Today I turn the blog over to Michael Meade from Mosaic Multicultural Foundation. He examines how we must respond to despair by looking inward. After weeks of withering news, this is a breath of fresh air.
In keeping with yesterday’s post and our intent to focus more on what a transformation could look like, we begin that shift with a piece from Michael Meade about the need to begin that transformation individually, by looking within. We also offer another Playing for Change piece, also appropriate to the times: “Gimme Shelter.”
On Tuesday, I will feature another guest post from Philip Shepherd, a Canadian blogger whose post “COVID Is Us” offered a similar kind of transformation as Meade. Together they offer somewhat different slants on the kind of personal inquiry that may be the necessary precondition to any social movement that could lead to transformation. Please offer comment today and on Tuesday. Does this resonate?
Retake on KSFR, 101.1 FM, 8:30 am today and streaming live from KSFR.org. I interview attorney, author, and CPA Greg Rogers who wrote the seminal book, Financial Reporting of Environmental Liabilities and Risks. We discussed the recent precipitous drop in oil prices and the impact of that collapse on the New Mexico state economy and some of the options NM’s legislature and Land Commissioner might have to address the collapse, protect the state, and ease the move toward a just transition. The full podcast of the show will be available Monday morning by clicking here.
Tues., April, 21, 6:30 – 8 pm, Community Meeting with Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard and Land Commission General Counsel Ari Biernoff. We will zero in on how the Land Commission can currently regulate the gas and oil industry and discuss what legislative remedies might be possible to increase that capacity, increase royalties and penalties, and slow the pace of lease approvals. We will also discuss what is politically feasible given the state budget crisis and plunging oil prices and what is necessary given those same conditions. Finally, we will take a deep dive into the proposed rules changes that might allow the Land Office to significantly expand its ability to regulate the gas and oil industry, to stop issuing leases, and to force drillers to provide financial bonds that offer assurance that if they go bankrupt (and they all will at some point) they do not leave NM with the financial responsibility for decommissioning their wells. It should be a very interesting discussion.
To pre-register for the webinar and to receive a password to enter the meeting, register at this link.
On to Michael Meade. Enjoy.
The Light Inside the Darkness
In a world gone wrong, it takes but one more devastating bit of news to push people to the edge of despair. The shaken world, plagued by false rhetoric and tormented by the spread of both the coronavirus and the climate crisis becomes a darker place. When each day becomes more fearful and each heart becomes more burdened by the facts of separation and the knowledge of worldwide loss, it is the connective energy and unifying presence of soul that has gone missing.
What we are facing is not simply a collapse of cultural institutions, but the loss of the world as we knew it to be. In the moments of individual panic that are inevitable amidst the global pandemic, we find ourselves in a struggle for the dignity and meaning of the individual soul and a battle for the Soul of the World. Meaningful solutions to deeply penetrating and broad-reaching problems require the kind of imaginative vision and innovative invention that can only be found in the depths of the human soul.
When the whole world turns upside down, it is the soul at the bottom of everything that is trying to become known again. The depths of soul contain the vitality of life, the core powers of imagination, and the ancient inheritance of humanity that includes both the instincts to survive and the capacity to create. If there is no change at the level of soul, there can be no meaningful change at the level of the world. Each human soul has an innate connection to nature, an intrinsic concern for the entire planet, and unique ways of drawing upon the underlying unity and vitality of life.
In every crisis the issue becomes whether we become a bigger soul or a smaller person. In the dark times, the awakened soul can become the unifying agent for a collective renewal. When the inner light of soul awakens us from within, something also comes alive in the world around us. Our real gift to life involves an awakening of our inner purpose, for that is the star of our true destiny. When we are aware of life’s purpose, the light of the soul shines into the world and the secret hidden within us becomes visible and encouraging to ourselves and to others.
In the dark times, the awakened soul can become the unifying agent for a collective renewal as entering the moment of crisis and living more fully parallels the spiritual passage from ignorance to illumination. Thus, the underlying soul has been called “the light hidden in darkness.” It can also be termed the light of the deep self within, as it was in a passage from the Upanishads, one the oldest documents on the nature of humanity. In this ancient manuscript, a wise sage addresses the issues of what to do in the dark times. He is being questioned at the court of a powerful ruler who understands the material world but realizes that at times a deeper knowledge of existence is required.
Beginning with what he knows best, the king asks the sage, “By what light, do human beings go out, do their work and return?”
“By the light of the sun,” answered the sage.
“But if the light of the sun is extinguished?”
“Then, by the light of the moon, they will go.”
And so question and answer proceeded, each exchange leading to a darker place: If the moon is extinguished, then by the starlight; if even the stars are cancelled, then by the light of a fire. “But, what if the fire of life is in danger of being quenched? What then?” the king finally wants to know. “By the light of the self,” is the conclusive reply of the sage.
Moments of true awakening are also times of greater enlightenment. The light that burns within us is also the light that dwells within everything; it is the hidden light at the center of all things.
Our real gift to life involves an awakening of our inner purpose, for that is the star of our true destiny. When we are aware of life’s purpose, the light of the soul shines into the world and the secret hidden within us becomes visible and encouraging to ourselves and to others.
When we awaken our souls, we liberate the divine spark that was there at the beginning of our lives, the true gift of life that is also light—the precise gift intended to be given back to the world. Awakening to one’s life-story and finding initiatory paths comprises the “real work” and genuine opus of our lives. By the light of the soul and the inner eyes of initiation, we see life differently, see it all anew. Then, a sense of wonder and awe returns as the veils lift and we find ourselves living in an open historical moment; not simply a time of evolution or an age of revolution, but an extensive period of radical loss and surprising discovery as well.
Michael Meade, Mosaic Voices
Established in 1993, Mosaic Multicultural Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has initiated innovative projects and unifying events that support and educate at-risk youth, refugees, combat veterans, and communities in need. Mosaic creates community through events involving artists, activists, community builders, healers, and spiritual teachers working in inspired ways to develop cross-cultural alliances, mentoring relationships, and forms of community healing. For more on Michael Meade, click here.