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GLOBAL ONENESS DAY and UNITED NATIONS DAY OCTOBER 24th

Halloween is not the only day to celebrate this month! Tuesday, October 24th, is a double-header — Global Oneness Day and United Nations Day. This is a day to nurture and elevate our consciousness of unity and the organizations that can further our living as One.

We celebrate the awesome and indisputable fact of our biological and atomic unity and also celebrate the existence of an institution founded by 51 member states in 1945. Seventy-two years later it contains 193 members (plus two observer states). Despite having quadrupled its original size, it still makes communication possible among its widely disparate members, and it still fosters many services that help the needy throughout the world. So, both in spirit and with leaders of all nations, let us CIRCLE THE WORLD WITH LOVE on October 24th!

To many our unity seems obvious. Yet violence, prejudices, “isms,” phobias, and delusions of independence and superiority persist. Sad!

These days many seek knowledge of their ancestral roots and watch TV shows that explore other peoples’ roots. We usually delight in discovering close or distant relatives, and want to understand our connections. Yet we forget or don’t realize that all life on Earth — and all creation —has been connected from the start. Curt Stager (Your Atomic Self) writes: “To look into the night sky is to survey distant gardens in which the elements of life are ripening, and your body is a composite harvest from these cosmic fields … Earth is indeed a kind of surrogate mother to us in that our bodies are derived from it, but we exist today only because our true star mothers died long ago.”

We also share Earth’s current and potential-future calamities. Mary Southard, CSJ, sees the positive side: “We as a nation and a planet have been hammered by fires, floods, hurricanes, natural disasters of all kinds these past months.  We are living in a moment of unparalleled crisis in Earth’s natural systems, and challenge to our human intelligence to respond in this unprecedented OPPORTUNITY to create the world we all want to live in. . . .  .”

So let us use October 24th as an opportunity to deepen our own awareness of our moment in creation’s spacetime. We know so much more about our interdependence than did past generations, and have vast opportunities to learn more. Let us include learning more about the United Nations and the unique services it offers. (c.f. www.un.org/en/sections/history/history-united-nations/index.html)          

Recently we’ve seen examples of people coming to the aid of others endangered by violence as well as by floods, storms, fires, and other calamities. October 24th would be a perfect day to join those who are awakening to our global responsibilities for one another and all life.

Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton recently coined the phrase “climate swerve” to describe the massive climate awakening that’s finally happening in the US. [Many other countries are way ahead of us!] These kinds of tragedies across the nation and world are creating unprecedented receptivity as people search for solutions. Now is our time to reach more people than ever and actually build the political power to change the current systems.

Many of our problems and systems were created before humans realized their interdependence with one another and all creation. Albert Einstein said that “No problem  can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Oct. 24th is a good day to alter our level of consciousness in order to solve these problems!

Einstein also gives this advice, perfect for contemplation alone or together on Oct. 24th:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Pope Francis agrees. In Laudato Si’ he writes:

“We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (par. 2)

“People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption.” (par. 55)

“It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. Time and space are not independent of one another, and not even atoms or subatomic particles can be considered in isolation.” (par. 138)

Jesus prayed that all would be one. Today we need to pray that we accept that reality and act accordingly. May I suggest that we save some time on Oct. 24th to expand our consciousness by rereading parts of Laudato Si’ or by learning more about the United Nations or by pausing in awe to consider how interconnected and interdependent we are — with all creation, from the very beginning!

How can “they” believe THAT?

Almost twenty years ago, Jim Carrey starred in the critically acclaimed film, The Truman Show, written by Andrew Niccol. I loved the thought-provoking premise, and I find even more applications now than I did then.

In case you missed it, here’s a summary: A corporation adopts infant Truman Burbank in order to use him as the star of a TV reality show watched 24/7 throughout the world. Truman, unaware of the fact that everyone he knows and every situation of his life is programmed on an isolated island, is just beginning to question his reality. Ed Harris plays the show’s director, Christof, who goes to any length to keep Truman ignorant of reality, which would ruin the show’s success.

