The Most Important Resolution We Can Make

“The feast of Christmas is the celebration of divine light breaking into human consciousness…. The joy of Christmas is the intuition that all limitations to growth into higher states of consciousness have been overcome. The divine light cuts across all darkness, prejudice, preconceived ideas, prepackaged values, false expectations, phoniness and hypocrisy…. The kairos, ‘the appointed time’ is now.… Now is the time to risk further growth. To go on growing is to be at the cutting edge of human evolution.…”  Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ

This is the calling of every human. To paraphrase the popular wisdom of Richard Bach: Here is a test of whether your consciousness is done evolving: if you’re alive, it isn’t.

The quote above by Thomas Keating was from one of his early books.  Late in his life he spoke at a conference as if continuing the thought:

“Jesus goes on to say…, ‘Everybody who’s a human being is a candidate for this and has the resources to do it, if they will take the trouble to learn how to…let God be God in us.’ And so he says, ‘Anyone at all who brings himself or herself to nothing will find out who they are….’ Who are we at the deepest level? Have we a self at all, or are we really the manifestation of the Divine…? So, the plan is to be God in the humblest kinds of ways. That seems to be the program for this life, so why not…put everything into it that you have?”   Incarnation Continua, from the 2015 Return to the Heart of Christ Consciousness Conference, Boulder, Colorado

We need to put all we have into the transformation of our consciousness right now.  It is a matter of life or death for our nation, our species and all life on earth.

The reason why is that “Transformed people transform people,” as Richard Rohr says.  Transforming ourselves is the place to start in our efforts to transform the world.

World transformation is of the utmost urgency.  We need human civilization to evolve to fulfill the wisdom of all the spiritual traditions that agree on certain fundamental principles that make life ethical and sustainable like the Golden Rule, love of neighbor and universal compassion.

We need to evolve to a new collective consciousness that sees the oneness of all people, creatures and ecosystems on this planet and that recognizes our need for justice, equity and a sustainable harmony between all people and between humans and the earth, as the Earth Charter describes.

Therefore we need to evolve to that consciousness ourselves as individuals.

The seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in the Christian calendar are all about that evolution.

The secular celebration each December 31st includes the ritual of making resolutions.  The most important resolution we can make right now is to dedicate ourselves to the process of personal and world transformation. In other words:

Resolve to evolve.

The wisest have been calling for this since the days of the Hebrew Prophets, Greek philosophers and spiritual teachers in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist and Indigenous traditions.

Gus Speth quotes many recent voices including Vaclav Havel, Aldo Leopold, Erich Fromm, Thomas Berry and Mary Evelyn Tucker in his lead essay in the book, The Coming Transformation: Values to Sustain Human and Natural Communities.

Gus says, “What these authors and many others are saying is that today’s challenges require a rapid evolution to a new consciousness. That is a profound conclusion. It suggests that today’s problems cannot be solved with today’s mind.”

So how can we evolve as quickly as we must, both as individuals and as a global culture? Continue reading

“In Returning and Rest You Shall Be Saved”

Do not fret. Peace. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.  Here is why these scriptural commandments are so important today and for the future world.

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  Isaiah 30:15

The soul of the nation had fallen into rampant self-interest, materialism and greed.  It neglected and oppressed the poor.  It strayed from the sacred way of love of neighbor and love of the ways of spiritual wisdom.  Its politics had become corrupt, its alliances unholy.

The prophet Isaiah warned the nation, because “you put your trust in oppression and deceit, and rely on them…this iniquity shall become for you like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant.”

Isaiah’s words have spoken to many nations over the past 2,500 years, not just because of their warning but even more importantly because they show that there is a path out of that imminent destruction.

The sacred way of the Spirit that created the earth and all life is merciful.  It is infinitely forgiving of those who turn back to its ways while there is still hope of recovery.

This proved true for Isaiah’s society and for others throughout the ages.  We need to listen and follow its wisdom today: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quiet and in trust shall be your strength.”

The path back begins in returning to where the Spirit lives within us all, the golden room of the heart’s true core, and resting there.  Strength comes in quieting the ego’s selfish, agitated human thoughts and listening instead for the wisdom that arises from the Spirit through our silence and deep trust.

As I write this, America is voting for its President and the composition of Congress and state governments.  The outcome will shape our future in many ways.

But whatever the outcome, we still will have the same enormous challenges that threaten our democracy and the survival of the human race and all living species. We still will have brutal social, economic and environmental injustices that must be changed and healing that must be undertaken.

The wisdom of Isaiah says that we need more than just the right politicians in office.  No matter who is in these positions of power, we need a shift of cultural consciousness, a change of heart and mind that can come only one way—in returning and rest, in quietness and trust.

