This Website’s Purpose Redefined for a New Time

Dear Readers,

The Welcome Page of this website now has a new statement of purpose.  You can read it here.  Please use the share buttons at the bottom of the page if you think people you know would be interested in this.  Thank you!

This Website’s Purpose

Summary:

“Who is there big enough to love the whole planet? We must find such people for the next society.”  E. B. White, “Intimations,” December 1941

This website has a passionate purpose: to help us become big enough to love the whole planet, not just in theory but in practice.  It seeks to help us become citizens who have the vision and the will to create the next society that is founded on a shared love of the whole world.

The passion behind this website is the same that you can hear in Greta Thunberg’s voice, or the Black Lives Matter protests.  We have reached a crisis point.  We have no more time, we cannot pass this on to any future generation.

There will be no future generations if our generation does not reply to E. B. White’s question, “Who is there big enough?” with the answer, “We are!”  But how can we become such people, and how can we change the world quickly enough?

I hope you will find inspiration, support and practical help for accomplishing that here.

The Call to Transform

E. B. White was by far not the only voice ever to call us to transform ourselves to a more enlightened consciousness that can see the true oneness of all life and to transform the world into a place of oneness and love of neighbor as self.

The wisest humans of every culture and spiritual tradition have called on humanity to make this transformation.  The voices began at least twenty-five hundred years ago at the dawning of the Axial Age and have continued with increasing urgency—Greek philosophers, the Hebrew prophets, Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu teachers, Christ and the contemplative Christian tradition, Sufis and indigenous wisdom-keepers.  In the 20th Century Albert Einstein, Dorothy Day, the Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were only a few of the many who cried out for our transformation.

Today Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousefzai, Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama, Joanna Macy and Mary Evelyn Tucker and thousands more are telling us it is now or never—we have reached the crisis point where human consciousness and society must undergo this transformation or face the real possibility of extinction.

Gus Speth sums this crucial wisdom up beautifully in his book The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability.  Speth co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute.  He Chaired President Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality.  He was Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Here is what he says:

“Many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness. For some it is a spiritual awakening —a transformation of the human heart. For others it is a more intellectual process of coming to see the world anew and deeply embracing the emerging ethic of the environment and the old ethic of what it means to love thy neighbor as thyself. But for all it involves major cultural change and a reorientation of what society values and prizes most highly.”  (To read similar words from others click here.)

We have very little time.  The next decade is our chance to limit the scale of the environmental crisis and create a sustainable, just and peaceful global society.  Much excellent, detailed work has been done to envision what a healthy civilization and planet would require.  Bringing about world transformation seems achievable, but as Gus Speth says, “only in the context of…a new consciousness.”

We may elect leaders who will work on world transformation, but for them to have the power to overcome opposition and make the changes we need will require a new dominant cultural consciousness.  Building that support and political will seems like the harder task.

This website will focus especially on how we can transform our individual consciousness, the foundation for cultural and world transformation.

The co-founder of Centering Prayer, Thomas Keating, says, “If one is truly transformed, one can walk down the street, drink a cup of tea or shake hands with somebody and be pouring divine life into the world…. The essential thing…is the transformation of one’s own consciousness.”  (Mystery of Christ p. 275)

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself…. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation…”  Hua Hu Ching 75, attributed to Lao Tzu 

“If you want a golden civilization, you must start with what is golden inside of you. If you want a civilization that will thrive for a thousand years, you must start with what is timeless inside of you.”  George Kinder, A Golden Civilization and a Map of Mindfulness

More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors

The English word metaphor comes from a Greek root.  The “meta-” part means across.  The “-phor” part means to carry.  The Greek root meaning of metaphor is “to carry across.”

A metaphor is an image we use, a bridge that carries meaning across from one thing to another.  For instance, when we say that our spiritual quest for oneness is a journey home, we carry all the connotations and images of journeys and homes over to add to our understanding of the spiritual quest.  A metaphor is a plank thrown across a ditch to move studs onto a deck to frame a new house.  A metaphor is a door we open to enhance our lives.

Metaphors can be beautiful images that add meaning by associating one idea with another—we can read poetry and look at photographs for the sheer pleasure of how they transport us and expand our hearts and minds—but metaphors have urgent, practical uses as well.  We need them in order to grow, in order to build, in order to journey toward new understandings and destinations.  We need them as individuals living increasingly complex lives, and today we need them as a society facing threats to so much that we love and depend on to survive.

The Golden Room is a metaphor that first came to me as a vision (to read it, click here).  The metaphor has extended over time in two directions:

  • the image of making an inner journey to and through our heart’s core Golden Room;
  • and the image of building an inner home or outer ideal life that is an expression of our heart’s core calling and becomes the Golden Room in and from and for which we live.

This website moves back and forth between spiritual and material realms over the bridges of these two extended metaphors of journey and building.  They are not meant to provide a map or house plan to follow, they simply help describe the ways we go about finding and living in and from our Golden Room.

In Life Planning we try to go as deeply into the heart’s core as we are able to reach. Continue reading

Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site

 

One afternoon in the late 1980s I was lying in bed with a fever, trying to meditate or pray a listening, contemplative prayer. I was turned on my side looking across at a carved wooden trunk that belonged to my grandmother when she was a girl. I felt called to get up and open it. I did not move, but I experienced everything that followed as absolutely real. I got up and opened the chest, and instead of seeing blankets, I saw a ladder dropping down into darkness. The same voiceless voice that called me to the trunk told me to climb down. As I went down, the light overhead grew smaller and finally disappeared. I was climbing through total darkness down a tight and hot tunnel. I was sweating. I was scraping my skin on the sides. I felt claustrophobic. I was afraid and had no idea that it was leading to any good, but I felt I had to keep going down.

After a long while, a golden glow appeared below me. I grew calm and curious. The ladder ended and I dropped down into a small room like a cave. Its walls were as smooth as yellow clay, but it was dry and warm. There was no visible source of the beautiful golden light. It just was. I was looking at the wall in front of me with wonder when I got the sense that someone else was there. I turned around and saw a man dressed in a white robe squatting on the floor, looking up at me and smiling. He said, “My name is Michael, and I am going to help you take what you find here and share it out there.” As he gestured with his arm the wall behind him turned into glass, like the wall of a bus station waiting room, and I saw the world outside and people passing by. Then the vision ended, and I was back in bed.

Over the next twenty years that vision kept coming to mind, and I pondered it. It was not clear to me what to do with it other than to keep up my contemplative practice and keep writing and working as much as I could from the place within me where I found my connection to God and my truest self. Over the years I learned much about how to live in and from the Golden Room, but I thought that what I was learning was meant to guide my own life.

Only recently did I come to understand that the vision is not for me alone. It is for us all. It is for the world. And it is urgent.

That is why I have created this site and why I welcome you here: to give you as much encouragement and assistance as I can for you to find your way to your own Golden Room and live in it and from it. This site provides insights, inspiration and tools to help you do that, as well as company for the journey and celebration along the way.