The Eternal Plan of Love and Light
the Work of the United Nations
Thursday, May 18, 2000, 3-6:00 p.m.
Plenary Meeting-Sharing of Work Accomplished in Small Group Discussions
We started with really identifying fear as being the root cause of so much of what we see in the world or at the UN. The cult of the individual was mentioned as stemming directly out of that fear and that we do not recognize ourselves in our true divinity because of all of the constructs with which we surround ourselves. For example, lack of seeing in ourselves the goodness that we see in others, that we imagine around us; the goodness that we imagine in our faith traditions, whatever that might be, we truly don't accept that as our own. The need to reconcile a deep respect for every soul on the planet with the awareness that we truly have caused great pain and suffering for ourselves. There seem to be a great number of contradictions, paradoxes. So many of us have heard very respected speakers say that everything's perfect and yet at the level of the human heart, it truly hurts. The issue seems to be to move ourselves into the depth of that paradox and to live from that space.
So it brings us to the next question: "How does this impact the work of the United Nations? We spoke of the fear of the cold war permeating the United Nations and permeating it still unto this day. We see the international work as being the 'us' and the 'them'; a conflict between camps. A fear that if one side gets too much, my side might lose. It's "win-lose", rather than seeing what already exists-this perfection that I just mentioned-the universality, the unity within and among the human race. We need to stay within our intention-our intention to bring goodness, the light of the divinity, which I know, into the work that I do, which our groupings do. Staying in this intention so that we're less inclined to criticize. There seems to be a great deal of criticism-trying to fix the other person, the other side, the other camp-whoever that might be. And at the same time, or perhaps because of a reluctance to criticize, that I or my group might remain very mindful of what it is that we rightly bring, of what we hear within our guidance as we discern and allow ourselves to be open to what the spirit might bring.
And in terms of pledges, we went all over the place. There was a feeling of deep despair, resentment for being an American at this time when America as an entity within the world seems to work totally against the spiritual qualities that I think most of us in the room would adhere to. But at the same time we recognized that the root of real compassion is to understand that whatever I see out there exists within my self, within my own mind, heart and soul. True humility also extends from that same understanding. I think we did uniformly agree that that kind of understanding is something we would each work for and that would lead to modeling the genuine about myself, about my group, in all interactions within the UN (since we're talking about the UN) though this extends beyond that. And, we would work to being very open to what's genuine in someone else or some other group. Finally, a pledge to expand my consciousness about being the world myself, to reflect and receive guidance for right action and then to know from that what an ongoing and increasing pledge might be from day to day, moment to moment. A pledge was made to think of myself as a nation and to understand the UN in very familiar terms from my heart outward.
We decided to have three different people address the three questions and I'm addressing number one, which was pretty completely already answered by the first presenter, with one exception. And, that is that one of the things that keeps us from expressing our souls is the planetary human focus on the sentimental plane and the suggestion that perhaps our focus has to now be raised from the emotional plane to the mental.
Number two: How do we go from thinking about what inhibits our own spirituality to understanding what inhibits a lot of the good action in the UN? And we recognize, of course, that the UN is just a composite, as we are a composite. But the fallacy of this composite might be that every nation is charged to represent its particular people in its particular region and probably chosen because of the deafness-the capacity to represent only the people of that region. And we were playing with the idea of what if the charge were that the representatives really have a global perspective? The charge being that although they are representative of all the cultural glory and iconography of a particular region, that they are in fact just a representative, as the branches of the tree, of the whole. And the people in the group got excited by this idea that would require a shifting, a reframing, of the UN. But perhaps it could be done in smaller ways; just this constant emphasis of people representing what is good for the whole of humanity and not what is good, particularly, for a nation state. And that would of course bring up all. And we were saying that democracy itself is a representational construct and we have to really then move into what many of us have been studying and working with- the ideas of partnership and the ideas of collaboration and of win-win. When we can move beyond the concept of representational into collaborational, we'll probably be able to really work for the benefit of the whole. And one of our members said "with the idea of the earth as that fragile system floating within the vast universe. If we hold that in our hearts-the greens and the blues and the browns, and the fragility of it-it's not difficult to really experience ourselves as global citizens".
In the third question, it was brought up that all of these spiritual values are set out for us in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and in these basic documents, such as the charter, etc. that were the originating sources of the United Nations. And it's up to the leaders of these NGO organizations and groups to just remind the people of this. For example, this is one of the reasons why the roundtable group that is sponsoring this meeting came about. Another point, another suggestion was that we can all do something. We can do it from a distance. We don't have to be a member of a group specifically or anything like that. We can follow the UN projects and programs that we're interested in and think about things and meditate on them. We can think through solutions to the problems we consider. One member of the group is going to bring this idea to her meditation group so that they can follow the UN's projects and send light, love and energy to the UN. Then the third is this six point Manifesto 2000-the brochures are back on the table-UNESCO is already implementing it, and they're trying to get signatures on this by the time of the meeting in September.