We need to break the obsessive, compulsive, white-knuckled, gut-clenched mode of being that many of us have developed over the past several years of political turmoil and several months of intense election anxiety.

We need to break the addictions of the ego to anything less than the Spirit’s ways of right living.

Whoever is in power, we need to be the change we wish to see in the world from our deepest heart outward, starting today.  We can live from that calm refuge even here in the agony of fearful uncertainty.

We have a new world to create, the fulfillment of the ancient prophets’ dream.  We need rested, strong and quiet souls that are trusting in the Spirit’s guidance and power in order to fulfill that hope.

So take a deep breath.  Take a break from the news.  Go outside and notice the beauty.  Connect with a dear friend.  Read some eternal spiritual wisdom.  Listen to music that connects you to your depths.  Best of all, meditate or pray.  Return.  Rest.  Quiet.  Trust. That is where the path begins to the strength we need to save and renew our world.

Gandhi’s Path of Higher Power: From Zero to One

This post includes two four-minute clips from the classic 1992 Richard Attenborough film, Gandhi.  The first sets the context for the Salt March that was a turning point in the Indian struggle for independence.  The clip at the end of this post shows more of the March itself.

“There comes a time when an individual becomes irresistible and his action becomes all-pervasive in its effect.  This comes when he reduces himself to zero.”  (Mahatma Gandhi, quoted in Eknath Easwaran’s book Gandhi the Man p114)

The Indian National Congress issued its declaration of independence on January 26, 1930 and raised a new national flag.  The masses of the Indian people were ready for an uprising.  It was a conflagration waiting for a match.

Yet the British Empire did not flinch.  The Indian National Congress made demands and pursued negotiations, but it was clear that the British were not ready to give up or even compromise significantly.

The pressure for change among the people was gaining in intensity.  Everyone knew that either a massive nonviolent action would take place or violent revolution would break out.  All eyes turned expectantly to the ashram and humble rooms of Mahatma Gandhi, but no word came forth.  Days stretched into weeks, and Gandhi made no indication of what would come.  The media accused him of playing his cards close to his chest, of purposefully building suspense to get the world’s attention.

But Gandhi was telling them the truth when he said he did not know what action he would take.  He was praying and waiting.  He was meditating, listening, asking for God’s guidance, and he would not do anything until he felt a clear calling from the Spirit.

In the end it came to him in a dream: Continue reading

Our Task

If you haven’t seen this beautiful short film, please give yourself a treat and spend a half hour immersed in its quiet drama and wisdom.  You will be glad you did.  It puts the rest of this post in proper perspective.  The earth is tiny, it is our one and only home, and we will survive only if humanity realizes this and acts as one people, at one with our planet, making it a safe, healthy home equally for all.  If we can undergo that transformation of our heart and consciousness, as these three astronauts did, we will transform the world.

 

Our Task by Thomas Cary Kinder

Dedicated to Gus Speth, who formulated the wisdom on which this post is based in his essay in The Coming Transformation: Values to Sustain Human and Natural Communities. The concept and structure of sections i. through vi. are his, the words are mine.

Prelude: We Responded

Let future descendants of the human race say
that when our generation saw the unfolding ruin
of the stable earth that had made life possible
and the rising threat to the free,
just, equal, democratic societies
that humanity had evolved over hundreds of years,
we responded by laying down our lives to save
all that goodness, and to become better.

i. We Shared Our Awareness of the Threat

We were crisis-driven, and aware that to change course
we needed to change hearts and minds.
We were aware that our established ways had failed
and the spiritual wisdom of the right way to live
had become not an ancient distant dream
but an urgent practical necessity.
We saw that the past visions of an ideal future
had to be fulfilled in our present moment
or life on earth would not survive.
We used our voices, nonviolent action
and all forms of art
to raise awareness of the threats
and to unite ourselves
in shared compassion and concern.

ii. We Chose Wise Leaders

The leaders we followed sought not self-aggrandizement
or partisan advancement, but humble wisdom,
aware that no one person or side could solve this alone,
that we needed to work together across divides,
and that we needed more than human power,
we needed a higher power, the spirit of life,
the way of nature within and around us, to help us evolve.
Collective wisdom showed each practical step of the path;
courageous leaders led us boldly down it.

iii. We Gained New Vision and a New Story

We realized humanity could not make needed changes
without a changed consciousness that could see our oneness,
an enlightened way of perceiving ourselves and all life and earth,
a deeper understanding of what the meaning of life is
and what humanity could become.  We needed to discover
how we could fulfill as a society the ideal love of neighbor
that spiritual and philosophical leaders had taught
for three thousand years. We needed a new story
of the journey of the universe rooted in ancient traditions,
letting their shared dreams guide and inspire us,
and tapping into advanced social, physical and life sciences,
opening doors of pragmatic possibilities unimagined until now.

