P r e s e n t s
Issue 3 - Winter 2019
Waking Up The New York Convergence
Joining the events of The New York Convergence, for the World Interfaith Harmony Week, with a selection of articles on “Waking Up” from our book inspired by the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions
The Convergence Magazine Issue 3 - Winter 2019 “Waking Up: The New York Convergence”
Contributing Editor, Issue 3 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 New Harmonies for a New Beginning Ben Bowler..............................................................................................................................................................................................................5-6
THE NEW YORK CONVERGENCE A Welcome to New York City New York City Community Leaders.................................................................................................................................................................. 7-8 Celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week The United Nations NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns................................................................................9 International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations Denise Scotto........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 10 UNITY EARTH and The World Interfaith Harmony Week The Editors................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 10
SPOTLIGHT ON THE NEW YORK CONVERGENCE A Lift-off Party for Planetary Unity Celebrating Our Connection to Earth, the Cosmos and Each Other.............................. 11-14 Road to 2020 and the CARAVAN OF UNITY Leadership and Visioning Conference...................................................................... 15 Live Stream Ceremony and Launch for the 2019 World Interfaith Harmony Week Jon Ramer................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 15 Featured Co-Sponsor - One Spirit Learning Alliance Rev. Diane Berke..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 16 A Celebration of Spiritual Practice.............................................................................................................................................................. 17-18 Transformation 365: Grounding Unity Awareness through Deep Daily Practice.......................................................................19-20
WAKING UP Celebrating Waking Up Dr. Kurt Johnson, Rev. Shannon Winters and Rick Ulfik................................................................................................................................ 21 A Truly “Inclusive” Spirituality Ken Wilber..........................................................................................................................................................................................................22-29 Science Is Ready to Accept Consciousness Deepak Chopra.................................................................................................................................................................................................. 30-31 Overcoming the Illusion of Separateness Dena Merriam.......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 32 Waking Up and Growing Up Richard Bowell.................................................................................................................................................................................................. 33-34 Linking Up and Creating Synergies with the Non-local Diane Williams................................................................................................................................................................................................... 35-36 Let’s Awaken Together Now Loch Kelly........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 37-38 At the Core Kristin Hoffmann............................................................................................................................................................................................... 39-40
UPDATES FROM UNITY EARTH U Day Festival INDIA 2019 Land of Spiritual Harmony Yanni Maniates................................................................................................................................................................................................... 41-42 U Day 2020 Holy Land Ben Bowler............................................................................................................................................................................................................... 43
Welcome from the Editors We are so happy to be welcoming you to The New York Convergence “Waking Up” issue of The Convergence magazine. The New York Convergence events from late January into February—for the World Interfaith Harmony Week—follow on nearly two years and global events and media initiatives from UNITY EARTH and its many 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 might 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, to 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 by whatever date we choose—2020, 2025, 2030, etc. From our visioning and leadership meeting in New York City on February 1, to our concert and celebration at New York’s landmark United Palace theatre on February 2, we plan to join with thousands of others and make a “joyful noise.” This special issue of The Convergence magazine joins the work above with prominent messages from our contribution to the Parliament of the World’s Religions, our book Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up and Lifting Up. These include, below, Ken Wilber’s Introduction to the book, and messages from other diverse global transformational leaders. The magazine issue is joined also with a special program on VoiceAmerica, airing January 23 on UNITY EARTH’s Convergence Radio “The Convergence” Series. It is hosted by many of the leaders also featured in the articles in The Convergence magazine. (click here) We hope that you find this landscape of ambitious Being and Doing as inspiring and uplifting as we have in bringing it together. Let’s continue to “cluster up” and create this world of cooperation, synergy, and co-creation. We salute all of those in the world who are doing likewise! Let’s all work together to make The New York Convergence, and the upcoming events of The Road to 2020—like the Caravan of Unity Across America—a resounding success.
~ Dr. Kurt Johnson, Contributing Editor
~ Rev. Shannon Winters, Managing Editor 4
New Harmonies for a New Beginning
by Ben Bowler, Executive Director, UNITY EARTH
e are officially halfway along the Road to 2020. Since launching the Global Road to 2020 with much song and great ceremony at the United Nation’s Tillman Chapel in October 2016 we have now held events across the world from Australia to Ethiopia, Colorado, India, Israel and Toronto. Along this journey many new relationships have been established, developed and deepened. UNITY EARTH now has friends, partners, supporters and members right across the planet. All this activity has been great training and experience for our UNITY EARTH family with each event preparing us for the next stage of the journey. Now we look ahead to Convergence NYC and UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF at the United Palace on February 2nd, 2019 and beyond that to U Day India (November 2019) and U Day Holy Land (December 2020).
One thing is for sure, wherever this is taking us, we won’t get there by acting in isolation. This great work cannot be carried out by any one group or one organization, cannot be driven by any one cause no matter how urgent or how righteous. The only way we can collectively build a movement significant enough to affect the course of history is by building a unprecedented coalition of activism right across the spectrum from sacred to secular. We must artfully and intentionally build alliances between the ecological movements, the social justice movements and the spiritual/religious movements including interfaith. And most urgently we must bring the power and credibility of mainstream institutions of education, commerce, art, science and religion together with the creative energy of the cultural fringe which is throbbing with vitality, new ideas and evolutionary potential. In essence we need to bring into relationship elements that have not
Despite all this great momentum we have to ask the question what is it going to take, really going to take, to build a global movement of substance that can positively move the needle on the human evolutionary journey and help steer us all towards a better world, a culture of peace and justice, ecological sustainability and what we at UNITY EARTH refer to as a worldwide spiritual culture?
been much attracted to each other but now need one another like never before– we need to orchestrate new harmonies for a new beginning. The mainstream often doesn’t see innovation coming from left field and generally mistrusts the flightiness of the cultural-creative fringe. The visionary independent fringe mistrusts the complex and often veiled vested interests and viscosity of the mainstream
institutions, often seeing institutions themselves as part of “the problem” rather than part of the solution. Both of these perspectives of wary suspicion are grounded in some reality! The mainstream institutions can be intellectually snobby, looking down their long proverbial nose at unproven innovations rising at the fringe of their particular fields. And many independent activist groups, whether spiritual or secular, can be erratic, unsustainable, short-lived and often end up being largely irrelevant to the Big Picture. So we have our work cut out. And yet, without being able to bring these diverse elements together we simply cannot “growthhack” our way to scale and effectively and efficiently achieve escape velocity from the inertia and gravity of our current cultural milieu of fear, selfishness and rational pessimism. We are called to become skilled “cultural alchemists”, working diligently to let everyone feel the safety, the belonging and the ownership of this organic movement of movements and to experience real agency in wherever it is taking us. Fortunately, this is where UNITY EARTH shines brightest. Building on decades of interfaith and interspiritual accomplishments of some of UNITY EARTH key leaders, notably Kurt Johnson, Deborah Moldow and Yanni Maniates, we have been holding Convergence events in many places around the world over the last two years. We have been able to weave a growing diversity of cultures, worldviews, passion-areas and skill-sets into the UNITY EARTH tapestry and this continues to develop at a remarkable rate. At the Toronto Convergence on October 31st, 2018 we had a great many activism areas solidly represented right across the spectrum. Most notably, no one needed to be convinced that it was time to join forces and come together, everyone in the room could already feel it.
be a strong UNITY EARTH delegation coming and representing from East Asia. Ambassador Mussie Hailu’s presence coming from Ethiopia dignifies and elevates any occasion and having Syed Salman Christy attending from India is also a great blessing. Alongside these international dignitaries we are honoured to be engaging with icons such as Mary Evelyn Tucker from Yale, Karenna Gore from Union Theological, Audrey Kitagawa, Chair of the Parliament of World’s Religions and a host of other powerful individuals representing fine institutions. Their messages will be woven in along with the vibrant and powerful musical line-up of Pato Banton, Kristin Hoffmann, Lyla June and the deep audio/visual immersion that is BELLA GAIA. This February 2 Saturday afternoon in Washington Heights promises to be a shared moment of planetary consciousness and collective arising. The event team of Rhiannon Catalyst, Adam Collett, Kate Buck Jr. Jon Ramer and many others is simply extraordinary in their commitment and sublime skill to execute this vision. Together with all our partners and our most gracious hosts at the United Palace we invite to you come, to share this experience with us and to lend your voice into this unborn song. For more, visit www.unity.earth/lift-off.
The numbers of global cultures and sub-cultures (tribes) who are feeling connected to UNITY EARTH and The Road to 2020 is impressive and yet we really are just gearing up and we have so much more to do. We are developing our systems to onboard new individuals and groups into the UNITY EARTH eco-system and we are developing new models of financial sustainability to ensure this work continues to grow and flourish. The New York Convergence (February 1) and UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF on February 2 at United Place will be a public graduation for our UNITY EARTH community as we transition from one phase of the journey into the increasingly public events on the road ahead. We are thrilled that with the guidance of Mindahi and Lyla June we have connected to local Chief Dwaine Perry of the Lenape people who will set the cultural foundation for the event. Under Lixin and Ming Shan’s leadership there will
Ben Bowler Executive Director of UNITY EARTH.
The New York Convergence A Welcome to New York City from New York City Community Leaders
The New York Road to 2020 Coalition, a coalition of New York area leaders forming up for participation in the Road to 2020 and Caravan of Unity across America activities of 2019-2020, welcomes UNITY EARTH and all its partners to New York. UNITY EARTH and its partners have completed a series of distinctive global events, hosted in Africa and Australia, Italy, Colorado, and most recently at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada. UNITY EARTH major events in 2019 and 2020 include India, the Holy Land, and culminating in a Caravan of Unity across America in September 2020 for the International Day of Peace, for more on the Road to 2020 visit UNITY EARTH’s website. The bold multicultural GLOBAL CARAVAN OF UNITY is building and calling us to connect in a worldwide spiritual eco-culture. We’re proud to be part of all these events, which are showcased in this issue of The Convergence magazine. The “New York Convergence” features the premier event, UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF on February 2, 2019 at the United Palace in New York. This event is a mutigenerational, intercultural, interactive concert in celebration of UN Interfaith Harmony Week. This powerful and moving inspirational concert brings together indigenous leaders, musicians, diplomats, artists, scientists, peace activists, interfaith and faith-based organization representatives along with guests of all ages in a colorful celebration of our common humanity. Along with this premier event, New York will host a leadership and visioning conference organizing toward partnerships in the upcoming events of 2019-2020 on February 1, 2019 with One Spirit Learning Alliance. By invitation, over one hundred esteemed leaders of spiritual/holistic organizations are coming together for the exciting work of creating greater solidarity and collaboration in planning and visioning New York’s participation in “The Road to 2020” and beyond. The conference culminates in a Ceremony and Livestream for Launch of The WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK (a United Nations designated week of celebration). The Compassion Games will livestream on Facebook selected interviews and activities with a culminating ceremony and intention by New York community leaders along with global representatives and ceremonialists from the region’s Indigenous communities. In tandem with these events, New York will also be hosting a VoiceAmerica Special on January 23 on UNITY EARTH Convergence Radio’s “The Convergence Series” on VoiceAmerica, a 90-minute special where we’ll interview key organizers and performers from these amazing events. We’ll be speaking to Ben Bowler and Rev. Deborah Moldow of UNITY EARTH; Rev. Ken Kitatani and Denise Scotto of the United Nations NGO Community; Heather Shea, Kristin Hoffmann, Rhiannon Catalyst and Adam Collett of the United Palace, along with concert performers; Rev. Diane Berke and Jon Ramer of One Spirit and The Compassion Games; and Karuna, Yanni Maniates and Eddie Stern of the New York City spiritual practice and yoga communities. We look forward to further sharing our reflections on all these developments in the respective sections of this special magazine. Let’s make this a cavalcade of endless Love!
The New York Host Team:
Victoria Friedman Vistar Foundation
Rick Ulfik We, the World
Mitchell J. Rabin A Better World
Kurt Johnson The Interspiritual Network
All members of the Board of The Friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences further serving these events.
FIONS, The Friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (www.fions.org) is a New York NGO founded to support the work and vision of The Institute of Noetic Sciences (www.ions.org) founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell. The Institute of Noetic Sciences is committed to discovering how each of us can better access the place of our interconnection – accelerating the creation of a more just and sustainable human presence on this planet. The New York FIONS Board includes over a dozen leaders of other major New York transformational organizations and works as a collective to promote such work in the New York region.
FIONS collective meeting in August 2018 to project New York participation in The Road to 2020 and Caravan of Unity
Celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week From the United Nations NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns We would like to welcome you to this celebration of the heart, which encourages diverse religious organizations to link together to find a common path towards unity and peace. World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan and was unanimously adopted by the UN a month later. As a result, the first week in February is observed as a World Interfaith Harmony Week at the UN and all over the world. The idea of harmony between religions is just a beginning. Uniting around the two Commandments: Love of God and Love of Neighbor, is the first step in creating a flourishing and open dialogue based on solid theological common ground between the Abrahamic religions. This extends to ‘Love of Good, and Love of Neighbor’ inviting all faiths, and those with no faith, but those of Goodwill to create harmony that can be returned to in even the most difficult moments. This celebration carried out once a year, serves as an important platform for working with the challenges that emerge in a world torn by division and self-interest. We must have peace in order to innovate and solve the problems before us. Faith and Values Based Groups do not realize the enormous power that they wield in bringing both institutions and people together. We have networks, a platform, established communities, and the capacity to lead through division to find compromise that encourages the wellbeing of all people, on both sides of an issue. Our faiths and values promote love for each other and our earth, the ancestors, and all creatures living on it. In our partnership with UNITY EARTH, which began at the United Nations Church Center in 2016, we seek to encourage and empower spiritual leaders to apply their wisdom and knowledge to create a better world. The work of the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns – NY (CSVGC-NY) (www.csvgcny.org) seeks to further the work of Values and Faith Based communities to collaborate with the Missions of the United Nations in the creation of a wisdom-based culture that gives rise to a peaceful and sustainable planet. We work towards achieving a safer, more sustainable and peaceful planet as we work together to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda (Sustainable Development Goals).
NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns - NY Ken Kitatani, Chair, Rev. Cathy Towle, Vice Chair Rabbi Roger Ross, Vice Chair
UNITY EARTH and THE WORLD INTERFAITH HARMONY WEEK International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations
Welcome/Message by the Chair for Unity Earth’s NY Convergence, February 2019 The International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations is pleased to be part of Unity Earth’s New York Convergence. Coming at a time that coincides with World Interfaith Harmony Week, we are excited to, once again, join with people of varied backgrounds and different traditions, all the while, sharing the common cause of creating a better world. World Interfaith Harmony Week highlights an assorted palette of individual experiences and societal customs in order to reaffirm our mutual understanding of how we are bound within the web of life and what it means to belong to the human family. It is an opportunity for emphasizing our inherent goodness, the dignity of each one of us, the heart of humanity which includes our ability to live peacefully with one another, regardless of our religion or belief. By encouraging groups beyond the greater United Nations community, in our time together, we will explore the underlying principles of yoga with fresh eyes, sharing with one another how we see a world of peace, respect, acceptance, unity, kindness and collaboration. We will exchange our visions about how the fullness and richness of yoga in its practical application impacts the daily lives of people around the world leading to more inclusive, prosperous and peaceful communities. It is my hope that the New York Convergence serves as a catalyst for both participating individuals and organizations to access a shared wisdom, create deeper connection, develop friendships and design new paths of cooperation.
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In unity & peace, Denise Scotto, Esq Chair, International Day of Yoga Committee at the United Nations
UNITY EARTH World Interfaith Harmony Week 2018 In the first week of February, 2018, UNITY EARTH, in partnership with the United Religions Initiative, the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia and the World Peace Prayer Society, invited more than 65 religious representatives of many faiths and musical artists from a wide range of nations to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week 2018 in Lalibela, Addis Ababa and Shashamane, Ethiopia. Natives of Aboriginal Australia, indigenous leaders from North and Central America, Buddhist monks from Thailand, Sikhs, Baha’is, Sufis and Hindus from India, Jews, Christians and Muslims comprised a colorful and diverse gathering of people standing for unity, peace and compassion. UNITY EARTH World Interfaith Harmony Week 2016 UNITY EARTH joined the UN NGO Committee for Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns and the wider UN NGO Community in the Tillman Chapel of the United Nations Church Center for a musical and inspirational celebration of the World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions 2018 and UNITY EARTH’s Toronto Convergence Following on its annual creation of major events for the World Interfaith Harmony Week, UNITY EARTH gathered nearly one hundred interfaith visionary leaders and global change-makers for a “Toronto Convergence: Unifying the Unifiers on the Road to 2020” at the Toronto St. James Cathedral Conference Center. A book on Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up, and Lifting Up was produced with over seventy contributors which is also being serialized in The Convergence magazine beginning with this special issue for The New York Convergence. Integral philosopher Ken Wilber set the stage with an introductory video and book introduction on Waking Up and Growing Up. An inspiring short video on the event is available online.
IDY Committee at the UN
Spotlight on the
NEW YORK CONVERGENCE
A Lift-Off Party for Planetary Unity Celebrating Our Connection to Earth, the Cosmos and Each Other February 2, 2019, United Palace, New York City We are living in remarkable times when a never-before convergence of forces is coming together to make the possibility of unity and peace the new reality in our world. In celebration of the 2019 UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, UNITY EARTH and our partner organizations are thrilled to present UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF at the historic United Palace in New York City. This unprecedented interactive concert and multigenerational daytime celebration will bring together indigenous leaders, musicians, diplomats, artists, scientists, peace activists, interfaith and faith-based organization representatives along with guests of all ages in a colorful celebration of our common humanity. UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF is a catalyst for the Global Road to 2020 and its culminating event, the Caravan of Unity Across America. The Road to 2020 is an increasingly public series of events worldwide designed to capture new opportunities for weaving a greater spirit of unity and peaceful coexistence across the Earth. These gatherings, which began in 2016 at the United Nations, all build towards the Caravan of Unity, a globally broadcast display 11
of solidarity designed to bring together grass-roots movements in ecology, arts, the wisdom traditions and social justice. This historic tour will begin in San Francisco on September 1, 2020 and finish in New York on the International Day of Peace, September 21, in support of Sustainable Development Goal #16 (Peace). Building on the work of UNITY EARTH’s U Day Festival 2018, which commemorated World Interfaith Harmony Week in Ethiopia at the African Union Commission in February 2018, the UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF event on February 2nd, 2019 will work to engage and inspire the New York community, NGO representatives to the United Nations, and the diplomatic corps while introducing the Road to 2020 and Caravan of Unity to an international audience. SPECIAL GUESTS Featuring an array of First Nations leaders including Chief Dwaine Perry, Dr. Mindahi Bastida and Chief Phil Lane, Jr., along with local and international performers and speakers, the concert will be a momentous occasion for those who are gathered and for all who join in the global live streaming event. We are
pleased to welcome to the event a delegation from China and South Korea as well as Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Global Envoy of the URI to the African Union. The NGO Committee for Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns (CSVGC) and the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN are co-sponsors of UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF, which is one of the events they are involved in to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week.
THE CONCERT FEATURED PERFORMERS BELLA GAIA
BELLA GAIA is an unprecedented NASA-powered immersive experience inspired by astronauts who spoke of the lifechanging inspiration of seeing the Earth from space. Illuminating the beauty of the planet both natural and cultural and the interconnectedness of all things on Earth, this live concert blends music, dance, technology and NASA satellite imagery to turn the stage into a breathtaking planetary journey. BELLA GAIA is kicking off a national 2019 tour starting in their hometown of NYC with this very special show. www.bellagaia.com
Pato Banton is a Grammy-nominated artist who delivers an empowering performance that is not to be missed and an experience not to be forgotten. His music is live theatre where no show is alike and audience members become participants in the experience. Positive vibrations abound with a beat to keep you on your dancing feet, while Pato delivers a message that is food for the mind and soul. Pato dialogues with the crowd on a range of topics including current events and spiritual freedom while keeping the vibes upbeat and fun! Click here for the video of Pato Banton’s song for UNITY EARTH. www.patobanton.com
Kristin Hoffmann is a Juilliard trained multi-instrumentalist, with a transcendental ability to take audiences on a journey of deep awakening to Spirit. In addition to stints at major record labels Capitol and Interscope Records, and song placements on hit TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and Palmetto Pointe, she has shared stages with The Wallflowers, Feist, Brandi Carlile, Richie Havens and many other musical luminaries. In her own words, Kristin says, “My goal is to spread love, light, peace and truth into the world through the vehicles of music and energetic frequency.” www.kristinhoffmann.com
AKIM FUNK BUDDHA
An avid world traveler and self-described old-school B-boy MC, Zimbabwe-born Akim Funk Buddha is known for his holistic approach to hip hop, drawing from a full spectrum of cultural traditions and artistic disciplines. Rhyming, beat-boxing, mouth and body percussion, story-telling, break-dancing, Mongolian throat-singing, Indonesian monkey chants, body-balancing, and martial arts are seamlessly blended to create distinctly spiritual yet urban sonic and visual compositions. An urban legendary Hip Hop performer and his dance troupe, Akim Funk Buddha’s Bonsai Lab creates a ‘Funk du soleil’ experience merging urban expression with international flavors. Akim believes that “through the power of music and performance, fear and ignorance can be conquered and the world brought closer together. www.funkbuddha.net
The soothing and meditative chanting of Mystic Voice stems from a deep spiritual connection to the ancient texts that inspire her music, such as the Tao Te Ching, the Buddhist Sutras, the Sanskrit Vedas and the poetry of Rumi. Mystic Voice brings a special healing spirit to East-West relations and is coming to the event with an important delegation from China and South Korea. https://fieldsofhealing.com.au/artists/lixin-chen/
PROJECT MANAGER, UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF Adam Collett is a creative director, event producer, cultural liaison and social impact designer from Byron Bay, Australia. Inspired by his mother’s stories from the 1969 Woodstock Festival, Adam has been on a lifelong pursuit to inspire change through transformative events and community initiatives that have the power to deliver tangible outcomes on a local and global scale. Working closely with First Nations elders, global youth leaders, and ecological innovators, Adam is dedicated to combining innovative models and technologies with a deep respect for the culture of local people and places. He is also a devoted musician who is preparing to release his debut album in 2020.
Creative Director of UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF and Tour Manager of BELLA GAIA, has curated and guided 20 years of transformative events and interactive experiences in NYC and beyond. Catalyst earned her moniker by curating projects consciously designed to create moments of true connection and participation, celebrating cross-cultural and interdisciplinary influences, and using the arts to facilitate the joining of forces to create unforgettable experiences and purposeful change. www.rhiannoncatalyst.com
The United Palace of Spiritual Arts is the fourth largest theater in Manhattan sitting nearly 3400 people. It is a transformational organization that fuses in new and extraordinary ways culture, entertainment, the arts, and spirituality; it is a center of spiritual celebration, creative expression, and personal growth. It is the primer home of Spiritual Artistry in New York City. The United Palace is a place with a rich history of interspiritual exploration and interfaith understanding. It is a place committed to expanding and transforming human consciousness by fusing the arts and entertainment with the highest forms of science and spirituality. Located in Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan (4140 Broadway New York, NY 10033), United Palace brilliantly
mirrors its surrounding community, a community that enjoys profound ethnic and racial diversity, along with a rich mixture of houses of worship, religious organizations, and spiritual traditions.
Entertainment and culture are seen as pathways to Spirit and personal transformation. As the United Palace community loves to say, creativity is divinity! These are some of the reasons why the United Palace is fast becoming one of New York’s premier centers of interfaith dialogue, interspiritual exploration, and multicultural celebration, intending to change the world, one consciousness at a time.
United Palace touches the universal and inspires the individual, bringing to life magic and enchantment, in stirring the spirit and reawakening our sense of curiosity in the world; the United Palace explores the limitless bounds of human experience through the creative interplay of artistic expression and spirituality. In service of this vision the Palace has developed an array of powerful programs that bring to the public the world’s enduring wisdom teachings and best contemporary thinkers.
Recently the United Palace brought in a new leadership team, led by Rev. Heather Shea, who serves as CEO and Spiritual Director. Rev. Shea is an ordained interspiritual/interfaith minister, experienced non-profit manager, and trained performing artist. Under her leadership the new United Palace team has continued the development of a spiritual community that is grounded in an inclusive vision of the spiritual life, and an expansive understanding of the religious wisdom that can nurture that life.
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Since its opening in 1930 as one of five Lowes’ “Wonder Theaters,” United Palace has been a sanctuary for first-rate entertainment, hosting community events and programming, inspiring individuals to reconnect with their most authentic selves and with each other. The United Palace Theater was brilliantly designed by noted architect Thomas Lamb (who also did the Cort Theatre, the former Ziegfeld Theatre) with interiors overseen by decorative specialist Harold Rambusch (who was also responsible for the Waldorf Astoria and Radio City Music Hall). The genius of this design and the building’s wonderful history was formally recognized in 2016 when the United Palace was designated a landmark building.
Lift-off Partner Organizations include The United Religions Initiative, The NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns CSVGC-NY, The International Day of Yoga at the UN, members of The Evolutionary Leaders, We, the World, The Compassion Games International, One Spirit Learning Alliance and Seminary and Board Members and Organizations of The Friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
IDY Committee at the UN
International UNITY EARTH Partners include, the Global Security Institute, The Fransciscan Action Network, Forum 21 Institute, Presence, Humanity’s Team, Light on Light Magazine and Gaiafield. Supporting Community Organizations: Vistar Foundation, A Better World, The Interspiritual Network, The Interspiritual Multiplex, The Oneness Center NYC, New Realities, Energy Matters, Jodi Serota, Art, Metaphysics, Education, The National Ethical Service, Forum 21 Institute, Pastor NaRon D. Tillman, One Ministries, Integral Dharma, Self Care to Earth Care, Occupy with Spirit and Sacred Value, Synergized Impact Network Exchange (SINE), Contemplative Life, Inside Out Journeys, Light on Kundalini, Community of The Mystic Heart, The Academy for Future Science, A Piece of Pizza for Peace, Philip Goldberg.com,The Relationship Foundation, Spirit Matters, American Veda Tours, Empowerment Institute, Open-Hearted Awareness Institute, Sacred Earth Enterprises, Let There Be Light, Dr. Calvin Chatlos, This is Our Story, The Human Faith Project, One Spirit Interfaith Action Group, Global Movement for a Culture of Peace.
Tickets & Info Saturday February 2nd, 2019, 3:00PM - 6:30PM United Palace 4140 Broadway at 175th St. New York, NY $20 General Admission | Children 12 and under FREE! Tickets available now at www.unity.earth/lift-off Tickets Direct At EventBrite • Facebook event page 14
Road to 2020 and the CARAVAN OF UNITY Leadership and Visioning Conference Planning and visioning The Road to 2020 and The Caravan of Unity In 2019 and 2020 in NYC, the USA and the world 4W43, New York, NY (www.4w43.com) On behalf of The Road to 2020 New York City Coalition, in conjunction with UNITY EARTH, it is our great pleasure to host a special day of planning and visioning New York’s (and the USA’s!) participation in the international initiatives of The Road to 2020 and the Caravan of Unity. Convening on Friday, February 1, as part of the New York Convergence weekend, we bring together leaders of spiritual/holistic organisations, faith groups, conscious business leaders and visionary artists for the exciting work of creating greater solidarity and collaboration in this by invitation visioning gathering. We will focus on how each of the organizations and various events can better communicate with and be supported by this growing network of transformational movements in the build up to 2020 and beyond in both the New York community and pan-United States events. This event will culminate in a livestream ceremony and launch for the 2019 World Interfaith Harmony Week that will be broadcast through The Compassion Games’ Live Stream SINE Wave Initiative.
