Since my last entry here on this topic the world has suffered the tragedy of Nice in France, the death toll in Turkey after a coup attempt there, and the ambush that killed three police officers is Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before that, Dallas. Before that, Orlando.
Before that Zliten in Libya (60 dead), Sharaban in Iraq (100+ dead), Eei-Adde in Somalia (63-dead), Deir-ez Zor in Syria (300 dead), and the list goes on. And that’s just in January of this year alone.
Every day people are dying for no reason other than that they were in “the wrong place at the wrong time.” Innocent people, including children and the elderly. Totally innocent people, guilty of nothing save being in the line of fire (or courageously placing themselves in the line of fire as a matter of their sworn duty) when the anger of others has erupted.
How can such a thing continue to occur in a species that fancies itself to be highly evolved?
On this planet today, there is a belief held by 95% of the people that is killing us.
Unless we find a way to alter this belief, the terrorism plaguing our species will not abate.
This belief is not the direct cause of the violence we inflict upon each other, but it absolutely creates an environment in which such savagery — rather than feeling unnatural, wildly inappropriate, repulsive and repugnant — feels totally acceptable to those who perpetrate it. And that number is increasing daily.
The belief that produces an environment of acceptability is the belief in separation. The vast majority of the human race has embraced this belief. We believe we are separate from each other, separate from Life Itself (in that we have nothing to do with its process except to endure it), and separate from God (if we even believe there is a God).
This belief is our aloneness in the Universe has led to our creation of a defense mechanism called tribalism. We’ve decided to join with others who we think, though they are separate from us, are similar enough to us to share common interests. And so we are not quite so alone.
The Tribalism of Separation has caused us to think in terms of “us” and “them” in nearly every area of our lives. And this is what has caused Orlando and Dallas, Nice and Ankara, the killings of and by police, the terror of and by ISIS, the verbal attacks of and by Mr. Trump, the anger of and by people all over the world leading to revolts by ballots and bullets against The Establishment everywhere.
Humans are no longer willing to submit to the established order of things — an order of things that has created global groupings of The Have’s and The Have Not’s — a few people living in Plenty while plenty live in Poverty.
Sadly, those living with poverty and its pains do not know how to revolt against it without causing further separation, and those living with plenty and its pleasures think only about how to stop the revolt of those in poverty and pain without doing very much about it. Thus, both groups perpetuate the very thing that has caused all the terror to begin with.
All of this can be solved with one simple remedy: an approach that if adopted by all of the world’s people, both the Have’s and the Have-Nots, would bring an end to our tribalism — and the anger of isolation that so frequently accompanies it — virtually overnight. The challenge is that our species does not seem to know exactly what the real problem is.
So, as I mentioned in the first article of this series, we keep trying to solve it as if it were a political problem, or an economic problem, or a social problem. Or, worst of all, a problem of insufficient power or force being used to get our way.
Yet all need not be lost. We can still heal the anger that is producing the conditions that is fueling the violence that has been flowing both ways between the tribes of humanity throughout human history — and that continues to affect and infect so many people to this very day.
We will not be able to do so, however, unless we stop to collectively understand that nuance and nature of the problem itself.
NEXT, Part Three: What is really going on, and why it is happening.
People all over our planet are asking themselves today: “What can we do — is there anything that anyone can do — to bring an end to what’s happening in our world?
Is there no way to stop the brutality and put the heart back into humanity?
What has driven so many of us to forget who we are — talking, and then acting, like barbarians?
And is there anything at all that can return us to ourselves, and inspire us to stop using violence and killing to address our grievances?
The world is hungry for leadership today, starving for guidance, gasping for answers. People everywhere are stupefied, shocked, astonished by what we are doing to ourselves. They’re hoping, yearning, crying out, begging for life’s insanity to stop.
But nobody seems to know how to get an entire species to wake up, to collectively reassemble, to call an end to its separations and divisions, and to bring itself out of its tribal nightmare.
Part of the problem is that we keep trying to solve the problem at every level except the level at which the problem exists.
First, we say we’re facing a social problem, having to do with our attitudes toward one another. Particularly our racial attitudes. So we throw words at it, hoping to get each other to change our minds about each other. But the words we use are labeling and wounding, accusing and divisive, even as we say we are trying to produce unity and healing.
