5. Eco-Villages and New Communities: In turbulent times, it is natural to look for the familiarity and safety of “home.” But what does “home” mean in our time of profound, global change? Is home a familiar dwelling? Or is home a visceral and intuitive feeling that we have deep inside? For many, home is a feeling of safety, acceptance just as you are, and a sense of belonging. We also have the feeling of being home when we are deeply relaxed within ourselves and making meaningful contributions to the wellbeing of those around us. With this as a guide, we can anticipate that, as the old world breaks down economically, socially, and environmentally, new searches for “home” are underway—and this is leading many to search for new kinds of community. As the world unravels, smaller communities can provide lifeboats of resilience and belonging to weather the storms of transition. Communities of the scale of a “village” (roughly one or two hundred people) are small enough to support a rich array of personal relationships and large enough to support a vibrant micro-economy and diverse social activities. Large-scale breakdowns will produce local breakthroughs in patterns of living. Cities can be decentralized rapidly into thousands of relatively self-reliant and highly resilient “eco-villages,” each with distinctive adaptations of architecture, culture, and expressions of sustainability. Common to most would be a child-care facility and play area, a common house of some kind (for community meetings, celebrations, and regular meals together), a community garden, a recycling and composting area, solar energy systems, a bit of open space, and a workshop. Each could offer a variety of services to the surrounding eco-villages as well—for example, organic gardening, green building, conflict resolution, health care, home schooling, elder care, and so on. Ecovillages could replace the alienating and insecure landscape of massive urban regions with countless, small islands of sanity, security, and resilient community. The culture and consciousness of each village could be unique while the orienting context of living lightly in a living universe could be shared by a majority. Awakening to our conscious connection with the living Universe naturally expands our scope of concern and compassion—and brightens the prospect of working together to build a sustainable future. However, making the turn from separation to connection does not end our journey of learning. As we discover the astonishing depths and subtlety of the Universe, we recognize we have as much to learn on our journey of return as we have on our long journey of separation. This is humbling news. Instead of the current era representing the pinnacle of human evolution, we appear to be approaching a mid-way point in the journey of awakening as we turn from separation toward community and cooperation. We still have far to go and much to learn to reach our initial maturity as a dynamically stable, species-civilization. Humanity’s Choice Our first task as a human community is to recognize the remarkable choice directly before us. On the one hand, if we regard the Universe as dead at its foundations, then feelings of existential alienation, anxiety, dread, and fear are understandable. Why seek communion with the cold indifference of lifeless matter and empty space? If we relax into a dead Universe, we will simply sink into existential despair, so better to live on the surface of life. On the other hand, if we live in a living Universe, then feelings of subtle connection, curiosity, and gratitude are natural. When we see ourselves as participants in a cosmic garden of life that has been developing patiently over billions of years, our regard for the universe shifts from indifference, fear, and cynicism to curiosity, love, and awe. Humanity’s future pivots on which understanding prevails and the choices that naturally follow. 39

