The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps Toward Saving the World, Step Two

It does not take many golden-hearted hawkweed blossoms in a patch of grass to sweep our hearts up into an enlightened state of attentiveness and joy.  The golden light changes us.  It shines through us and brightens the people around us.  It does not take many blossoms to transform a whole field.  It does not take many enlightened people to transform the whole world.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps toward Saving the World

This is the second in a series of posts about the relationship between the Golden Room we each have within us and the Golden Civilization that would arise if we each lived in, from and for our Golden Room or heart’s core or truest, deepest self.  In Step One we heard many voices saying this in different ways.  Here we will show that a surprisingly small percentage could make the difference to save the world.  Step Three will show a map of how we can get from here to there.  Step Four will talk about some of the tools and practices we can put to work right now to speed the transformation.

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

Step Two:

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation.”  That statement was true when he said it.  It is much truer today.  Of all the possible solutions King could have proposed to bring us back from that brink, he said, “This hour of history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists.” 

That sounds like a weak answer to planetary annihilation, but the anthropologist Margaret Mead reassures us, saying: “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Science has recently confirmed this.  In 2011 a group of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientists did a study funded by the United States Army and Navy research offices.  Their study documented the existence of a tipping point of public opinion.  They found that the culture will make a dramatic and rapid reversal when a committed and passionately dedicated minority becomes 10% of a society.

Step Two toward saving the world and establishing a Golden Civilization is for 10% of our society to fulfill Step One That step was summed up by Gus Speth who wrote, “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.”

Ken Wilber has written an extremely important book not just for religion but for making “the transitions required” in every field to save the world.  The book is The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great TraditionsWilber refers to social research showing that already 5% of our society has attained the “new consciousness” Speth says must arise.  Wilber echoes the RPI study saying that if we can achieve 10% we will see a rapid transformation that will bring the changes in consciousness needed to solve the problems that threaten civilization and the planet today—things like climate change, weakening democracy, racial hatred and injustice, increasing economic inequality and war.

People have much work to do who are in the 5% today, striving in every field where civilization and the planet are threatened, but they also have this most important task: helping another 5% rise to a higher developmental stage and deeper spiritual state of transformed consciousness.  We need more people with a more enlightened perspective on the world, and we need them fast.

The next post in this series, Step Three, will talk about how we can get there, and Step Four will offer tools and practices that can cultivate the Golden Civilization where the new consciousness must arise, within the Golden Room.

Ken Wilber says that simply being aware that there is a higher stage and deeper state of consciousness that we can attain is “psycho-active.”  Just knowing about it moves us closer to it.  The RPI study says the 10% needs to be “committed and passionately dedicated.”  So I urge you to spread the word about this in every way you can, including clicking on some of the buttons below all four of these posts.

Thank you for doing all you are to bring about the transformation we so desperately need.

You can continue reading this series in order by clicking here.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps Toward Saving the World, Step One

This oak was cut down years ago.  Its structure remains, but is decaying and breaking.  Its heartwood core is gradually softening and rotting within a circle of cracking bark.  Meanwhile, what is left of the oak collects fallen leaves and galls.  It holds acorn shells and droppings that squirrels or birds have left.  It grows moss.  Each humble contribution will feed the roots and heart of a future tree that will rise from the same ground.  All that has ever fallen on the oak will live on in it, including light and rain and the remaining essences of other lives.  The new tree could not exist without all the lives and ways that have gone before.  They are its hope, as it is theirs.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps toward Saving the World

This is the first of several posts about the relationship between the Golden Room we each have within us and the Golden Civilization that would arise if we each lived in, from and for our Golden Room or heart’s core or truest, deepest self.  The second step will show that we do not all have to do this, a surprisingly small percentage of us could make the difference to save the world.  The third step will show a map of how we can get from here to there.  The fourth step will talk about some of the tools and practices we can get busy putting to work right now to speed the transformation.

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

In this post we will hear about the first step from many voices.

Step One:

We KNOW this! We have heard it over and over. Yet we have not taken it seriously enough to ask how, and to set out as a people to accomplish it.

Now we must.  We have no other choice and no time to lose if we want to protect what we love and save what we depend on to survive and thrive.

We know this step because we have heard our wisest elders saying it increasingly stridently.

Heeding them and asking ourselves what we can do in our lives to follow their direction is the first step toward saving our world.

We can do this.  The following three posts will talk about why this can work and how we can do it.  Thank you for doing your crucial part.

First, some recent voices:

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 and served as a senior advisor to President Clinton’s transition team.  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.”

George Kinder, the founder of Life Planning and author of The Seven Stages of Money Maturity and Transforming Suffering into Wisdom: Mindfulness and the Art of Inner Listening and an upcoming book on the Golden Civilization:  “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.” Continue reading

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

What Is Waiting in Your Golden Room?

by Thomas Cary Kinder

What is waiting in your Golden Room?  A surprise, probably.

