Although fears over our planetary woes make headlines and keep people up at night, it should be apparent that finding solutions is about our mindset. The mindset of dread contributes to passivity and depression. Recently I encountered a mindset that holds promise because it combines consciousness-awareness raising with technology. The green shoots of a viable future were evident to me in the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Ever since its oil wealth gave it tremendous leverage over world economics, the Saudi kingdom has faced a fork in the road, deciding between an old feudal social order or an unparalleled opportunity to serve as a laboratory for engineering the future. My contacts were with the Saudi elite—I went there to give workshops in self-awareness—and it became apparent that they are inspired to solve the country’s challenges with a strong focus on education, the younger generation (60% of the population is under thirty), job creation, and wellbeing.
It was the last topic that involved me the most. After 9/11, I became deeply concerned with the radical dichotomy of the Muslim world, where a struggle had emerged between tradition and the postmodern world, that is, between a more rigid religious authority, and a future-minded youth who wanted to look out on the wider world integrating Islam with a global focus on science and technology. It’s no longer a question of which side should win but rather how to integrate tradition with a global economy and an emerging Zeitgeist of respect for cultural and religious diversity. The biggest challenge facing the Saudis is how to create a moderate, economically secure middle class that can stand for modern values and simultaneously for Islamic ideals and Arab culture. Continue reading →
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Have you been outside? It’s still hot and if you’ve never believed in climate change, maybe now is the time to reconsider your opinions, but Fall is trying it’s best to creep our way. There is still so much beauty to slow down and appreciate and we don’t want to miss a moment. We intend to notice the beauty displayed in nature.
Laura Ling is an amazing journalist who has partnered with Discovery Digital Networks and ONE.org to bring awareness to stories and issues from across the globe include this most recent story of the energy crisis happening in Africa. Interestingly enough, with access to cell phones, the middle class has exploded on the continent, but the ability to do simple things like charge a cell phone (much less, have consistent lighting in clinics, businesses or even homes) continue to be a struggle as a result of blackouts, shortages and a reliance on “dirty forms of energy.” 7 out of 10 citizens in sub-Saharan Africa still do not have access to electricity. This means expectant mothers, business owners, students and everyone in between are doing their best to move forward and continue developing thriving communities without being able to simply turn on a light.
I will not let the darkness hold me back
-Hussein Mwende, student
Much has been said about the attacks on Paris over the weekend.
Who is responsible? Are more attacks around the corner? Are those attacks likely in places beyond Paris? How does Syria tie into this? Should we be mad or sad or scared?
Conversations include so much conjecture, much sympathy and some ugliness but without a doubt, the world is in shock at yet another senseless act of violence claiming so many innocent people.
In the wake of all those voices, one we have appreciated hearing was that of a father teaching his son why he didn’t have to be afraid at the site of Bataclan attacks:
French father and son have the most precious conversation in i…A father and son have the most precious conversation during an interview by french media at the scene of the Bataclan attacks. I saw that it hadn’t been subtitled in english yet, so I made a quick edit to show the rest of the world how freakin awesome some of our citizens are. They’re my heros. I feel better too now! (Courtesy of Le Petit Journal) #paris #bataclan #parisattacks
Original Segment: http://bit.ly/1Lix9L2
Original Video (without subtitles): https://www.facebook.com/PetitJournalYannBarthes/videos/1013093998733798/
“Every two seconds around the world another girl is forced into marriage.”
Upworthy shared this post about child marriage across the globe. Girls as young as 8 years old are being forced into arranged marriages as a result of issues like poverty, culture, and religious pressures. Continue reading →
Have you heard? World leaders are committing to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to achieve three extraordinary things by 2030:
End extreme poverty.
Fight inequality and injustice.
Combat climate change.
The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done in ALL countries for ALL all people. But to achieve these goals, everyone needs to know about them. Join us in offering your intention for our brothers and sisters around the world. Ours is a world without hunger by 2030.
Many are joining the move to inform and bring awareness to these goals! Pope Francis recently composed Laudato Si’, a letter urging everyone to recognize the crisis state of our planetary health: Continue reading →
Last night, my 13-year old daughter asked me what was the latest in Syria. In our family, we regularly talk about world events — whether it is the circus of the US pre-election cycle (during the first Republican debate, they gasped when Donald Trump reference Rosie O’donnell as a “fat pig, slob, dog”), the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the numerous incidents related to it, the situation in the Middle East, or the latest research on the importance of sleep (truly, I talk to my kids often about this as I want them to understand how important it is!)
I was telling the girls (Leela, my younger daughter is 11) about the refugee crisis in Europe, and how the image of the 3-year old little Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned while the boat his family was escaping on capsized, moved hearts in a way that shifted inaction, not just of governments, but of everyday people as well. The girls asked what image… So I pulled it up, warning them it was difficult to see. Tara hesitated a moment before looking, anticipating that perhaps indeed this was something she didn’t want to see. But, I watched as she looked with determination.Continue reading →
Author David Foster Wallace spoke at the 2005 graduation ceremony for Kenyon College. His message was directed at students who were about to venture into the world as independent, functional humans but his message on thinking is important for everyone to hear even ten years later. In our current global state, perhaps it’s time to relearn how to think.
“Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe. The realest, most vivid and important person in existence.
We rarely talk about this sort of natural basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive but it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you were not at the absolute center of.
The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU. Or behind YOU. To the left or right of YOU on YOUR tv or YOUR monitor and so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.Continue reading →
Our most negative encounters can sometimes offer us great spiritual guidance. For instance, I once had a blow-out fight with a woman at a car rental counter. She felt the need to flaunt her power and go out of her way to make things difficult for me. My reac
tion was no better than her outburst. I felt the need to respond with my own power play by threatening to call her manager and make a complaint. And I did just that.
Hours after stating my claim to her corporate office and regional manager, I felt no better. I thought that complaining about how poorly I was treated would help me get over the experience. Instead, it made me feel worse. I sat with this and explored what the lesson was for me. In stillness, I heard my inner voice recite one of Yogi Bhajan’s five sutras for the Aquarian age: “Recognize the other person is you.” I was floored by my inner guide—the message was so clear and resonant.
I went on to explore what it was about this angry customer service rep that reflected me. I came to realize that her behavior was merely mirroring a disowned part of my own shadow. In silent contemplation I was able to accept that deep down there was a part of me that wanted to control the situation and the outcome. This was the same quality the customer-service representative had. Her deep-rooted need to be in control came head-to-head with my need to be in control.
Compassion is a buzz word we’ve heard more and more in recent days. Is it a home run for marketing campaigns, or is it a real, important attribute that is finally getting the limelight it deserves?
These days, we are honestly in need of a deeper understanding of what it means to love, care, even notice one another. This is why it is so encouraging to see things like Deepak Chopra, Gabby Bernstein and friends leading a global meditation for compassion on July 11th. In honor of his 80th birthday, the Dalai Lama is hosting the Global Compassion Summit to inspire compassionate acts in our global community. These are opportunities to join with others asking the question “what about me? how can I help?” Continue reading →