Live Stream Ceremony and Launch for the 2019 World Interfaith Harmony Week by Jon Ramer, The Compassion Games
In solidarity and support of one another, during the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest co-hosts a spirited Harmony Week Compassion Games to take place from February 1–7, 2019. This “coopetition” is aimed to promote peace, harmony, cooperation and tolerance between all faith and spiritual traditions around the world through the spirit of competitive altruism, collaboration, and play! You cannot lose the Compassion Games! The opening ceremony will take place at 4W43 and will be broadcast as part of the Harmony Week broadcast. Ceremonialists will join with One Spirit’s founder Rev. Diane Berke, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane, Mindahi Bastida and representatives of tri-state area’s Indigenous and Transformational Leaders as to be further announced. During the broadcast livestream we play Let’s Make Waves! and encourage people to share the stream and “make a wave” as a shared felt experience that expands the reach of the stream across the global internet. You can learn more here:
2019 WIHW Timeline of Anchor Events
2019 WIHW Plan Overview
Prezi Presentation of 2019 WIHW Plan
Along with the culminating ceremony, The Compassion Games will Facebook livestream selected interviews and activities from the Leadership and Visioning Event along with pre-recorded tracks from fellow travelers around the world! Participation will be enhanced by the SINE Wave technology connected to Facebook’s “Live Leap” capability which allows the connections of multiple Facebook pages!
Featured Co-Sponsor One Spirit Learning Alliance
by Rev. Diane Berke
One Spirit Learning Alliance is honored to participate in the upcoming Leadership and Visioning event for UNITY EARTH’s New York Convergence, which will bring together spiritual leaders from both the greater New York area and beyond to vision and launch the Road to 2020, a global initiative to inspire and ground unity consciousness. A partner organization of UNITY EARTH, One Spirit’s vision is to inspire and advance the evolution of sacred consciousness in service to individuals, communities and the earth. Our mission is to offer experiential interfaith and interspiritual education and professional training to support personal transformation and prepare spiritual leaders.
Since our founding in 2002, One Spirit has been a leader in interspiritual education. Our flagship professional training programs in interfaith/interspiritual ministry and interspiritual counseling have prepared over 1300 ministers and spiritual counselors to serve the evolving spiritual needs of people in the 21st century. Our public courses offer a broad spectrum of ways for people to explore how to develop, deepen, and integrate their inner lives with their everyday living in the world. Our pioneering use of technology allows us to bring people from across the globe together into an experience of rich interactive learning and spiritual community building. All of our programs emphasize heart-opening, experiential learning and a model of spiritual development that integrates waking up (accessing and integrating awakened awareness), growing up (progressive development toward authentic spiritual maturity), cleaning up (shadow work), and showing up (being of service to life and the world). We use creating authentic spiritual community as a crucible for unearthing, exploring, and gently releasing the inner blocks that interfere with our capacity to be fully present to ourselves and others, without agenda or a need to fix, and to serve through our very presence as well as through our words and actions. With a deep awareness of the interconnectedness of all life, a deep honoring of wisdom teachings ancient and modern, a deep commitment to grounding and integrating that wisdom through practice and application, and a deep resonance with the teaching that the Buddha (awakened consciousness) of the future is not a single individual but the sangha (enlightened collective or community) itself, One Spirit is dedicated to supporting people to live and serve in the world from a place of deep presence, inner spaciousness, conscious relationship, and genuine attunement to what is most deeply needed in the moment. To learn more about our programs and events, please visit our website: www.onespiritinterfaith.org
A Celebration of Spiritual Practice As we built out the events for The New York Convergence, Deepak Homebase at ABC Carpet generously invited the New York Yoga and Spiritual Practice communities to create an event at their amazing premises in downtown New York City. Unfortunately, as the date approached, a protocol for building repairs at that location required a postponement. But spiritual practice is “Ever Green,” and, we have done so much with the New York and United Nations Yoga and Spiritual Practice communities that we wanted to maintain that theme and emphasis. And further, our partners have developed a virtual spiritual practice offering that attendees at the UNITY EARTH Lift-off can join in. It’s our pleasure to introduce that below.
To date UNITY EARTH’s two associated magazines—The Convergence and Light on Light—and our Convergence Series on VoiceAmerica have done four major programs with the New York and the greater UN Yoga and Spiritual Practice communities including Light on Light Magazine—“Spotlight on Yoga” Issue and a Special Issue for the UN International Day of Yoga 2018. These featured yoginis Karuna, Shiva Rea, and Elena Brower along with sacred music and yoga legends Snatam Kaur and Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, and a slate of global Yoga-related representatives and leaders courtesy the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN’s Executive Board and members. Previously, the Convergence had featured the legendary contemplative Fr. Thomas Keating, along with Ken Wilber and Loch Kelly. Magazine issues were accompanied by VoiceAmerica Specials. To commemorate all this co-working, Karuna, Elena, and Eddie Stern Astanga Yoga New York and The Brooklyn Yoga Club offer inspirational notes in this issue of The Convergence. Pr
P r e s e n t s
P r e s e n t s
ROAD TO 2020
Waking Up, Growing Up Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up, and Lifting Up
In this issue: Return to Country of Mungo Man
U Day Ethiopia: Land of Origins UNITY EARTH Champion Award ~ Amb. Mussie Hailu
Spring 2018 - Issue 1
Summer 2018 - Issue 2
A Special Edition of
Yoga, Healing, & Peace Celebrating the International Day of Yoga
Spiritual Practices & Inspired Lifestyle
Features: ❁ Ken Wilber & Dustin DiPerna ❁ Loch Kelly ❁ Rev. Deborah Moldow ❁ Rev. Diane Berke Sacred Music ❁ GuruGanesha Band
Spiritual Practices & Inspired Lifestyle
Spotlight on Yoga! ❁ Snatam Kaur ❁ Shiva Rea ❁ Elena Brower ❁ Denise Scotto ❁ Irina Morrison
Spotlight on Transformative Communities ✦ One Spirit ✦ United Palace ✦ Garden of Light ✦ FIONS ✦ Oracle Institute ✦ Integral Church ✦ Prosocial .world ...and more!
Features: ✦ Andrew Vidich ✦ Chris Grosso ✦ Art of Community author Charles Vogl Illuminations: featuring Karen Palmer #GlobalKindnessRevolution
Featuring The INTERNATIONAL DAY of YOGA COMMITTEE at the UNITED NATIONS And renowned contributors including Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Yogmata, Sadhguru, Pujya Swami, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Dadi Janki, Maya Tiwari, and Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda
Denise Scotto, Chair of the International Day of Yoga Committee at the UN, and Committee members present a copy of the special UNITY EARTH Light on Light Magazine cooperative issue with the UN Yoga Committee to contributor and recording artist Paul Lufteneggar at a UN Committee event.
Yoga and Spiritual Practice Are Ever Green Yoga and Spiritual Practice are ever green! As we dance through each practice, I ask myself “how does this serve my purpose? Am I truly aligned or am I just accommodating”? One relaxes more into Yoga when one accepts each asana or meditation with the awareness of what truly exists right now. Even if a pain arises the intention should be to help. We realize we can’t help ourselves if we can’t show up for ourselves. That’s why it’s important to practice at the levels we can truly relate to. Then it becomes a divine creativity truly aiding our own ongoing growth—and that’s how we make every moment sweet. ~Karuna, Host Editor, Light on Light Magazine.
Practice is our constant, continuous blessing, fueling our path, our vision and our ways of relating. Whether with yoga or meditation, when we’re infusing our days with moments or hours of practice, we are choosing to stay vast in our minds, kind in our hearts, and strong in our bodies. Keep choosing to create, make art, write, play, dance, move, sing, and listen - these are all key aspects of practice. ~ Elena Bower (practiceyou.com).
……life has its own meaning. When you try to impose something on top of it, you can come up with the view that we are insignificant, that we are nothing even though we think that we’re something great. Well, you can also look at it and say, “There is no meaning of life, life is its own movement and it’s living through us, and by that token, everything in the world, from a grain of sand to a person, no matter how big or small, is like a miracle of its own creation.” ~ Eddie Stern, from an interview with Valerie Reiss.
We’re pleased to share Eddie’s new book: One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life.
The Convergence at VoiceAmerica, Replay Directory: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2610/the-convergence
For Pictorials and Videos see Episodes 1 and 2 at http://1god.com/convergence see Episodes 5 and 6 at https://unity.earth/convergence
Transformation 365: Grounding Unity Awareness through Deep Daily Practice Join Us Virtually for Spiritual and Personal Maturation Practices for the New York Convergence Events
“ Daily spiritual practice is the technology of inner change.” from The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale
Transformation 365 was born of an inspired connection that transpired in the halls of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto this fall. That’s the beauty of big events like the Parliament: face-to-face encounters lead to intentional dialogues, which then spark new initiatives and ongoing collaboration. We love the big unifying events! But Transformation 365 is about what happens in between the big events. This initiative focuses entirely on daily practice as the ground from which the unity of all creation is revealed, even as we work together to spread the message of oneness worldwide. The various convergences along The Road to 2020 are truly transformative experiences. Coming together to embrace one another and planet Earth as unified, peaceful, and sacred empowers us to be the change we wish to see in the world. This happens on the soul level, with both inner and outer transformation. To that end, every religious tradition and spiritual walk offers practices that deepen our sense of unity by dismantling the illusion that we are divided or separate in any way. Without the daily practices Brother Wayne Teasdale called “the technology of inner change,” we can easily fall into the trap of attempting to transform the world without attending to our own inner transformation. Transformation 365 is a collaborative experiential practice network with both local and virtual communities designed to cultivate and support contemplative practice. Members of these communities experiment with diverse teachings on a daily basis, with opportunities to explore new practices or go deeper into one practice for a period of time, with guidance from experienced mentors. Our network is linked with some of today’s great meditation teachers, quantum scientists, and modern-day mystics, many of whom will offer teachings from time to time. But it’s really the members of the communities who breathe life into Transformation 365 as they share their experiences and offer support to one another, day in and day out. When deep and sustained practice becomes a natural part of our daily lives, we begin to see the oneness of all creation through a new lens. We may have personally experienced this type of heightened clarity while on silent retreat, or when listening to a sublime piece of music, or while gazing at a breathtaking sunrise. Or maybe we’ve caught a glimpse of this oneness through our own suffering or while standing in solidarity with oppressed peoples. We’ve all had enlightened moments where we can clearly see that all is one. But as weeks go by between these moments and we find ourselves stuck in traffic, late for a meeting, horns blaring all around us, we may begin to feel anything but oneness with our fellow commuters. By developing a deep daily practice, we ground our awareness in the reality that all is indeed one—even during rush hour. And so, we might return gently to that awareness and ultimately move into a new level of consciousness marked by unshakable unconditional love for all.
Inspired by the shared vision of two global organizations, Transformation 365 brings the unity awareness so powerfully demonstrated in the life-changing events hosted by UNITY EARTH Â into the rhythm of daily life through the deep and sustained practices hosted by Contemplative Life. Developed collaboratively by Yanni Maniates, Diane Berke, Jeff Genung, and Kate Sheehan Roach, Transformation 365 creates communities centered on the very practices theyâ€™re designed to cultivate. We invite you to visit Transformation 365 online and explore the power of practice.
