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.”