Tomorrow is Juneteenth, celebrating the end of slavery in America.
Here is an expression that has become common today: “It’s not a bug. It’s a feature.” Meaning, It is designed that way. And slavery was like that. It was not just a flaw in the American character. It was a major feature of the economy of the Southern states that was growing dramatically just prior to the onset of the Civil War.
Facilitated by the cotton gin, cotton from the Southern states became a cash crop in the first half of the 19th century, providing two-thirds of the global supply and feeding the insatiable appetite for cotton from British textile mills.
In Mississippi, the demand for slave labor to grow cotton increased the slave population from 3 thousand in 1800 to 437 thousand in 1860, while cotton production increased from 0 to 535 million pounds annually.
Southerners dreamed of expanding slavery, not only to the Western United States but to the remainder of the Western Hemisphere. Those dreams ended with the Emancipation Proclamation and the conclusion of the Civil War.
The scars left by this avaricious attitude and action remain on the heart of America today.
Harriet Tubman is an American hero of the 19th century. Born into slavery, she escaped to Philadelphia and then rescued enslaved people through the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, she was a scout and a spy for the Union Army.
This is from a letter to Harriet Tubman from American abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
I am glad to know that the story of your eventful life has been written by a kind lady, and that the same is soon to be published. You ask for what you do not need when you call upon me for a word of commendation. I need such words from you far more than you can need them from me, especially where your superior labors and devotion to the cause of the lately enslaved of our land are known as I know them.
The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day—you in the night. I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt “God bless you” has been your only reward.
The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism.
I celebrate Harriet Tubman’s heroism this Juneteenth. At the same time, I applaud anyone who serves in quietness, without public acclaim, but who brings freedom to the world by the way they live their life.
Last week in this Pulse of Spirit blog, I wrote about the formula for spiritual evolution as beginning with unison, blossoming into harmony, and exploding into polyphony.
Unison is the heartbeat of Creation within all people. It is one Love pounding in our hearts. It is the One Voice, the voice of humanity. It is the impulse to live and to be free.
Our unison is our literal heartbeat, which we had as an embryo at only six weeks before we had a heart. Our heartbeat as a Creator was pulsing in our tissues as our physical heart was only beginning to form.
But the pulse within us is not just physical. There is a pulse at all levels to the expression of the One Voice that is in each of us individually and in all of us together. It is self-expression at all levels of consciousness. Individually, we thrive when we find that pulse from within ourselves. And we thrive collectively when this pulse expresses through us together.
At a physical level, the human heart can lose its Attunement with the pulse of the Creator. It can go into a state of fibrillation, in which the heart rhythm becomes irregular. The chambers of the heart lose their synchronous beat and sometimes race.
That is a loss of heart rhythm at a very apparent physical level. But our pulse as a Creator is operating throughout our human experience, and it is possible to fall out of rhythm mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
The formula for spiritual evolution begins with Attunement to the creative pulse within us. For any community of people, there has to be that collective Attunement. There has to be a collective ability to move with that pulse—to welcome its expression through another, to resonate with it, and give it expression ourselves. When we find our collective creative pulse, we leave behind any fibrillation of our collective heart that might have been occurring.
Sometimes the creative pulse is spoken of as the Word. In the New Testament, the Greek word logos was translated as “Word.”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Creation begins with the pulse—the Word.
A person’s words can carry the pulse of Creation. They can vibrate with the One Voice we share in common. They can sound the tone of our unison. When they do, we hear something uncommon if we are listening. We hear the sound of our collective heartbeat. We feel the resonance of that pulse throughout our being. Our consciousness is stirred.
All too often, what people say is babble. It might be logical enough at one level. But it doesn’t carry the deep resonance of the One Voice. The spiritual evolution of an individual or a community can’t begin until the One Voice sounds clearly.
Have you ever thought that your words have that capability? We have to give our voice and words over to the One Voice for it to happen. If we chitter away on the surface of things, that deeper tone will not come through. But if we give over our voice and words—not just to saying something rational, which we hope we do, but also to bringing a vibration through—if we allow our words to conform to that vibration so that we are speaking it into the world, something else can happen. Simply having a conversation can be a spiritual event if we are paying attention to that tone resonating through ourselves. The heart of Creation can pulse through what we say.
Harmony is the second step of spiritual evolution. From the standpoint of the science of acoustics, harmony blossoms out of the fundamental tone. The frequencies found in the notes of a chord resonate with the root tone of that chord. Harmony blossoms from unison.