In the Spirit of Oneness, Kate Sheehan Roach Jeff Genung Yanni Maniates Diane Berke
Grounding Unity Awareness through Deep Daily Practice Transformation 365 brings the unity awareness so powerfully demonstrated in the life-changing events hosted by UNITY EARTH into the rhythm of daily life through diverse transformational practices hosted by Contemplative Life. Transformation 365 is an experiential practice network designed to help cultivate inner awakening through deep and sustained practice. Click Here to register for our first live practice session on Sunday, February 24th at noon EST. We enter deeply into each practice, returning daily to it for a two-week period before reconvening in a live discussion forum. Please join us as we build community and share in the wonderful world of practice. 20
WAKING 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, we plan to serialize 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. In this issue, we are thrilled to offer Ken Wilber’s Introduction to the book and articles selected on “Waking Up” by Deepak Chopra, Dena Merriam, Richard Bowell, Diane Williams, Loch Kelly, and Kristin Hoffmann. We also invite you to enjoy these videos from The Toronto Convergence and to be inspired by Ken Wilber’s half-hour video—“Waking Up and Growing Up”—which introduced the “Unifying the Unifiers” event. 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., S. Winters and R. Ulfik [eds], New York NY: UNITY EARTH, in press) is a helpful step in that direction. ~Dr. Kurt Johnson, Rev. Shannon Winters, Rick Ulfik
A Truly “Inclus ve” Spirituality by Ken Wilber
ne of the greatest breakthroughs in the understanding of world religion is the recent discovery that human beings have at least two quite different, but equally important, types of religious engagement. One has been understood for several centuries, is found in some form in most of the world’s great religions and can be referred to as “Waking Up.” The other is much more recent—so recent, it is found in none of the major world religions themselves—and can be called “Growing Up.” Waking Up is generally understood to be the core of most of the great religions. It is marked by a direct religious experience of an Awakening to, or Realization of, what is said to be an ultimate Reality (Spirit, Godhead, Ground of All Being, Tao, Brahman, Great Perfection), an experience known around the world as Enlightenment, Metamorphosis, Satori, Moksha, Fana, the Great Liberation, the Supreme Identity. Although there are certainly differences in the ways that realization is experienced by different cultures, as well as different genders, different languages, different historical periods, and so on, there are some general family resemblances that make them all generically recognizable. There is almost always a sense of an expansion of self‑identity from an isolated, separate‑self sense to a oneness with this ultimate Reality, and therefore also a sense of being one with the entire universe. This is often described as an “awakening” or “enlightenment” because, by comparison, a person’s typical pre‑awakening consciousness was felt as being lost in a “dream world,” a world that is, by comparison, fallen, alienated, and fragmented, marked by inherent suffering (e.g., dukkha) or original sin. The realization of this Supreme Identity is usually said to be the sumum bonum, the ultimate good, of humankind. Many of the great traditions have specific systems of meditation, contemplation, deep prayer, yoga, or voyaging that, through a specific set of steps or injunctions, are designed to help move a person from their limited and narrow identity with the separate‑self sense (often called the “ego”) to a deeper and
wider self (generally described as one’s “True Self” or “Real Self”) that is said to be one with Spirit or ultimate Reality itself. For example, both Vedanta Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism describe five major states of consciousness possessed by all humans. They are the waking state (which is said to be an example of the “gross state” of consciousness); the dream state (an example of the “subtle state”); deep dreamless sleep (an example of the “very subtle” or “causal” state); then turiya (which is simply the Sanskrit term for “fourth” and is given that name simply because it is the fourth major state—after the gross, subtle, and causal—and it indicates a pure content-free Awareness, also called the Witness or True Self); and finally, turiyatita (“beyond turiya,” which is beyond pure Awareness because the Witness itself becomes one with, or nondual with, everything that it witnesses—in other words, a type of “ultimate Unity consciousness” or “nondual Oneness”). Similar states to these five major states can be found in many of the world’s great mystical and spiritual traditions. The first three states are said to be relative and the home of the ego; the second two states are ultimate and the home of the True Self and its nondual Suchness or ultimate Oneness. For these traditions, when a person takes up an effective meditative or contemplative practice, they are usually only fully conscious of the first major state—the waking state, marked by the separate‑self or ego. As meditation progresses, they will move through each of the five major states (not like rungs in a rigid ladder but as flowing states of increasing expansion), until they have a fully conscious realization of the highest or ultimate state itself (turiyatita or nondual Oneness), which is then said to be the Enlightened or Awakened state. In other words, the major states of consciousness become major stages of development in the overall process of Awakening, or a general process that is called simply “Waking Up.” So compare the names of those major state-stages—the gross (such as waking), the subtle (such as dreaming), the causal 22
(such as deep formless sleep), the Witness, and nondual Unity consciousness—with the following names: the archaic, the magic, the mythic, the rational, the pluralistic, and the integral. They don’t sound similar at all, do they? It’s because they are not. The first set of names refers to some of the major states of consciousness that can become some of the major stages of meditation (on the way to Enlightenment). In other words, they are the names of some of the major state‑stages of Waking Up. The second set of names, on the other hand, refers to some of the major stages of the process of Growing Up. Whereas Waking Up refers to an overall process that is said to result in the ultimate
transcendence of the relative, conventional self (in a selfless True Self and nondual Ground of Being), Growing Up refers to the actual development of the relative self itself—the specific stages that it goes through as it grows and develops and evolves in the conventional world. And why is this important (especially for spirituality)? One of the most profound of the recent discoveries about this Growing‑Up process is that, no matter what type of immediate awareness or experience that a person has (sensory, mental, or spiritual experience), the stage of Growing Up where they are will be the primary interpreter of that experience. And this means that no matter what state of Waking Up at which a person is, they will interpret that state using the stage of Growing Up at which they are. One way to explain this is that Waking Up consists of major states of consciousness (we gave five of them according to Hinduism and Buddhism), while Growing Up consists of major structures of consciousness. Both of them can unfold in stages (which are often called state‑stages and structure‑stages, respectively), but otherwise they are quite different. States are immediate, first-person, direct experiences or direct awareness; when you have a state experience, you are directly and fully aware of it. But structures are not like that at all; they are more like grammar—they are third‑person rules and patterns that cannot themselves be experienced but govern how experience is interpreted, edited, parsed—and, most significantly, they cannot be seen by introspecting or looking within or meditating. Most people don’t even know that they are quite correctly following an entire system of grammatical rules, let alone what those rules are. Thus, for example, if you look within right now, you won’t see anything like the rules of grammar in your awareness, although every time you think and speak you are following those rules quite accurately. (And notice that no amount of meditation will show you those rules, either.) The various structures of Growing Up (such as magic, mythic, rational, pluralistic, integral—we’ll come back to those in a moment) are much like grammar: when a person is following a particular structure of Growing Up, they will follow its rules and patterns quite accurately, but have no idea that they are doing so. For this reason, these structures were not even discovered until around 100 years ago—quite unlike most of the major states of consciousness (including unitive states), many of which (precisely because they are direct and immediate first-person experiences) were discovered thousands of years ago (and almost all of the great religious traditions have some sort of reference, often quite detailed, to these higher states of enlightenment, awakening, or metamorphosis and how to attain them). This is why, as we noted, most of the world’s great religions were founded by individuals who had experienced some of these higher states, and they began teaching others how to attain or Wake Up to these enlightened states. But not a single great religion or meditative spiritual system anywhere in the world has an understanding of the stages of Growing Up. In
ancient times, knowledge of those Growing‑Up stages was like the knowledge of quarks, atoms, molecules, or cells—they were completely unknown at the time during which most of the great religions were first codified (and they remain unknown to this day in virtually every major spiritual system worldwide—which is one of the major deficiencies we will be discussing, along with proposed remedies). These stages of Growing Up turn out to be incredibly important and are profound factors in determining just what a person’s spiritual worldview will be. Again, even Waking Up is interpreted by Growing Up. A very high spiritual experience, for example, may indeed be thought‑free or involve an awareness that rises above any thought or any mental forms, a purely formless experience of unmanifest reality. But as soon one comes out of that direct formless experience, one begins to interpret it, to explain it, to try and make sense of it; and in doing that, one definitely makes use of the mind, even if the experience itself was supramental; the person begins to think about it, even if the experience was thoughtless. (Some scholars maintain that cultural thought forms continue to some degree even in higher formless spiritual experience; I technically disagree, but if you maintain that view, fine; the point I’m making becomes even stronger.) The discoveries that started to be made around 100 years ago deal precisely with the stages of Growing‑Up development that the relative mind goes through in all people as that mind grows and develops. Some of these models of cognitive development or mental Growing Up have been tested in more than forty different cultures (including Amazon rain forest tribes, Australian Aborigines, Indianapolis housewives, and Harvard professors), and no major exceptions have been found—they truly are cross‑cultural. The point is that the relative mind does indeed grow and develop: the mind of a six-month-old, a five‑year-old, a twenty-year-old, and a fifty‑year-old are quite different—and likewise, even if all of them had a direct experience of total oneness, they would each interpret that oneness quite differently. That oneness might be the same, but each stage of development (or Growing Up) sees it through a very different lens. This is exactly—and empirically—what James Fowler discovered when he studied the spiritual belief systems of thousands of people. Let me preface this by pointing out that many psychologists today do not believe that humans have only one type of intelligence, usually called “cognitive intelligence” and measured by an all‑important IQ. Humans rather possess what’s referred to as “multiple intelligences.” However important cognitive intelligence certainly is, there is also emotional intelligence, moral intelligence, aesthetic intelligence, mathematical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and so on— and this definitely includes a spiritual intelligence as well. The discovery of this spiritual intelligence is the second major form of spiritual engagement that human beings have (which I mentioned in the first paragraph). Notice that this specific spiritual intelligence, as one of several multiple intelligences, is not the same as a direct Waking Up or personal experience of anything claimed to be an ultimate reality; these multiple intelligences are all aspects of relative mental growth and development; they are lines of development in the Growing‑Up process; they all consist of structures, not states. What we’re talking about here are stages in spiritual Growing Up, not states of spiritual Waking
Up—again, the latter has been known to humans for thousands of years and can be found in most religions, whereas the former was only discovered a century ago and is still completely unknown in virtually all religions. (I’ll return to this distinction below.) Notice that the pioneers of developmental psychology (the discipline that, starting around 100 years ago, discovered the various stages found in the different lines of Growing Up) each tended to focus on a different line or different multiple intelligence: Piaget focused on the development of cognitive intelligence, Kohlberg on the development of moral intelligence, Maslow on motivational or needs intelligence, Loevinger on ego development, and so on. As we began to say, a researcher by the name of James Fowler, in such books as The Stages of Faith, investigated these Growing‑Up stages as they unfold in a person’s spiritual belief system—that is, the stages of a person’s spiritual intelligence in the process of Growing Up. (Let me repeat, because it’s truly important, that this is very different from Waking Up, which is a direct and immediate first‑person experience and involves a direct spiritual experience—of Waking Up—not a mental spiritual intelligence—in Growing Up. The former is a direct immediate first‑person experience, the latter is how that experience is interpreted and explained. By the way, I once pointed out this difference—between spiritual Growing Up through structures and spiritual Waking Up in states— to James Fowler himself and suggested that he had investigated the structure‑stages of spiritual Growing Up but did not research the state‑stages of Waking Up, and he fully agreed.) Most of these Growing‑Up models, although they are dealing with different multiple intelligences (or what is called “lines” of development), nonetheless found that these various lines of 24
development all went through the same major six‑to‑eight levels of development. One example is that of worldview development first discovered by the developmental genius Jean Gebser—a variation of which we have already mentioned: the archaic stage, the magic stage, the mythic, the rational, the pluralistic, and the integral. The six stages of the development of spiritual intelligence that James Fowler discovered are all basically variations on those six essential levels (which is exactly what we would expect, since all lines of development, no matter how different, grow and develop through the same basic six‑to‑eight levels of development). And research has continued to demonstrate that whatever experience one has (including spiritual experience) will be interpreted using the stage of Growing Up at which one is. Thus, if one has a genuine Waking‑Up experience, one will interpret it through one of these six‑to‑eight major stages of Growing Up, and this has been empirically confirmed with Fowler’s discovery of six major stages or levels of spiritual intelligence.
Different Voice, Carol Gilligan found that, in the development of moral intelligence, the women that she tested went through four major stages. The first she called “selfish”—the woman cares only for herself (we also call this general level “egocentric;” everybody at birth starts here). The second stage Gilligan called “care”—the woman extends concern from just herself to her group (a family, clan, tribe, nation, particular religion or ethnic group—but this also means that she does not yet identify with all groups, only hers; the others are all “strange” and “alien” and possibly “enemy” or even “demonic,” so we also call this major level the “ethnocentric”). The third stage she called not care but “universal care”—here, the woman does extend moral care to all groups, to all human beings, and attempts to treat all people fairly, regardless of race, color, sex, or creed, so we also call this general level “world-centric”). Finally, at stage four, the woman integrates both the feminine and the masculine mode of being, a stage that Gilligan called “integrated” (which we also call “integral,” along with Gebser).
This discovery of the structure‑stages of Growing Up is staggeringly important because, as we’ve noted, not a single major spiritual system anywhere in the world has a genuine understanding of the actual stages of Growing Up—including the Growing Up or developmental stages that occur in a person’s spiritual intelligence—so they are being completely blindsided by this factor without any understanding of what’s happening. Worse, they cannot actually educate their followers as to how to both Wake Up and Grow Up—Waking Up they can and often do help them with, but they are totally ignorant of Growing Up. And this means that when spiritual teachers themselves have profound Waking‑Up experiences, they will be interpreting those experiences through a lens of which they know absolutely nothing. Even worse yet, a religion will often fall back on a dogma that itself is generated by a relatively low level or early stage of Growing Up (often magic or mythic)— and a very common reason that they do this is that, when the founder of the religion originally had his or her Waking‑Up realization, humanity itself was often at a mythic stage of its own general evolution, and thus that was the level through which the founder’s realization was translated. Unfortunately, in today’s world, that can be disastrous (as we’ll see).
My central point about the relation of Waking Up and Growing Up—and the crucial importance of Growing Up—is simply that a person can have a profound Waking‑Up experience, but they will interpret that experience very differently depending on the stage of Growing Up where they are. (And yes, these two axes are largely independent—you can be very high in one, like Waking Up, and very low in the other, like Growing Up, and vice versa, and virtually any combination. This is a stunningly huge discovery because it clearly shows—and explains why—you can have a profound Waking Up and yet still be at quite low levels of Growing Up—ethnocentric, for example, which turns out to truly be disastrous.)
