December, 2012


That fabled year — 2012 — is behind us, with just a few hours of it left, and now comes the real task.

The world was supposed to “end,” of course, on Dec. 21, but we notice that this did not happen. So now the question becomes, was the Mayan calendar indicating not the end of the world, but simply the end of an epoch, of a cycle? Of course it was. And the question now is: What happens Beyond Survival?

Will life be any different? Will anything change at all? Do we even want or need anything to change in the way we “do life” on this planet? I can’t imagine that humanity is satisfied with the way things are. Surely there must be a desire, deep within the largest number of us, to seek a newer world, as Robert Kennedy challenged and invited us to do. All of which leads us to the thought:

If we are going to make any kind of difference in our world in 2013 and beyond, we are going to have to do two things. (1) Enter the conversation about what needs to be accomplished and how to accomplish it; (2) Get about the business of creating change in the way we think, not in the things we do.

There also needs to be a mechanism in place that make both the Proposing and the Implementation of change possible — and that, importantly, frames change within the only context that can give it impact, and make it last.

That mechanism does exist. It is called Humanity’s Team. Its primary focus is spiritual, but in a practical way, with meaningful real-world application. And in days and weeks ahead, we will explore the opportunities that this global organization places before us for real and worthwhile action within an exciting context.

That context is the Spiritual Aspect of our earthly experience. Human history has shown (not surprisingly) that any decision or choice made from a place that does not include (to say nothing of being totally outside of) the Spiritual Aspect of our lives will be either not implementable or not sustainable.

In simple terms, if we don’t believe in it, we’re not going to do it. Belief is the bedrock of change. When we truly believe in something at the core of our being, embracing and implementing what we believe and turning into action becomes a fairly simple matter.

And if our belief — the things we hold to be sacred and true — is foundationed in spirituality (that is, a sense of who and what we are that transcends what is physically or visibly apparent), that belief holds the highest place in our internal value system, history has also shown.


So the question going into 2013 is: What is the state of humanity’s spirituality? Is the portion of our sense of who and what we are that transcends physicality alive and healthy, vibrant, awake, and aware? Or is it dormant, inert, quiescent, barely alive within us?

Those of us who believe that Who We Are is more than simply a body, more than merely a chemical biological being, have much work to do if we wish to lay the groundwork for the building of a New Human in the days and weeks, months and years ahead. This is a first of a continuing series of articles on that subject. We invite you to join in commenting, or even writing a Guest Column of your own, as we march into 2013.

The question again: Where is humanity with its spirituality? We have we been, where are we now, and where do we wish to go in our future?

Is this an idle inquiry? We don’t think so. We think that it deserves humanity’s highest attention. We think it should be part of The Conversation of the Century.

Part Two: Joy to the World (and We Mean It)

Within the holiday season, it becomes very, very easy to be focused on everything but being happy. Much of the time and energy spent this time of the year is fixated on guilt about spending too little or too much, worry about future parties and plans, and relief only when the busyness season has come and gone. The only change we seem to want, is a change of pace. But is that all we really want?

When we look to change our world, we first need to change our basic ideas about the holidays, and in turn, life and time itself. As noted in Conversations With God For Teens, the Three Way Path includes the extraordinary choice to Spread Joy. No matter how busy the moment, how rushed the event, we can easily find joy in it, and let it be known to the world. Regardless of what faith, culture, religion, or traditions that have been adopted, we can enJOY the holidays. By simply being happy, during Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, and every holiday in between, we can be joyful – and be merry.

In the classic movie, Miracle on 34th Street, we are reminded that “Christmas isn’t just a day…it’s a state of mind”. I will go along further and say that the holidays are a state of being – one that we CHOOSE to embody and embellish.  We choose to embody joy, and so we choose to live in a state of blissful euphoria. By living in this state of joy, we live in the highest state of ourselves. As we become the pure manifestation of unconditional happiness, we love everything – and everyone – for who they are and what they choose to be. So why save it for only ourselves?