Then we say we’re facing an economic problem, having to do with the quantum gap between the have’s and the have-not’s. So we attempt to throw money at it (urging a raise in the minimum wage, calling for free college tuition, demanding expansion of society’s safety net), or withhold money from it (lowering welfare payments, reducing social services, opposing health care reform, cutting unemployment benefits). But our manipulations of cash buy us nothing save more frustration and more anger among both the poor and the rich.
Then we say it’s a political problem, having to do with the policies and decisions we are imposing, or failing to impose, on our population, our corporations, and our institutions. So we throw laws at it, trying to legislate our way to morality, equality and equanimity. But the overlaying of statutes and regulations does little to regulate or alter basic human behaviors, instead creating new behaviors designed to sidestep regulations and tap dance around statutes.
At this point we throw up our hands and declare that our challenges are not simple ones, and will not be overcome with simple solutions, but require all three approaches — harnessing social, economic, and political action to produce healing of our wounds and changing of our ways.
We say, in effect, that our problem is All Of The Above, when the truth is, it’s none of the above.
The problem facing humanity is not a social problem, it is not an economic problem, and it is not a political problem.
The problem facing humanity today is a spiritual problem, and it can only be solved by spiritual means.
It has to do with what we say are our most sacred beliefs, our fundamental understandings, the convictions we hold, the doctrines we embrace, and the principles we adhere to as we daily express who we are, demonstrate our awareness of the nature and purpose of life, and reveal the nature of our relationship (whatever it may or may not be) with that entity that some of us call God.
Our problem is a spiritual problem, but this is something that no social agency, no economic entity, and no political party dare even begin to discuss. Yet unless and until someone does, the backward and deeply damaging social, economic, and political actions of our species will not diminish, decrease, dwindle or decline. In fact, we will see them increase.
We are in a downward spiral here, and only a Looking Upward can get us out of this hole we have dug for ourselves and then thrown ourselves into. The good news is that such a Looking Upward is possible. All it takes is leadership.
That’s where you come in. For a Leader is not one who says, “Follow me.” A Leader is one who says, “I’ll go first.”
I have just returned from Bulgaria and Italy, where I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to hundreds of people about the foremost challenge facing our species today. That challenge is to solve this continuing riddle:
How is it possible that 8 billion members of a single species could all say they want the same thing — survival, safety, security, peace, prosperity, opportunity, happiness, and love — and be utterly unable to produce it…even after trying for thousands of years?
Is it possible that there is something we don’t fully understand about about Life, the understanding of which would change everything? Could there be something we do not fully understand about ourselves, and about each other, the understanding of which would alter our lives forever for the better?
If we do not solve this mystery, we run the risk of bringing a sad ending to The Human Experiment on this planet within the next half century — or sooner. We will absolutely end our adventure here if we simply refuse to even acknowledge that the questions exist, much less that it is fair to ask them and vital to answer them.
I have written the following in the Introduction to my next book, Understanding Humanity/Demonstrating Divinity (to be published in 2017):
The problem is, most human beings do not know who they are. There is enormous confusion about our True Nature and our Real Identity.
Actually, there’s more than confusion. There’s denial. Innocent, but widespread, denial.
Put confusion and denial together and you’ve got the perfect recipe for making big mistakes. Or, to put it another way, decision-making in life on Earth.
We’ve made some progress, yes. Apologists will point out how far humanity has advanced as a civilization. And they are accurate in pointing out that things are not as bad as they used to be. But is that it? Is that the most we can say about our global experience? Can we at least also say that our civilization has at last become civilized?
You be the judge.
More than 1.5 billion people do not have electricity on this planet in this, the 21stCentury. A higher number, over 1.6 billion, have no access to clean water. A much higher number still, over 2.5 billion, do not have basic sanitation. That’s right, in the first quarter of the 21st century over a quarter of the world’s people are without toilets.
But these are simply inconveniences. Some 19,000 children die each day on this planet from preventable health issues, such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.
Wait. We’re not done. Over 650 children die every hour on Earth of starvation.
In the meantime, 85 of the world’s richest people hold more wealth than 3.5 billion…that’s half the planet’s population…combined. And the value system of millions insists there’s nothing wrong with this, and that this final statistic has nothing to do with the earlier ones.