Fowler acknowledges that his stages of spiritual interpretation are not the same as direct mystical experiences of unity or oneness but are more the belief systems that a mystical experience, if it occurs, will be held in and interpreted by (i.e., Fowler’s stages track the structure‑stages of Growing Up in the spiritual line, not the state‑stages of Waking Up). In the book Integral Psychology, I include charts of more than 100 different models of the Growing‑Up process taken from around the world, and what’s so extraordinary about them is that—as we previously noted—you can see the same basic six‑to‑eight stages or levels running through the majority of them (not to mention the models that have actually been tested in more than forty different cultures). The evidence for the reality of these stages is truly overwhelming. A few models, of course, give more stages; a few give less stages, but you can see the same basic dimensions arising in virtually all of them. For example, in the iconic feminist classic In a 25
So let’s go through a specific instance of how a person’s Waking‑Up experience will be interpreted quite differently depending upon their stage of Growing Up, using these four structure‑stages as a simple example. (And, by the way, we have very real instances of the occurrence of each of these examples.) You can have a major Waking‑Up experience and discover a profound Oneness with the entire universe, but if you are at the selfish or egocentric stage of Growing Up, it will seem that you and only you have ever experienced this Oneness with such depth and profundity. Ram Dass had a brother who had this problem and to such a bad extent that he had become paranoid schizophrenic; he thought that he himself was Jesus Christ, and so he had been institutionalized. Ram Dass visited him and said that you could tell unmistakably that his brother had had a real Awakening or real Enlightenment experience—Ram Dass said he just radiated this truth—but he could not see that any others (including Ram Dass!) could also have this experience. This is a good example of a very high Waking Up (turiya or True‑Self consciousness, Christ consciousness) being interpreted by a very low stage of Growing Up (egocentric). Both of them are very, very real. If, on the other hand, the person has developed from egocentric to ethnocentric, and perhaps has become a fundamentalist Christian (since most “fundamentalism” in any field comes from this ethnocentric stage, where a particular special group and “chosen people” alone are believed to have the one and only God or
Truth)—and if this person has a genuine experience of Waking Up (and, as polls show, many fundamentalists have had some sort of direct religious experience), this person will almost always interpret the experience to mean that there truly is a real God, but one can directly realize this only if one has accepted Jesus Christ as one’s personal savior (a fundamentalist cannot imagine, say, a Hindu actually being in heaven). This can be a genuine Waking Up, and the “Christ consciousness” that they feel (“Not I but Christ liveth in me”) can be an authentic experience of their True Self (or turiya)—just as Ram Dass’s brother had a genuine Waking Up, but their experience is being interpreted this time through the ethnocentric stage of Growing Up; their special group of chosen people alone has access to ultimate Reality. If the person develops yet further to the world-centric or universal‑care stage, then that person will understand instead that Jesus Christ is an Authentic Teacher among many other Authentic Teachers found around the world and in various traditions. This might seem an obvious realization, but notice that it was only at Vatican II, a few decades ago, that the church itself acknowledged that, paraphrasing, “a comparable religious salvation can be found in other religions”—a blatant example of moving from an ethnocentric stage to a world-centric stage, or from care to universal care (in the spiritual line of Growing Up. Again, we’re not only talking spiritual Waking Up but also spiritual Growing Up. See again how important that difference is?). Finally, if one develops to an integrated or integral stage of Growing Up, for Gilligan, this means that the woman fully integrates both the masculine and the feminine modes of thinking to produce a truly whole human being. For other researchers, this occurrence is simply an instance of an overall major transformation to a much more unified and whole level of being, which pioneer developmentalist Clare Graves called “a monumental shift in meaning, cataclysmic,” where there is a great degree of holism or integration that occurs across all sorts of domains. What previously appeared to be staunch opposites— such as masculine and feminine, body and mind, individual and collective—are seen to be simply different dimensions of a deeper underlying unity or wholeness, and all beings are seen as an inherent member of a great Communion of All Being (which is not the same as the ultimate Ground of All Being, which is experienced in the highest reaches of Waking Up). Here, there is an intuitive openness to seeing all the previous stages of development in a Bigger Picture, a picture that happens to include both science and religion. (Again, the different models of psychological development, although often focusing on different multiple intelligences or lines of development, almost always cover the same basic degrees or overall levels of development. Thus, for example, Gebser and Gilligan fit together: both archaic and magic are selfish or egocentric; mythic is care or ethnocentric; rational and pluralistic are universal care or world-centric; and integral is integrated. Notice, once more, how different any of those stages are from the stages of gross, subtle, causal, turiya, and turiyatita—Growing Up versus Waking Up.) One of the things that makes this discovery so important is that, worldwide, studies consistently show that around sixty to seventy percent of the population are at ethnocentric or lower levels of
overall development (archaic, magic, or mythic). At those earlier stages of Growing Up, most religion (no matter what its degree of Waking Up) cannot and does not act as a source of universal love or universal care (that happens only at the next stage of Growing Up, the actual universal‑care or world-centric stage, which today contains only around thirty percent or so of the world’s population). At those lower levels, religion acts as a major divider of humans—it’s not our God, it’s my God versus your God. This gives rise to the great paradox of religion, which has never really been explained before: historically, religion has indeed been (as its proponents claim) the single largest source of love, care, and compassion; but it has also been the single greatest source of hatred, murder, torture, and warfare. How is that even possible? And the answer given by these new discoveries is that, as we just saw, even if somebody has a genuine Waking Up (often as a peak experience), whether they interpret it with universal love and compassion or with ethnic jealously or violence depends primarily on the stage of Growing Up where they are. And although they will immediately know when they have had a Waking‑Up experience, they will have no idea at what stage of Growing Up they are (and thus they will interpret their religious experience or their Waking‑Up experience according to the Growing‑Up stage at which they happen to be—which often will be egocentric or ethnocentric)—except now, they are absolutely convinced that their limited—e.g., ethnocentric— interpretation is absolutely and undeniably sanctioned by none other than God. After all, they have indeed had what could be a quite genuine Waking‑Up peak experience (which, with their fundamentalist interpretation, will seem like their God directly blessing them), and this will explode their spirituality into a wild religious zealotry and often extremism. We’re talking things like the Crusades here, where both sides are absolutely convinced that they have the one and only true view of God. This is also why, for example, virtually all of the cultures around the world where the first great systems of Waking Up were discovered and codified in the great religions, those cultures still almost all had slavery and did nothing effective to abolish it, even though they had genuine access to Waking Up. The reason is that, during that time, the general cultural centers of gravity in Growing Up (which develops, as we have seen, relatively independently from Waking Up) were almost all at mythic‑ethnocentric, and the ethnocentric stages find slavery (and other ethnic oppressions) perfectly acceptable. St. Paul tells slaves to “obey your master and love Jesus.” Buddhist monasteries often had slaves. Even the American Indians took their slaves with them on the Trail of Tears. It was only with the widespread cultural emergence of universal care or the worldcentric stage—during a roughly 100-year period from 17701870—and with the rise of the rational Western Enlightenment that all slavery was legally outlawed in every rational‑industrial nation on the planet—the first time anything like that had happened in all of history. (And yet, at the same time, the interest in paths of Waking Up decreased dramatically—again, the relatively independent development or evolution of Waking Up and Growing Up.) So we’ve seen that there is a major difference between the developments of Growing Up and of Waking Up, and that for any truly integral spirituality, both of those paths need to be fully 26
taken into account and consciously included. There is another major dimension that, like the path of Growing Up, was only discovered in a serious way by the modern West, around one or two‑hundred years ago, and thus does not clearly or fully show up in any major spiritual system anywhere in the world, and that is what we call “Cleaning Up.” Cleaning Up refers to the general processes whose discovery is most often associated with the name of Sigmund Freud but actually includes an entire panoply of folks such as Janet, Jung, Adler, Rank, Binswanger, Sullivan, Perls, Kernberg, Kohut, and so on. It deals with the fact that human beings can, under extremely stressful and traumatic conditions, deny or repress or split‑off or alienate significant facets of their own being, pushing them from consciousness into an unconscious state. Denying or repressing these aspects—often known as “shadow”—does
not actually make them go away, but instead forces this shadow material to create warped, disguised, and painful symptoms (of anxiety, depression, obsession, etc.), a dysfunction usually known as neurosis or a more serious psychosis. The cure—according to Freud, et. al.—is to contact the alienated, unconscious, shadow material and make it conscious again, rejoining and integrating it with the rest of the conscious mind. This repression of shadow material is an extremely serious matter when it comes to religious or spiritual issues because, first, virtually everybody has some sort of shadow material, and second, the religious drives that a person has are almost always infested with shadow material. Shadow‑driven desires, on the one hand, and the search for God, on the other, are almost always deeply intertwined. And teasing them apart, engaging the process of Cleaning Up—to at least some degree—becomes a crucial component of any serious spiritual path, or the seeker might find, when they think they have discovered God, that they have only come face to face with their own shadow. And even a profound Waking Up will not necessarily get at this unconscious material; the specific practices found in psychotherapy or Cleaning Up are required. So it’s important to note that Cleaning Up is a process that, in itself, is profoundly different from both Waking Up and Growing Up. It has different causes; it produces very different results; and it is addressed by very different practices and techniques. And they are all relatively independent—Growing Up and Waking Up and Cleaning Up; you can progress incredibly well in any one of them and still be totally lagging in the others, and this can happen in any combination. But it seems undeniable that many, perhaps most, individuals on a spiritual path seem, on occasion, to be infected with significant amounts of shadow material, and the drive to (unconsciously) deal with that shadow material can become disguised as the drive to find Spirit—with the added disaster that most spiritual paths teach very little, if anything, about Cleaning Up and ways to both recognize and treat shadow material. If severe, this shadow material can derange the spiritual journey in profound ways, including completely derailing it. I won’t say any more about the Cleaning‑Up process itself, since the psychotherapeutic endeavor is fairly well known and accepted. I just want to emphasize that, clearly, any spiritual path in today’s world needs to take all three of those processes— Growing Up and Waking Up and Cleaning Up—into account and actively address all of them, if it wishes to provide anything like a comprehensive, competent, and legitimate spirituality. When most of the world’s great religions were first being codified, there was literally nothing known about either Growing Up or Cleaning Up, and thus the major religions can be forgiven for not originally including them. But given what we know today, no religion can be forgiven for doing so. A religion leaving these areas out is a religion that effectively cripples its followers. Let me briefly mention one more such area, and then I’ll draw a few important conclusions. We call this domain “Showing Up,” and it refers to being fully open to, or showing up for, the major fundamental perspectives available in a person’s life. There are many different and equally legitimate ways to refer to these basic perspectives. The Greeks called them “the Good, the True, and
the Beautiful.” Virtually all languages around the world contain pronouns that refer to first‑person, second‑person, and third‑person perspectives (with first person being “the person who is speaking,” an “I” or “me”— and this includes aesthetics or the Beauty that “is in the eye—the ‘I’—of the beholder;” second person is “the person being spoken to”—or a “you”—with the Good being the ethical ways that “I” should treat “you;” and third person is “the person or thing being spoken about”—which includes the objectively True of the natural sciences). These are Karl Popper’s “Three Worlds” (subjective, sociocultural, and objective). They are Jürgen Habermas’s “three validity claims” (aesthetics/truthfulness, goodness, objective truth). They are Immanuel Kant’s three major critiques: of Pure Reason, Practical Reason, and Judgment. These perspectives directly apply to spirituality, as well, because Spirit itself can legitimately be viewed through all three of them. Notice, as but one example, that Christ spoke about God (that’s third person), he spoke to God (that’s second person), and he spoke as God (that’s first person). As usual, it’s fairly rare that an integral approach is taken and all three perspectives are realized to be equally valid so that all of them are fully embraced; usually just one perspective is chosen and proclaimed the only correct view. The Spanish Inquisition, for instance, was fine if you discussed God in second or third person, but if you starting talking in first person with reference to God, they would have a nice long chat with you. To entertain a first‑person view of Spirit was literally heresy; only Jesus could do that. This meant that the great Christian mystical saints had to spend their time tiptoeing around language to make sure they didn’t step over that line. Giordano Bruno went too far and was burned at the stake; St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila walked the line very carefully and got away with it (Teresa, for example, would simply say things like, “Beyond this point cannot be put into words”); Meister Eckhart slipped a bit and, although he himself was not condemned, his theses were (so apparently while Eckhart is in heaven, all of his ideas are now burning in hell). An Integral approach—which we also call the “1-2-3 of Spirit” (because it honors and embraces all three perspectives)—is indeed relatively rare, but there is no reason whatsoever that such a fractured approach needs to continue. And notice that each of these perspectival views of Spirit will be interpreted differently at each stage of Growing Up. This becomes particularly important if you look at, say, the second‑person versions of Spirit because in the earlier stages of spiritual Growing Up or spiritual intelligence—particularly the magic and mythic stages—Spirit is often viewed in very anthropomorphic forms, the most caricatured being “the old grey‑haired gentleman on a throne in the sky,” and this is one of the major reasons that many of today’s most educated individuals have given up on religion entirely. But higher stages of spiritual intelligence (rational, pluralistic, and integral) engage a second‑person vantage point by seeing this perspective as meaning most primarily, not a human form, but simply the relational nature of any Spirit. Even if you view Spirit in a merely third‑person perspective as a great Web of Life and generate that view using just the “new sciences” as a “new paradigm,” you still have, as a person, a relationship with that great Web. And however you view the relationship with that Web, if that Web is conscious and alive, then it stands in a second-person relationship to your first-person, and you can begin to act that way. Clearly, whether you recognize the reality of Spirit or not, these three perspectives, in themselves, are very real, which is why every mature 28
language in the world contains them. Many of the greatest philosophers, from the early Greeks to today’s Jürgen Habermas, have recognized these perspectives and have realized that they all contain different (but equally real) kinds of truth, are accessed by different methodologies, and give entrance to very important (if different) dimensions of awareness and being. The Integral approach agrees, and suggests that Showing Up for all of these truly fundamental perspectives is a crucial aspect of any approach, in any discipline, that genuinely wishes to be comprehensive, inclusive, competent, and integral. Needless to say, this applies to spirituality as well. Thus… Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, and Showing Up—these are simply ways to embrace the very important and equally necessary dimension/perspectives that any spirituality would want to fully incorporate if it wants to be truly authentic. Notice that both Growing Up and Cleaning Up are areas that were only seriously discovered around 100 years ago, and thus they were much too recently understood to be found in any of the major religious systems anywhere in the world, many of which are a thousand years or older. This lack, at least in terms of what is known in today’s world, has increasingly become truly a cultural disaster of worldwide and global proportions, because research continues to demonstrate that success in any one of these four major areas (Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, and Showing Up) does not guarantee success in any of the others, and thus not only can a person have a very high degree of Waking Up yet remain at very early and relatively low stages of Growing Up (often egocentric‑magic and ethnocentric‑mythic), they also often have very serious shadow issues that need horribly to be dealt with in Cleaning Up; and, to really drive in the last coffin nail, they could also not be aware of the “1‑2‑3 of Spirit,” thus failing to Show Up fully for the many faces of God in their own lives. In other words, due to ongoing research and metatheoretical work—or, we could say, due to the ongoing evolution of Spirit in the manifest world—we of today have a much broader understanding of the dimensions or components that a fully enacted spiritual awareness ideally involves. We have also seen that leaving out any one of these dimensions results in a demonstrably crippled spirituality, offering considerably less than we already know can in fact be tendered. I think we’ve seen enough of even some simple and short explanations of why all four of those dimensions—Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, and Showing Up—are so crucial and indispensable to any authentic spirituality, and certainly to any Religion of Tomorrow (title of a book I wrote on just this topic). The point of that book is that traditional religion as we know it is declining quite rapidly; polls show that the number of northern Europeans who seriously believe in religion is now 29
11 percent. My point is that since most modern Western religion tends to neglect Waking Up as a central practice, has absolutely no Growing Up and no Cleaning Up, and seems to poorly grasp Showing Up—it’s no surprise that such a deficient system is in decline, and such a defective religion will very likely not survive into the future if it does not become truly integral and begin including all of those areas it now severely neglects. A truly comprehensive spirituality today contains a wealth of different dimensions that none of the traditional religious approaches came anywhere near understanding or including. And you can keep pointing to new areas; once I had introduced these four basic practices, I have seen added to them: Opening Up, Hooking Up, Lifting Up, Linking Up... The point of all of that is simply that Spirit itself continues to unfold and evolve in numerous ways in the manifest world, and any authentic spirituality needs to stay on a path of genuine inclusiveness just to keep up. A thousand years from now—given how incredibly fast culture evolves, including spiritual culture—do we really think that the Bible or the Upanishads or Sutras will describe absolutely everything that there is to know about Spirit and how to realize it? Of course not. So why wait a thousand years to start including? Whitehead used to speak of the “Primordial Nature of God” and the “Consequent Nature of God,” both of which were profoundly important. The staunchest traditional theologians should be able to agree that, even if we say that the “Primordial Nature of God” is radically timeless and eternal and an everlastingly unchanging groundless Ground of All Being, nonetheless the “Consequent Nature of God” is just that—consequent—it continues to evolve and unfold and manifest in numerous different ways that will indeed change over time, each of which will need to be “transcended and included” as new truths continue to constantly emerge. A truly Integral Spirituality—including Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, and a variety of domains yet to be discovered—will almost certainly be the religion of tomorrow. The wise will surely start now on this path of genuine spiritual inclusion. 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.