Just as in Frank Capra’s motion picture It’s A Wonderful Life, sometimes we forget how often and how deeply we affect the lives of everyone around us. When we spread joy, the energy of the feeling ebbs and flows through the incredibly intricate patterns of our relationships. As we send out this feeling, it is received warmly by our friends, our family, and the universe itself. Whether we confirm our experiences with laws of physics or the ways of karma, we know that what we put into the world will be what we receive, and what the world will receive. When we share our giving and receiving, joy becomes a never-ending cycle, with no beginning and no end, that only circulates in the upmost elation of life itself. Sounds like a great gift for any generation.  

In the remainder of the holidays, 2012 will come to pass. We are all set to make our New Year’s resolutions, and this year we will truly decide to change our world, and change ourselves. So for 2013, I will spread joy – I will be the grandest version of the greatest vision I ever held about how happy I truly am. And if we ALL spread that message, it will bring joy to every teen, across the nation and across the globe. In the new year and the new season, spread joy – because it’s contagious!   

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at

Pope Benedict XVI said, no, we are not in his annual Christmas message to the world, one of his most important speeches of the year, where he once again proclaimed that same-sex marriage is destroying “the essence of humanity.”

“People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being,” he said at the Vatican. “They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.”

He further went on to say, “When freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God.”

Could it be, as Pope Benedict suggests, that life truly is a shallow existence of “what you get is what you get”?

What would the Pope tell a child born a hermaphrodite, a condition in which someone is born with both female and male sex organs – a body given to him by God, by the way? Too bad? You deserve no one? Or perhaps the contrary: “Lucky you, you can have a relationship with whoever you want”?

And what about the Pope himself who has been “defined” by God as a male, given a penis, and yet chooses not to fall in line with that “identity” and chooses not to express romantic love to a female and chooses not to enter into intimate relationships? According to his own definition, is he not “denying” his own “nature” that God intended for him to share in intimacy with a woman and to reproduce? Is he not participating in his own freedom and creativity in an effort to self-define who he is and what he believes about why he is here?

Aren’t we ALL doing that very same thing?

Why are we being told to feel bound to our physicality when it comes to S-E-X, but celebrated when we demonstrate our capacity for greatness beyond our bodies in other ways?

My friend, Mark, whose body is partially paralyzed and riddled with unrelenting pain – again, the body given to him by God — climbed 108 floors of the Sears Tower in Chicago…and plans to do it again this year. I imagine it would be quite difficult to find anyone who would say Mark has “stripped himself of his dignity” by creating a new definition of himself that expanded far beyond his physicality.

But again, I get it. We are talking about the unspeakable, the shameful, the only-talked-about-in-a-whisper topic of S-E-X.

However, the Pope’s declaration of “Gay marriage, like abortion and euthanasia, is a threat to world peace” appears to be falling upon deaf ears as the Constitutional Court in largely Roman Catholic Spain upheld the law legalizing gay marriage last month, the British government announced it will introduce a bill next year legalizing gay marriage, and in France, President Francois Hollande has said he would enact his “Marriage for Everyone” plan within a year of taking office last May.

These are the visionaries, the writers of our New Cultural Story, the mold-shatterers and rule-breakers who do not believe in a God that makes mistakes. They are not buying into the twisted idea that God would create something so extraordinary and then make it wrong.

What these New Cultural Story global authors do believe in is Love. They do not believe same-sex marriage is destroying the essence of humanity, but rather that it IS the essence of humanity. They believe that love transcends everything and is denied to no one, that Love that has no rules and is certainly not reserved for only a select few to be experienced in a select way, and that the biggest continuing threat to world peace is not found, as Pope Benedict suggested, within the loving union of a same-sex partnership, but rather in a belief system that embraces and promotes a vengeful and judgmental God.