iv. We Formed a United Movement toward a Shared Goal

We saw ourselves as one people on a journey
out of exile across a wilderness to a new Promised Land.
We saw that we were working toward the same goal,
whether our first concern was one ecosystem or another,
one cause of justice or another, one tribe or another,
we were one people, one movement,
and we needed one another.
We could get there only as one.

v. We Communicated Compellingly

We used all the skill and technology that we had.
We communicated the new positive vision and story,
the urgent calls for action, tirelessly, creatively, by word of mouth,
by example, by broadcast and book, by worldwide web.
We shouted it from rooftops, from street corners,
from every pulpit and lectern. Children found their voice.
They led when adults remained dumb.

vi. We Created Working Models, Living into the Vision

We lifted up existing models.  We created new models.
We began living as if already in the Promised Land,
as if already one, as if already nonviolent, harmonious,
just, equal, compassionate, loving, kind.
We began building a golden civilization
brick by brick by the golden rule
and we did not stop until the ancient dream at last
stood gleaming on a restored and rejoicing earth.

Postlude: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…”

Let future generations look back from that renewed world
and say that we were the ones
who made the change, who made it possible,
who threw off the shackles of selfishness, of ego,
of competitive pride and greed,
and who took the leap into the realm of love
that humanity was born to create.
Let them say that the crises of 2020
were the final labor pains of a new world,
the final push.

That urgent push is our task.

How Can New Consciousness Evolve Now?

The Tree Sprouts New Branches, Human Consciousness Evolves, the World Is Transformed

One year there was solid bark, the next year a new branch had burst through where no one could have expected it.

I was clearing a field once and liked where a maple tree was growing, but it had been shaped by the old thicket and was bent over toward the light.  A neighbor knew trees better than I did and insisted I was foolish to think it would straighten up and flourish, but I was happy in my foolish hope and left it.

He was right, the old trunk did not change direction entirely, but it sprouted a new branch like the one above, and that branch grew straight up and soon became the new lead trunk.  The old, bent trunk diminished to be a side branch.

We face a crisis in human evolution that threatens to destroy the world that has carried us to where we are today.  We are in danger of turning our planet into a habitat in which humans cannot survive and, along the way there, turning our civilization into a crucible of survivalist fear and violence in which the human spirit cannot thrive.

We do not have at this time the collective will to change our ways and act for the long term well being of our habitat.  We do not take the necessary actions as a society even when we hear the urgent cry of scientists, see the first stages begin of the suffering to come and acknowledge the wisdom of the religious traditions calling us to care and act.

Our hope is that the human spirit can rapidly evolve to have that collective will.

We know it is possible because humanity has evolved through crisis points in the past.  Whole new branches of insight and understanding and new ways of living have sprung from the solid bark of old ways.

We have hope, and that hope resides in our hearing the calling within our hearts as we look at what is happening in the world, and then exploring where that calling leads.  The hope is for our individual transformation that will give us the wisdom and power to transform the world. Continue reading

An Appreciation of George Kinder, April 2, 2018

My brother, George Kinder, is a map-maker—he has been working on maps to the transformations that we need as individuals and as a world for decades.  I am celebrating his birthday by republishing this analysis of how his life work is contributing to changing the world for the better.

George has been recognized in national publications as one of the 35 most influential people in financial services, one of the top Icons & Innovators in financial planning, and the first of 15 transformational advisors whose vision most changed the industry.  He has revolutionized financial advising over the last thirty years, training over 3000 professionals in 30 countries in the field of Life Planning.

George is a spiritual teacher as well, and although his maps have been designed with financial Life Planners in mind, they have broad applicability. Hundreds of financial planners are now helping clients from all walks of life explore their deep heart’s core, their Golden Room.  The clients are living in, from and for the dreams or callings that they find there.  (A 2016 New York Times article described how people are following the Life Planning map to a meaningful retirement.)  Often these Life Plans contribute directly or indirectly to a healthier family, community or world.

George’s maps can be applied equally well to all facets of our lives and across the spectrum of our developmental lines or multiple intelligences, not just the financial realm.  All his maps lead us through the Golden Room of inner transformation to the transformed culture he calls the Golden Civilization.  Below I will look at the contribution that four of his books make to that movement.