The well-being of humanity and the Earth depends upon this generation waking up, growing up, and moving from our adolescence into our early adulthood as a species, thereby establishing a new relationship with nature, other humans, and the living Universe. If we do not welcome the miracle of life around us and within us, the alternative seems likely to be our effective extinction as a species. Climate chaos, sea level rise, mass migrations, species extinction, and more are accelerating and moving past critical tipping points, producing irreversible changes to the Earth and making humanity’s turn toward a sustainable future immensely more difficult. Would we choose ruin over life? As unthinkable as it may be, it seems painfully realistic to conclude that unless the great diversity of humanity can find an awe-inspiring bridge to a compelling future that is grounded in a commonly felt experience of tremendous, untapped evolutionary potential, we will not have the soulful motivation needed to turn from separation and survival to community and co-evolution. Our situation is unprecedented: We are being pushed by Earth-sized ecological necessity and pulled by Universe-sized evolutionary opportunity. If we lose sight of where we are (living within a living Universe), we profoundly diminish our understanding of who we are (beings of both biological and cosmic dimensions) and the journey we are on (learning to live within the depths of cosmic aliveness). Ultimately, in learning to live in a living Universe, we are learning to live in the deep ecology of existence—in eternity. This is such an astonishing call to our soulful nature from the deep compassion of a living Universe that we would be spiritual fools to ignore this invitation whose value is beyond price or measure. We are in an early, “establishing phase” of conscious evolution where we are just beginning to recognize ourselves in the mirror of reflective consciousness. Although the Universe has been growing us through countless lifetimes, only now are we waking up to who and what we truly are. As we use the Internet and social media to collectively witness our planetary journey, it is helpful to view the path as a reflexive loop that turns back upon itself. We are in the process of realizing our self-given name as a species: Homo sapiens sapiens or the being that “knows that it knows.” In becoming “doubly wise,” we turn the knowing faculty back upon itself and, ultimately, become aware that we are awareness itself—an invisible knowing-presence at the foundations of the living Universe. As the push of outer necessity meets the pull of untapped inner capacity, humanity is beginning to awaken. And yet, adversity trends such as radical climate change are accelerating so rapidly there is a real danger that humanity’s responses could prove to be too little and too late—and we may veer off into a new dark age. If we are distracted and in denial and overlook the urgency and importance of the great transition now underway, we will miss a unique, never-to-be-repeated, evolutionary opportunity. Each generation is asked to make sacrifices for the next, to be a caretaker for the future. This generation is being pushed by an injured Earth and pulled by a welcoming Universe to make a monumental gift to humanity’s future: working together with equanimity and maturity to consciously realize our bio-cosmic potential and purpose of learning to live in a living Universe. Footnotes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Published in Kosmos Journal, Fall/Winter, 2017. This essay was developed for the “Global Purpose Movement” ( and is adapted from my forthcoming book, Humanity’s Journey Home: We Are Bio-Cosmic Beings Learning to Live in a Living Universe. Swimme, B. (1996). The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos (p.100). New York: Orbis Books. Dyson, F. (1988). Infinite in All Directions (p. 297). New York: Harper & Row. Planck, M. (1931). The Observer. Gribbin, J. (1993). In the Beginning: The Birth of the Living Universe (p. 244). New York: Little Brown and Co. Ibid, p. 252. Hume, D. (year). Critique of the design argument. Available at Fox, M. (1983). Meditations with Meister Eckhart (p. 24). Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Co. See, for example, Barks, C. (1995). The Essential Rumi, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. Suzuki, D.T. (1970). Zen and Japanese Culture (p. 364). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Maharaj, S.N. (1973). I Am That. Part I (trans., Maurice Frydman; p. 289). Bombay, India: Chetana. Lao Tsu, (1972). Tao Te Ching (trans. Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English). New York: Vintage Books. Luther Standing Bear, quoted in Brown, J.E., (1973). Modes of contemplation through actions: North American Indians. In Main Currents in Modern Thought (p. 194). New York, November-December, 1973, p. 194. The view of our universe as a “cosmic hologram” is described in a recent book by Jude Currivan, The Cosmic Hologram, Vermont: Inner Traditions (2017). Also, see Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe, New York: Harper (1992; 1st ed.). Roehlkepartain, E.C., Benson, P.L., Scales, P.C., Kimball, L., & King, P.E. (2008). With Their Own Voices: A Global Exploration of How Today’s Young People Experience and Think about Spiritual Development. Search Institute, Also, see article by Jane Lampman in the November 6, 2008 edition of the Christian Science Monitor. Greeley, A., & McCready, W. (1975, January 26). Are We a Nation of Mystics?, New York Times Magazine. Pew Research Center. (2015). U.S. public becoming less religious. Retrieved from George Gallup Jr., “Religious Awakenings Bolster Americans’ Faith,” Gallup Organization, January 14, 2003. Happold, F.C. (1975). quoted in: Greeley and McCready, op. cit., January 26, 1975. See, for example, descriptions of the generative source of the Universe; The Living Universe, op. cit., pp. 86-89.