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

Living a conscious life is interesting!  Because you are more aware of life as it unfolds, you get the opportunity to really know yourself, your life partner, your children and the other family members around you.  It can also be a little bit of a contradiction of terms because while you notice more about your surroundings and the actions of others, you may, at the same time, choose not to react to those things in the typical fashion.  For instance, you may consciously decide to take fewer things personally, let the more trivial things go (like toothpaste dripped on the counter, laundry that doesn’t make it into the hamper, and coats that do not make it onto the hook), and work harder to find the positives in difficult situations.  In other words, if you are living in the moment, you may make New Day’s Resolutions every day, so New Year’s Resolutions might seem silly to you.  Instead, let’s talk about making New Day’s Resolutions.

How can this be applied to parenting? In the past few years, I began a silent, private practice. I re-resolve every morning to be grateful; to be patient, kind and loving to the people I encounter, especially to my husband and child. I re-commit myself every morning to be consistent with Who I Really Am.  I wonder if helping your child to feel these gifts of yourself, and to develop the ability to roll with the changes of life, may be the biggest gifts you can give.

Would you like a small example of this in action?  The next time you are about to walk out the door and your child spills the proverbial glass of milk, you can respond with a smile and say, “Oh, sweetie, I know you must really feel sorry that you spilled it, and I am sorry that you did as well, but you know we don’t get upset about spills in this house.  We just clean them up, together!  Now let’s get to work so we can get on our way!”  Not only will you illustrate compassion and respect, but sharing the clean-up responsibility helps your children know that you are always there for them, even when the day is rough.  These types of gentle interactions can be applied in any situation, at any time, if only you take a moment and breathe before you speak.  Think before you react.

Teaching your children to treat others in the same way will help them remember Who They Really Are.  Adopting a morning practice of introspection and setting your individual intentions for the day may be beneficial.  At first you may want to do it as a family, taking a moment in the morning as you wake up together.  You can talk about what each of you wish to commit to for that day, whether it is treating others with love or respect or gratitude…eventually your children may wish to do their own practice.  Whether you continue together or on your own, I think you will find daily “New Day’s Resolutions” to be much more effective, and more long-lasting, than any New Year’s Resolution.

Wishing you peace, love and joy in the coming year!

(Emily A. Filmore is the Creative Co-Director of She is also the author/illustrator of the “With My Child” Series of books about bonding with your child through everyday activities.  Her books are available at To contact Emily, please email her at

Some of our most significant breakthroughs and remembrances in life are experienced in the midst of those less-warm and less-fuzzy moments we find ourselves presented with. I’m sure most of us could come up with a time or two in our life when the light of hope and love pierced through walls of darkness.

Laura Jean Pringle’s collection of unique and spiritually edgy poems in “Meanderings of a Wayward Spirit: Lyrics in the Rough” takes you on a twist-and-turn, up-and-down journey through some of life’s most colorful and sometimes challenging occurrences, offering a fresh and “color outside the lines” perspective from the author’s own life experiences.

Laura’s poetry paints with a brush dipped in her own personal truth how it feels to stretch and bend around the curves and hairpin turns in our Soul Journey and how exhilarating and cleansing it can feel to express authentically through confusion and frustration, how to push through the illusion of fear and experience that love is at the root of everything.

And that is the theme and message carried through the pages of her heartfelt and raw sharings, which happens to also be the underlying message held within the New Spirituality:

Love is all there is.

Laura Jean Pringle’s poetry book “Meanderings of a Wayward Spirit:  Lyrics in the Rough” can be purchased here on

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

(If there is a book, movie, music CD, etc. that you would like to recommend to our worldwide audience, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Please label the topic: “Review”)

This year Christmas did not arrive for me wrapped up in pretty packages with shiny bows, I did not feel the essence of Christmas by getting that front-row parking space at the mall on the busiest shopping day of the year, and I did not experience Christmas by savoring all the extraordinary food and festivities that plentifully show up this time of year.

I experienced Christmas in the airport.

As we joyfully awaited the arrival of my son’s plane near the gate, I noticed the people gathered around:  little children in their pajamas, parents poised with video cameras, families hugging, laughing, crying, some people sleeping on the floor, men with flowers, women with gifts, all anticipating the return of someone special.