[COMMENT: May I add one more thing to what was just said-and that is the need, perhaps, for this very group to have a focused, intentional effort to dialogue at meetings such as this, with UN [staff] people. And we have an entree. Very important because otherwise nothing will ever happen.
Fear came up as a reason for not being able to express and actualize the highest good that we know, as it did in the first group, as well. We also talked about the fact that so many of us are conditioned from the time we're little to believe a certain set of principles and to act in a certain way. We are so highly conditioned to act and think in a particular way so that when we move into society we very much seek to preserve the status quo and not rock the boat. Therefore so much of what is on the inner plane doesn't get expressed because there is no opportunity for it to come out; it's not invited; it's not invoked. Thus, there's a tendency on the parts of many of us to stay behind our wall and to keep our inner life within ourselves. It takes great courage to break through and to be able to speak a truth that is in us that we think might not be understood, might be resisted or rejected by the people that we're talking to. Being courageous enough to take that risk gives others the opportunity to provide feedback. It provides an opportunity to others to express their own inner spiritual life, to reverberate their own truth. But unless we have the courage to be the first to say what it is that is in our hearts, then the status quo will continue to and we'll never know about the lost possibilities and the lost opportunities. Our understanding of goodness will always stay closed within us and within others.
In terms of Number 2, "How does this impact the work of the UN?" well we looked at this in two ways. First we looked at it in terms of the good that does get expressed and how that is changing the United Nations. It was brought up that 1900 or so NGOs, I don't know the exact figure, but many, many NGOs are now affiliated with the UN and this is a new phenomenon. And although it still feels like the UN is closed to civil society, there are changes taking place, witness the involvement of civil society in all of the United Nations' global conferences of the '90s. But more of this needs to happen. It was brought out that if we don't speak our truth then the status quo continues and the UN will keep on acting according to its power groupings and according to its self interest. So it's very important that as we understand or as we get in touch with the highest good, that we bring this spiritual understanding into the dialogue at the United Nations.
Third [question], the concept was put forth of beginning a wave or a movement called "Pilgrims for the United Nations". Wally came up with this idea and we thought that if people could really get behind this idea, that it would give such a large panorama of possible activities that anybody could be involved in. If, for example, you are interested in furthering the cause of spirituality, you would emphasize the spiritual aspects of the work of the UN. If you're interested in eliminating poverty, then you would work in that arena. The word 'pilgrim' is a very inclusive term and could accommodate a wide range of interests. A group of people also pledged to participate in monthly meditation meetings in support of the work of the United Nations.
- It was suggested that we make a pledge, as a pilgrim of the UN, and that perhaps some people would want to do that aloud within the group -- or personally -- but to really take that seriously.
- Another idea that came up in our group is the importance of thought power-and someone else, in one of the other groups also said that. Wherever you are, in your home, in your business, or wherever, you can use your mental energy, your thought power, to bring good energies to bear on the work of the UN. You don't have to be in the building itself. As you think good supportive thoughts for it, so that helps to create a pool of love and light on the mental plane which can then be drawn upon by those working within the United Nations. These energies will create a positive mental environment that can then help those who are seeking solutions to the many global problems they consider.
- The URI (United Religions Initiative) is forming a charter and they're going to have a celebration. A ceremony, and a discussion, I believe, about a charter to parallel the UN's charter, on June 26th and everybody is invited to participate. It's going to be convened around the world and also there'll be an activity here at the UN. So keep that in mind. And what came up for our group, again, is that it's not which group does what, but who we are collectively. This is what we intrinsically believe. We work with each other, for each other, for the good of the whole, and in that way act a as role model for the UN.
Our discussion was so rich that I cannot tell you all of the details. Regarding the first question, the consensus is that people have fear, have separateness; even between people and organizations. People are overwhelmed; people have possessiveness, problem of language, so that people do not understand each other very well. And from misunderstanding [arises] the problem of living in harmony. And the same thing for the organizations. Each organization has a fear for its' own existence so they try to exist and that's why we have the separativeness between organizations. And it's this problem experienced by individuals and organizations that prevents people to live in harmony.
Regarding the second question, we had a little confusion about the question but after some discussion we came up with some problem about education in people and children. And somehow there is lack of education about values, about spirituality. And one of our sisters had done a program of education, called living values and this program is applied in the public schools in New York. It teaches values in the elementary school so that children would understand what love is, what values are, what's the duty and responsibility of people toward humanity, towards people.
