Shifting Consciousness Towards Peace
Shifting Consciousness towards Peace
By Kathy Ryndak and Gord Riddell
Has the world really changed since the advent of 9/11 in moving us towards world transformation and ultimately peace? While we did see an outpouring of compassion, prayer and a reaching out to human kind we still have a very long way to go. Robert Thompson, professor of pop culture of Syracuse University says, "we opened the door, walked into the room and haven't turned on the lights yet. In hindsight, everything before the attacks was an incredibly self-indulgent, escapist dream. A dream that began in the disco era of the 1970's right after Viet Nam and Watergate."
It's as if we have woken up from a comatose stupor yet our challenge now is to not fall back into complacency. Laura Bush has also commented that we've been "living in an age of self-absorption and self-indulgence." We are faced with solving so many complex spiritual and political issues before we can attain world peace. This article touches the tip of the iceberg in exploring seminal ideologies that can catalyze this process and highlights important viewpoints from spiritual and political leaders.
Stan Grof MD suggests the problems we face are "symptoms of a psychospiritual crisis and that any effective solution will require a deep inner transformation of humanity and a new world view emphasizing unity, co-evolution and cooperation." In other words, we can't keep on doing what we've always done or we'll end up in the same place. The time has come for a deep shifting within our consciousness.
Those of us on a spiritual path in the Western world have worked towards integrating a set of values to better our lives such as respect, integrity, dignity, empowerment, responsibility, compassion and prosperity. However, this has largely been within the small sphere of our personal lives. We firstly, need to extend these values to our own communities, then country and world. Our inner psyche's microcosm needs to become the macrocosm.
For example, the world would be a different place if we visualized prosperity not just for ourselves but also for everyone. It's been hypothesized that if all the wealth of the world were shared we would each have 10 million dollars. Kofi Annan, recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize said the United Nation's mission for the 21st Century "will be defined by a new, profound awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life."
Unity and Oneness
It's been said in jest that the only way we would recognize we all share one planet would be if aliens invaded us. The Dalai Lama encourages us to call other countries "domestic partners instead of foreign partners." Amidst the current furry of American patriotism, Marianne Williamson says it should not be "God Bless America, but God Bless the World." Tony Blair states, 'our self-interest and our mutual interest are today inextricably woven together." John Paul II's edict for world peace also addresses this issue. He notes that a clearer sense of oneness of the human family will only be attained through interreligious dialogue and cooperation. Let's hope that significant inroads were made at the Conference for World Peace held in Assisi in late January.
The righteous views of religious fundamentalists and literalists are a causative factor in world turmoil. Interestingly, from as esoteric standpoint, fanaticism is the shadow aspect of the 6th Esoteric Ray of Devotion. Additionally, the influence of this ray has been waning since the 15th Century. Darkness always rears its head vehemently when it knows it's on the way out.
John Paul II states "terrorism is the outcome of fanatic fundamentalism which springs from the conviction that one's vision of truth must be forced on everyone. Terrorism exploits not just people, it exploits God." Now, that's a strong, gutsy statement from a "feeble" pope.
Tom Harpur notes many examples on how the Bible is misinterpreted to justify hatred against specific groups: Jews, witches and homosexuals. The idea of "the Just War" does not come from scripture - it was just a convenient theory constructed by St. Augustine to rationalize war.
It is interesting to note that the fanatical attacks on the U.S. may mirror their homegrown fundamentalism. Recall that Gerry Falwell's explanation for 9/11 was "God's vengeance upon America for its indulgence of homosexuality and abortion.
No Peace Without Justice - No Justice Without Peace This is Pope John Paul II's message about world peace. It is an inspired document that you can check out at www.vatican.va. Essentially, the Pope is saying we cannot have peace unless there is "full respect for (all) rights and responsibilities and just distribution of benefits and burdens. Terrorism springs from hatred and it generates isolation, mistrust and closure. It is built on contempt for human life." He goes on to state the guilty must be identified and culpable but then we need to move on to forgiveness. "Forgiveness does not overlook the need to right the wrong but heals and rebuilds troubled human relations from their foundations. To pray for peace is to pray for freedom, especially for the religious freedom that is a basic human and civil right."
Sharing vs Poverty
Eradicating poverty and inequality is instrumental in achieving world peace. Inequality, amongst rich vs. poor nations, breeds resentment and hatred. Korean President Kim Dae-jung, former Nobel Peace Prize winner states, "We must root out poverty - that is the most important step. The gap between the rich and poor is the foundation of religious, ethnic, cultural and ideological conflicts." One of our teachers, Mary MacDonald, recommends "not to pray for the poor but to pray for the greedy." Greed often stems from hoarding, which is fear-based.
Global Cooperation vs. Corporate Globalization
We need to move to a spirit of global cooperation instead of competition. The G8 nations along with a few more usurp of the world's food and 83% of all other resources - no wonder there is resentment! They primarily promote globalization through trade.
So many of us speak about the platitudes of oneness and unity. What this really means is that we should be willing to share the food, raw materials, science and energy of the world since it belongs to all of us.
We now need to apply all the inner work that we've done on ourselves and hold these values for the world to bring about transformation. Margaret Mead said true change happens at a grass roots level. We can hold a new consciousness, make changes in our everyday lives and even get "political." Marianne Williamson encourages us "to expand our perception of spiritual practice to include political activism in extending our compassion to the world." Indeed, our personal spirituality needs to influence government leaders if we want to change the world. This is how you can play a role and how you can make a difference.