The realization was palpable.

You could see Christmas.

You could hear Christmas.

You could smell Christmas.

You could FEEL Christmas.

But it had nothing to do with trinkets or doo-dads, shopping malls or Christmas sweaters, cookies or egg nog, churches or Santa Claus.

It had everything to do with our relationship with each other.

Christmas serves as a reminder of our presence in each other’s lives.  And on this particular day, in the wee hours of the morning, I experienced the significance of being in that Holy Space, witnessing and feeling the significance of who we are to each other.  And while I was especially tuned in to the long-awaited reunion with my beloved son, I became keenly aware of the larger picture, that this night was an opportunity to experience unity with all those gathered together; that what I became a part of  was no coincidence, but rather an invitation to carry forward what I was experiencing beyond the walls of the international airport, out into the world, and into the lives of others.

And not only to carry this experience forward simply through Christmas Day, but to extend the appreciation of and gratitude for who we are in relation to each other in every moment of my life…even in the moments when we must physically part once again with a loved one.  In two weeks, when I find myself at the international airport again, but this time to say goodbye, I will enter the space with those gathered around with intention and compassion, knowing that we are all in that Holy Space not only with each other, but for each other…and that we are ALL each other’s loved one.

And I will once again discover Christmas in the airport.

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation.  She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

My advice on this Christmas Day is this:

Be kind to yourself. Let this kindness be the basis from which you experience this day.

I say this because Christmas is such a difficult day for so many…but it doesn’t have to forever be the day that childhood and youthful buttons get pushed. Create a new “button”. Create the button of understanding. Even if an action or deed from the past, done by you or by another, was anything but welcome or kind, work on thinking about it from a different space.

That space would be understanding.  From the space of understanding it may be easier to see the hurt child hiding behind the hurtful behavior.  From that space we might be able to understand that “they know not what they do.”  And from that space you may also be able to begin to understand yourself…and  show yourself kindness.

Who knows what miracles can happen if we move, as a global community, into the space of understanding…perhaps, just perhaps, we would be able to move into what the birth of the child, Jesus, is supposed to symbolize…Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men (and women).


A few years ago I shared the following message at the annual Christmas Eve service that the Conversations with God Foundation has presented in Ashland, Oregon for the past 12 years…

I couldn’t sleep last night. I was up from 2 until 6, having another one of my Conversations with God.

“Tell me about Christmas,” I said. “What is it really all about?” And I heard, “What do you mean, what is it really all about? I’ve told you a million times what it’s all about.” So I said, “Tell me again. I think I may have missed it.”

And suddenly my head was filled with a Christmas Carol – one of the happiest and most triumphant of all the melodies of Christmas. “Joy to the world,” the song began, “the Lord has come.” But I couldn’t get into it. I kept wondering, what is joyful about the coming of someone who is going to be a lord over us?

God! I said…I don’t understand this! And God replied, “You’re right. You don’t.”

Then God said, “But at least you’re asking a question. And that’s good. It’s really hard to understand something if you think there are no more questions to ask. You can’t be given an answer if you think you already have the only answer there is.”

“Well, I don’t have the answer,” I admitted. “So what’s the answer?” And God said, “The answer is that the Lord….who has come….is not a lord over you, but in you.”

These words came to me at 2:57 this morning, and I pondered them in my heart.

“Then,” I ventured, “the Christmas season is not just a remembering of the birth of a Babe. This is also a celebration of the birth of the Christed one in all of us.”

And God answered softly, “yes.”

And then I wondered what all the songs, and all the messages, and all the feelings of Christmas would mean if I accepted this truth. If I really understood that the message of this season is not about one blesséd being, but about all beings, being blesséd.

Not about someone else, but about us. About me. But oh my gosh, did that sound bad. I mean, it actually sounded like blasphemy. How could Christmas be about me? Of all the self-centered, ego-maniacal thoughts! This is about the coming of the Lord! This is about the Gift of the Magi!