So what do you think? Are we a civilized species?
We’re still creating and threatening the use of weapons of mass destruction as our only defense in a global community that has found it impossible to create a way to simply get along. Is this civilized?
We’re still killing human beings intentionally as a means of teaching human beings that killing humans beings intentionally is not okay—and we fail to see the contradiction. Does this make sense?
We’re still claiming that a loving God does not want people who cherish each other to marry each other if they are the same gender as each other—or even if they are not the same gender, but are of different races, religions, tribes or cultures. Is this our definition of love?
We’re still brutally killing and eating the flesh of other intelligent animals, pretending that they’re not intelligent enough to know that they are suffering from how they are raised and how they are slaughtered—or that it doesn’t matter even if they do experience suffering. Is this how we measure what we label that which is humane?
We’re still smoking and ingesting known carcinogens, ignoring how huge numbers of us are suffering from what we are doing to ourselves, and we’re still abusing alcohol and drugs, pretending that these are substances we can handle—all the while we’re not handling them at all. Is this a measure of our intelligence?
And it’s not just each of our individual behaviors that raise the question of whether we’re civilized. Today even a casual observer can see that not one of the collaboratively created systems, institutions and devices that our civilization has put into place to help us become civilized is doing anything of the sort.
It’s worse than that. They’re actually doing exactly the opposite.
Our political systems are creating nothing but disagreement and disarray. Our economic systems are actually increasing poverty and the divide between those who have more than enough and those who have not nearly enough. Our social systems are actually increasing disparity, prejudice, injustice and despair.
And perhaps most dysfunctional of all, our spiritual systems are producing not a deeper sense of godliness and goodwill, unity and oneness among Earth’s people, but, instead, the kind of intolerance, anger, cruelty, hatred, and righteousness that leads not just to holier-than-thou separation, but to holier-than-thou killing.
What gives here? What’s going on with the human race that it cannot see what it’s doing to itself? Where is humanity’s blind spot?
Might it be time to ask those questions above? I’ve asked them before, in other writings, in television interviews, and in workshops, seminars, and lectures across the globe. But the questions keeps arising, now more insistently than ever, leading us to ask another question:
Is there any hope? Are we really nothing more than a species of immature beings run amok, blowing up H-bombs under the ground to prove our invincibility while dismantling our planet’s under-layer in the process—then wondering why we’re seeing such an increase is earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes?
Have we so lost our collective mind as to think that the way to stop terrorism and killing on our streets and in our schools is for everybody in the world to carry a gun, reverting back to America’s Wild West when the most important question was, “Who is quickest on the draw?”
Have we so lost our collective will as to simply throw up our hands in frustration as wars and battles for supremacy create refugee crises rendering millions homeless?
Have we so lowered our collective standards as to find it actually preferable for divisiveness, rudeness, insults and tasteless verbal bullying to become the hallmark of political leadership?
Is this what we have come to? Gun-toting, fist-pumping, verbal-bashing, jaw-jutting, loud-mouthed intimidators and strong-armed tyrants daring anyone to stand up for what is gentle, peaceful, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and—God forbid—loving?
If we can’t even agree on how to disagree, can we possibly agree on how to be agreeable? Can we ever become experientially aware that there is such a thing as Divinity—much less be Divinely inspired, Divinely motivated, Divinely activated, Divinely expressed, and Divinely realized in our daily lives?
Yes, we can.
But what the world needs now is a different approach to explaining our gentle, loving Deity, replacing our fearful, righteous and condemning way of warning each other about what so many have claimed for so long to be a fearful, righteous, and condemning God.
We need a sweet, kind, and tender way of exploring how we may all know and experience our highest self and express our True Nature. And that starts with understanding.
We’re being invited by the increasingly challenging events of Life Itself to move to a new level of comprehension regarding who we really are, why we are really here, and what we are really able, and choosing, to express and experience.
We’ve solved scientific mysteries, we’ve performed medical miracles, we’ve created technological marvels, but we have failed to solve the most fundamental problem: How to simply get along. We have also failed to understand the one thing we would most benefit from understanding: Ourselves.
For our species, understanding Humanity and its relationship to Divinity must be the next most worthy goal, the next most important objective, the next most urgent undertaking if we are to collectively create a life that allows our species to move forward, not backward, on its evolutionary path, and if we are to each live a life that makes sense to our soul.
