Our present world is one that seems to be working well for only a few. Income inequality and varying quality of life indexes is just about one of the only things that we all share. However, by shifting our consciousness, then our culture and institutions, we can create a world that works for all.
We can see corporations use the words and symbols of spirituality, sacredness, and transcendence just to sell overpriced cars and flavored water. And in a society that has lost its spiritual roots, it works. Not only that but such an atrocity has tainted reality so that the profane seems sacred and the sacred seems profane.
Our humanity has been violated. We are powerful spiritual beings living in a system that robs us of our power. We are sacred creatures in a desecrated land. We are not only hemmed in, we hem in each other, too. No wonder we act crazy. We are starved. We live in a society that starves our souls. That starvation has led to a condition in which it is difficult to be fed, because we do not even know that there is something missing, that there is a necessary element to complete us.
A CULTURE OF INCLUSIVITY
Simply put, the ultimate goal is an inclusive human society on a habitable planet, a society that works for all humans and for all nonhumans. This means fulfillment both for those who are at the top of society and for those at the bottom. Work, resources, responsibilities, spiritual gifts, and material goods may not be evenly spread, but everyone has “enough”; anyone could trade places with anyone else without feeling deprived or oppressed. Such a society is essentially benign and healing to both the human and the morethanhuman world.
All beings, all things, are One. Our lives are inextricably linked one to another. Because of this, we cannot wage war against anything or anyone without waging war against ourselves. Therefore, we are obliged to treat all beings the way we want to be treated. There are no “enemies”—all beings are expressions of the Sacred and must be treated as such.
Some beings cause pain to others; this does not mean that they are enemies. Some beings are food for others; this is all the more reason to treat them as sacred.
Once we understand that we are interconnected, we have the responsibility to create a world that works for all.
With this as our goal, the next question is obvious: how do we achieve it? How do we avoid sinking into despair or cynicism? And how do we avoid dabbling in utopian fantasies or engaging in “pieinthesky” religiosity? In fact, we can change this world right now by shifting our consciousness and our values from a foundation of exclusivity to one of inclusivity.
This necessary shift in consciousness is the core of the world’s major religions. The essence of the moral code they urge upon us is inclusivity:
“What is hateful to you, do not do to others.” —RABBI HILLEL
Do not hurt others with that which hurts yourself. —BUDDHA
Do unto others whatever you would have them do unto you. —JESUS
“None of you is a believer until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.” —MUHAMMAD
Systemic change does not miraculously bubble up from a change of heart. It is intentional, stemming from a precise and rigorous examination of present conditions and an understanding of the consciousness and spirit from which those conditions have emerged.
Together, we are writing the script for a new society. To develop this new story, we must be ready to receive new ideas, new insights, new information. The only way we can be open to the new is to empty ourselves of the old, the outmoded, the inappropriate. Zen teachers remind us that just as an already full teacup cannot hold any more tea, a person already full of concepts cannot hold wisdom.
The problem is that some of our limiting thoughts have been with us for so long, they have become our ”sacred cows,” and as cows do in India, they block the traffic—of ideas. But unlike India’s cattle, these thoughtcows have no life independent of our consciousness. Slaughtering them will only make the world better for all.
We must root out the fallacies and illusions that create, support, and sustain the “sacred cows” of our limiting beliefs.
Copyright © 1999 by Sharif M. Abdu