But, my heart insisted, what if the gift was me? And what if the Lord HAS come to be in me, not over me?

I know that I can find a place for him over me, but can I find a place for him within me?

And what would it mean for me to do that? What would it mean for me to be not only a person who has been blessed, but a person who is blesséd? And for me to think of you in the same way? What if I saw you as blesséd? Would I act differently toward you?

I’d like to think I would. I’d like to think that I would be more kind to you. More gentle with my words, more caring with my actions, more compassionate in my thoughts, more honest in my dealings, more patient and generous and…and more aware of the wonder of you.

And if I thought that I was a blesséd person, would I act differently toward me?

I think I would. I think I’d be more kind to myself. More gentle with my words, more caring with my actions. I think I’d be more compassionate with myself, more patient and generous and…and more aware of the wonder of ME.

But is it possible that we are all blesséd?

This I asked in the middle of the night, and the answer came back, stunningly, simply: “Yes.”

Soooo, I mused… this is the meaning of Christmas. That… that which is Christed is born in all of us. Lives in all of us. Is all of us. We simply do not remember this. And so, Christmas was created to remind us.

Christmas, it turns out, is not about a particular religion, but about all religions. It is not about a particular person, but about all persons. It does not matter whether you are Christian or Muslim, Hindu or Jew, Baptist or Buddhist. Or none of the above.

When you give birth to the lord within you, you give life to a wonder and a majesty and a wisdom and a love that can flow from you to all the world, and change the world forever.

Isn’t this the Christmas Story?

And when we live this story as our story, are our lives not renewed, with our separated selves made whole?

Indeed. Our souls are stirred, our hearts are filled. And then it is we who bring…joy to the world.

The gift of Christmas is us, fully expressed and fully realized. It is us — completely willing and totally ready — to love without condition, to give without restriction, to share without limitation, to create without fear, to celebrate ourselves without shame or embarrassment.

It is us, choosing to forgive without hesitation, to help without being asked, to rush in where angels fear to tread. Indeed, to lead the way for angels.

Ah, to lead the way for angels. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’ve come to the Earth. To be a herald!

Hark! The herald, angels sing. Glory to the newborn king.

At this moment we can give birth to the royalty within us…the royalty that we are in God’s eyes.

You know, someone once said…if you saw you as God sees you, you would smile a lot. Well, this moment, this Christmas Moment, is a time for smiles. For in this moment, if we really try, we can almost see ourselves as God see us. We can feel it.

You can feel it right now, in your heart. That feeling is called love. Your love for life, and all those you love in this life. And God’s love for you.

The Magic of Christmas is that it gives us permission to take that feeling, to take that love, and share it with all those whose lives we touch.

With friend, and with stranger. With those who agree with us, and with those who disagree. With those who look and act like us, and with those who do not.

We are invited in this moment to feel this love, and to give it permanent place within our heart. To be the source of peace on Earth, and goodwill toward men and women everywhere.

We are invited in this moment to walk the Earth not only as one who is blessed, but as one who is blesséd. Not only as the Lord of the manner, but in the manner of the Lord. For that is what we are. We are the lord of our inner kingdom, and thus, of the outer one as well. And when we understand that, everything changes. We begin to experience the world, and to affect the world, in a new way.

That is the Christmas invitation. We are invited to begin that experience in this moment. On this, and on every, silent night. And if we do, we will make every one of them a holy night. And we will begin to create a world in which all is calm. All is bright.

Joy to the world! The Lord has come. Let Earth receive her King. Let every heart…prepare him room. And heaven, and nature, sing!


Merry Christmas, everyone. Happy, happy holidays!

There is more love around.  I can feel it.  Or is there more love in myself?

Love and joy have no upper limit. You can carry only a certain amount of hatred, sadness and grief inside you, because at some point they will all change into love. This will happen either during this life or the next one. Universal love is infinite freedom. It is freedom to choose and to learn from one’s own choices.