Christof’s statement towards the end of the film really struck me: “We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.” Well, sure. Why question it? We’re secure in it. And, if we become aware of life outside ours, it’s easy to blame “outsiders” for problems and it’s comfortable to believe “our” way is better than “theirs.” Hasn’t that been a successful political, religious, economic, and social tactic throughout history? Think about it!

What I loved about the show in 1998 was how it exemplified those who accepted without question, for example, advertisers’ sales pitches that our value lies in the “stuff” we have. Or how we are slow to become aware of our ingrained prejudices and stereotypes of whatever kind. Or how we accept our religious stories, all written before discoveries in cosmology, quantum physics, and even evolution. It’s challenging to move beyond the reality in which we grew up and/or to understand those who live outside it!

By now you have probably guessed why I find The Truman Show’s imaginary premise especially applicable today. In the U.S., at least, we seem to be captive within the world presented by various media. Echo chambers thrive in social media. Listening to “the other side” can be judged disloyalty to “our” side. Those who live in “the other reality” actually do threaten ours, and thus it is easy to fear them and even think them evil. This seems true regardless of which “show” one currently stars in. Christof spoke truth when he said that we accept the reality of the world with which we are presented. We barely notice, or we excuse, its exaggerations or errors.

Even with willingness to be empathetic, many are ignorant of other cultures. When I read Hillbilly Elegy (which I highly recommend), I was stunned to realize that here was a world about which I knew just about nothing. How easy, then, to judge those who act — and vote — from it. I had to consider that, given the same circumstances of education, culture, and heritage, would I have been any different?

It’s no secret that some news choices can reinforce our prejudgments and make exaggerated statements about our chosen “team” (think Breitbart, FOX, MSNBC, Daily Kos). Ditto for social media. Both sides can perceive the other as spiritually and morally degenerate, a threat to American values, and conspiring to defeat what they hold dear. Because we came from a dualistic, either-or mindset (us and them, good and bad, true and false, etc.), we have been programmed to accept one and reject the other.

At least we are aware of the biases some stations and papers will present and that other news and opinions will be absent, refuted, and judged “fake.” What about sources we watch such as local news, that present biased news and opinions without indicating their source? Because of mergers and acquisitions, massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape and control what we see, hear and read. In many cases, these companies control everything from initial production to final distribution.

When one or two entities own local news channels and demand that they air slanted news and opinion pieces, we might have no warning. How is our reality altered when, for example, a newscast has a daily series on Terrorism Threats? Who gives balanced statistics of where our deaths and dangers really come from? The emphasis on what is not a major threat both increases fears and neglects genuine concerns. No wonder fortunes are spent preventing problems that either don’t exist or are minor, causing money needed for real concerns to be not available. Perhaps we are called to write or call and make our viewpoints known.

I periodically receive emails marked something like “You won’t believe this.” I usually don’t, and I  check with one or more of the sites created to monitor factual accuracy and debunk rumors. These three are reliable: FactCheck.org, PolitiFact.com, and snopes.com. (I then return this information to the sender and the other receivers.)

The Truman Show spoiler alert: Truman begins to notice and to question inconsistencies. He begins to doubt the validity of his environment. He becomes aware that his life’s package is somehow incomplete. He risks his life to resolve his growing discomfort — and in the end he literally pokes a hole through his fake sky-dome and exits beyond it. There he is united with his true love, whose campaign to “Free Truman” was not in vain.

As I see it, the moral of The Truman Show for those who care about ecospirituality is this: Like Truman, we are exiting, or have exited, the world and consciousness in which many of us grew up. We feel called to live in a world, a universe, that is intrinsically interconnected, in which everything and everyone deserves respect. We all came from the same stardust; we all share it within us. Because the world, and each of us, is constantly evolving, we are becoming new each moment. We can create a future where people — starting with ourselves — are accurately informed, discerning, and contributing to a win-win future where all life is mutually enhancing and the accepted goal is the greater good of all creation.

Speaking with those who — because they live in another show — reject the threats to all life from climate change, nuclear proliferation, violence, pollution, poverty, inequality, trafficking, species extinction, etc., can be very challenging. We can do it better if we try to understand the “show” in which each of us “stars” and listen to others with respect and patience.