Duane Elgin is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and social visionary who looks beneath the surface turbulence of our times to explore the deeper trends that are transforming our world. In 2006, Duane received the International Goi Peace Award in Japan in recognition of his contribution to a global “vision, consciousness, and lifestyle” that fosters a “more sustainable and spiritual culture.” He is the executive director of a project that has brought together more than a dozen “Great Transition Stories” that offer new cultural narratives for our collective imagination and that can serve help guide us toward a sustainable and meaningful future. He is now developing a growing number of collaborations with organizations in business, film and media, colleges and universities, and more. His books include: The Living Universe: Where Are We? Who Are We? Where Are We Going? (2009); Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future (2000), Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich (2010, 1993 and 1981), and Awakening Earth: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness (1993). With Joseph Campbell and other scholars he co-authored the book Changing Images of Man (1982). In addition, Duane has contributed numerous book chapters, articles, and blog posts. As a speaker, Duane has given more than 300 keynotes and workshops with audiences ranging from business executives and civic groups to churches and college students. For more please see


Normalizing the Non-Ordinary: Developing Evolutionary Resilience By Julie Krull

When writing a speech on resilience a few weeks ago, I referred to the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study and began thinking about today’s cultural and political adversity and wholesystems breakdown occurring on the planet. This time of radical transformation can feel alarming and catastrophic. We are surely adding new, never-before-seen stressors and adversities. I began pondering, how can we co-create resilience in times of conscious evolution? The ACE Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to measure the relationship between childhood trauma and later health and well-being. These adverse experiences include physical, sexual and emotional abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse and mental illness in the home, parental separation or divorce, and an incarcerated household member. The more adverse experiences, the higher the risk. When confronted with trauma, some kids adapt, while others develop chronic health and behavior challenges. The science of resilience points to one common antidote: every child who does well has had at least one stable and committed rela­tionship with a supportive adult. Resilience is not about mental toughness, grit or even genetics; it’s about relationship. Relationship and connection foster resilience—and the more connections the better the outcome. Herein lies a directive for our collective resilience during times of adversity. We are wired for connection. Our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food, water and shelter. Connection


is essential to survival. Our inherent wholeness is coded in our DNA. This includes our connection with Earth, the Divine, Creation and the Cosmos. I was one of those at-risk kids. I experienced all but one of the adverse experiences. Yet, I credit my resilience to an interconnected reality. An early childhood Near-Death Experience (NDE) at the age of four altered how I perceived myself, the world, and my place in it. Continued mystical, transpersonal experiences, and Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness, created the conditions where I transcended the effects of early childhood trauma. I experienced myself belonging to a much greater, cosmic whole. I tried telling my story during my teen years. However, my community of faith wasn’t open or ready to witness and hear me. One pastor cautioned me not to get “too caught up in New Age thinking.” Two others responded with benign, glazed-over looks of apathy and disregard. The conversations went nowhere. It didn’t feel safe to tell my story and it seeded a perennial sense of “otherness.” Many young people and adults are waking up, having NonOrdinary experiences. The number of reported NDE’s are up. Western culture has been influenced by indigenous and shamanic traditions and eastern meditative practices. Evolutionary leaders are developing models and practices of collective consciousness and heightened flow states. Therefore, spiritual, organizational, conscious business, and evolutionary leaders of all types,

