After Connecticut:
We need an ‘unquenchable yearning’

I feel that I would like to spend some time discussing Conversations with God within the context of the sad events in Newtown, Connecticut. Everything that I feel the impulse to share with you will cover a great deal of ground, and so, with your permission, I will place this material in several entries here, across a number of days.

Before getting into, in the days ahead, what CWG has to say about these kinds of events in our world, I want to share with you today some of the views of my friend Rabbi Michael Lerner. Michael, in his just-released newsletter, feels that we definitely need much more restrictive gun control laws in our world — but he says that will never be sufficient to put an end to the kinds of horrible things we witnessed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.

We will never see that kind of behavior disappear, Michael says, unless our entire global society undergoes “a fundamental transformation of consciousness.” I agree with him completely. And what could create such a shift of consciousness?

“We must create a track of education in every school and every grade level that teaches non-violence — both as a philosophy of life and as a practical way to live one’s life,” Michael says. Again, I could not agree more.

And just what would that look like? Well, says Michael, it would include non-violent communication, and it would teach children and teenagers and college students about…

A. How to value and care for everyone else on the planet  including their parents, teachers, neighbors, friends, and future lovers or partners

B. How to deal with depression, anger, feelings of alienation, powerlessness, stress, and isolation.

C. How to give support to those who are not functioning or are psychologically or spiritually impaired and how to find the correct help for people who need professional help

D. How to recognize and appreciate all the beauty and miraculous wonder of life itself, of the universe, and of human beings

E. How to appreciate and protect the planet from all those forces that are inadvertently destroying it

F. How to end poverty and share the resources of this planet with everyone equally in a planet-sustaining way

G. How to develop one’s own capacities as a spiritual, ethical, aesthetically and emotionally developed, mature and loving human being

We are working right now to create just such a curriculum at The School for the New Spirituality, with its CWG for Parents and its CWG for Kids programs (see www.cwgforparents.com)

But why can’t we get these kinds of common sense programs into our regular schools? Why does it require the creation of special educational programs such as the one mentioned above? Should not all schools everywhere be teaching this stuff?

Well, as Rabbi Lerner says, “The Conservatives are right (in saying) that human beings and not just guns are the problem, but then they never develop or support an educational system that will teach people the skills we all need.”

And, he says, “Liberals fear introducing ‘values’ into public education for fear that they’d be the ‘wrong’ values.”

Well, the rabbi goes on, “It’s time to stop that.” He declares that the moment has arrived for us to “fight for a values-oriented education, based on the values of love, caring, kindness, generosity, and protection of the earth.”

This is exactly what Conversations with God-Book 2 said 12 years ago when it called for an entirely new kind of education program, in which we teach our children concepts, not merely facts about our world. Concepts such as fairness, kindness, equality, and our oneness with all of life, and with God.

As Michael Lerner says: “Until that happens, Conservatives will always have a good case for devaluing public education, and for saying that only religion teaches values…and liberals will prove their case by not creating an educational system that teaches any value other than “making it” — or, in polite Obama talk, an ‘education that prepares our children to compete effectively in the global marketplace’ (which de facto means, learning how to advance oneself at the expense of everyone else, so that ‘you can be number one and make America number one’).”

The outspoken rabbi adds: “Well, guess what helps make you or others number one: violence and power over others. And that message gets reinforced over and over and over again by television shows about crime and the police, about wars and violence, but also by the society valuing and rewarding soldiers who go off to kill innocent people in foreign wars to protect imperial interests.

“So, it takes a whole society to create pathological killers out of human beings who are not born that way, and it will take a societal effort — plus individual efforts — to get these pathological messages out of our consciousness and replace them with loving and caring messages and worldviews.”

Rabbi Lerner concludes: “But we can do it, and that is precisely what our Network of Spiritual Progressives is all about (read our Spiritual Covenant with America at www.spiritualprogressives.org). Without this kind of change of consciousness, step one (banning guns) will be ineffective, and possibly dangerous.”

At the end of his newsletter Michael included a prayer from Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Congregation Beth Israel, North Adams, Mass. One line of this prayer, in particular, struck me…

“We are Your hands: put us to work.
Ignite in us the unquenchable yearning
to reshape our world.”

What a wonderful combination of words, Rachel…

“The unquenchable yearning to reshape our world.”

