Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, July 9, 2022 - An Act of Encouragement

Those of you who have read my column on a regular basis will know that I have a somewhat unique viewpoint in this time of conflict and division. As tragic as life has become, and not forgetting the suffering it’s caused, I see our present set of global crises as the natural consequences of the gradual, but tremendous social progress humanity has made over the past several hundred years. Contrary to many, I do not see them as indicators of the deterioration of human civilization. I see it all as a logical moment in the Great Human Reckoning. Something from which to derive hope.

It makes perfect sense that we are where we are. Two vast human stories are unfolding concurrently with one another. Each are on their own independent learning curve, but greatly inform the actions and responses of the other. They are: the refining of the use of free will, and our inherent awareness of the value of human life. 

Of course, there are many ways to term those two concepts. You also might call it a learning curve of capitalism versus the inner pull of our divine spark. 

These two worlds, Money and Soul, in a literal battle of light and dark, create the push-pull dynamic engine that makes our human classroom function as it does. If there is a God, might not this tempestuous, but potentially fruitful, dynamic be by design? Is there benevolence here?

The question becomes, which side is winning? Each is duking it out within our human forms, aspects of both greed and love, both fear and trust, both Earth and Heaven. We spiritual beings are having a darkly human experience at the moment. And we are betting on the soul to win this one. 

So what’s a minister‘s job in this moment? Dispensing encouragement. 

In a general sense, dispensing encouragement is the equivalent of “spreading the good news" which all those of the priestly class should be not just speaking but actively demonstrating. The good news I want to identify in particular is hiding in plain sight. We’re just so afraid of the state of things, and rightfully so, that we forget to notice it, or its implications.

So now I will do my ministerial job to say this: There is so much good to be found. So much human progress, all right in the public record. Billions of people are constantly working together to solve the world's problems. It’s having an effect. That is the work of the soul. And it hasn’t given up for a second. 

Simultaneously, it is the work of money that invents institutions like slavery, for instance, and does its best to subvert social change that would live up to the higher ideals of the soul. Solely because it is not in their best fiscal interest to do so. 

But the good news is that the soul is and always has been winning. One need only take a step far enough back to see how the world has changed over the past several centuries with regard to the value of human life and thriving, against all odds.

Take note of the increasing number of movements throughout our history that have resulted in sweeping changes to the very fabric of human society in favor of the equalization of all people. We should not forget just how far we’ve come when we look ahead to the struggles yet looming before us. We should be remembering it as fuel to steady us onward. Take the wins and keep fighting. 

All the while money was and is doing its best to keep things as they were. To keep the caste system in place. To keep making their disproportionate amount of profit. 

But progress happens anyway. Against the tide of all power and money constantly reinvesting its gold in the right to unrestrictedly dig for more, we have continued to gain our rights one by one. Even when we sometimes lose them for a time it only makes us appreciate and demand them back better and stronger. 

Oppression creates pressure. Enormous resources must be put into building and maintaining a dam against a rising tide. Freedom is like water. The relationship between the two has only one inevitable outcome. Water always wins. 

Take heart. All shall be well because the hard part has already happened. We have already woken up. All of humanity now realizes we deserve to be safe, happy, free, and thriving. All of humanity knows it deserves a voice. It’s just a matter of time now before we finish refining the system to the point where that is actually our lived experience. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it destroyed in one. The systems of oppression that threaten us have already seen this coming. They’ve been building up their arsenals in preparation for this conflict for a very long time. 

Strengthen your heart with encouragement to keep loving, keep working together, keep inventing, keep ferreting out injustice. Help support those who become the victims of the shifting tides of human progress. Help the refugees and the immigrants. Help the poor. Raise people up. 

Help reeducate those whose industries become obsolete. They are afraid of their way of life disappearing because it is. Progress has its victims as old systems fall. We have to remember to be compassionate toward them as they sometimes violently resist change. Eventually, their swords will become plowshares. But someone still has to teach them to farm.

All shall be well. The more we love one another, the more we will get through this. The more we recognize just how far we’ve come, the more courage it gives us to keep on going. We’ve been doing so well, especially this past century, that we’ve taken progress for granted. That’s a very good sign. Don’t let them convince you progress is a bad idea. Your soul isn’t buying it anyway. 

Keep up the good work.

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