must step up and normalize the non-ordinary as part of the evolutionary shift. The medicine of the mystics can dispel the illusion of separation. Spiritual practice can help us embody and express inherent unity. We need safe spaces to share our experiences. It is time to cut through the noise, density and distraction of outdated cultural myths to create a coherent message of hope. Our unified voice must lead an emergent, immersive exploration into our multi-dimensional reality. Whether we see it as the Unified Field or Creative Source—believe scientific evidence or spiritual truth—the convergence of science and spirituality opens a powerful portal, inviting us to normalize the non-ordinary and take a collective leap of consciousness. At this time of unprecedented complexity and chaos, new discoveries in science are providing an opportunity to consciously upgrade our fragmented worldview and understand the true nature of reality that indigenous cultures and Wisdom Traditions have taught for thousands of years. Expanding our worldview can elicit a natural resilience, greater health, endless connection, deeper purpose, and unlimited potential. Each of us can experience our unique place and understand ourselves as whole beings contributing to and in service of a greater whole. A whole worldview up-levels our capacity for resilience. What more can we do? ·

Teach and experience resonance, coherence, emergence, wholeness and unity


Teach and experience ourselves as consciousness, informing and co-creating


Trust the Impulse of Creation that moves through everything


Evolve language, memes and new cultural narratives


Share resources to actualize our collective purpose


Come together in communities of shared practice


Find courage to tell our personal stories and normalize the Non-Ordinary

As we inspire resilience, we eradicate the fragmented consciousness and limiting worldviews that are the systemic, root causes of adversity. As we work together to evolve our worldview, we will inspire all people—young and older, make them feel valued and safe, help them see the bigger picture, and feel connected to the whole cosmos. In doing so, we will grow to be healthy, engaged global citizens, evolving the world for the good of the whole.

Dr. Julie is a steward of the new earth, midwifing the evolution of consciousness and a whole worldview. Her 30-year career as an intuitive, integrative health practitioner/psychotherapist has influenced her work with evolutionary leaders and change-makers—cocreating connections that inspire individual, collective and planetary healing. Her authentic, down-to-earth approach invites others to embody their highest creative potential while shifting from ego-centric challenges of separation to a healthier soul-centric flow of resonance and coherence. She is a mentor, speaker, teacher, Soul Care Practitioner, Founding Steward of, radio talk show host of The Dr. Julie Show: All Things Connected, and author of the forthcoming book, Fractured Grace.


A A Bottom-Up Bottom-Up Grand Grand Strategy Strategy to to Reinvent Reinvent the the Planet, Planet, Building Building SecondSecondOrder Order Change Change Capacity Capacity around around the the Five Five Strategic Strategic Levers: Levers: Climate, Climate, Development, Development, Peace, Peace, Knowledge, Knowledge, and and Money Money By David Gershon

“Listen, dear one,” it whispers. “You only think you have forgotten the impossible. Go now, to that marsh beyond Fresh Pond and consider how the red burgeons into crimson; go see how it’s been preparing forever for today.” –Lisa Starr, Rhode Island Poet Laureate A Need to Change, But How? Humanity is at a critical juncture in our evolution. Unless we rapidly change our trajectory as a species, our civilization will unravel. In many parts of the world, this has already begun. The question is how do we change? It’s not like we have not tried. There are many dedicated and heroic change makers pouring their hearts and souls into changing the world, but they struggle to get traction. Yet they keep using the same approaches over and over again. What if the problem was not the world’s unwillingness to change but the approaches we use to bring about change? What if how we thought about social change and what people were capable of achieving was the problem? If we wish to change the world, we need to change the way we think about change. The mindset for a new approach is best described in this provocative Apple ad: “Here’s to the crazy ones. They see things differently. Are not fond of rules. And have no respect for the status quo. While some may see them as the crazy ones…the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do!” These are two questions the crazy ones must ask if we want to change the world: What would a comprehensive strategic plan to reinvent the planet look like? How do we empower those called to change the world with the courage to dream big and provide them the tools to realize their dreams? Reinventing Social Change To answer these questions requires us to better understand the nature of social change, how it is currently practiced, and where an opportunity exists for it to evolve. From a social change point of view, the world is a composite of many social systems. These include financial systems, political systems, health care systems, education systems, etc. These social systems were created at a 43