Understanding Humanity will equip us to eliminate our human-made problems, and will give us the tools to meet many of the challenges that we have claimed and declared to be presented by Nature as well (ignoring, in the past, the fact that human choices, decisions, and actions have produced so many of them).
Understanding Humanity thus is—for our entire species and for you, individually—the Most Urgent Exploration. Everything else pales in importance by comparison. So then, shall we get on with it?
Many of the mornings on many of the days in the lives of many of the people on this planet, it’s not very easy to find a very good reason to throw back the covers and get out of bed.
Life feels like a struggle mentally, physically, and emotionally from morning to night, with no letup in sight, no relief on the way, no abatement on the horizon. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…and the challenges don’t seem to be getting smaller, but just the opposite.
What’s the point of it all?, we ask…and it’s a fair question. It all ends in death? That’s it? We’ve gone through all of this for nothing?
We might as well make the best of it while we’re here, because there’s nothing more to it than that? The entirety of our Journey is the experience we’re having right here, right now — added to the experience we’ve had from our birth to this point, and that we’re going to have from this point until our death?
None of it has any implication or reason, purpose or function, consequence or ramification beyond that, and none of it has any significance or meaning except that which we, ourselves, invent (or what we allow our culture to convince us is “true”)?
I mean, really…?
Well, let’s see here. We’re told by many, many people that this is not the way it is. Our lives are more than meaningless meanderings through days and nights of aimless moments and purposeless existence, they say. There is a reason we are here, there is a point to it all, and that is what gives us the motivation to throw back the covers in the morning and lumber out of slumber to venture into The Adventure once more.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…
I love Shakespeare, because he was more than one of the world’s most prolific, powerful, and poetic writers. He was a metaphysician of the first rank. He deeply understood the deeper aspects or the deepest reality we call Life. So I quote Shakespeare often, and sometimes, with a fond knowing that I have his total blessing, I may paraphrase or even ever so slightly alter his words to reflect my application of their present-day meaning.
Shakespeare wrote those words in Henry V, Act III, Scene I. The king was encouraging his soldiers before attacking an enemy. And while these are words before going to war, I know that Shakespeare meant them as more. As with all of his writing, they were replete with multiple meaning. Thus, this passage has been quoted for centuries as it may apply to each of our own “inner wars” — the internal struggle in which every human being engages as we rise up with courage each morn to face whatever onslaught the day may bring.
And so here is my own offering, with some abbreviation and tiny modification, when I quote this passage in the context of our daily battle with the human mind’s greatest enemy: a misunderstanding of what is occurring, why it is occurring, and what this entire life is really about:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…
…in peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
as modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of life’s struggles blows in our ears,
then imitate the action of the tiger. . .
…now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
to its full height. On, on, you Noblest One…!
…Show us here the mettle of your pasture; let us swear
that you are worth your breeding;
for there is none of you so mean and base,
that hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
straining upon the start. The game’s afoot;
follow your spirit…!
Ah, yes, my lovelies…the game’s afoot. But what, exactly, is the game? That becomes the question of the day.
It has been the question from Day One. And now comes the answer, yet one more time, from one more source, in terms so clear, and words so simple and direct, that it cannot be misunderstood anymore.
We have heard the answer before, for sure. But from so many places and in so many ways, we no longer know what to believe.
Our more traditional religions tell us that the “game” is getting back to Heaven; returning to God; finding our way to Paradise; obtaining our Eternal Reward.
Some philosophies tell us it has nothing to do with “eternal” anything, and that our life is about exactly what we are experiencing here and now, making the most of it by giving the most to it, and being satisfied with that — which can be more than enough in a life well lived.
Some spiritual movements say it need not be an Either/Or proposition, but can be Both/And…plus, possibly, a great deal more.
In the first view — that of most of the more traditional religions — we are spiritual entities having a body and a mind, and there are rules we have to follow, things we have to do, things we have to make sure we do not do, and particular and specific ways we must accomplish all of this, in order to get back to God’s Spiritual Kingdom, from which we are told we have emerged. We are told, as well, that if we do not follow these rules, do not do these things, do not avoid these other things, and do not accomplish all of this in a certain and particular way, we will not get to God’s Spiritual Kingdom, but will be sent to the everlasting fires of hell, there to languish forever and ever in unremitting pain and unfathomable suffering as payment for our earthly transgressions — one of the most serious of which may be to have simply belonged to the wrong religion.
