We Are OnePosted: January 21, 2013
I am writing this on Sunday, after I watched the President sworn in. My tears began to flow when a TV talking head said, “The United States has just installed a president for a record two hundred years without violence.” He seemed to know it was a record to install a leader without gunpoint and I suppose it is. But it isn’t surprising. the US was formed on the powerful vision of liberty and justice for all and a powerful vision can accomplish anything.
I grew up believing in democracy and the idea of liberty and justice for all. I honestly believed that when we won World War Two, the United States would lead the world into peace, plenty, justice and freedom. I was a child and, in many ways, politics were my first religion.
As an adult, I was pretty disillusioned by politics. First, there was the Korean War, and then the Vietnam War and that made me question whether humans were ever going to be able to live in peace. The idea that we could establish a civilization that was actually civil seemed naïve.
My fall from idealism was completely destroyed by the difficulties I saw in the civil rights movement. The people who didn’t want change were so determined to hold onto the past, they were willing to turn fire hoses on children. People who called themselves Christians spewed hatred as they confronted darker Christians who wanted a seat at the table.
I mourned the death of Dr. Martin Luther King as though it was the death of all hope. One reason why so many of us cried when Obama was elected the first time was it felt like the symbolic resurrection of hope.
Of course, I already had recovered a lot of my hope because of my spiritual studies, my alcoholism recovery and my natural optimism.
I also had a lot of new facts to work with. For example, when I lived in Oaxaca, Mexico, I discovered the Zapotec people were very proud of their thousand years of peace.
When I got sober, I began exploring spiritual traditions through literature. At first, I thought that the hope for peace had to be personal, rather than political. I believed we were in this life as individuals and our task was to develop individually. I still believe that – but it is not all I believe. We are One.
I remember reading a brilliant book by a British woman who pursued Hinduism in India. She struggled to release the idea she should help the poor people. She accepted that she was only responsible for her individual enlightenment. That is not my path.
I don’t think her belief was a universal Hindu belief. Gandhi could not have acted as he did if that was his Hinduism. Since then, I have encountered versions of that belief in isolation often. When I hear someone say she never votes and never watches the news, I disagree.
It may be helpful for in the beginning of a spiritual journey to focus just on themselves but I am influenced by AA that puts you in service very quickly. However, I know we must think seriously about what our limits or responsibility early. And it is important to use the serenity prayer to decide what we can and cannot do early. But we are here together on Planet Earth and I believe that we are connected in Spirit. We are One.
Clearly, if we all come from Love, we must show each other Love. That includes people we don’t know personally who are having a difficult time. The poor, the mentally ill, homeless, the jailed, the abused all deserve love. And the list goes on. Certainly, praying for each other is powerful, positive action. We also know that prayer, backed by action is an even more effective action.
The whole idea of turning your back on the world is abhorrent to me. How can that be enough if we don’t serve the our human community? I think we should help each other when we can. I think our churches should do more for the community. I think we should be active in our neighborhoods, states, nation and planet.
While it is true that we must take care of ourselves first, it is also true that one way we take care of ourselves is by helping others. People in New Thought are well placed to be agents for change in the coming years. We know how to get things done.
Hope lives wherever there is vision. We are specialists in visioning and we see others as capable of change because we know we are perfect love at the level of Truth.
Sometimes, in this blog, I’ve asked you to join me in prayer for things I’d like to see improved. I know some of you are praying for prison reform, single mothers, better schools, etc.
As our president enters his second term, I’d like to see many more New Thought leaders and students take their place in activities that follow up prayers. Let your meditation time guide you in this direction.
Why shake our heads when we hear of some Religious Right person running for school board? Ask yourself if you can imagine running for your local school board? Imagine how could you make a difference in the lives of children in your town.
Is building your skill? How about leading a group from your church into a week of Habitat for Humanity work? Ask yourself what good would come from building a house for the tenants? And the builders?
We can’t all be president. But I’d like to think we can all make the world a bit better in our own way. We can find an activity that makes the world a better place. Why not start in your own church and move outward?
I think of my life as being on a picnic. I make a mess sometimes but before I leave, I try to pick up all my trash and some that belongs to others. Leave the planet better than I found it in some way.
The spiritual leader, Emmett Fox wrote in the 1940’s that the United States has an important destiny to lead the world to a higher understanding of life. I believe he’s right.
I know it’s important to hold the vision of hope and change and it’s good be useful.. I know we should take care of the earth’s other people because we are one.
Do I feel hopeful?
Do I want to be more active in the world?
What am I interested in and what can I do?
How do I envision that will that help?