When you look out at the world today and see what is happening for people, what is your answer to it all?
To truly be an answer, it cannot be just a reaction to what people are doing now. Just getting angry, disappointed, or somehow feverishly active to fill the apparent needs isn’t going to help. The answer comes from a place that isn’t in reaction to what’s happening in the culture around us but from a place that speaks into it, that offers what is creative into it, that fills the real need that is present in the world in which we live. We are called to give that answer.
Let love radiate without concern for results. Let a vibration move into that world that takes into account what is there and offers a way forward.
The culture in which we live wants to own the human soul, and it is common for people to feel like they are possessed by what’s happening in the world in which they live. They become overtaken by it and defined by it—when in truth, exactly the opposite is supposed to be happening. We are here to overtake the culture in which we live and to define it.
In a backward, unconscious way, this is in fact what’s happening now. Individual human beings are defining our culture. The culture is being created, however unconsciously, out of what people are putting into it. But it all becomes so circular if we, as the people involved, define ourselves by the culture. We are acquiescing to our culture, and our acquiescence creates the culture that we have. And then we are left to be manipulated by those who see what is going on and decide to use it all to their advantage—to manipulate the culture and the people of it for their own benefit.
We have the opportunity to engage with the culture on a totally different basis. We can own the culture in which we live in the name of the creativity that is inside us. We can own it from the very depth of our soul. In those depths is that place we could name as our heart of hearts, or as the Holy of Holies of our Being, where who we are lives in our purest essence.
I was seeking for a symbol of that pure essence of us in our Holy of Holies, and what came to mind was a bell within a bell tower, in the highest place of the church, perhaps in the highest place of the town. There is a space at the top of the bell tower, and within that space there is the bell, which chimes a call to worship. Or perhaps it declares some kind of emergency with a required call to action.
Our answer to what we see in the world is to be that bell, to peal out over the town, to ring the vibration of truth in a world that has lost its way. That bell, sounding in the highest, innermost place, is at the same time a tuning fork for the invisible power that animates us and also an instrument that brings vibration into the world.
At the time of the beginnings of the United States of America, there was so much going on in world consciousness, much of it coming out of the Age of Enlightenment. A dramatic change in worldview was working the minds of the colonists in America. In the society from which they came, the culture largely determined what happened for the human soul. Nations and religious institutions had told human beings who they were and how they must behave. And yet people in the Western world were waking up to a different reality, realizing that they themselves had made those institutions and empowered them. The American Revolution was certainly an armed conflict. But it was also a philosophical revolution that is relevant today.
This is from the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, which spoke to this dramatic change in worldview:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
We probably recognize all kinds of limitations in that statement and inconsistencies in the lives of the authors. They didn’t include women or African Americans, for one thing. And yet there is a truth to these words that is beautiful and applicable to us now. They realized that it was they themselves who had empowered the government, and that it was time to withdraw that empowerment, given the way the government was performing and the impact it was having. They saw that the power came from the individual to the collective culture, not the other way around.
Is that relevant to the world in which we live? What would happen if every person in America got conscious of the way that they themselves were creating the culture in which they live and empowering its institutions? In many cases, the culture that they do not like! It might be a shock for a person to realize that they are not just victims of their culture; they are creators of it. And not only of the government but of all the culture—the art, the industry, the media, the finance and much more.
We are creating the culture in which we live. And if we can create it one way, we have the choice to create it differently.
Subject to the culture, we have little ability to regenerate it. We have little ability to do anything other than react to what we don’t like and try to make it over, leaving it to the next generation to do the same. And so it has been. I have been speaking about America, but the same is true of the whole world. What if we as world citizens took a look at the world that we are creating and realized that it is in our power to create something different? Do we dare to think that big?
We inherit that power only as a crucial step is taken. The bell has the ability to resound through the town, but this bell we are speaking of has the properties of a tuning fork that are crucial. It rings out to the world because it is vibrating with the Highest Love in the highest place of the human experience. Can you find that place in yourself that is sensitive to those vibrations and tunes in to them?
It is said that spirit speaks to us as human beings as a still, small voice, implying that we have to listen carefully to hear it. In a world where the culture shouts at us, we are called to tune in to something else.
Is it not true that when you start to listen to the still, small voice, it becomes louder? And the longer you listen and the more carefully you listen, the more it fills your mind and heart? The more it is resonating through your being? It is not a still, small voice anymore. It’s resounding; it’s filling you up. This still, small voice is pealing throughout your being as a bell, as a message to the world that wants to come out through you, that wants to be spoken.
Whatever its limitations, the Declaration of Independence was nonetheless a bell that was speaking to America at the time. It became a loud voice, and it was heard by others because of the courage of the men who signed it, knowing that their lives were at risk because of what they had done. What is that act of freedom, that declaration of independence from human culture, that is ours to make now?
How I wish that it was something so plain and simple as signing a piece of paper! Or something so concrete and definite as taking up arms. Something that we could commit ourselves to in a single, fateful act. And yet we know that it is not one act that will do it. What is needed now is certainly not a reaction, and it is certainly not violence that will carry this day to victory. And yet there is an act that is every bit the proclamation that the Declaration of Independence was. That is every bit as loud as that Declaration.
In American history, Paul Revere is renowned. “One if by land, two if by sea” goes the epic line of the poet—a reference to lanterns that were to be shone from the tower of the Old North Church, telling which way the British were marching to capture Sam Adams and John Hancock, and seize American ammunition supplies. There were two lanterns hoisted. It was by water, as it turned out. At the same time, Paul Revere went on his famed midnight ride. What followed was the Battle of Concord and what Ralph Waldo Emerson called “The shot heard round the world” in 1775.
What lanterns are to be held in our church towers? What is the bell that we have to ring, to peal out, on this day? It’s a call to sanity and integrity. It’s a call to humility. It’s a call to surrender to the highest love and the highest vibration that has been introduced into the consciousness of humankind. It’s a call to every man, woman and child to tune in to that vibration—to hear it, however small the voice might seem to be; to heed it, to allow it to become louder in our awareness, to let it guide us to disown the culture of the day as ruling who we are as a human being and dictating to us what is right.
Within the vibration of the bell is the vibration of all of humankind and all of Creation. Here is the vibration that contains the spiritual DNA for a new human culture and for the world in which we live. And so, this is our answer, and everything relies on it. Everything relies on this answer. It seems like nothing. It seems more powerful to react, to decry what’s happening in the world, or to look the other way and just try to find your own little path to some kind of human happiness.
The urgency of today is no less than in 1776 in this country. It is no less than February 11, 1990, when Nelson Mandela left prison and set a nation free. It is no less than the time of the Magna Carta in 1215, and no less than the time of any movement for freedom anywhere. It is greater because this time it is global.
This is a call for reverence for life, the life that is in the vibration, that is the life of humankind and the life of Planet Earth.
This is our answer. Hold the lantern high. Let this bell ring!