Harmony is resonance with the pulse of the Creator. If our physical heart is to beat synchronously, it has to find Attunement with that Pulse. And so it is with our entire human experience. When the root tone is established deep within our soul, all the substance of heart, mind, body, and spirit can resonate with it harmoniously.
The same is true for any group of people and for all of humankind. Someone has to speak with the One Voice of us all. If we have ears to hear, it is magnificent when they do. Hearing the One Voice through them, it resonates in us in a way that is unique to who we are and our individual calling. That resonance creates harmony.
The simplest of acts can carry huge vibrational resonance. While I was recently in British Columbia, friends sent me a greeting card congratulating me on publishing my book and deck of cards: Attunement: A Conscious Guide to Opening the Sacred Power of the Endocrine Glands. It was a simple thing to do; something people do all the time—sending a greeting card. Yet it was filled with heart resonance. I felt the vibrational power carried by that gesture.
When the pulse of the Creator is beating among us, and we are resonating with that beat, we have unison and harmony. Out of that, polyphony is born.
Polyphony is many voices, each with its own vigor and independence and still sounding synchronously. It is people doing different things but in relationship to each other, in relationship to the fundamental tone they share, and with the resonance of that tone.
Musically, polyphony has independent melodies and answering countermelodies.
At Sunrise Ranch, where I live, people seem to be going in ten million different directions. Someone is in an office doing the accounting while someone else is making a meal. One person is teaching a course while another is registering guests. We are all doing different things, going in many different directions with many different rhythms. And yet, if we have established that there is one tone sounding in this community, there is One Voice, and there is harmony among us.
There is only one tone that belongs at Sunrise Ranch. It is the highest Love. If we know that, and if we resonate with that tone together, we might seem to be going off in different directions. But it is all an expression of that one tone, and it is all harmonious in this vigorous, vibrant way that celebrates the individuality and uniqueness of expression that is rightfully ours at any moment of our life. Polyphony!
We need it all. We need that one tone. Humanity needs it. I am talking about the Sunrise Ranch community, but humanity needs to find who it is. Humanity has to find its one tone, its signature vibration. It is present, but who is listening? And who has devoted themselves to being true to it?
Unison. Harmony. Polyphony. Why speak of spiritual evolution in these terms?
I am advocating a vision of our spiritual evolution that includes a need for all three of these elements and how the myriad facets of life flourish when they are born out of the central heartbeat of who we are.
None of these principles by themselves are adequate for us to flourish. Unison alone is dictatorship. Harmony alone is compliance. Polyphony without harmony is chaos. Advocating for any one of these principles, however named, without an appreciation of the others, creates dysfunction.
Each of these principles has its place and its own time of preeminence. One builds on another, and they are all in play. And it all begins with the heartbeat of the Creator.
As a human being, we have hands and feet, organs, and all the systems of the body. We need it all. But did we start that way? We began with a heartbeat, and it all grew out of that heartbeat.
That is how it is for a spiritual community. It all is born out of the heartbeat of the community. No heartbeat, no growth, no expression, no harmony, no polyphony. Only chaos!
You can try to start with the polyphony—we will all be unique, we will all be different, and we will all be running in different directions, and it will never, ever come together. It will not build anything. It builds something because there is one tone that we all know, and we are all true to that tone and let it resonate powerfully through us.
These are simple ideas, yet so often ignored. Often people come to Sunrise Ranch and ask, Hey, how about this? How about that? Not really paying attention to the harmony of what is happening. Let’s go in this direction and that direction.
Those of us who have been here for a time find a way to communicate this message:
Yes, maybe it is a good idea—but have you found the tone of Sunrise Ranch? Do you know the tone of Sunrise Ranch? Do you know what it is to be truly at home here, to be truly yourself here? Have you found the heart of this place? Is that your heart? Have you found what it is to harmonize with the people around you in the context of that tone? And yes, when that happens, there can be a wonderful polyphony of all kinds of creativity, and it can all work. But it cannot work without the resonance we share as a community.
I am speaking about Sunrise Ranch just because we are a handy example. But the same is true for all of us together around the world who are part of this global community. And it is true for all of humankind—the same principles are at work.
We are the sound of One Voice. And we are the voice of many waters. There are many layers to the consciousness of the Creator. May we speak in a glorious polyphony around the planet upon which we dwell. And may the midnight sky and the silent stars witness our devotion to freedom and to the wisdom that lets freedom become a reality.