In these early days of December, as a soft rain falls in California, I remember the first snowfall in New England; how it blanketed the earth and muffled sound—and silence became a spacious and holy presence. As the winters progressed, however, and we shoveled snow and pulled soggy socks from our children’s feet, that dark stillness often brought depression. We forgot that it held promise, hid something deeper: new life gathering itself to be born. We live in a dark time. Many of us have sought to help solve some of the immense difficulties confronting us, to learn the truth of each situation, and to grow in understanding. We’ve taken stands on countless issues and made the best decisions we knew how. But we are beginning to see that the kinds of solutions our cultures have to offer are blunt instruments—and we begin to realize we need more refined means of resolving our dilemmas.
Even as conflicts escalate the world over, we can lend the weight of our presence to a different kind of action. We are learning that it is possible to integrate a more subtle form of activism with social action, and that one can flow quite naturally out of the other. We’re discovering in groups of all kinds around the world that our lives are deeply joined; that we can participate at a level of sensibility that is complementary to problem solving and does not seek to make one side right and the other wrong. Entire groups are awakening to this truth as they dare to take the position that they do not know the answer. Instead, they choose to embrace opposing views, give focused attention to the silence, and trust. Then a common voice may arise.
This week, the Indigenous Peoples of the World are gathering in Fort Collins and Carbondale, CO at the same time the UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Copenhagen, the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded President Obama in Oslo. In any group in which you have more than a casual membership, I invite you to set aside conversation for a short time, postpone closure in your own mind, and listen in the silence for something new. After all, it is that time of year, and as nature has always shown us, it is out of darkness that light is born again.
As the excitement about the presidential debates builds, I think it is important to realize that any â€œchangeâ€ promised by either candidate depends on much more than a leader. It is a matter of setting a new direction: The hope for any real change in our lives lies in the awakening of the If we have made up our mindsâ€”if we believe what we know, and know what we believeâ€”we will not have even begun to address the biased thinking that keeps us all so thoroughly programmed for conflict. . Such an awakening transforms the quality of all our relationships, and as we develop the skills that lead us in that direction, we may come to embody a â€”one that has long been misunderstood. This ; it is a great powerâ€”an intelligence which has long been present inside us. Accessing it, however, depends on our willingness to proceed. If there is any real hope for usâ€”man and woman, Arab and Jew, East and Westâ€”it doesnâ€™t lie in the rising up of a great leader. The Time of the hero is past. No rescuer will come to solve our conflicts for us, or fill the deep crevices of earth with oil again, or season poisoned land with sweetness. But if we are willing to step forward and begin to change our mindsâ€”to let go of our own certitude, be it religious or philosophical orscientificâ€”we will have joined the legions who are contributing to a new kind of consciousness, one that sees differently. This is not the same as thinking differently. It is the conscious emergence of a radical transforming power of Love can alone create a true human community. In his words, â€œThe may be the only energy capable of extinguishing the threat of another fire, namely that of universal conflagration and destruction.â€ This kind of Love unifies. Its evolution is already happening in all of us and is described in Awakening the Energies of Love: Fire for the Second Time. Â that holds both sides of a conflict in its embrace. According to Teilhard de Chardin, the
Filed under Change by Anne Hillman