You are never alone. You are always accompanied by love which manifests itself in different energies and forms of life. What you feel and perceive is different from what reality is. Your feelings and perceptions are but partial truths. The more you manifest love, the more you will feel and perceive yourself to be part of a whole, which is a good deal greater than the world you are living in.

There is much more love in the world than what is usually thought. People would be able to live in a much greater love for themselves, each other, nature and the whole planet if the distorted structures in our societies all over the world did not limit and suppress the expression of love.

Someone says that we are living in a loveless world. I say that we are living in abundant love. It is a different thing than whether we are able to discover and recognize the abundant love in ourselves. We are living in a world of illusions. The value system around us may rather be more destructive than loving. We are being sold self-esteem without love. Our yearning for love is appealed through our self-esteem.

Commercials and advertisements make us feel unhappy unless we acquire this and that. Those that we call  charity organizations may say, ”Buy yourself a good feeling, donate for charity.”  Love has been turned into merchandise. Yet love is free of cost. We can show love and radiate love around us all the time, and totally free of charge. If you saw the impact of love energies, you would understand their power. The spirit is stronger than matter.

Joy is free.

Joy is love.

Joy is in your attitude.

The more you feed joy and love, the more you will be them. This must happen unselfishly, without compulsion or artificiality. The world is full of pretension, smiles and promises which are not real. The world is also full of honesty, smiles and being which are real. You must recognize them in you and in others. You must recognize yourself. Do you know yourself?  Many think that they recognize themselves, their expectations and needs although they only recognize the needs and expectations that the environment has
created for them.

Can you distinguish real love from market values? You can if you only want to. Can you distinguish between desire and love? For love is much more of the attitude “how I love” rather than “how I am loved.”  The need to be loved has prevailed for too long over expression of real love in humanity. All kinds of means for being loved have been and are being used.  People do things, buy products, and choose attitudes in order to be loved.

In the course of history many distorted attitudes have become generally accepted laws and patterns of behavior. The world is so full of these norms restricting love and freedom, rites and attitudes that an individual who expresses love may seem as unfit for the society…because love and freedom are one.

When we express love, we are free. There is no wrong in love. Real freedom is absolute love. The notion of freedom as well as that of love is distorted in our world. There are attempts to buy and attain both of them in ways that are nothing but delusion when compared with real love and freedom. In the most extreme case, nations think that they can buy freedom by reinforcing their armed forces. In doing so, are they imagining that they are buying love, too? For freedom is love. Freedom attained through life-destroying methods is dependency and fear. Fear is a challenge for reaching real love. Love has no fear. How could love have fear because love is eternal, infinite power and wisdom? Infinite love, infinite wisdom, and infinite power are in you. So why would you be afraid?

Fear is not in you. It is in the societal, social and economic structures. Fear is energy which maintains these structures. These structures are so distorted that they are sustained by life-destroying energies. They are antiquated energies which are having their death struggle, when at the same time life-constructing energies of love are manifesting themselves ever more widely.

(Timo Teide is an artist, author, and spiritual guide who lives in Finland.  He has had dozens of art exhibitions and he has done meditative music and books about love. The healing power of art and the multidimensional impact of colors, forms and sounds are the most important elements of his art. Visit: Contact Timo:


This is the last in a 4-part series of commentaries on the Connecticut events, and the larger implications of them.

In Part III of this series, I called upon all of us to join together in launching what I have called a Civil Rights Movement for the Soul as an antidote to the slow poisoning of human society that has created the environment within which something as horrific as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School could take place.

As I have observed in the past, I believe we make a mistake if we view the Connecticut event as only and just the tragic playing out of the twisted thoughts of an unstable mind. It is that, for sure, but it is not only that.

Many people seem to limit it to that. One comment entered by a reader of my blog on this topic at Huffington Post appeared to be typical of this group: “Wow! Talk about a writer being out of touch with reality. I can answer his question as to how the Newtown Massacre happened. A woman who had a mentally ill son that was obviously also out of touch with reality had weapons in her house that never should have been there.”

But it is not — it just is not — as simple as that. That is the outcome, but more than one input produced that outcome.