Often the EVOKE Life Planning process turns up surprises:

A successful business executive goes through EVOKE to help plan for retirement and uncovers an old secret dream to run a bait and tackle shop, and no one is more surprised than she is at the joy it brings her.

A man uses Life Planning to help plan the next phase of his career, which is to launch a nonprofit to address global poverty, only to discover that before he can undertake any major new enterprise he needs to reconcile with his father.  He is surprised to discover how much that pain is draining his vigor.  He sees how valuable his father’s wisdom and support could be as he confronts the obstacles it will take all his vigor to overcome.  It could delay his launch date, but there is no question he needs to do it.  The Life Planning focuses on how he will go about it, and sets aside exploring the nonprofit path for later.

The first time I went through the EVOKE process I was a pastor who had been overworking for years and was on the brink of total burnout.  My Life Planner was the Yoda of all Life Planners, but even he could not help me get through my exhaustion, bitterness and hopelessness to find the light in my heart’s core.  We flailed around in impenetrable shadow until finally I nearly screamed that I just wanted to run away to a cabin in the woods and have everyone leave me alone.

Surprise!  I am writing in that cabin now, where I have come to meditate and write and be rejuvenated many times a week for ten years, thanks to a sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute and Lilly Endowment that enabled me to build it.

The forest around this cabin has been logged over the years, and there are stump sprouts–clumps of as many as five trees growing in a tight circle around where a tree was cut.  Other trees have fallen and rotted where they lay and a line of trees has sprouted up fed by the rot.

We come to a transition point in our lives and may envision the tree that will rise out of the old life, but other things may need to grow first.  Surprises may pop out of our Golden Room.  We look down and see not a sapling but a vigorous clump of mushrooms, and if that is what we find, that is what we need to do, trusting that either we will discover our greatest fulfillment in this unexpected direction or that this is what the universe or Spirit needs of us now, and it will lead to something else.

The EVOKE Life Planning process calls the light we find in our Golden Room a Torch.  Continue reading

The Calling to the Golden Room

Sometimes it takes many calls to convince us of a calling.  The Hebrew judge and prophet, Samuel, needed three callings and the help of old, wise Eli to work through his confusion.  Jonah needed God’s voice, a storm at sea and the belly of the whale to overcome his resistance.

The Rev. Samuel Schaal, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Texas, approached me at a Life Planning workshop in the fall of 2011 where I had shared the vision of the Golden Room.  He asked me if I would write it down for him, because he felt it could be useful for others.  It was just one more in a long series of calls spanning two decades, but it was the one that finally convinced me that I had a calling to bring this project to life.

It came along with a growing sense of urgency.

Photograph by Lesley Wellman

Continue reading

The Light at the Heart’s Core

by Thomas Cary Kinder

Morning glory blue–that is what my eye looks for on summer mornings, a flower or many flowers opening on the vines.  I wake up thirsting for more.  It diminishes the day, it dims me, when I cannot drink in that pleasure I am craving.

The wide open sky of the flower draws me in, but it is the light at the heart’s core that is the destination it has in mind for me.  It hopes I am not one of those who flies by or settles for petals.  It prays I will be a pollinator and dive into that light and help it seed the world with more of the beauty we are all born to share.

I confess that I often see only the blue, only the lovely surface.  I rush on drunk from one sip, calling it more than enough.  It takes time to move to the core.  Look deeply into this photograph and see what you feel.

Photograph by Lesley Wellman

It feels to me as if there is a sun down there in the center of all that sky, a powerful force and source of life.

It feels as if there is something waiting in that tunnel that wants to come forth, something the world needs.  I feel its urgency to make fertile the seed.  I want to help.

I feel that this tunnel leads to the light that dwells at the heart of all things, and if I dive into it here, I could swim anywhere in the universe.  If I help this light, I help all light.  If I know deeply its light, I know better your light.

I want to find that glow inside myself, inside every moment.  Where is it in me?  Where is it in this moment?

I want to help you find yours, too.  There are proven ways to do it, and we live in an extremely exciting time because ancient ways are being revived and new ones are evolving, blossoming from the intertwining strands of the old.  Here are two ways we can find our heart’s core light: Continue reading

Make an Opening

You may not be able to see it.  You may not be able to feel it.  You may see and feel in yourself only the old, splintery, knotty, worn out barn board that is all that remains of the fertile young farm you once were.

But make an opening, and if you cannot make one, wait patiently for a knot to loosen and drop and leave a hole, and see what happens.

Trust that the Golden Room is down there, waiting, eager to send forth what you were born to share and shine.  It will always return if we give it room.  Watch and wait and pray, and miracles can happen, a green spark can rise in people who have been lost in the darkness, people who feel useless, people who are dying and almost dead.  It is why we are here every minute that we are here.  It is never too late, because the Golden Room is who we are and always will be.

What do you need to do to let a new green shoot rise through you?