Science Is Ready to Accept Consciousness
by Deepak Chopra, MD
Although it takes place outside the headlines and even those who deal with science, a heated debate is occurring about mind and matter. On one side is a camp of so-called physicalists, formerly known as materialists, who hold fast to the assumption that any and all phenomena in nature can be reduced to physical processes and the interaction of objects (atoms, subatomic particles, etc.—the building blocks of the universe). On the other side is no single camp but a mixed assortment of skeptics who hold that at least one natural phenomenon—the human mind—cannot be explained physically. While one explanation (the physicalist) is supported by the weight of highly successful theories in physics, biology, biochemistry, and neuroscience, and the other side has no accepted theory on its side, the debate seems totally unequal. But in David-versus-Goliath battles, be careful of rooting for Goliath. The possibility of a science of consciousness, which would involve a thorough explanation of mind and how it relates to matter, can’t begin until the obstacles in its path are removed and old accepted assumptions are overturned. That has already begun on all fronts. In physics, the essential problem of how something came out of nothing (i.e., the big bang coming out of the quantum vacuum state) stymies cosmologists, while at the microscopic level, the same mystery—this time involving subatomic particles emerge from the virtual state—is equally baffling. In biology, the prevailing Darwinism cannot explain the quantum leap made, with astonishing rapidity, by Homo sapiens in terms of reasoning, creativity, language, the use of concepts as opposed to instincts, tool-making, and racial characteristics. We are the offspring of the newest part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, and yet there is no causal connection between its evolution and the primal Darwinian need to survive. This is evident by the survival of a hundred primate species lacking a higher brain, reasoning, tool-making, concepts, etc. Finally, in neuroscience and biochemistry, there is zero connection between nerve cells (and their chemical components) and mind. Unless someone can locate the point in time when molecules learned to think, the current assumption that the brain is doing the thinking has no solid footing.
The day-to-day work of scientists isn’t dependent on explaining how mind arose in the cosmos—not yet. The relation between mind and matter has existed in philosophy for centuries, and working scientists don’t consider philosophy relevant to their research. Collecting data and doing experiments need no help from metaphysics. But when you look at the unanswered questions in physics, biology, biochemistry, and neuroscience, it’s more than a coincidence that all, without exception, impinge upon the same inability to know how consciousness actually works. By taking for granted the obvious fact that it takes a mind to do science, we’ve reached the point where science is leaving out the very component that might answer the questions that urgently need answering, not because philosophy demands it, but because science does. The sticking point is physicalism itself. If everything must be reduced to the smallest units of matter and energy, and yet there is zero evidence that mind follows that pattern, it is unscientific to cling to physicalism. Even a staunchly mainstream physicist like Stephen Hawking has commented that reality doesn’t necessarily match the current models in science. The mind is real, and since that’s true, defective models are required to change or even be thrown out. To repair the most glaring defect of all—our inability to explain mind—imperils all the sciences for the simple fact that science is a mental activity. If we set physicalism aside, what would be another starting point for a new model of reality?
Instead of conceiving reality from the bottom up, moving from tiny building blocks to larger and larger structures, one could do the reverse and create a top-down model. In other words, the starting point would be the whole, not the parts. So what do we know about reality as a whole? • Reality is knowable through the mind. What humans can’t know, either directly or by inference, might as well not exist. • What we know is tied to what we experience. • Experience takes place in consciousness, nowhere else. • Experience is at once boundless and very restricted. The boundless part lies in the human capacity to create, invent, explore, discover, and imagine. The restricted part revolves around the setup of the brain, which is confined to the behavior of space, time, matter, and energy. The brain is four-dimensional, while physics poses the possibility of infinite dimensions at one extreme and zero dimensions at the other extreme. • Because the physical processing done by the brain works in parallel to the mind doesn’t mean that the brain is the mind. To assert that brain equals mind involves showing the atoms and molecules can think, which can’t be proven and seems highly unlikely. Therefore, the ground state of reality, the place form which everything originates, is consciousness. • Consciousness is the only constant in human experience that can’t be removed from consideration in science or any other form of knowing. • What we call reality “out there” is constructed in our own awareness. These constructs follow predictable paths according to mathematics, logic, the laws of nature, and so on. But this doesn’t prove that reality is independent from our experience, only that consciousness is capable of extremely precise, predictable organization. In a word, the notion that everything is a mental construct is just as valid as the notion that everything is a physical construct. The two are merely different perspectives. • If reality “out there” is a construct dependent upon consciousness, explaining the universe entails explaining consciousness. Where physicalists are stymied by how atoms and molecules think, non-physicalists are stymied by how mind creates matter. • This impasse is broken by taking a concrete approach to mind—that is, by investigating the qualities of reality “out there.” These qualities, such as how an object looks, sounds, feels, tastes, and smells, are entirely created in consciousness. As Werner Heisenberg, the theoretical physicist, noted almost a decade ago, there are no fixed physical characteristics of an atom or subatomic particle. Everything is built up from the qualities, also known as qualia, that the human mind knows, experiences, and can conceptualize. • Ultimately, even where nature sucks all matter and energy into black holes and naked singularities, the actual horizon for science doesn’t lie there or with the big bang, by which matter and energy reappeared in manifest form. The real horizon is where the inconceivable source of mind meets the conceivable phenomena in nature. The problem of something coming out of nothing is exactly the same when the cosmos was born as when a thought is born. This is the level playing field where mind and matter can be investigated as two sides of the same process: consciousness interacting with itself.
Deepak Chopra M.D., F.A.C.P., founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into more than 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are The Healing Self, co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D., and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com. 31
Overcoming the Illusion of Separateness by Dena Merriam
Over the past 30 years, the interfaith movement has evolved from a stage of bare acceptance of other faiths to a hesitating embrace to a deep sense of unity among many in the interfaith world. It is only when we look back that we can see how much progress has been made. But how has this integration of world views impacted the collective consciousness and behavior? The mindset that kept the religions apart is based on what some call the “domination gene”—the need to dominate over and feel superior to the “other”—and this other can be the religious other, the ethnic or racial other, the other defined by class or economics, or other species. Before we as a human community can overcome this domination mindset, we must recognize the many subtle ways in which it permeates our thinking and controls our personal and collective behavior. It controls the way we interact with other species and life forms, with our Mother Earth, and with our fellow humans. If we, as a collective, could overcome this outdated mindset, many of the injustices that cause harm today would be set aright, and Mother Earth’s life systems would not be under threat. It would eradicate the hierarchies that structure our societies and help us reclaim the unity with the natural world that is our birthright. It is the illusion of separation that is the root cause of this domination mentality. When we see ourselves as separate from the rest, as a survival mechanism we seek to control what we see as outside of ourselves. In reality, there is no separation; there is no other. More and more people seem to be waking up to this realization at the conceptual level, but how does this translate into human behavior? It may be easier to see how this applies to our view and treatment of fellow humans, but it has far greater implications. When I first began my interfaith work in the 1990s, as I helped to organize the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held in 2000 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, we created a document—a statement for the religious leaders to sign—that mentioned the phrase “reverence for the earth.” To my astonishment, a number of senior leaders in the Abrahamic community balked at signing because of this phrase. That was only 18 years ago, but I doubt this would be the case today. Thankfully, we can now speak openly about reverence for Mother Earth without push back, but our collective behavior betrays a different mindset. In earlier times, people spoke to the rivers, and the rivers responded. They spoke to the mountains, and the mountains shared with them their strength and wisdom. They saw and
communed with the life that surrounded them. But over time this unity consciousness was disrupted, and a consciousness of separation evolved. And now, after many millennia, we have reached a point of near destruction of vital life forms and systems—our rivers and oceans, forests and mountains, animal and plant life, and our soil—a diversity of life with whom we no longer converse. The renewal of these relationships in a very real, not conceptual, sense may be the single most important shift in the current evolutionary cycle. What does it mean to make this shift real? Recently the supreme court of India declared the sacred Ganga and Jamuna Rivers to be living beings with the same rights as humans. That was an important first step. For many people in India, the rivers were always living beings, no court confirmation needed, but for the world, it mattered. Try speaking in the West, even today, about the Hudson River or Mississippi River as living beings whom we can love and who will love us back, who will guard and protect and nurture us as we protect them. We must begin to speak openly this way, as the Native Americans did and still do. Only in that consciousness will we care for our rivers as we would our mothers. The same goes for our forests, our mountains, our oceans, the animals and plants who are our kin, as well as our fellow humans. We are here to care for, not compete with, one another. Our Mother Earth is giving us an opportunity to understand this, for only by coming together as a community of life will we be able to repair the damage we have done; only by overcoming the domination instinct will we be able to truly progress, and by erasing our sense of separateness we will come close to knowing our unity with the Divine. Another major shift in mindset that will aid evolution is an understanding of the universal law of cause and effect, called “karma” in Buddhist traditions and in the Abrahamic tradition expressed as “you reap what you sow.” This law operates on a collective as well as personal level. All that we experience now is the result of past actions and thoughts, and all that we do today will shape our future. Again, many may understand this at the conceptual level, but making it a lived reality is another matter. Deeper reflection on this law is of the essence now. In order to seize the opportunities before us for true human growth, we must do our own internal work to move beyond the illusion of separateness and take responsibility for the results of past actions. In this way, we can help foster the upward movement of humanity.
Dena Merriam is the founder of The Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW). She was also an organizer of the forums for the United Nations Climate Change Conferences in Copenhagen in 2009 and in Cancun in 2010, during the meetings of the G20 in Seoul in 2010, and in Cannes in 2011. She began working in the interfaith movement in the late 1990’s, serving as Vice Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nations in New York. In 2002, she convened a meeting of women religious and spiritual leaders at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from which emerged the GPIW. Dena holds a Masters Degree in Sacred Literature from Columbia University and is active worldwide in current discussions of the world’s religions and transformational change. She is author of My Journey Through Time: A Spiritual Memoir of Life, Death and Rebirth (2018).
Waking Up and Growing Up by Richard Bowell Perhaps it was the same for you: affixed to my fridge door, I once had magnetic blocks with sayings from the ages inscribed by wise people whose names I knew but whose significance I did not. Only much later did I realize I was engaging in a process of being awakened, and this was a ceremony that I was unconsciously subscribing to—surrounding myself with evocations of the greater truth. One was a popular saying by Albert Einstein, oft misquoted: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” Like all great aphorisms, they are not meant to be understood but to open the causeway to the greater level of truth from which they emanate—Einstein’s words still accompany me to this day. I wondered: • What exactly is the ‘”level of thinking” to which Einstein was alluding? • How does one access that level? • And what would one then see that one doesn’t see at the old “problem solving level”? All the scriptures are misunderstood precisely because of the assumption that they can be understood; we can only understand the “not significant thing,” or in the words of the Tao Te Ching, “The Tao that can be understood is not the eternal Tao.” If it takes ten years or more, say, to become a competent scientist, why then do we assume that the path of knowing (being magnetized to the greater truth that activates our spiritual core) can be accomplished in the turn of a phrase? One has to journey there. It is the never ending journey for which there is no final accreditation other than that one consciously chose to give one’s all to the challenge to become conscious, just as there is no allowable self-congratulation, only the joy granted by the unfolding journey that imbues us with a sense of honor to be characterized as a life in such terms of service. In these times, there is another saying, equally wise, that is in danger of being confined to the “understood”—and therefore misunderstood—basket of shallow intellectual curiosity that says waking up and growing up. (As far as I know, these words have been attributed to the philosopher Ken Wilber, but I hope he would agree that it was his ability to remain open to the significance of this truth unfolding in him that was the real act of service for which he should be acknowledged.) Waking Up and Growing Up I had met this non-duality in many forms and had even come to my own versions before I encountered these particularly succinct words that conveyed something utterly insightful about these times (as the knowing of it has so far revealed). If there is a significant challenge in our times, it is surely this: “What can we do in the face of such significant problems as we face today?” There is no “answer” to this great challenge of our times until we can access this new integrated level of intelligence from which we can see afresh. From this level that proposes an entirely different positioning of the human living on this planet, everything that a human can do comes into view. In short, until we “wake up and grow up,” we can only shortsightedly react to the past. All the great aphorisms emanate from this same “epigenetic” center of living truth. Any person who follows the unending journey in deliberate response to the call of consciousness sees the same— that it is they themselves who are the fulcrum of change. It is the realization that it is ourselves becoming conscious that is the way of the way. Just like mitosis (mitosis, cell division, is being used here to describe the growth of consciousness) is only a greater truth when we add that, while cell division is a process of confirmation and repetition, the template of cell division also affirms the fact of the reintegration of the duality in service to the growth of the greater creation (the intactness of the human model itself).