I believe the event at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as all the gun violence (and, for that matter, all the violence of any kind committed in this world) is the outgrowth of a society in which there has come to be an inordinate and consistent focus on, and portrayal of, Violence as Solution. This portrayal is seen in all the ways that we tell stories about our species to our species; in the myriad ways that we tell each other about each other.

I know that many are beating this drum now, but I am not opposed to getting on a bandwagon simply because others are on it.  So I will agree with many others who say: it is true that everything from movies to television programs to pictured story books unfortunately called “comic” books (although there is nothing comical about them) to electronic video products for children regrettably called “games” (although killing others should never be thought of as a game) tell our culture about our culture in such a dramatic way that it cannot help but create more of that culture.

We did not tell stories around our campfires in the earliest days of our existence simply as a means of entertainment. We told stories around the campfire as a means of informing ourselves about ourselves. Stories have a larger impact than passing time. They pass the baton to a new generation. To suggest that they have nothing to do with any of this is disingenuous at best.

The complete desensitizing of human minds  — stable minds and unstable minds alike — produced by the unending onslaught of vivid, ugly, bloody, gory violence everywhere we look cannot help but produce a society in which the playing out of those storylines in minds that are not stable leads to the acting out of those stories in real life.

And that, as much as the instability of one person’s mind, is what produces, ever more frequently, events of unimaginably tragic consequence such as the Sandy Hook shooting. Especially when one has easy access to assault weapons designed for rapid-fire killing.

Now what I am going to say next may feel like a bit of a stretch, but follow me here for just a bit and see if in the end you can agree with me. I begin with a question.

How do you think it has come to pass that we have found our way to a place where we find depictions of overt violence perfectly okay?

I believe it is because we have equated Violence In The Name Of Justice with Righteousness under Moral Law.

Movie audiences cheer when the Good Guys (the ones who have “Right” on their side) end the lives of the Bad Guys in the most graphic, revolting, violent ways. Video game players pump their fists in self-congratulations when the Good Guys (the ones who have “Right” on their side) blow the Bad Guys to pieces, literally — their body parts exploding all over the screen. Television viewers give higher and higher ratings to programs in which shooting and killing by the Good Guys (the ones who have “Right” on their side) bring an end to the lives of the Bad Guys in the most horrific ways.

What is it within our culture that allows us to cheer violence — to actually crave it in the name of “justice” —  as we do, for instance, in countries (America perhaps most rampant among them) that continue to tolerate the Death Penalty?

I believe these are all the behaviors that might be expected from a species that has been raised to believe that indescribable, horrific, and painful punishment is entirely appropriate as a response to what has been judged to be “bad.” Especially when this idea comes to us from the most authoritative source of which our human society has conceived: God.

From the time of our youth we have been told of a God who judges, condemns, and punishes in the most gruesome, ghastly ways as payback for (or, if you wish a more gracious label, as the consequence of) the deeds of humans that God determines to be unacceptable.

The Bible — to cite just one powerful cultural source of this Gory Story — tells us of over one million people who have been killed at the hand or the command of God. (You can take out a calculator and do the counting. It’s right there in black and white.) And if that isn’t evidence enough, notice that we have heard, over and over again: “Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord.”

This is the God in whom we believe.

And even those who do not believe in this God at all live in a society in which the vast majority of people do — and have created a social milieu in which justifiable violence is reflected in both the entertainment industry and the justice system, to say nothing of international politics.

It is this deeply engrained Cultural Story about God from which emerges our idea that violence is fine when it is used as payback on behalf of that which is Good. This is what has led us to a Content Code for our motion pictures in which depictions of graphic violence are totally and completely acceptable — while depictions of, say,  passionate or romantic sexual love are not.

(Humans do not, you see, imagine or think of God as romantic and passionately sexual, but we do imagine and think of God as punishing and violently vengeful. Therefore, in our culture, publicly making war is more acceptable than publicly making love.)

