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As I look out my window I see a vision of natural beauty that takes my breath away. There’s a special tree I have watched grow from a little twig to a mass of green foliage quivering in the wind with squirrels running up and down the trunk. A little chipmunk scurries into the woodpile outside my door every now and then and sometimes a little bunny, too. My beloved temple dogs, Sophia and Willy, sleep by my side as I write this editorial to you. Exquisite flowers grace my table, a remembrance of my recent birthday celebration. And a Tibetan crystal stands close by capturing the energy of this room that has witnessed days and years of meditation and dialogue on the true purpose of our lives. Life is good.
However, waves of sadness often roll down my cheeks. How can it be, I ask? This is the 21st century and we are still at war. I recall how the US bombed a hospital in Afghanistan where Doctors Without Borders were caring for wounded patients.
The story continues with the militarization of the US and 800 bases wrapping around the whole world while the gun lobby blocks passage of legislation to restrict ownership of guns that kill our children. What have we become? How can this be?
The only way I can deal with such atrocities is to try to understand the larger context—the state of the world today. Without an understanding of the unfolding evolutionary nature of reality I am lost in uncertainty and fear. The world is going through a systemic transformation from an empire to a planetary era as we create history by the life choices that we are making every day. As a citizen of the world, my care and concern has been for all human beings. Why would I limit my caring, concern, and responsibility for only Americans when my heart beats for friends in many countries—known and unknown.
If we are truly transforming and not just reforming it means achieving a delicate balance. It is, indeed, an art to let go of old personal habits, old institutional structures, and old stories that inhibit the growth of life that wants to flow freely and create anew. It requires skills we are just beginning to learn.
How do we liberate from the past while not judging it ‘bad’ but instead seeing its rightness within the context in which it occurred? When things break down, the personality tends to view this as a problem that needs to be solved—someone or something is wrong or guilty. The soul sees it as a new possibility trying to emerge. This is transformation.
Numerous life experiences of letting go and leaping into the future are built into our lives. I remember the many fears that I had to let go of on my journey to fullness. I was afraid to move to New York City all alone, but this leap gave me a whole new life at the international level. I remember fears I had as a divorced woman travelling alone without a man. I had fears going to the war zone of Yugoslavia and I had fears of starting Kosmos Journal with no journalism experience… it goes on and on. Added to this are the fears that our governments and businesses use everyday to control our behavior and support their policies and products. Despite all this, we are driven to act from something inside that is stronger and more courageous than fear itself.
In addition to fear there is the insufferable boredom of rational political correctness. While at the UN I ran into a somewhat stifling situation of conformity and rules. I learned that the expression of emotions was not politically correct. Long dry resumes of speakers who addressed us were hard for me to listen to. I was looking for the authentic person, not the politically correct public face. Rationality won the day not only in political arenas but also in scientific communities, and often in academia. This one-sidedness completely denies the two sides of the brain that need to be balanced to fulfill our potential and to bring us the magic, music and dance of life.
We are not motivated to act on behalf of the greater good by rational arguments alone. Research indicates that that we are driven to act first from the inside through emotion, sensing, feeling and then we rationalize what we know subjectively to make our actions seem reasonable. In other words, our bodies know before we are conscious of what we are doing. And yet it is politically incorrect to show feelings.
In the new planetary era we will need to unlearn as well as to learn. People like Bayo Akomolafe, who grew up in non-Western cultures but are educated in Western values, are teaching us how necessary it is to unlearn many of the values that have led to planetary destruction and inequality with rights and privileges for the few rather than the many.
So we must prepare ourselves for the role we will play in global transformation in harmony with all life—expanding our vision and care and concern to all humanity and all life, as well as honoring subjective reality as much as objective scientific materialism. We must build communities that support relationship for all life to blossom and change ourselves to live in a planetary era on a regenerative planet.
Together we will help each other expand our vision, responsibility, and care. We will strive to make our vision alive in the mainstream rather than at the margins and we will connect all the various projects in the new era together for greater impact.
With the nobility of the human spirit, capacity of our hearts, and collective intelligence we will become activists for the evolution of life itself.
Nancy Roof, Ph.D. is the founder of the award-winning Kosmos Journal: The Journal for World Citizens and Planetary Civilization, which is based on evolving interior development and cultural values as they impact globalization and world community. Kosmos Associates, Inc. is also actively involved in the founding of the Global Commons movement with James Quilligan of the Global Commons Trust.