“We need a new consciousness, and we need to act diﬀerently. Instead of revenge we need to practice forgiveness, instead of all-out competition, we need embracing love, and in place of looking for our own advantage in every situation, we need to embrace everyone concerned – and do so unconditionally…. We need to embrace the planet and its inhabitants with the same care and concern we feel for ourselves. There are no “others” on this planet, no strangers. We are all partners, fellow explorers of the realms of life on a small and already overpopulated and overexploited planet. We are together, for better or for worse. If we bless those around us rather than trying to outcompete and eliminate them, we can be together for the better. This is the lesson we need to learn. It is a lesson we can all learn – and we can all benefit from.” Erwin Laszlo, from his Foreword to 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World.
A growing number of people are realizing that spirituality (that one can define as a personal search for meaning, guidance and a relation to a transcendent reality), is not necessarily linked to religion, and that they can perfectly well be on a deeply meaningful spiritual quest without any need for the latter. This ‘lay spirituality’ is more and more widespread, and one notices an immense increase in the search for meaningful forms of spiritual practice parallel to the decline of the churches. The majority of deeply spiritual people I have met in recent years belong to no organized religion.
The value of spiritual community
However, there is one aspect of religion that many individual seekers on the spiritual path miss deeply, and that is the powerful bonding effect of a spiritual community. This explains why more and more spiritual seekers are creating new forms of non-invasive ways of coming together and supporting one another. For 14 years I have belonged to a blessing circle where we meet twice a month to bless people and world problems, etc. We have no ritual apart from lighting a candle at the beginning of each session. Each session is run by a member in turn
(for information on Blessing Circles, see www.gentleartofblessing.org).
The most important aspects of the new spirituality
Among some of the salient traits of what I feel is emerging as the new world spirituality, I would mention the following:
Walk your talk: because religion was so often totally dissociated from everyday life and behavior, with the dramatic results one knows, the search today is for consistency, for coherence, as the key requirement of this new spirituality.
Heal yourself: this is the logical consequence of the above-mentioned imperative – striving towards a world that works for all, nature and the planet included. There is an incredible urgency in this requirement and we are all requested to invest ourselves in this task
A bonding with like-minded individuals and groups: this is happening at top speed with the internet.
The acknowledgment of the essentially divine nature of each individual: despite all outward appearances to the contrary.
Awareness of universal Love as the ground of being and the ultimate aim towards which evolution per se is converging.
Let us consciously unite in this most urgent task of all: healing ourselves and healing our planet, remembering, as Edmund Burke once stated, that there is no greater error than doing nothing because we believe we can only do a little.