Continue reading

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Saving the World, Step Three, Part C-2

Follow the Map: Structural Details

This great maple is growing in a landscape that the last glacial age scraped bare.  It feeds on soil formed over ten thousand years of patient building through cycles of life and death, decay and new birth.  The maple has found its own way to develop and create the structures it needs to reach the light.  It is a gift to countless lives, from birds and squirrels to spiders and beetles to mosses and microbes.  It inspires the humans who stand under it in awe.  Look at what is possible on this earth.

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

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

Step Three is to study the map that leads us individually and culturally to the new, higher stage of consciousness that we now need—and to commit ourselves to follow that map.

Structural Details

The new consciousness and the ideal society it alone can create may have sounded wildly optimistic and out of reach in the past, but there are three reasons why we can and must leave that skepticism behind.

First, it is clear where the earth and human civilization are heading if we do not undergo this transformation.  Significant numbers of leaders and citizens support the idea that we must change in order to survive, and recognize that we need a new, higher consciousness in order to do so.  The suffering that will come of our failure to attempt it is unconscionable.  We simply must.

Second, abolishing slavery once sounded wildly optimistic and out of reach.  So did equal rights for women and the nonviolent liberation of India from the British Empire.  The transition from the Dark Ages to the Enlightenment was unimaginable.  Many times in history the human heart and mind have undergone rapid  transformations that seemed impossible before they happened.  It can happen again.  And it must.

Third, we are making rapid strides forward in many fields relating both to the Golden Room and the Golden Civilization.  We have the great spiritual and secular awakening of the contemplative path of meditation and mindfulness.  We have many brilliant insights, discoveries and innovations in the inner developmental process.  I will talk about two of the pioneers in this work below.  We also have outstanding leadership working on every problem threatening civilization and the earth today.  This series is about achieving the all important new consciousness, but the technical and advocacy work being done is obviously essential.  We have facets of the Golden Civilization vision emerging in every field.

Fear and doubt are understandable and justified in the face of escalating threats, but we cannot afford to let them control our response.  We need to acknowledge them, have compassion for them and let them go.  We need to free our hearts and minds to be transformed to a new consciousness, and that means employing tools like positive psychology and appreciative inquiry, and celebrating that we have the maps and tools we need to speed our transformation.

Here are some of the structural details from two leading thinkers who have dedicated their lives to helping people reach a new consciousness.

George Kinder

My brother, George Kinder, is a map-maker—he has been working on the maps we now need for decades.  George has been recognized in national publications as one of the 35 most influential people in financial services, one of the top Icons & Innovators in financial planning, and the first of 15 transformational advisors whose vision most changed the industry.  He has revolutionized financial advising over the last thirty years, training over 3000 professionals in 30 countries in the field of Life Planning.

George is a spiritual teacher as well, and although his maps have been designed with financial Life Planners in mind, they have broad applicability. Hundreds of financial planners are now helping their clients explore their deep heart’s core, their Golden Room.  The clients are living in, from and for the dreams or callings that they find there.  (A 2016 New York Times article described how people are following the Life Planning map to a meaningful retirement.)  Often these Life Plans contribute directly or indirectly to a healthier family, community or world.

George’s maps can be applied equally well to all facets of our lives and across the spectrum of our developmental lines or multiple intelligences, not just the financial realm.  All his maps lead us through the Golden Room of inner transformation to the transformed culture he calls the Golden Civilization.

Continue reading

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Saving the World, Step Three, Part C-1

Follow the Map: Story and Sketch

Trees have inner maps that enable them to grow out of situations that look impossible.  We do, too.  Let climate change or nuclear winter render earth uninhabitable for our species, and still a remnant may find a crack in that barren landscape to nurture a fragile survival.  We may not have much time left on the Doomsday Clock, but the good news is that we have something trees do not.  We have brains that can cultivate insights to solve problems, we have entrepreneurial spirit and technological skill that we can harness.  We may need a new consciousness in order to solve the problems that are threatening our survival, but we have knowledge and tools to “facilitate the process of inner transformation” (Thomas Keating’s phrase for Centering Prayer).  What we need are people who are willing to pursue the world-saving work of developmental growth toward that new consciousness.  Rarely have these questions been more poignant: “If not us, who?  If not now, when?”

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

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

Step Three is to study the map that leads us individually and culturally to the new, higher stage of consciousness that we now need—and to commit ourselves to follow that map.

Story

This story comes from one of the authors of The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain.  It was included in an article in The New Yorker in 2008 about research on how the human brain generates insights.

Researcher John Kounios told about a Zen Buddhist meditator who participated in a large study.  They were given a set of puzzles to solve.  The Buddhist performed extremely poorly at first as he strained his focus, but then he shifted his approach and used meditation skills to relax and unfocus his mind.  The article said he became “an insight machine,” and solved puzzle after puzzle.