time when the world was much simpler and easier to navigate. The complexity and discord in the world today has placed multiple stresses on these systems that they were not designed to meet. When a social system is deeply stressed, it becomes unstable and starts to oscillate. This unmoors it from its foundation, and it begins to break down and become marginally functional or dysfunctional. The U.S. political system is the poster child for a broken social system, but other social systems are not far behind. The climate change crisis on the planet is the culmination of multiple broken social systems that are forcing humanity to take a hard look at the dysfunction we have created. When a social system is not tethered to something that keeps it in place, it cannot only break down, it can also break through and evolve to a higher level of performance and social value. In systems theory, this is called second-order change and, in this context, transformative social change. The alternative is first-order change or incremental social change. I call these two approaches to social change “social change 2.0” and “social change 1.0.” Social change 1.0 consists of the traditional social change tools of passing laws, financial incentives, awareness campaigns, and social protest. At their best, which is certainly not the norm, these tools are able to achieve incremental change. In a business-as-usual world, this is how humanity muddles along. Although necessary, this approach to social change is insufficient in a world that requires fundamental transformation in order to avoid what climate scientists fear as species extinction for our social experiment—not to mention in transforming the multitude of social problems that make living on this planet profoundly dehumanizing for so many and which are immune to first-order change solutions. So if you can’t achieve the transformative social change needed on our planet through forcing people to change, paying them to change, raising their awareness in hopes that they will change, or shaming them into changing, what is left? Unfortunately for so many, it is despair, apathy, and pessimism. But what if we could empower people to want to change? What if we could help people tap into their innate desire for a better life, community, and world? What if we could support people to create a vision

of these dreams realized that was so compelling, they were effortlessly pulled toward them? What if we then provided people the tools to attain these dreams? This is empowerment in action! It provides people with the agency that is at the heart of social change 2.0. Changing the Game of Change Over the past four decades, I have been developing second-order change solutions that empower individuals, neighborhoods, organizations, cities, and countries to want to change. Each of these social innovations was designed to transform a highleverage social or environmental issue and, when brought to scale, to have a huge positive impact on the future of humanity. Although I had not realized it at the time, I had intuitively been working on the five strategic levers that could help us achieve the audacious goal of reinventing our planet. As part of this journey I wrote a book called Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World, which provides case studies of these transformative social innovations and a framework for how to implement second-order change solutions around any social issue, particularly those that seem intractable. It turns out I was also creating the blueprint for this reinventingthe-planet plan. With humanity’s urgent need for transformation, these five gamechanging social innovations ready to scale, and a blueprint for scaling them, I believe all systems are go for the impossible to now become possible on our planet. Here’s an overview of this bottom-up grand strategy to reinvent the planet with videos and websites for a deeper dive into each of the five levers. A Strategic Plan of Action Climate: Empower cities and their citizens in high carbon emitting countries with the agency to implement a second-order change solution to climate change. Development: Empower women throughout the developing world with the agency to transform the cycle of poverty and create thriving lives and communities. Peace: Empower humanity with the agency and second-order change tools to create peace on earth by 2030.