Yes.

Yes, yes, and yes again. Ignite that in us, Dear God.

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  • mewabe

    After WW2, did we develop an “unquenchable yearning” to end all wars? It anything should have caused us to establish global peace forever, that war was the one.

    Not until every single human being on the planet is profoundly and radically affected by change, whether in a radically positive and creative or radically negative and destructive way, will humanity be shaken from its delusion.

    Rationality, common sense do not seem to do the trick, humanity is in too deep of a trance caused by its false beliefs and perceptions, and too comfortable in its rut, even the rut of chronic but familiar suffering.

  • mewabe

    My above statement does not mean that I believe we should do nothing and wait for a miracle or for total destruction.

    I totally agree with all that you wrote Neale, and with the Spiritual Progressive agenda…and support it.

    Even when it seems hopeless, we must go on as if and with love and appreciation and trust in our hearts…and the unexpected could happen.

    Sadness for humanity and for all of the creation in their present conditions is also an expression of love.

  • Buzz

    XL feels dejected about once again being suppressed against comments in his nature, and I am keenly hoping for more answers to the comments made in Question Of The Week, that seem so much more relevant now than when I wrote them, mere minutes ago. Phoenix has something to say though.

    As you all know by now, these 3 people are all me, with a split personality. The fractured thinking and switching perspectives has forced me to diverge the various aspects of myself, to allow open self-expression of all 5 stages of grief. Suppressing XL here seems in concert with the way larger society suppresses people with his personality traits, and I sense he is not welcome. By not permitting such anger, pain, anxiety, and sadness, I cannot help him heal.

    What should I do? He won’t stop bugging me to ask you, as he has become enraged by these events, and is furious I won’t let him out of his cage as a bull in a china shop. People are fragile now, highly susceptible to taking offence, and he will almost certainly harm others here. I hate to see him caged though.

    Are we there yet?

  • Phoenix

    (The Global Conversation invites and values the contributions of anyone who feels moved to express thoughts and opinions, share observations, and engage in meaningful dialogue on our website. If you feel you need to do so anonymously, we respect that. However, posting under multiple user names in an effort to mislead others about who is doing the posting undermines the authenticity of our relationship with each other on this site, and inhibits a mutually beneficial exchange. The editing department of this newspaper will therefore promptly remove all posts that are designed to intentionally misinform or deceive whenever they are discovered. If you observe such deception, please inform us with a note to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com)

  • Your XL ansy sah

    (The Global Conversation invites and values the contributions of anyone who feels moved to express thoughts and opinions, share observations, and engage in meaningful dialogue on our website. If you feel you need to do so anonymously, we respect that. However, posting under multiple user names in an effort to mislead others about who is doing the posting undermines the authenticity of our relationship with each other on this site, and inhibits a mutually beneficial exchange. The editing department of this newspaper will therefore promptly remove all posts that are designed to intentionally misinform or deceive whenever they are discovered. If you observe such deception, please inform us with a note to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com)

  • Buzz

    Sorry bout that. Clever boy managed to break out of his cage. I’m reinforcing now, new locks, the works.

  • Marko

    Neale, I really liked this, great stuff!

    Magically & compassionately,
    -Marko

  • Lloyd

    The Rabbi is correct, education is beneficial to all of us. Communication about teaching humanity how to express themselves in a constructive manner is a great beginning. Communication isn’t a one way street, it is the action and intention of a speaker and a listener with respect for each other, and where the roles switch so all parties feel connected. A speaker without a listener is lost, a waste of ones energy, and a listener without a speaker becomes isolated and alone. What is the balance or the glue that allows communication to become effective? Could it be Love for one another, respect for one another, a desire to understand one another, all of the above and more?

    For a long time now it has been time for each of us to take responsibility for our own education of Ourselves. Many of us think our public school system can cure our issues, but without our involvement and input it is shown this is the illusion of our society. Without knowing our own heart/mind connection with Creator, many individuals are lost in indecision and confusion about what they “feel” over so many issues in their lives. This leads individuals to seek outside direction, ie authority figures, societial norms/biases, peer pressure, etc. that may or may not reflect what the individual feels within themselves. So our society continues to ramble down the road in confusion, and the individual is still seeking their own connection with their spark of Creator/Source Energy.

