We are stardust Billion year old carbon We are golden Caught in the devil's bargain And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden
–– Joni Mitchell, © Siquomb Publishing Company
A CRACK IN THE BRITTLE SHELL OF MODERN CIVILIZATION
The 1960’s – whether you remember them as sex, drugs and rock and roll or peace, love and granola, if you were alive then in the western world, you knew that something new was happening. There was a crack in the brittle shell of modern civilization through which a new breath of freedom passed, giving a whiff of possibilities of a different way of living. Song lyrics that had before extolled romance now sang of loving everyone and giving peace a chance. Young people tried to reach beyond the rules by growing their hair, sharing their money and experimenting with communal living. The spirit of the 60s came crashing down as the drug culture turned dark and a series of assassinations brought down leaders of hope. And yet, something had broken through. The freedom-seeking Baby Boomers took jobs, raised families and passed the once-untrustworthy age of 30, but a seed had been planted that sprouted into something truly radical emerging here on Planet Earth: a new global spirituality.
As the decades passed, Western seekers opened to Eastern spiritual teachings and indigenous wisdom amid a growing movement toward interfaith understanding. We learned to appreciate meditation and yoga. New attitudes toward our bodies led to mainstreaming organic food, health clubs and alternative medicine. New approaches to psychology spawned a self-help movement that emphasized forgiveness, taking responsibility and cultivating trust. We began to look beyond our own religious backgrounds in search of meaning and purpose.
As our consciousness expands beyond meeting our own needs, we are increasingly aware of the plight of our sisters and brothers in less favorable circumstances, whether across town or across the globe. Our eyes are opening to the damage that our modern comforts are inflicting on the natural world that sustains us. We are recognizing the limitations of our current systems to address the enormity of the challenges we face. We understand that the solutions that will lead us out of our alarmingly unsustainable direction will require not only new technologies but also a heart-based consciousness. A sweeping transformation of human consciousness across the globe may be the one path to a healthy future for human life on our planet.
A SPIRITUAL GENERATION
A survey conducted by USA Today in 2010 declared that 72% of the generation known as the Millennials consider themselves “more spiritual than religious.” Yet, at the same moment, many who are deeply religious are expanding their horizons: Catholic nuns are sitting in Zen meditation, rabbis attend Native American sweat lodges, and we can all look up how to chant Om on WikiHow. There are now thousands of Interfaith Ministers ordained by at least a dozen seminaries, and the term “interspirituality,” coined by Brother Wayne Teasdale, is becoming more widely accepted since the publication of The Coming Interspiritual Age, by Kurt Johnson and David Robert Ord. Quietly, a spiritual revolution has been emerging around the world – not in in robes and sandals, but in everyday life.
What does it look like to be living the new spirituality? First of all, the overwhelming sense of breaking new ground is both exhilarating and unsettling. We seek wisdom from all sacred traditions and texts, as well as through contemporary revelation and a wide diversity of practice. We pay attention to our thoughts, our words and our actions, knowing ourselves to be holons in the great, interconnected web of life. We want our lives to make a difference, to leave our world a little brighter than we found it, to help bring in the next level of human evolution. We look for the good in everyone and the lesson in every experience. And we connect instantly with fellow travelers on the path. There is great diversity among our backgrounds, yet we share a whole array of beliefs and attitudes.
Although the journey may sometimes feel lonely or discouraging – especially when we look at the news of the world – this spiritual community is growing daily. It has no one leader, but is instead emerging through you and me and countless others across the globe. The community remains largely unnoticed because there has not yet appeared a gathering place to explore this new sense of global spirituality together. It is out of this yearning to come together in community that the Garden of Light is being born.
THE GARDEN OF LIGHT
The Garden of Light is an online platform open to all who feel they are part of the current spiritual emergence, from longtime mystics to those just awakening to their spiritual path. There is no dogma, no hierarchy, no structure, no holy book – just people coming together to share our experience of how the new spirituality is manifesting in our lives. It offers an opportunity for us to explore the various aspects of this spirituality by participating the Forum, posting online prayers, relaxing in the Meditation Room, and discussing the Question of the Week on Facebook. As it expands, it will include art, music, humor, healing, and even a marketplace – the many arenas in which our spirituality is flowering.
You are invited to take a stroll through the Garden of Light. If it resonates with you as a place of spiritual nourishment and community, then you are a vital part of it – so please join and help to shape it as it grows.
Perhaps we cannot go “back to the garden” while our lives spiral ever more rapidly toward the future we are co-creating. But we can go forward together, building a culture of peace where all can live in harmony with one another and our mother planet. Welcome to the Garden!
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Tune in to the interview with Rev. Moldow on Interfaith.
Rev. Deborah Moldow is the Ordained Interfaith Minister, Representative to the United Nations of the World Peace Prayer Society, Co-chair of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee, Facilitator of the United Religions Initiative Cooperation Circle
Photo Credit: IMG_2420 by David Boyle