5 days in the presence of 250 people who are determined to be part of making the world a better place has truly been inspiring and personally clarifying. We explored the intersection between spirituality and the crisis facing the world from 4 different angles -
Reconciling with the Other, Transforming Society, Embracing the Earth, and Rediscovering the Sacred. We had two days of sharing with people who self-selected into these 4 areas of interest, and then we had a day of conversation where each group was mixed with folks from each area.
I would not say that anything radically new emerged, although lots of amazing programs and the work people are dong in the world was shared. What did emerge, that was so extra-ordinary, was how each of these 4 areas are inextricably linked with the others, and that out of each area of concern, the same ideas, values, and areas to focus on emerged
Spiritually Motivated Social Engagement begins with our own deep spiritual connection to our own faith - the values, strength, commitment, and connection it brings us. We must re-discover the sacred within ourselves, each other, and in all of our work including business, politics, economics, educations, and finally in the world/earth we live in.
This then allows us to respect and honor "the other" including anyone and every living being and the planet, which, of course, radically alters our relationship to that other. We must stop making "them" out there, we are all one human family living on one planet in one great Cosmos.
This respect and honoring must begin and will not fully blossom until we have true gender equality, both within our own nature, between men and women, and in all our societies, cultures, faiths, business, political, education, and family systems.
This primary balancing of yin/yang heralds the balancing of all seeming opposites, taking out the "and" between them, and seeing the complimentarity which makes the whole: spirit/matter, inside/outside, male/female, sacred/secular, work/family, business/faith, economics/care, profit/sustainability, us/them, human/divine, God/me, etc, etc.
This respect and honoring is evidenced by living shared values such as nonviolence, compassion, humility, accountability, inner strength, connection with something greater, and engagement in the world based on listening and responsiveness. This means there are no easy answers nor does one size fit all.
This completely alters our view about transforming society and helping change the world. It's not about having the solutions or cookie cutter templates or even helping the disadvantaged. Rather its about facilitating the process of what is needed and wanted in any given particular situation, guided by the shared values, informed by respectful listening and conversation. A transformed society will only come about when we work at all levels: personally within as we deepen our spirituality; individually in our daily acts of conscious participation in our lives, our work and world, and on our planet; collectively when we have integrity, accountability and congruence with our shared values in how we operate in our families, in business, politics, education, and in the world at large; and globally when we stand for these values, expect them to be lived, and continually compassionately confront any place where they are missing
Particular emphasis was placed on the following no matter which area people where concerned with: spiritual deepening and living shared values; integrity, mutual respect, and spiritual consciousness must be reinvigorated in our education, business, and political models and ways of operating; That arts, beauty, and nature all contribute an opening to a new way; That the feminine must be as present as the masculine; that everything must take into consideration care for our planet; and that all people matter and must be listened to, respected, and included, especially our youth and our elders.
A tall order, but it's already being lived by so many people in so many places. Most work is being done outside of the normal channels and hierarchical structures. This seems to work better than trying to change things from within. Eventually those old structures either follow in line or simply collapse.
A Charter for Spiritually Motivated Social Engagement was worked on at the end of the conference, and when it is completed, I'll pass that along as well.