Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Disharmony of Spiritual Change

I want to think there is a global movement afoot that is bringing spiritual principles to bear on the disharmony of our times. There are certainly hopeful signs that we are beginning to see a period of correction in the collective consciousness that is moving the world to a God-centered kind of unity. But, the same signs give me fear.

It is true that people from many cultures are trying to get together in spirit. There are certainly more spirit-based programs than ever before. There are more universal centers of worship than at any other time in our history. And the "old information" is back and more available than ever. It would seem this data and effort together might move our world to a more loving status.

But, the problem is there are also some bad signs--more violence, more wars, more gangs, more drugs, more hate--less values, less integrity, less tolerance, less compassion, less love. It deeply concerns me.

Everything is moving about the edges of the circle of progress. There is no center from which the real light of Grace is emanating. I fear the result may be the wrong kind of awakening. When I look at history, every awakening we have had has been a move toward more fundementalism or orthodoxy--which has created a more intolerant world. And that has always led to revolution.

In my view, some organization(s) will have to surface which can direct our culture to a different kind of equilibrium. And the guidance will have to be given to our next generation of adults--today's youth. The central problem I see is that we are rapidly becoming a cross-cultural society. Our country is receiving immigrants in record numbers. Many of these people come to us with deep ethnic divisions, age-old religious conflicts, and long hostilities to the point of fragmentation, even within single nations. They have no perspective of, or interest in, cross-cultural understanding. Yet such understanding is crucial to our survival. And that kind of understanding won't just happen on its own. It must be learned. Reconciliation between and among those who have migrated to America won't just occur. It must be learned. And both of these things will require that toleration be learned and practiced. If it's not, then I fear we cannot keep our national identity.

I have seen it in some of the foreign students I have met. They don't understand my personal values, or the culture in which I have been raised as an American. In some cases, I have even seen attitudes which represent a kind of personal intolerance. For instance, I have found male attitudes especially demoralizing to women. It's very much like the red-neck mindset we have in our own country (the old "find her, feed her, fuck her, and forget her" thing--which debases the integrity of womanhood).

So, there may be cultural and personal intolerance in the making.

And, even worse, is religious intolerance. And it is beginning to sweep the country. I'm not sure it can be stopped! The religious right is attempting to legislate how we can think on things, and what our children can read. Haven't we been here, before?!!

The problem with any form of religious zeal is that it shifts people from reason to emotion. Televangelists and right wing preachers are successful not because they have any real credentials; but because they understand the passion they can create from heated devotion and radical enthusiasm. They become convinced they have saved themselves and, having done so, think they have every right to then judge everyone else on the state of their souls. History has clearly proven that any time a charismatic leader decides he has the single answer to salvation, and then declares that the world must come to his same conclusion; will lose all sense of ethics to achieve his mission. He will eventually become an accuser who resents tolerance, abhors intellectual activity, and will literally lead his following to more darkness by preferring schism, hate, and separation; to understanding, reason, and love.

This is a sad litany, but I fear that those of us who "feel there is something in the air" are far more likely to find the above kind of change than the more beautiful and sacred spiritual awakening that our souls are crying for us to experience.

In the midst of all this, one of the truly wonderful things I feel about myself is that I don't confuse the path with the destination. I am on that mystical journey which drives me into myself--to that sacred flame at my center.

My goal is to find the path which allows me to see the flame (have the insight), and live the mystery.

When I do, I will be warmed and ignited beyond the physical. I will have found my connection to the Source...

...and then I will have learned how to live!

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