The Spiritual Work of the United Nations and the Liberation of Humanity
Saturday, 12 July 2003
"Freedom From Want and the Spiritual Workers of the World"
As students of the Ageless Wisdom we know that the contribution we can uniquely make in helping to solve the problems on our planet is in our ability to embrace and energize ideas; it is in the creative use of our meditative thought power and in our ability to become aligned and to then embody and radiate the energies of the higher realms of consciousness out into our planetary environment.
Within this context, I think there are three ideas that uniquely inform our work of helping to bring about Freedom From Want for all the world's people.
The first has to do with the fact that we are moving into the Age of Aquarius whose keynote of "Water of Life Am I Poured Forth for Thirsty Men" is one of freedom and abundance.
The second has to do with the principle of sharing which is related to the principle of responsibility.
And, the third has to do with the fact that this Aquarian Age will see an intermingling, an electrical connection between spirit and matter to such a degree as to eventually change our perception and understanding of both polarities. This third idea is also related to the first because the "water of life" permeates all there is.
I will return to these three transformative and actually revolutionary ideas in a minute, but first I want to briefly describe where we are with regard to freedom from want. An important psychological precept states that seeing reality clearly and accepting what is, is the first step in moving forward and bringing solution to any problem at hand.
So, I would like to spend a few minutes looking at the global landscape from the vantage point of Freedom from Want which, of course, has to do with having enough to eat, having adequate shelter, having adequate access to education, clean water, health care, and gainful employment.
The Worldwatch Institute tells us that
Some 1.2 billion people worldwide struggle to survive on $1 a day or less.
1.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and
2.9 billion—almost ½ of the world's population, have inadequate access to sanitation.
At least 150 million people are unemployed and 900 million are "underemployed", contending with inadequate incomes despite long hours of backbreaking work.
The Human Development Report 2003 that was just released a few days ago on July 8th further rounds out the picture by informing us that:
Globally, one child out of five does not complete even primary school.
More than 14 million children lost one or both parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in 2001 and the number of AIDS orphans is expected to double by 2010.
Nearly 800 million people suffer from chronic hunger.
Half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth each year—one every minute of every day.
This report also reveals what it refers to as a development crisis because it tells us that 21 countries suffered socio-economic reversals in the 1990s as compared to only four countries in the 1980s—an indication that the crisis is deepening.
Although these facts can overwhelm us to the point of despondency and hopelessness, I would encourage the recognition that it is a great success story that we even have the networks in place and the institutional organizations that take responsibility for collecting such data.
For example, it was only recently, in 1990, that the UN Human Development Program began producing the Human Development Report—a landmark publication because it began to yearly measure a country's wealth—not by its gross national or domestic product—but by a human development index which, for the first time, began taking into account the quality of life connected to a country's wealth. The human development index includes such factors as health, education and the role of people in development. According to this index, for example, within the rich countries, Sweden comes in at the top of the list, while the US. finishes last. Even though Sweden has a lower per capita income than the U.S., in Sweden more adults are functionally literate and fewer are living in poverty.
To my mind, the fact that we collect such global data is actually a heartening testament to the increasing recognition of the brotherhood of the one humanity. Through this data, we are made aware and take account of what is happening to all in our human family, thus, moving closer to that first basic step of identification with the whole.
In psychology, it is recognized that changing behavior involves a three-pronged effort that includes awareness, understanding and finally, action. And, it is recognized that awareness of the problem is already 50% of the solution.
Global public opinion is beginning to demonstrate an awareness and understanding that the above facts represent such inequities, such injustices, deprivation, tragedy and suffering for so many in our human family, that they create problems for everyone on the planet. Finally, global public opinion is recognizing that the chasm between the quality of life suffered by those in need and the quality of life experienced by those who luxuriate in ostentatious wealth, can and does lead to social instability, unrest, chaos and terrorism.
Responding to this fact, in December 1995, the General Assembly proclaimed the First ever United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty from 1997 until 2006. The theme for the Decade as a whole was stated to be, "Eradicating poverty is an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of humanity."
Also at the UN-sponsored Millennium Summit in September 2000 as well as at various succeeding global conferences and summits, the world community has agreed that the issues of poverty and development are of overriding importance for the great majority of the world's people.
This growing awareness and understanding was well articulated this path month when, addressing the Economic G8 Summit in Evian, France, the Brazilian President Lula da Silva referred to the bold measures needed to end deprivation for so many of the world's poor. He stated, "I am convinced that there will not be economic development without social sustainability and that, without both, we will live in a world that is less secure each day. [For] it is in the space of social inequality that resentments, criminality, and especially, narco-trafficking and terrorism, prosper."
In response to the tragedy of 9-11, Michael Renner and Dick Bell of the Worldwatch Institute offered similar thoughts. They wrote an article focusing on the need for a new Marshall Plan as the means through which to advance human security and control terrorism. As they said, "we don't really need to spend another dime on 'intelligence' to recognize the conditions that leave whole countries in a state of despair and misery."