We can cultivate insights.  We have maps that we can follow to new, higher levels of consciousness that may yield the insights we need.

Sketch

Here is a sketch of one such map.

It begins where we are now.  We face problems that we either lack the insights to solve, or that we know how to solve but lack the insight how to create sufficient political support.  The problems are urgent and threaten the survival of the world as we know it, even the survival of our race.

Already they are causing massive suffering: climate change and other environmental devastation from a variety of human causes; economic inequality and poverty; wars that unjustly kill or dislocate innocent civilians indiscriminately; the use or threatened use of cyber, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons; the rise of totalitarian and fascist movements, the weakening of democracy and entrenched polarization; hatred and oppression of people based on race, religion or other surface differences; and the escalating refugee crisis caused by many of these problems.

This map leads from here to the destination of a new consciousness that can save the world from these problems and create a Golden Civilization.

Continue reading

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Saving the World, Step Three, Part B

Follow the Map: Review and Overview

The emergence!  See the photo and caption in Part A for the hopeful metaphorical meaning in this.

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

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

This is Step Three, Part B, Review and Overview.  Please see Step Three, Part A that gave an Image, Metaphor and Introduction to this step.

Review of Steps One and Two: 

The goal is to save the world and create what my brother George Kinder is calling the Golden Civilization, a society that can live sustainably with freedom and sufficiency, justice and peace for all.

Step One toward that goal is to identify what is needed to overcome the many obstacles in its way.  That step was summed up succinctly 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.”

In other words, the path to a Golden Civilization starts in the Golden Room.  The Golden Room is our truest self, our heart’s core.  We live increasingly in, from and for the Golden Room as we move to higher levels of consciousness and deeper spiritual states.  It is the place within us where we find the intuition, insight and creative connections we need in order to fulfill our individual callings and solve seemingly impossible local or global problems.

The Golden Room is also the place where we find our oneness with all.  Universal empathy and unconditional compassion grow out of the sense of oneness.  Empathy and compassion lead to support for the changes that saving the world requires.  Imagine how seeing our oneness and having compassion for all would change the way our society looks at climate change or economic inequality or war, no matter how far from our back yard it was happening.

We do not need to raise the consciousness of a majority to have oneness become the dominant perspective.  Step Two in this series showed that we need a committed minority of only 10% that sees the world from a new, higher level of consciousness in order to make the transitions required.

The first thing we need in order to implement solutions to the problems threatening the world is the higher consciousness that can both produce those solutions and engender sufficient political support to enact them.  (See the story at the end of this post for a practical example of this.)

Overview of Step Three:

So how can we move 10% of the population to that higher level of consciousness as quickly and directly as possible?

Continue reading

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Saving the World, Step Three, Part A

Follow the Map: Image, Metaphor and Introduction

The beech leaf shone with a green-gold light on sunny mornings in its spring, filling the woods with a feeling of youthful hope.  Now the natural cycle has brought it to this, as happens to all, from single cells to civilizations.  It hangs on, drained of vitality, weather-beaten and wilting.  Meanwhile the bud is swelling above it, about to burst forth with new life.  The old leaf feeds the new with the light it transformed and stored in its roots.  The natural cycle is not only birth, life and death, it is also to move through that process over and over, each time building on the past and growing higher, stronger and filled with more light than ever before.  That is the eternal hope the universe has planted in the heart of all things.  We need to keep living in and for that hope.  It is The Map.

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

This is Step Three, Part A the third in a series of posts about the relationship between the Golden Room we each have within us and the Golden Civilization that we need to create in order to live sustainably on earth with freedom, justice and peace for all.

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

The Golden Room is our truest self, our heart’s core, the place we live increasingly in, from and for as we move to higher levels of consciousness and deeper spiritual states. It is the place of self-emptying at the heart of our self where we find our oneness with all, and find the gifts we have to offer for the transformation of the world.

In Step One of this series we heard many voices—the Hebrew prophets and Hindu Bhagavad Gita, Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi and leaders in many fields today—calling us to transform ourselves to a higher level of consciousness as a necessary first step to the world transformation that our survival requires.

In Step Two we saw that a surprisingly small percentage of transformed people could make the difference to save the world.

The third step’s four posts will look at a map to see how we can get from here to the needed higher consciousness.  It requires that we make attaining a higher developmental stage a priority.

The final installment of this series will present the Fourth Step, which is to adopt practices and tools to reorder our lives to follow this map and speed our inner and outer transformation.  We will get there if we commit our time and energy—as we need to do, if we want to be part of the solutions that will save this world we love.

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