In the same way, as with mitosis, waking up on its own is not enough (and can actually be dangerous, as we saw in the drug experiments of the 1960’s) unless we simultaneously grow up in becoming responsible for our part and function in the next steps of evolution. Once one sees, conscious affirmation becomes the only real choice available. With all this in mind, a small research team associated with the United Nations and I looked at the great challenges of our times—the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—and let the guidance of waking up and growing up write the new level of human response to the external challenges we face in the form of the Sustainable Development Goal Alignments. “Today, the United Nations are sending out these SDG Alignments alongside the SDGs to tens of thousands of people around the world, to more than 1000 universities in more than 120 countries.” For the first time, what we face and our human response are integrated in a new way of Evolutary* thinking. *The term Evolutary™ expresses the conscious human sequences of change taking place in our evolutionary story now and is the research undertaken by the Global Center in New York. The shift from No Poverty (SDG 1) to the way of Wealth Generation (SDG Alignment 1) is an integral part of the way we can come to know the world around us directly, if we can observe through the waking up and growing up sequence. Alongside each goal—be it erasing poverty, hunger, gender inequality, or global warming—there is written a sustainable development inner human alignment showing our human evolutionary step in making it real (Waking Up and Growing Up). These goals focus on what we want to achieve and how we want to do it, whereas alignments show the consciousness of a new purpose (“why”) that wakes us up to a new level and shows us the sequences to take up our mature evolutionary responsibility (growing up). Richard A. Bowell From Medical School (briefly) to the Department of Philosophy (blindly) I felt compelled in my inner world to pursue another path that seemed unwritten and certainly unknown. Travel (detaching myself from habit) exposure to religious and spiritual influences (energizing my core constitution) and 12 years in the training of my inner world as a place of spiritual expansion – I gradually came to THE views that so many of us SEE today. By this time, the gradual grinding down of my ego inheritance allowed me to connect in some real degree to the living pathway of our times, though I did not know this at the time. The strength of emergence as a unique life (as we all are) brought me into an engagement in the convergence of individuals in a new time - as part of a movement of evolutionary Change. Yes, many books written, centers of learning established, working at the UN… but as a consequence of the living pathway being heard and registered.
An Urgent Plea from the Future – A new book by Richard A. Bowell on the SDGs and the SDG Alignments
An excerpt from the book (above) showing the shift from the Sustainable Development Goals (page left) to the Sustainable Development Goal Alignments (page right). 34
Linking Up and Creating Synergizes with the Non-local by Diane Williams
Nikola Tesla once said that “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” Tesla believed that humanity would not progress on a large scale until it studies “non-physical” phenomena, including healing at a distance, linking through heart-based coherence, the power of intention setting, quantum nonlocal communication, paranormal phenomena, telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinetic, reincarnation, remote healing and viewing, near-death and out-of-body experiences, and communication with other intelligences (as well as the living, intelligent field that connects us all—a field with which we are communicating, creating, and evolving all the time). The Source of Synergy Foundation also believes that the study, use, and co-creative partnerships with these types of phenomena and intelligences are vital to our understanding the nature of reality and our potential to shift into our next level of evolution as humanity. In fact, I believe the survival of all life on Planet Earth rides on us linking up and stepping into a deeper relationship with the nonphysical and activating our true powers as humans. There’s a lot at stake now. Fifty percent of all individual animals have been lost since 1970 due to habitat destruction, hunting, pollution, human overpopulation, overconsumption, and climate change. Unless humans act now, researchers are saying that the fish currently in the ocean may disappear by 2048. The planet has experienced a fifty-fold increase in the number of places experiencing dangerous or extreme heat since 1980. Survival of extreme heat depends on many factors including humidity, drinking enough water, number of consistent hours or days in a heat wave, etc. Human cells begin to die at only 106°F - 113°F. As the global temperatures rise, we are reaching the limits of human survivability as we know it. We know where we are heading unless a fundamental change in the way we live our lives is implemented, including creating a more transcendental relationship with the elements. On a brighter note, we are in the process of what some say is humanity’s biggest consciousness shift in history; part of that shift is the opening and linking to other intelligences that can collaborate with us. It’s time to enter a new era that includes more reverence for the transpersonal and more of an awareness of our multi-dimensional selves. The Source of Synergy Foundation, www.sourceofsynergyfoundation.org, was founded on the concepts of “Synergy”—where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the whole being everything in the cosmic field—and of synergy partners coming from the seen and unseen worlds so that we can co-create our shared future together. A key part of our work is to support the activation of humanity’s multidimensional capacities so that we will understand the nature of our true selves, expand synergistic engagement among all life forms on the earth and beyond, and push the boundaries of our current perception of reality, of what we know, and what we can accomplish. The Source of Synergy Foundation creates opportunities for synergistic engagement, including leadership retreats with evolutionary leaders (www.evolutionaryleaders.net) to actualize our highest collective intention to inspire, support, and serve conscious evolution on the planet: Synergy Circles, like the one we are doing at the Findhorn Foundation on Co-Creating with the Intelligence of Nature, 35
and Journeys, like one we are planning for Greenland, which offer unique experiences to connect and creatively collaborate with the transformative energies and higher frequencies of the world’s sacred power places and to bear witness to global challenges and humanity’s achievements. Along the way, we explore innovative solutions that demonstrate how our consciousness—in alignment with the intelligence of nature and the subtle, often unrecognized dimensions of reality—can support personal, collective, and global healing. We believe it’s time for us to hold the greatest vision of what our universal community can be by using our metaphysical energy, gifts, and techniques to have the power that people once thought only great masters and gods had. Let’s look to Jesus as an example. He said, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” He showed us the highest manifestation of what we can be—our potential self. One can see how drawn many are to Jesus’ metaphysical abilities. He did healings that restored sight to those who were blind, healed those who were paralyzed, raised people from the dead, and mastered matter by feeding thousands with five loaves of bread and two fish. He was able to ascend His humanly body into a higher frequency and, during the resurrection, to become a light body. If our Earth becomes more and more inhabitable, we will need to transcend our physical bodies and ascend into higher frequency realms.
Also, I find experiences of deep communion and synergy with like-minded friends and colleagues can allow one to see and feel what one normally can’t in our everyday lives. In 2010 at UCLA, the Evolutionary Leaders Circle were all part of an event called A Call to Conscious Evolution: Our Moment of Choice. When Siehah Garrett sang Man in the Mirror, a song she wrote for Michael Jackson, all of the members of the Evolutionary Leaders Circle who were present came on stage to sing along with the audience. As we were singing “Gonna Make that Change,” there was a feeling of union that was extraordinary, and I saw everyone in the whole auditorium as molecules of light. It felt like the oneness we were embodying lifted us into the quantum space that transcended space and time. Luckily, with the World Wide Web bringing us into a global community and initiatives like the Global Coherence Initiative, Power of 8 Intention Groups, Earth Day, Global Oneness Day, United Nations International Days for Peace, Yoga and Happiness, and many others, we are linking up and unifying with each other and the non-local world in more profound ways. I believe these collective experiences of oneness are gateways into the infinite, a place where we get to know the real truth of our Being and develop deeper relationships with our synergistic partners in the seen and unseen worlds so that our collective evolution is assured.
Christ materialized and dematerialized at will and traveled by teleportation and by telepathy. He had supernatural control over the elements, including water—He was able to walk on it, calm storms, and even turn it into wine. If He was alive today, my guess is that He would teach us that we have the ability to reverse climate change. He reassured us that we are able to do the works He did and even greater things than these. Today’s times are calling for us to activate our full powers as spiritual beings. So where do we start? I think, first, we must work on raising our own individual vibrations. Also, if we belong to a community, it’s important to raise the group’s collective vibration and connection with the field that links us with higher dimensional realities and all levels of intelligence. Strengthening our connection with the field will open portals to the non-local worlds. Entering gateways to higher states of consciousness can happen in various ways—including spiritual practices like meditation— that can give us a glimpse of consciousness outside of the physical spectrum and into a more expanded state of reality.
Diane Williams is the Founder and President of The Source of Synergy Foundation, an organization committed to creating opportunities for Synergy that activates the power of the collective spirit to embody higher levels of consciousness. She serves as the Co-Director of one of its main projects, The Evolutionary Leaders: In Service to Conscious Evolution project. She is the Founder and Chairperson Emeritus of the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns (CSVGC) at the United Nations in New York and served as the Co-Chair and one of the Co-Founders of this committee at the United Nations in Geneva. She has won a number of awards including the Spirit of the United Nations Award in 2011, the Golden Rule award in 2010, the PEMAC Peace Award in 1999 and was acknowledged in 2013 by the Emily Fund for a Better World as one of the Heroes for a Better World.
Let’s Awaken Together Now By Loch Kelly, MDiv, LCSW
We are living in an important moment when all fields of human endeavor can contribute to the evolution of consciousness. Awakening, which historically was the focus of a small minority, is now available to people in all cultures. It is important to recognize awakening as the next natural stage of human development for our planet to survive and thrive. We are in need of both activists and contemplatives and, most of all, contemplative activists. As Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., showed us, when we start with peace in our own hearts, we can act more courageously to create peace in the world. Experts in the fields of science and spirituality, who have been mostly at odds with each other for centuries, are now joining in public dialogues and even common ventures (despite fundamentalists in both camps). Some scientists are changing their long-held assumptions about the human mind as a result of research on meditation and brain scans of spiritual practitioners. At the same time, some spiritual practitioners are beginning to go beyond the insular beliefs of their doctrines to open their minds and practices to recent scientific studies, with some even participating in research. On a number of occasions when the Dalai Lama was asked what he would do if scientific studies invalidated his beliefs, he replied that he would simply change his beliefs. Most of the early explorers of awakening were associated with a particular religious tradition. Upon awakening, these inner astronauts described their experiences in their own cultural or 37
religious languages. Because similar discoveries were made in many cultures and religions, it seems clear that something common in human consciousness is being explored. Awakening is part art, part science, and a good deal of mystery. Once we learn the principles of upgrading our common human consciousness, we see that awakening has observable principles and patterns and is both teachable and learnable. Awakening may seem new, but it has been recognized by meditation masters for millennia, and what is awakened to is known as open-hearted awareness, unity consciousness, spirit, grace, Self, no-self, true nature, source, the ground of being, and life itself. In the twenty-first century, there may be opportunities to describe this dimension of reality in a new, common language. Awakening is possible for you. It may sound like a big, esoteric thing—especially when you are having a bad day. We are all imperfect. That is not going to change, but neither is the fact that we can realize that who we are is already unconditional love itself. Today there is a potential for a new stage of human development that combines awakening and growing up. It’s clear you can only grow up to a certain level unless you awaken, and it’s also important to mature psychologically while awakening. No matter how advanced we get spiritually, the goal is not to transcend being human. In order to awaken, you don’t have to leave your life, go to a cave, become an Olympic-level meditator, or take on any set of religious beliefs. Regardless of your belief system or your spiritual affiliation or non-affiliation, you can begin awakening in the midst of your daily life. You don’t even have to wait until you’ve gotten your life together. In fact, if you’re looking from your small self and small mind, you’ll never feel good enough or prepared enough. Most adults are ready. Chances are if you’re reading this article, you’re ready. If you’ve had practice concentrating, completing tasks in school and at work, and forming relationships, you’ve grown up enough to wake up and learn to live from open-hearted awareness.
Awakening is about relieving suffering and increasing well-being through a shift of identity and knowing. We all have frustrations and sufferings at all levels of our physical, mental, and emotional life. There are different ways to approach these problems. However, the suffering addressed in awakening is a very particular type of suffering—a pervasive confusion and a perpetual dissatisfaction caused by the habit of recreating a separate sense of self. Awakening addresses the root cause—not just the symptoms of craving, hatred, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Although physical and emotional pain are legitimate suffering and normal parts of human life, suffering from our mistaken identity is optional. In this direct approach, which has been so profoundly helpful to me, awakening begins with a direct recognition but then has a gradual unfolding. It is not instant enlightenment or an escape from the human condition. A teacher cannot give it to you, and it cannot be found in a book. The main role of a teacher is to point you toward your own inner teacher. Ultimately, who you are is already open-hearted awareness, and yet realizing this often takes a journey and growing pains. However, just glimpsing your basic nature can be a profound shift in itself. The awakening process often begins with an initial waking-up from a small separate sense of self and into awake awareness. Then it continues with waking-in to include and know our body, thoughts, and emotions from nonconceptual knowing and abiding. The third stage, waking-out, involves creating and relating from open-hearted awareness. Each stage brings its own liberation. Waking-up leads to freedom from the fear of death. Waking-in leads to freedom from the fear of life. And waking-out leads to freedom from the fear of love. Realizing that we can shift out of our small separate sense of self and into open-hearted awareness is as important a revolution today as the recognition that the Earth revolves around the sun was in the seventeenth century. It is time for a revolution of consciousness that will help us see our interconnectedness and give us new motivation for the compassionate activity that will benefit all creatures and our planet.