These authors suggest that the US and the other industrial nations should launch a global "Marshall Plan" to provide everyone on earth with a decent standard of living and then proceed to recount how providing universal access to a number of basic social services in all developing countries would cost a fraction of the $780 billion each year that is spent on the military by all nations. They make the point with which we agree, weapons alone cannot buy us a lasting peace in a world of extreme inequality, injustice, and deprivation for billions of our fellow human beings.
In the Millennium Report, Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasizes the fact that the UN was intended to introduce new principles into international relations, making a qualitative difference to their day-to-day conduct. The Charter's very first Article defines how the UN is to devise cooperative solutions to economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems. Its avowed purpose is to transform relations among states and the methods by which the world's affairs are managed. Ultimately, as he says, "the UN exists for, and must serve, the needs and hopes of people everywhere."
As we are well aware, for various reasons—all of them reducible to the prevalence of the darker and weaker aspects of human nature—the UN has been unable to fulfill many of its core missions.
At a meeting of the World Economic Forum this past June 23rd, Mr. Kofi Annan shared his vision for our current time. He declared the world to be at a crossroads between a return to the horrors of the first half of the twentieth century or the burgeoning hopes of the second. Mr. Annan called on the international community to rise to the challenge of his vision of a new century blessed with a caring humanity, cooperation and free and fair markets. In his words,
"I see human beings caring for each other, and states sharing responsibility for the safety and welfare of all people, wherever they may live....I see all peoples working together to care for their common home, the earth, ensuring that its riches are preserved for future generations. And I see decisions that affect the global interest being taken in global institutions, starting with the United Nations. All members will respect each other's views, and strive honestly to reach agreement."
This is where I think our work can be deeply significant and pivotal. Ideas carry energy. It has been said that ideas rule the world. Are we aware of this truth in the use of our thoughtpower and in our work with the ideas that are seeking to enter public consciousness? Can we do better?
In the book, Signs of Agni Yoga, Master Morya tells us that "We—the Masters of the Wisdom—often were fatigued over the conditions of humanity, but We did not regret even one evolutionary thought. These thoughts flourish like an enchanted chemical garden; and as magically invisible are the workers in this garden. Only know how to ponder over the Common Good and We will always be with you." He ends this passage with a legend, saying, "Let us look at the stars. We were told that the vessel of Wisdom was poured from out of Tushita, and the drops of the miraculous draught became aglow in space. But the Teacher said, 'Thus glow the tips of the arrows of thought, because thought pierces the radiant substance and creates worlds.'" (122)
In the book, Brotherhood, he points out "right now you can observe how nations have identical obtrusive ideas." He goes on to say that "The more identical the thoughts in space, the more powerfully can vortices of energy be formed." (370)
As we seek to work with and embody the previously mentioned ideas, so we saturate them with our energies; helping to anchor them; so we become co-creators in the Plan of Evolution, bringing them into the ethers where they can become part of that raincloud of knowable things from which other minds draw their inspiration.
It is a fact that the keynote of the Aquarian Age, "Water of Life Am I Poured Forth for Thirsty Men" is a promise that as we seek, so shall we find. It is a promise leading to the recognition of freedom, abundance and infinity; it is a keynote pointing towards the open path, away from limits, away from death and towards resurrection and immortality, away from the darkness of despair and towards the joy of light. It is a promise that spirit and matter can become more closely integrated—in consciousness.
With regard to the principle of sharing and responsibility, having become aware of the oneness of the Soul and recognizing its presence in all of humanity, how can we keep from a part of ourselves that which is needed? If the foot is ailing, does not the rest of the body stop to pay attention, to give nurture and healing?
May we do all we can to help humanity realize that suffering is not accidental and that all violence—personal as well as national, retards our discovery of an improved life in greater freedom. May we do all we can to help turn humanity away from the destruction of the planet, urging instead cooperation in the discovery of the interconnected personal and Common Good.
Click here to view current discussion and to share your ideas and your comments.
 "A New Marshall Plan? Advancing Human Security and Controlling Terrorism" by Dick Bell and Micahel Renner, Worldwatch Institute, Tuesday, 09 October 2001 (http://www.worldwatch.org)
 Human Development Report 2003, United Nations Development Programme, on-line at www.undp.org/hdr2003.
 "Hunger Cannot Wait" June 2, 2003 in Narc News, a Translated talk given by Brazilian President Lula da Silva's Speech at the G-8 Summit in Evian, France.
 See, Op. Cit., "A New Marshall Plan."
 "In New Century, World at Crossroads Between Horrors and Hopes of Past," An address by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, June 23, 2003 at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. Circulated via e-mail by the UN News Centre.
 Agni Yoga Society. See, on-line, www.agniyoga.org.