I’m delighted to join all of you on Beliefnet in this wonderful journey toward spiritual wisdom and grace. In this space I would like to share thoughts and feelings on how we can strengthen our connection to our divine source as a means to living a more conscious, loving, and happier life. I’ll be sharing my current ideas as well as information from some of my earlier books. Over the years I have answered thousands of questions on spirituality, and I believe some of that information would be of interest to readers here as well. I will be blogging here not as a religious authority, but rather in the spirit of a fellow-traveler sharing gifts I have been blessed to receive. In that same spirit, I will be eager to learn from the experience and wisdom of the contributors here at Beliefnet as well.
Consciousness As the New Civil Rights Issue
The kind of oppression that many people are feeling right now is more than political. It exists in consciousness. The cries for a new political vision on the left are one symptom of a wider yearning that crosses race, gender, and class. People want to get out of trouble, and that can only be done after they see a way out. It takes a new level of consciousness to envision a positive future when things are very dark.
To be brutally frank, the opponents of consciousness tend to fall into two camps:
1. Those who desperately cling to the status quo for no better reason than to resist change.
2. Those who make money or protect their privilege by holding others down.
It’s a pretty simple and age-old axiom: those who want to be a lighthouse also must accept being lightning rods. As one sees on the blogosphere, the slightest suggestion that consciousness could be raised brings out a kind of hysteria. Fortunately, the thought police are incredibly ineffective, and new levels of consciousness have arisen and triumphed time after time.
I think raising your own consciousness is a human right, and if you have to move obstacles in the social realm, then the consciousness movement occupies the same moral ground as civil rights did in the 1960s.
Black people had a right to see themselves as worthy. This was how oppression ends, first by seeing that you don’t deserve to be oppressed. In India Gandhi showed the common people, long held down by colonialism and the caste system, that they, too, were worthy.
At this moment women are cresting a wave of consciousness-raising, yet much more could be done. By one estimate half the children born in the Third World are conceived without regard for what the woman actually wants. And shamefully, up to 99% of voluntary abortions are of female fetuses in a country like India.
Gay people are learning to see themselves as worthy, a trend that took a huge leap when they realized that they were worthy of being healed of AIDS, despite the bigoted opinion that this was a “lifestyle disease” caused by the victims. Now gay marriage is another step toward raising gay consciousness higher, because society doesn’t have the right to block human relationships and the love that underlies them.
I wrote a book to present the evidence that we have a right to be free from war. That may seem like a huge leap, but much of the population, especially the upcoming generation, already considers war an outmoded response to conflicts.
We also have a right to a clean environment, despite the self-interest of corporations who pollute for profit.
Today we live in a consciousness backlash. The voice of fear is being heeded, and it’s a very loud voice. But the worst days of Communism preceded a great awakening, and with any luck, our backlash will end soon and we will find ourselves once more in a climate where advancing one’s consciousness is protected as the most cherished of inalienable rights.