Loch Kelly, M.Div., LCSW, is author of Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness, which was named “Top 10 Best Books of the Year” by Spirituality & Health Magazine. He is an educator, contemplative psychotherapist, and recognized leader in the field of consciousness and awakening. Loch is the founder of the non-profit Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, where he received a fellowship to study Insight Meditation, Advaita, and Tibetan Buddhism in Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal. Loch trained with Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche in Nepal, served on the Teacher’s Council at New York Insight and is affiliated with Adyashanti. Loch has worked in community mental health, established homeless shelters, and counseled family members after 9/11 in New York City. He collaborates with neuroscientists at Yale, University of Pennsylvania and NYU to study how awareness training enhances compassion and wellbeing. www.effortlessmindfulness.org
At the Core By Kristin Hoffmann
When the hate comes, let there be love And when the night falls, let there be peace And when the dark cloud over our heads Releases its grasp on our hearts and our souls May we re-member... We’re whole... Connected at the core One people, we’re whole Connected at the core of it all When the fear comes, let there be love And when the tears fall, let there be peace And when the violent fist of the lost ones crashes down... Breaks our hearts, chains our souls May we re-member... We’re whole... Connected at the core One people, we’re whole Connected at the core, soul to soul And when the fever starts to flare We’re gonna shake down, shake it down, shake it down And when those guns are in the air We’re gonna lay them down, lay them down, lay ‘em down And re-member... We’re whole... Connected at the core One people, we’re whole Connected at the core of it all…of it all In recent times, we have been living amidst a tapestry of intense emotions and a turbulent scape of hostile realities playing out in our lives on personal, community, country, and world levels. As we become more connected daily, through the vehicle of the internet, it is increasingly difficult not to feel personally affected by larger world conflicts, and communities are quickly and directly impacted by the reflections of country-scale clashes. Our perspectives of micro-to-macro life are becoming interwoven as one larger experience.
As we observe complex and weighted events playing out via our internet/social media looking glass, it is easy to be pulled in by the collective popular responses and reactions and also feel very uncomfortable if they do not match our own views. The inner sensation can end up feeling like self-inflicted peer-pressure, stemming from a source that we cannot even totally identify or see with our physical eyes.
Last year, while scrolling down through the latest “social media news,” amidst the turbulence and heat of the Charlottesville protests, I came across a poem by my dear friend Stephanie Carlin, While this heightened connectivity opens the possibility for addressing the idea of “fighting hate,” a term that was being widely many new levels of peaceful sharing and passionate action, it circulated in mass response at the time. Stephanie realized that can also become a roadblock of heaviness in our lives as we this concept did not resonate with her own personal truth about observe conflict, hate, and war that play out in the world again and again. For the first time in human history, we feel personally our growth and potential as humans. I imagine the feelings and frustration that mulled in her heart as she was challenged by the involved, responsible even, with a war happening in a small oxymoron of the group narrative. country of Africa, a fatal clash in the Middle East, impending global warming, various protests and marches taking place, and the man down the street shooting his rival in cold blood—all of Stephanie chose to take a beautifully creative step to clarify her own truth around the idea of “fighting hate,” both for her own growth as these layers, and many more, every single day. well as others, as she penned the following poem and released it into the social media ether: 39
FYI You don’t “fight hate” You love. You move from love, you exude love You transform the world out of an unwavering stand for... You guessed it... Love There is a distinct difference between charging forward with love and fighting hate And it’s hard to “just” love And maybe you disagree But so what I think you know It’s the truth. As I absorbed Stephanie’s words and message, I was deeply touched by the beautifully bold sentiment, which resonated full-heartedly with my own views and felt a personal sense of heaviness begin to release, like pulling up the drain in a bathfull of dirty water. I realized how bogged down my own system had been by the “fighting narrative” being acted out on so many scales of human existence. I instantly fell in love with Stephanie’s new image of “charging forward with love”—a motto and mantra I could embody in my daily practice and actions, brimming with a lifted sense of purpose to be positive change now.
For those who realize our oneness nature at the core and want to see brave expressions of peace become contagious, follow Stephanie Carlin’s lead—gather your courage, and send your creative voice and actions into the world. It will likely feel freeing to share your vision, while simultaneously opting out of the group polarity game. In your personal life, make time to practice “closing the blinds,” not in denial, but with the intention of conscious awakening. Develop your deeper listening and visioning skills, tuning in to what your own voice sounds like, what your own actions look like, manifested in your family, neighborhood, community, and world. When you understand your role and personal life mission, sourced from a place of peaceful inner reflection, it is a lot easier to know how to move in your truth and make meaningful connections with others doing the same. Awakened thought leaders are being called to speak out and rise on all levels right now, and every single Earthly person holds the potential to make an impression in a high vibrational and conscious way, sourced from seeds of virtue.
There is a metaphorical bomb going off outside our windows these days, granting us direct viewing at all hours, and it is so hard to know when and how to close the blinds in order to maintain a sense of sanity and focus on our own Soul missions. Many people watch through the window and get emotionally riled up to go join “the fight.” Others end up feeling so paralyzed by the destruction and hate they observe that all they can manage in their lives is to get up each day, totally overwhelmed, with just enough energy to keep watching the show. Please understand that I am not judging either of these reactions or experiences, as they are both part of our collective learning, and sometimes we must go to extremes in order to discover greater awareness. However, I am posing a question: Is there another way to be and progress than from a state of polarized re-action? Gratefully, I believe the answer is yes! Firstly, it is important to re-member that for all the hate and fighting we see playing out in the world, there are even more people embracing love, peace, harmony, collaboration and growth. In the same way we feel directly affected and pulled into the daily macro-drama, we can slightly re-tune our awareness to become aligned with the “Macro-Awakening” movement that is rising all around us. Fighting evil and hate are ancient story lines, begging to be outmoded. We are at a point in our human evolution where we have the awareness to tune to the deeper resonance of our shared human experience and, with empathy and compassion, choose to love, grow, and accept others in response to hate. Gandhi’s Satyagraha, or “Truth Force” movement, is arising once again on a whole new magnitude and scale, now that we can actually see and feel our human worldly connectivity and actions playing out in real time via the internet platform. We are given the choice to add our creative energy, vision, and manifestation to this building wave and “charge forward with love.”
Through the modern-day looking glass, beyond the chaos, we have been given the gift of re-membering just how connected we all are. At the core, we are all Soul Beings having the Human Experience. I believe, beneath the illusions of separation and difference that we have created, lies a core truth of peace, love, and light, as pure and present as the day we were born. The more we practice embodying these virtues, the more we can realize our own unique purpose and send our voices singing into the world. We can and will impact the whole of who we are as a collective as we consciously cultivate love and radiate positivity from the core. Kristin Hoffmann is a Juilliard trained multiinstrumentalist, with a transcendental ability to take audiences on a journey of deep awakening to Spirit. In addition to stints at major record labels Capitol and Interscope Records, and song placements on hit TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and Palmetto Pointe, she has shared stages with The Wallflowers, Feist, Brandi Carlile, Richie Havens and many other musical luminaries. In her own words, Kristin says, “My goal is to spread love, light, peace and truth into the world through the vehicles of music and energetic frequency.” www.kristinhoffmann.com
by Yanni Maniates
UNITY EARTH’s U Day is a global spiritual music festival celebrating human unity and diversity across all cultures, creeds, colors and countries. Bringing together musicians, artists, spiritual leaders, visionaries and sacred and secular activists, U Day promotes a message of positivity, intercultural celebration and inter-faith harmony. Major U Day events have already been held in Thailand and Ethiopia. The U Day Festival comes to India in November 2019 starting with Rishikesh and then going to Delhi and finally culminating in Varanasi and Sarnath. All these cities are renowned sacred sites and energy centers. We will be partnering very closely with the United Religions Initiative (URI) and Teamwork Arts to create U Day India 2019. The planning process to bring U Day to India began with two Delhi Convergence events in March, 2017 and May 2018. At these events we were very inspired by the overwhelming enthusiasm, support and interest that so many spiritual leaders and activists showed in wanting to celebrate these U Day festivals of spiritual harmony in India. One of the leaders who attended, H.H. Shrivatsa Goswami, dubbed the U Day Festival as “The Spiritual Woodstock” of India. First Stop: RISHIKESH (Shakti, 5 Elements of Nature) Divine Feminine Rising is the theme of the U Day Festival in Rishikesh. At Parmarth NIketan Ashram, with the support of Pujya Swamiji and Sadhiviji, we will celebrate SHAKTI, the Divine Feminine Principle in all her glory with a Fire/Water/ 5 Elements Ceremony on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. As well, participants from all over the world will use music, dance and poetry to celebrate the Mystical Feminine Principle that is at the core of all creativity and expression. Also, there will be an all-day Convocation focused on exploring the Divine Feminine’s role in ushering in the New Earth and the New Human.
Stop Two: DELHI (Sufi-Bhakti, U-Dialogs, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, Christian, Jain, Zoroastrian, Jewish) Delhi is the city of the Sufis and the power center of India. Real power flows thru the connection to the Sacred Heart, a power that positively impacts All--to the exclusion of none. This message of inclusion, oneness and peace is what UNITY EARTH (UE) hopes to spread throughout all the events in Delhi, whether it is the Bhakti-Sufi Concerts organized by Syed Salman Chishty; two U-Dialogue Peace Conclaves put together respectively by Ambassador Anil Trigunayat and Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar; a finale program at the Punjab Institute commemorating Guru Nanak’s 550th Birth Anniversary organized by Dr. Mohinder Singh; a visit to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram with the help of Dr. Ramesh Bijlani; a journey into the Akshardham Temple with the guidance of Dr. J.M. Dave; a tour of the Baha’i Lotus Temple with the support of Dr. A.K. Merchant; a visit to the Ramakrishna Temple with Swami Shantatmanandaji; an immersion into Gobind Sadam with Mary Pat Fisher; an experience of the serenity of Nizamuddin Dargah; the beauty and serenity of Zorba, the Buddha with Ashwin Bharti; the peace of the BeejOm Farm with Arpana Rajagopal; and other locations and partners to be announced. As well, Fr. Victor Edwin and Fr. Tom Kunnunkal will lead us on interfaith harmony and peace work activities. Stop Three: VARANASI (Kabira Festival, Sarnath, U-Dialog for Peace) Then we will travel to Varanasi on an overnight Peace Concert train. There partnering with Teamwork Arts (TWA), headed up by Mr. Sanjoy Roy, we will attend the three-day Mahindra Kabira Festival that TWA hosts. We will bring to the Kabira Festival Grammy Award nominated musicians and UE Cultural Ambassadors from across the globe. As well, there will be an allday U-Dialog for Peace with our partners URI (United Religions Initiative) at Banaras Hindu University organized at the UNESCO Peace Centre by Drs. Priyankar Upadhaya and Anjoo Sharan. URI’s support is spearheaded by Victor Kazanjian, Biswadeb Chakraborty and Subhi Dhupar. The renowned Indian classical dancer, Geeta Chandran will perform here too. We will in addition have an Interfaith and Spiritual Harmony Conlave and Meditation walk at Sarnath during the Kabira Festival led by Lama Doboom Tulku. We will, as well, celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary throughout our journey. And will partner with Mr. Abel Cain of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. Lastly, through UNITY EARTH’s sister-organization, World Weavers, a spiritual tourism event company, you can join us on every step of this festive, multi-cultural, spirit-filled adventure in India. For information on the travel package, please see: https://worldweavers. com/ For further information or to get involved with U Day India 2019, please contact either: Yanni Maniates, Global Projects Director, UNITY EARTH at email@example.com or Lakshmi M Bhatia, Director of Operations, UNITY EARTH, India at lakshmi.bhatia@gmail. com
U Day 2020 Holy Land
by Ben Bowler
Following the fruitful visit of the UNITY EARTH Delegation to the Holy Land in June 2018, preparations continue towards U Day Holy Land in 2020. The event is scheduled to talk place again during World Interfaith Harmony Week in 2020. This builds on the past UNITY EARTH commemorations for World Interfaith Harmony Week being U Day Ethiopia 2018 and UNITY EARTH LIFT OFF 2019 as part of the Convergence in New York City. We are delighted to be collaborating with EcoPeace Middle East, a brilliant organization, now into their 24th year working at the crossroads of interfaith peace-building and ecological sustainability. EcoPeace has offices in Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Aman and so is well placed to facilitate events in Jordan, Palestine and Israel as the U Day 2020 Caravan of events winds its way all along each of these three regions. The plan is for events to begin at a sacred site in Jordan and then to move to locations inside Palestine before finishing in Israel and a final concert in Jerusalem. With Ambassador Mussie Hailu taking a lead role for this auspicious event and in light of the wonderful global partnership we have with the URI, U Day 2020 is promising to be a powerful combination of ceremony, peace concerts, diplomatic peace building and raising awareness for the ecological needs of the bio-region, in particular the Jordan River which is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims. We are also excited to be working with Eliyahu McLean of the Jerusalem Peace Makers, who is doing wonderful work on the ground, building grass-roots understanding and harmony between people of different faith backgrounds. We are honored also to be collaborating with Dr. Shelley Ostroff, founder of the 7 Days of Rest who herself has such a rich vision for what U Day 2020 can be and shall be. One thing is sure, almost everyone we speak to wants to come to U Day 2020 in Jerusalem and the Holy Land! The combined spiritual pull of this place, together with the pressing social and ecological issues in the region, makes it a totally unique and compelling space for this sacred work to unfold. The idea of U Day Festival, bringing many different artists and peace activists from various cultures, faiths and world-views together in World Interfaith Harmony Week for a series of sacred events across the Holy Land is an irresistible attractor for many people. That all of this is raising awareness for the great work of EcoPeace and the terrible plight of the Jordan River makes it even more valuable and compelling. We can sense the great meaning and purpose that is building, all along The Road to 2020, towards Jerusalem and the Holy Land and we feel the inevitable curve of the road that leads us there. We are so looking forward to U Day Artists Pato Banton, Kristin Hoffmann, Rocky Dawuni, Chi Suwichan and others bringing their light and their great craft to the Holy Land for U Day 2020. We certainly hope to see you there, to be part of and to witness this great event. Follow www.udayfestival.org for more info and updates. 43
We are ...ONE people ...ONE planet ...One family We are ONE.
The Convergence magazine serves the amazing work that is ongoing with the UNITY EARTH network, a global collective of change-makers who, thr...
Published on Jan 22, 2019
The Convergence magazine serves the amazing work that is ongoing with the UNITY EARTH network, a global collective of change-makers who, thr...