Small wonder, then, that unstable minds use violence of a means by which the perceived injustices in their own lives are paid back through vengeance.

I believe that the next evolutionary edge for Earth’s people is the creation and the embracing of what I have called a Civil Rights Movement for the Soul, freeing humanity at last from the oppression of its belief in a violent, vengeful, and vindictive God.

Humanity’s Team has created just such a movement. It focuses on the same thing that Martin Luther King Jr. sought to produce for blacks, that Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan sought to produce for women, and that Harvey Milk sought to produce for gays. In a word: freedom. Freedom from the impulse to use violence as our means of punishing what we perceive to be evil, even as we cite God as our moral authority for doing so.

The Civil Rights Movement for the Soul specifically invites members of all religious, spiritual, political, economic, and cultural groups to join together, to dialogue together, to explore together, and to examine together, with sincerity and honesty, the question: Are our present beliefs about God and about Life working? Are they producing the outcomes for which we have yearned — and for which they were intended?

Some of the activities we can pursue as part of the Civil Rights Movement for the Soul…

1. Engage all levels of media — including Internet media and websites, as well as brick-and-mortar media…newspapers, magazines, television and radio programs and networks…and, of course, today’s pervasive social media (Facebook, My Space, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) — in platforming the driving message of The Civil Rights Movement for the Soul…which is that humanity now needs to be freed at last from the oppression of its belief in a violent, vengeful and vindictive God, and from its slavery to a dogma of separation from Divinity and punishment by Divinity that has divided the world for thousands of years.

One idea is that we form a Special Project Team to be engaged in writing articles, news stories, press releases, and interviews and sending them to all media, challenging humanity to release our species from a global doctrine that creates separation and competition, and replace it with an ethos of unity and compassion.

2. I would like, further, to encourage people all over the world to form Spiritual Discussion Groups, on-the-ground as well as on the Internet, inviting close examination in every community of the beliefs we have been holding about God, about Life, and about Each Other, and to honestly ask ourselves, “Have our beliefs been working? Are they producing the results for which we have yearned?”

3. I would invite local HT groups to join in spiritual activism at the local level in other ways as well, in addition to regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings discussing and sharing the New Spirituality. These other ways could include sending Letters to the Editor of local and regional publications, posting the Five Steps to Peace (mentioned in Part I of this 4-part series of commentaries) on community bulletin boards, natural food co-op boards, new age bookstore notice boards, etc. throughout their region, all on a given day (Oneness Day?) around the world….so, suddenly, the Five Steps to Peace “show up” everywhere, simultaneously!

4. Local Humanity’s Team Speakers Bureaus could be established, making persons available to give short talks before Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Lion’s Clubs, Exchange Clubs, etc. throughout the year (these clubs generally meet once a week and are always looking for speakers and topics to fill their calendar), as well as longer Thursday Night Lectures offered within the community, on the topic A Civil Rights Movement for the Soul.

5. Bumper stickers could be made and distributed, saying:

6. The Spiritual Activist Project of Humanity’s Team could send members every Saturday to local shopping centers, flea markets, sidewalk shows and galleries, etc. to hand out booklets titled: Humanity’s Team and the Civil Rights Movement for the Soul The booklets would alert people to the amazing opportunity now within the grasp of all of us to recreate ourselves anew in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever we held about Who We Are. It would talk about the Five Fallacies About God and the Five Fallacies About Life that stop us from doing that (also highlighted in Part I of this series of commentaries), and it would then list the Five Steps to Peace and invite people to embrace them — and to join and support Humanity’s Team in its work.

There is much more that could be done as well, as the project team gets rolling and moves deeper into the year, leading up to Oneness Day 2013. These are just some beginning thoughts and some opening ideas.

If you have an interest in joining the project team, simply write to me and tell me what you are moved to offer in terms of assistance. My address for this project is:

All of this is part of what I hope will be a constructive, healing response to the event in Newtown, Connecticut — and to violence all of the world. I send you all at this very special time of year my personal wishes for a special holiday season.

Love and blessings…Neale.