Good law schools “demand that [students] imaginatively and sympathetically reconstruct the best argument on the other side,” I read recently in TIME (July 24, 2017, Heather Gerken, dean of Yale Law School). “Lawyers learn to see the world as their opponents do ….” We should fight for what we believe, but “it’s crucial to recognize the best in the other side and the worst in your own.”

Trying to understand the “reality show” that defines opponents and informs their fears and judgments might not always, or immediately, be effective, but it is the most successful method to date.

I welcome your suggestions/ stories of how to escape, or help others to escape from, faulty or incomplete reality shows.

Do You Know Where You Live?

Inventions like GPS and Google Earth help us to know where we are. Settle for those, however, and you know only a partial answer to the question: Do you know where you live?

But first, a simple quiz.

1. What do you call this?

2. What do you call this?

If your answers were not sunrise or sunset, congratulations! You can probably skip to the end.* For the others:

Unlike those who flatly rejected what scientists Aristarchus of Samos, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Galileo Galilei had discovered, we’d probably all answer this question correctly:       Does the Sun circle the Earth each day?

We KNOW that it does not, but misleading “evidence” still prevents our integrating that knowledge. In spite of knowing better, most people think of themselves on a flat Earth with the Sun doing the traveling. Not too surprising, actually. That’s what it looks like.

Many of us can thank Brian Swimme for an experience that helps us FEEL ourselves part of a huge planet rotating a full rotation each 24 hours while also whirling around the Sun. In Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, pp. 26 – 30, Swimme suggests we try an experience in the evening. Since I can look east to Lake Michigan, it was easier for me to try it in the morning. Here’s what I did:

When the night sky began to lighten, I went to the beach and consciously rooted myself in the sand on which I sat. I gradually expanded that realization to my neighborhood, city, state, country, hemisphere, the entire planet; and inward to Earth’s atmosphere, crust, mantle, and core. How immense! By then it was not too challenging to imagine myself part of the whole.


As Swimme recommends in Hidden Heart, I found Venus which, he explains, is “65 million miles from the Sun, about a third closer than the Earth, which is 93 million miles from the Sun. [All the planets] are moving in a single plane around the Sun.” While numbers aren’t essential, do remember that Venus is one third closer to the Sun.


In addition to the importance of depth perception for this experiment, it is also important to envision how huge the Sun is — its volume is  approximately a million times the size of Earth.

Keeping those relationships in mind, I pictured the gigantic Sun NOT MOVING below the horizon. (It does move slightly, but not around us.) As the first sliver of the Sun appeared and slowly became larger, I FELT that I was tipping toward it. I FELT the urge to grab the ground. This was a very new — and disorienting — experience!

However, that’s not the only way we are moving. Brother Sun is powerfully whirling our Earth and the other planets around it by its gravitational power. If the Sun lost this pull, we would “sail off into deep space.” Wow!

In my experience, once FELT, never forgotten. Life goes on and I no longer lose my balance concentrating on this. But I am always deepening my consciousness of moving east, especially when I look at the lake. I always note where East is when I go someplace new because I need to know which way Earth and I are traveling in the bigger picture.

The Solar System, however, is not the last word about where we are. Our Solar System is a speck within the Milky Way Galaxy, which is but one of billions of galaxies in our universe. I think our consciousnesses need to evolve before we can comprehend the full extent of where we are — and how united we are on our precious planet. We can each contribute to that evolution!

Next time you look out at the stars — which, with a little imagination, we can do during the day — stop for a moment to consider the reality of where you really are! When I do, it challenges me to reject the dated concept of heaven as “above,” and to consider what Jesus meant when he spoke in Aramaic about heaven. According to visioncraft.org/aramaic/intro.htm, “D’bwashmaya conjures the images of light, sound, and vibration spreading out and pervading all. In essence, then, ‘heaven’ is conceived not so much as a place but as a dimension of reality that is present everywhere.” And that challenges me to deepen my conception of the divine – all because I know where I live!

* To date, we do not have universal terms to replace “sunrise” and “sunset” because too few live in the reality of where they are. Please share (in comments) updated language that works for you. Thanks!