What Kind of World Do You Want to Live In?
Most of us don’t believe we have the ability to change the whole world or even our own lives. Day-to-day existence can be so challenging —physically, emotionally, financially — that to entertain the possibility of something better, maybe even something exponentially better, seems beyond us. Yet, if we are to break free from the collective human suffering that holds each of us prisoner, that’s exactly what we have to do: Imagine the impossible. That’s how transformation occurs — through making a dream real within your own life. The energy of that manifested dream, no matter what it is, radiates outward and affects everyone around you. I believe this because I have seen it happen to others and have experienced it myself. Such miracles are not often reported on the nightly news, but they do occur. Want to know how? They are powered by the heart.
So much of today’s world, at least the one portrayed in the media, is fraught with political and personal rifts and ruptures, mostly based in ideological differences and the judgments and separation that accompany them. Language pulls us apart, even if in theory we speak the same one. Words are usually by-products of the thinking mind and its attempt to establish its own “rightness” in any conversation or so-called dialogue. The rational mind means well, but it is hardwired for analysis, control, and the dominance of the ego self above all else. Without the softening influence of the heart, it leads individuals and entire groups of people to repeatedly bang their heads against a brick wall of irreconcilable differences.
The continuing impasses in United States political, economic, and social systems are prime examples. The President, Congress, and Supreme Court agree on very little within their own constitutionally framed structures. The 2013 government shutdown was only one symptom of a basically unworkable and outdated overall infrastructure. The time has come for a shift in focus, a flipping of the paradigm, so that we allow our hearts to guide us, thus opening our minds to other possibilities, instead of repeatedly insisting on old brain-based solutions that leave everyone alienated and cynical. Cynicism — the very opposite of hope. Hope, arising from the heart — a slender but sturdy thread of positive intention pulling us forward out of solidified anger and despair.
To hope means to believe that reconciliation and good will are possible, that we can live and work together. Within hope are flexibility and a willingness to sit down with open hearts and minds and ask one another: “What kind of world do you want to live in?” And we also have to be willing to give thoughtful, honest answers. If asked, what would you say? My guess is that you would want a world that is peaceful, friendly, abundant, free. One where kindness and generosity prevail. I certainly do. I doubt that anyone really wants the war, poverty, and injustice we find ourselves lost in. So how do we get out of it, how do we make it different?
That has been the dilemma that has plagued our planet for centuries, and certainly no more powerfully than in the last fifty years or so, when voices for social change rocked this country and the larger world. I came of age in the late 1960s and was part of many of those movements: civil rights, world peace, feminism, Native American justice, gay rights, environmental protection, and more. It was a time of radical awakening. In our youthful innocence and intense desire for change, we thought the answers were simple: peace, love, and flower power. Certainly those were heart-full answers and actually are still deeply true today.
Yet, many people were not ready for them then, and perhaps we weren’t ready to completely embody those ideals ourselves because we still carried some of the old exclusionary ways within us, i.e., if you and I don’t agree, you are the enemy. The dream of love, peace, and freedom couldn’t entirely overcome the prevailing “us vs. them” mentality everywhere outside, as well as inside, of us. Nevertheless, in spite of the odds stacked against us, seeds of awareness were planted, and alternatives were created. Those alternatives have grown and evolved, as have we. Today, the planet is in the midst of monumental, unprecedented change. We had to live to a different point in time, a new millennium, for the full flowering of what we imagined and believed in so passionately: global oneness.
A profound and transformative shift in human awareness has been occurring planet-wide in recent years. Mostly unreported in the mainstream media, oneness consciousness is permeating every aspect of world culture. Fed by the breakdown of rigid attitudes based in otherness — as well as by global communication via the Internet — this way of seeing humanity is based in multiculturalism, diversity, and unity, not separation. Difference is to be celebrated, not destroyed. It is a consciousness that is heart-centered: open, expansive, and loving, as opposed to closed, limited, and judgmental. Basically, it’s all about love: global love.
Because of the rise of sophisticated technologies such as the Internet, cell phones, social media, and email, we experience the sufferings, struggles, and triumphs of those half a world away as they are occurring. Unlike previous generations who often heard little international news until days or even weeks after an event, today we are present to everything in a very immediate and personal way. Massive demonstrations and uprisings for freedom and human rights within countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and Brazil have drawn support from sympathizers throughout the world. Individuals like 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, who defied the Taliban and stood up for the basic right of education for women and all children, affect people everywhere.
When communities have been devastated by natural or man-made disasters — tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, oil spills, or terrorist attacks — people around the globe have responded with compassion and an outpouring of love and assistance. Nationality, race, or religion became unimportant. From New York, Boston, and New Orleans to Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines, those suffering have been held in the arms of nearby strangers and in the prayers of others thousands of miles away. Medical supplies and financial aid have been sent to help those affected. Volunteers have traveled long distances to assist in any way they could, sometimes for many months after the events.
The use and misuse of the planet’s resources has brought all of life to the brink of destruction. The very quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, not to mention the food we eat, is continuously and cumulatively undermined by chemical pollutants from industry and agribusiness. Yet, in the midst of this worldwide environmental emergency we are facing, there are glimmers of hope. Not all humans disregard and destroy the environment they live in. More and more people are coming to realize the sacredness of nature and acting accordingly.
As we evolve as a species, dissolve the perception of “other,” and open to the idea of global oneness, we begin to see nature, too, as part of that oneness. Nature is not an entity to be exploited and used up, or an enemy to be feared and beaten into submission. Nature is a living breathing part of us. We are nature. There is no separation. A vision of life on Earth as a web of interconnections is starting to inform the collective consciousness. Scientists have begun to see the world in terms of linked ecosystems that are mutually interdependent. Local/global interdependence is written about more frequently, with increasing emphasis on balance and harmony.
Our hearts are being split open by the very personal dramas of individuals beyond our friend/family circles, beyond our states, countries, and hemispheres. What we are feeling is unity consciousness, oneness, or just plain love for our fellow human beings. Of course, not all conflicts within and between countries and cultures have been healed. Racism, economic disparities, and inequalities still exist, but attitudes are shifting, and rigidities are softening. Cracks in the dense wall of otherness are appearing. Hope is raising its weary head with renewed energy.
The flower children of the 1960s (and I was one of them!) called for love as the solution to all the world’s problems. Today, within oneness consciousness, we can see that love shining forth, loving what is as well as what could be. Universal, unconditional love. That love is in our hearts and souls. It is part of our very essence, who we are at our core. And it is what keeps us living and evolving into greater and greater possibilities on this planet. What was once considered a silly, unrealistic rallying cry from beaded, bell-bottomed, young hippies is now the fervent hope for the future of individuals within every generation in every country. We’ve tried thinking of how to create a peaceful planet; why not open our hearts and love our way to the solutions? Sound crazy? Maybe that’s exactly the point.
Excerpted and adapted from Lose Your Mind, Open Your Heart (Dog Ear Publishing, 2014) with permission of the author.
Peggy Kornegger is a writer, author, and vision weaver. Her writing, which connects spiritual awareness and social consciousness, has appeared in spiritual, feminist, and political publications for more than thirty years. She is the author of Living with Spirit and Lose Your Mind, Open Your Heart. Visit www.spiritflower.wordpress.com.