We are sharing this with a holiday wish that our divided country can find a way through our culture wars.
Well, folks, evolution has just taken an interesting turn! Interesting in the sense of the Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times!” Many of our clients, and we ourselves, are experiencing deep grief about what seems about to happen to our country and to our world. While we must allow ourselves, and each other, to feel all the intense emotions that come with grief – shock and denial, sadness, anger, fear, depression (despair?) – we also must look for ways to move gradually toward acceptance and going forward with love and strength.
We must remember, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, the arc of evolution is long – and it bends toward beauty, truth and goodness. We also can remind ourselves that periods of devolution are intrinsic to evolution. Cynthia Bourgeault, an Anglican priest and evolutionary teacher, tells us, “Events which, viewed at the wrong scale (i.e. too close up), look like devastating upheavals may actually prove to be relatively minor systemic adjustments.” There is a story about Henry Kissinger asking Chou En Lai what he thought of the French Revolution. His reply was, “Too soon to tell!”
Nonetheless, people can hardly be faulted if, at this time, they view this election as something akin to Armageddon! We want to share with you some perspectives that have been helpful to us in finding some balance and hope in this time.
First, we offer you a brief video with the possibly shocking title: “Why I Am Happy Trump Won!” We hope you find it as enlightening and encouraging as we have.
In addition, we want to suggest to you some thoughts as to how we might respond to this election from the perspective of Evolutionary Spirituality.
Cultural Evolution – Evolutionary Spirituality
Over the next months, as we discover more resources for finding balance and hope, we will post them on our blog. Check it out!
For those who are wondering, “But what can I DO right now?” we recommend the ideas for contributing to the evolution of our world that we shared in our last issue.
We also invite you to join our monthly Salon meetings where we will focus on how an evolutionary perspective on current affairs can help us meet the challenges of these difficult times.
In conclusion, we offer this from Rev. Bourgeault:
“… it is our calling to use our heads and hearts … to look at what is needed now and how we might collaborate (in) creating new possibilities in our world … Let us go forward. There is work to be done: prayer, joy, courage, and strength are deeply needed. And we do know the way there. This is Wisdom’s hour.”
Learn the art of loving yourself at no one else’s expense. This skill is not as easy as it might sound. It means that you hold yourself in warm regard without feeling that you are better than others. And, that you can acknowledge your faults and imperfections without feeling that you are less than others.
One of the most destructive things to self-esteem (and relationships) is the subconscious belief that your personal worth is negotiable or that some people have more intrinsic worth than others. While it is true that people have different levels of wealth, ability, intelligence, motivation, beauty, and so on, you need to avoid the trap of believing that these surface differences determine your core value as a human being.
No matter how much money, ability or friends you have or don’t have, your spiritual value remains the same. All of the surface characteristics can change. Who you are remains the same and that is your value.
Our culture, unfortunately, teaches us that everything is comparative and competitive, including the intrinsic worth of persons. Those with more ability, wealth, achievements, beauty, etc. are looked up to as superior human beings. It tells us that, if you are born a member of a privileged group, you are entitled to more respect than those in less favored groups.
This cultural myth is toxic to everyone’s well-being. Those who, by some accident of birth, have less of the attributes considered valuable, or are members of a less valued group, most often struggle to feel worthy. Those who are born with more tend to base their sense of their worth on these things that are not intrinsic to their humanity and often lose touch with the things that give humans their core value.
If you really want to build your sense of your own intrinsic value you can do this by focusing on developing the qualities that make us truly human.
Love. Take time daily to contact the love you feel for others.
Appreciate beauty. Pause frequently to appreciate scenes of natural, and/or humanly created beauty…. i.e. things that awe and inspire you.
Connect with the spiritual. Regularly bring to mind whatever it is that connects you the spiritual in life.
Cultivate compassion. Take time to reflect with compassion on all those who are suffering or struggling in their lives.
Practice kindness. Regularly make a point of doing small acts of kindness.
Value relationships. Work on improving all your relationships by following the suggestions in this booklet.
These qualities or activities are what are unique to us as human beings. They make us most human. And only we are in control of whether we possess them. We can forget them or lose connection with them but no one can take them away from us.
“To err is human.” We all make mistakes. However our personalities are programmed by our early life experiences so be overly critical and harsh on ourselves. You must learn, as an adult, to practice forgiveness and compassion within yourself. When you fail or behave badly, you practice self-esteem by holding yourself in warm regard while acknowledging what you have done that didn’t work well. When you realize that you have hurt someone, you regret your behavior and decide what you will do differently in the future. You refrain from beating yourself up and indulging in feeling like a loser.
Develop and use a personal mantra to remind yourself of your essential value as a human being. Repeat it in your thoughts throughout the day until it becomes a basic stone in the foundation of your thinking. You might read a book on affirmations to explore how to create a personal version that is individually constructed for your life at this moment in time.
Some examples of personal uplifting sayings other people have used are: “I am a blessed child of God!” “I am no better or worse than anyone else!” “I deserve love and happiness.” “I’m enough and I matter.” Repeat your personal message to yourself twelve to twenty times a day. When you do this you are actually building new neural pathways in your brain. You are re-programing your inner mind to believe in those parts of you that are human, decent, compassionate, humble and virtuous.