Knowledge: Empower visionary social entrepreneurs with the agency and second-order change knowledge to transform the world’s seemingly insoluble problems into the breathtaking opportunities they provide to reinvent the planet. transformative-social-change Money: Empower visionary business, philanthropist, and grassroots investors with the agency to make second-order change investments that literally change the world. password p5 Bringing each of these five strategic levers to scale is a demanding undertaking to say the least. We also find ourselves at a moment in time when the social and environmental stresses are so pronounced that they have become forcing functions to accelerate human evolution. In evolutionary biology, this is called punctuated equilibrium—a time when rapid change suddenly becomes possible. A Path Forward for Our Planet In September 2015, the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 were launched. For the first time in our history as a species, we have created a set of measurable goals that aspires to nothing less then dramatically evolving the experience of humanity on the planet. The world is now searching for the means to implement the magnitude and speed of transformative social change these goals demand. We are simultaneously struggling with the fear that the future these goals seek to create is quickly eluding our grasp. This plan to reinvent the planet provides humanity with a road map, strategies, and tools to simultaneously achieve these global sustainable development goals and manifest our dreams for the world. Regaining control of our destiny transforms the mentality of victimhood and fear so prevalent on our planet into hope and excitement about the future—essential to creating it. This experience of empowerment is radically different from how we have ever lived on the Earth. At the deepest level, developing agency as a human species is the most profound evolutionary change the Reinventing the Planet plan will further. And ultimately what will create the transformation we seek. Reinventing the planet is an idea whose time has come. We can do this! Please join us in the great adventure of our time. Many hands make light work.

David Gershon, Co-Founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute, is one of the world’s foremost experts on empowerment and social change. He applies this expertise to designing second-order change solutions for cities, countries, and the planet that enable the seemingly impossible to become possible. He is author of 12 books, including the award-winning Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World and the best-selling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life As You Want It. He has dedicated his life to empowering humanity to believe we can create the world of our dreams and designing the strategies and tools to help us make this a reality. For more visit


The New York Convergence and UNITY EARTH Liftoff Spur Directions for the Road to 2020 and Caravan of Unity Across America By Kurt Johnson and Shannon Winters

Following on UNITY EARTH’s amazing Toronto Convergence at The Parliament of the World’s Religions in November, a series of Convergence events launched both World Interfaith Harmony Week and UNITY EARTH’s Liftoff for its Road to 2020 vision and the Caravan of Unity across the United States in New York City February 1-5. On Friday, February 1, 120 New York City, regional, and global leaders gathered at the Social Hall of 4 West 43rd St., in downtown Manhattan, for a full day of conceptualization and planning toward the vision of The Road to 2020 and The Caravan of Unity across America (for more on the Road to 2020 click here). Expanding into three synergy circles—Global, United States Caravan, and New York—leaders of several dozen transformational organizations and NGO’s pooled insights on how to plan and coordinate global events through 2019 and 2020. The Road to 2020 includes major events like U Day India and U Day in the Holy Land which lead up to UNITY EARTH hosting a series of events across the United States, including the Caravan of Unity, culminating in a major public event in New York City on the 2020 International Day of Peace (September 21). This is a chance for myriads of individuals and organizations to work together to bring the vision of the values and ideals of the transformational movement—both sacred and secular—to bear on the many challenges and potentials humanity now embraces globally.


On February 2, a gala, multicultural, multigenerational concert and celebration, UNITY EARTH Liftoff launched The Road to 2020 at New York City’s landmark United Palace Theatre. Following on a celebration of First Nations leaders, hundreds of persons joined the celebrations and concert, which featured the 50 foot screen multimedia and live performance of Bella Gaia, contemporary music from Grammy Nominee, Pato Banton and others including Akim Funk Buddha, Kristin Hoffmann, Lyla June, Mystic Voice, William Ruiz and more. February 3-5 saw smaller gatherings marking both ongoing taskings of Road to 2020 teams and excursions to local cultural and sacred sites in the Tri-state (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) area.


The Liftoff was livestreamed by UNITY EARTH’s partners at Synergetic Impact Network Exchange and reached nearly 100,000 shared through over a thousand Facebook pages. A special issue of The Convergence magazine featured the events as did a 90-minute special broadcast on VoiceAmerica. You’ll also find recent updates on the planning for U Day India and U Day in the Holy Land in Issue 3 of The Convergence magazine. We look forward to collaboration with all of you as we head down this amazing, and unfolding, Road to 2020!

UNITY EARTH Liftoff LiveStream 1

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UNITY EARTH Liftoff LiveStream 2






We are ...ONE people ...ONE planet ...One family We are ONE.