    Communication is about openly sharing our confusion with each other, while admitting everyone has a right to make their own choice about how to express their connection to their Source Energy. Respect for our connection to Source is giving others the right to express their connection in a none harmful manner. Respect for Self requires us to accept that no one will experience existence the same, that my reality isn’t your reality, but we co-exist in a none harmful exchange of ideas and actions.

    As mewabe has stated in other post, existence with an open heart, a truly open heart is not afraid to allow and accept others just as they are. I use the term unconditional Love to express the same concept, mutual respect leads to meaningful communication. There is no right or wrong way just different ways and there is no competition to be better understood or more aware or empathic, because each individual has their value and worthiness. Communication allows us to feel closer to each other, to see Ourselves within each other, accept each other and know different isn’t harmful to our Selves or our society. Every one has the ability to give value to existence, and if we learn to listen with an open heart and mind there is no limit to what we can accomplish together in existence.

    So be responsible for becoming a good communicator. Listen with Love to others, speak kindness when dealing with others, and control of our emotions does not mean not accepting the fact they exist within us. Emotions are just tools and controling their use is like controling guns in our society. Emotions are constructive when used with a benefical intent or destructive when allowed to become unrestrained. Each individual is the creator of their own anger, fear, love, acceptance, and responsibility for their emotions and how they are used within communication. As we find our connection with Source Energy within Ourselves, we see it more within our world, society, the ALL. Namaste’
    Butch

  • Loral Orow

    While I agree with the thought that we should develop programs in school to reinforce values, I resent that it is said Conservatives prevent that. Conservatives beg for values, ethics, principles to be taught to our children. If a God-Concept tells you it’s about Christianity or any other religion, that’s also incorrect. I am a Conservative and not involved in any religion. I am spiritually aware – and that is what I would like all children to be. To be taught that all living creations feel pain, fear, and the need to love & be loved.

    By calling yourselves ‘spiritual progressive’ you effectively push away millions of people who do not consider the ‘progressive’ politics to be spiritual in any way. Even the word “Forward” — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism, does nothing to encourage interest in a political concept.

    In fact, our political parties should be scrapped and started over with people who are not in it for their own benefit, but as it began – to build a strong, decent and free people.

  • Mamta

    I agree. We need to learn the lesson this tragedy is helping the society to learn so that this pattern does not keep repeating.

  • Cat

    I find that as I read the word “non-violent” something in me takes notice. It is a pushing against violence. When we push against something, it is then forced to push back. For me, I think the better way will be to shift my perspective to Love and Peace, and how best to communicate that.

  • Marti

    We must stop defining ourselves by race and owning and taking responsibility for our oneness as the human race.
    It will not matter what gun laws are put into place, if we do nothing to change the consciousness of our culture. Unconscious people will always find a way to have a gun, if that is their answer.
    Love is the answer and if a person cannot receive love, for whatever the reason, these incidents will continue to occur.
    The time is now. We have the power to alter the environment with our prayers and intention of altering the energy of the whole of Life.

  • Michael Killpartrick

    I agree totally with everything said here, i agree totally with ‘Conversation with God’ with John Lennon and now the controversial Michael Jackson, Love is the only answer.
    Yes teach how to find that, keep that constantly, come from a place of love in every decision, teach it’s definitions it’d nuances, it is little understood in todays world, so how can we expect it to be taught, the jouney has only just be”gun”.

    Love to all Michael Killpartrick, CWG.

    Say hi on ‘Face book’ if you’d like, should you choose : ) Take care.

  • Patty

    I don’t care what the Conservatives or the Liberals are doing because they do not control ‘me’, only I do. My politics are a part of my human persona. They have nothing to do with my spirit.

    It starts with “ME”. So I can sit here and send out waves of love, compassion and understanding, but as was stated above: until the WORLD does, as a whole, nothing will get better. However, I also know that I cannot control the ‘world as a whole’. This is what is so frustrating. We are similar to dogs chasing our tails.

    I do not fear death, for I know, that when I die, I am going home. But the thought of anyone, children or adults facing what these people in these mass murders feel brings me to my knees. And the pain that the assailants must go through to bring them to this point? Whether or not they have psychological issues, they are tortured as well.

    My answer: It starts with me, in my home, then to my neighbors, community, state, country, world.

    I pray for us all.
    Thank you for allowing me to ramble.