In the second view — that of the non-religious philosophers — we are simply (while admittedly highly sophisticated and complex) physical life forms, moving through the biological process of the Cosmos in which we are born, we live, and we die, ceasing to exist in any conscious form whatsoever thereafter, but having the ability while we are alive to affect not only the lives around us, but of those members of our species who follow us, in ways that cause us to be long remembered — and thus to give our lives meaning beyond our here-and-now existence.
In the third view, an amalgam of the first two, we are more than our biological sum and substance — and more, as well, than spiritual entities who live as obey-me-or-else subjects of a cosmic monarch
laying down the requirements for us to get back to a kingdom we can’t understand why we left in the first place.
The text we have been given in the 3,000+ pages of the Conversations with God dialogue addresses that word “more.”
If we are spiritual entities who never wanted to leave the Kingdom of God in the first place, then why did we leave? Is it possible that our Souls left that celestial location on purpose? Could we have done so not only willingly, but excitedly and joyfully?
CWG answers these questions and more, joining a long list of other sources, both ancient and contemporary, in telling us that there is a very special reason we are here, that our having been birthed was not a mere happenstance within a cosmic-wide biological process, that our lives have a purpose that stretches far beyond the end of our present-form physical/chemical expression, and that the very essence and energy of which we are comprised is identical to, and an extension of, the Essential Essence and Purest Energy of the Universe Itself, parts both seen and unseen — or what some of us have called God.
The purpose of this massive and endless process that we have chosen to call “life” is for that Essential Essence and Purest Energy to express Itself in such a way that it would know Itself in its own experience, at the same time expanding the awareness of the knowing of Its individual aspects, elements, and individuations.
Put in somewhat simpler terms, every expression of life is an expression of its Source, experiencing, displaying, and demonstrating aspects of that Source in singular and individuated form.
This means that all that lives (and if we define “lives” as that which is in motion, this would include everything) is an expression of the Divine, and the goal of all sentient beings is to become aware at higher and higher levels of the unlimited aspects of Who They Are, so that Adonai, Allah, Brahma, Elohim, God, Jehovah, Krishna, Rama, Vishnu, Yahweh, or by whatever other name our various global cultures have used to refer to that Ineffable Essence we understand to be The Divine, may experience Itself in, as, and through those beings.
That is our reason for throwing back the covers and getting up in the morning.
Is the reason enough? Is God experiencing God reason enough for some of us to experience hell? (Or what we have called “hell”?) That depends on how we are engaging with the events and circumstances of our moment-to-moment encounters.
Conversations with God tells us that “the good news is, you don’t have to go through hell to get to Heaven.”
“Oh, yeah? Well, you can’t prove it by me,” some of us may be tempted to say. But it’s true. And there are those among us who have proven it.
We can be among those. That is the promise of The Divine.
Stay tuned here. I have more to say as we explore all this further.
We have a candidate for president of the United States who says of a protestor at one of his campaign events, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
We have a candidate for president who says of protestors at his events, “I love the old days — you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”
We have a candidate for president of the United States who told one of his audiences, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”
Is there any hope? Are we really nothing more than a species of sentient beings run amok, blowing up H-bombs under the ground to prove our invincibility, ending criminals’ lives by injection to demonstrate our righteousness, allowing hundreds of children to die of starvation every hour as we defend a global economy that benefits one-tenth of the planet’s population?
Have we so lost our collective mind as to think that the way to stop gun violence is for everybody in the world to carry a gun?
Have we so lost our collective will as to find no way to stop the wars that create refugee crises rendering millions homeless?
Have we so lost our collective morals as to find it actually preferable for divisiveness, rudeness, insults and tasteless verbal bullying to become the hallmark of political leadership?
Is this what we have come to? Gun-toting, fist-pumping, verbal-bashing, jaw-jutting, loud-mouthed intimidators and strong-armed tyrants daring anyone to stand up for what is gentle, peaceful, and—God forbid—loving?
Just asking here.