Regarding the third question, the entire group agreed that it is because of fear, because of separativeness, because of misunderstanding. We need to organize the discussion in community. We have really good dialogue between religions in New York organized by the UN, by the UN Association. But we need to bring the UN to the local area because after the discussion, after everybody leaves the meeting room, the same thing happens. Exclusivity. People still say 'my organization is the best'. So there's still separation between people and between organizations. One of the sisters, according to the very good lecture of Dr. Wally, says that she needs to have a picture of the world and she would like to contribute to have a picture of the world so that people would understand what we are, who we are, and help each other to live in this universe. And the other sister saying that she's doing story telling and she tells stories in the schools, in small groups, bringing spirituality and values to communities. And so her organization also funds the religious dialogues, which is really beneficial to humanity. And we need to have more and more discussion between people, between religions, between organizations, so that people would understand each other more. And any organization needs to have physical help like the financial, in order to organize well the sessions. And the other picture says what we should do is give service to the world. Service is to do what we need to do. To come back to the world picture; the world picture is really difficult to say because according to different culture we have different world picture. And one of the members said that the common world picture is justice and love. Justice is to do unto others what you want others to do unto you. Don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. If you observe this principle of justice we wouldn't have any problem and we would have peace on earth. And the second principle is love each other because we are sisters and brothers of the same father, God. And I think that's essentially what we discussed.
I'm wondering if we could reconcile a polarity that I heard: that we should change the United Nations. I'm wondering if we could look at ourselves as part of the UN; as part of "We the Peoples". Perhaps if we could look at ourselves that way then .........
I understand what you're saying and thank you very much for saying that. Yes, it is important to think in terms of "What can I do? "What can I change?"
My question has to do with what comes up in these groups-and everybody here has been really wonderful, but what ideas do you have and what ideas do other people have about infusing these values, these ways of thinking, in a more pervasive way into the UN itself? In other words, not just staying as a small group, which just sort of feels good and is wonderful, but to actively take what's in the small group out into the UN?
As you were speaking I was reminded of the effect of a small pebble that you drop into a pool of water. But before addressing that point, I want to say that when we come together this way I think, at least for me, it strengthens my resolve to continue along my spiritual path. And so although we are speaking amongst ourselves, in a way, because we all believe strongly in the power of spirituality and the purpose of spirituality within the UN, but even so, when we meet this way, I think it inspires us and strengthens us in our individual work. And returning to the imagery of the small pebble that gets dropped into the pool, it does have a ripple effect that reaches beyond the immediate circumference. Related to this, I'm remembering that one of the people in our group was talking about how important it is to bring these ideas into our respective groups and our individual communities as a way to strengthen this work. I would like to emphasize how important it is that we stay very alert to opportunities to share our point of view with others in whatever setting we are in. Let us be courageous and willing to share our truth, our vision; let us continue to drop the pebble into the pool, sort-to-speak. Perhaps others of you have other suggestions.
One of the participants mentioned the shift from the emotional to the mental plane. I wanted to go back to what I thought was one of the founding principles of the UN and that is, alleviating poverty. One of the main sources of conflict in the world is poverty and one of the missions of the UN is somehow to minimize the level of poverty. So my question, in particular to that participant is how do you approach this idea of shifting from the emotional to the mental when you're dealing with massive poverty in the world?
- It's an individual responsibility because-my experience is that it results through meditation so that we develop the individual entity and, as was said, share that horizontally with humanity. But I don't think it has to do with focusing on any particular planetary problem because it's a personal endeavor. If each person endeavors to shift-it won't happen on a mass scale. If each person endeavors-my experience is through meditation; maybe someone else has another way-toward raising the consciousness bit by bit, that will affect humanity and the way things happen. It has to be ultimately a global effort. It doesn't have anything directly to do with poverty.
- Our response is definitely an emotional response of horror and anguish. Absolutely. But then if you just leave it at that, you leave it at just suffering along with the people that you see suffering, that does not provide a solution. Taken to the next plane, when you take it to the plane of the mind, you set yourself a task and you say, "What am I going to do about this horror that I see in front of me?" And then it becomes a mental activity because it takes that kind of persistence, that insistence, that power, mental activity to alleviate what causes the suffering to which you initially responded to on an emotional level.
But poverty's not an illusion.
- It is definitely not an illusion. Absolutely. But in order for us to alleviate poverty, we have to bring in the mental principle, the mind principle, in order to figure out a plan to alleviate it. Feeling badly about the situation in and of itself will not resolve the situation.
- That is really difficult-to think about peace and meditation when you are dying of hunger. You don't have enough food to eat or when you are suffering of disease, the one thing we can do in order that we have peace in mind, is to promote peace in the physical body because everybody has a physical body and suffers from the needs of the physical body. So we can organize different charitable projects in your local area, in your community, with the participation of different religions, organizations, individuals, so that working for compassion ... to help people to fight against the physical problem -- love here is so important.
Wally, from my understanding you're the only 'insider' in this room and it's really inspirational to hear you speak of the principles and clearly they're in your heart. But as an insider-here we all are talking about the UN and how we would like to see the UN function in the world, fulfill a larger vision of itself, etc. I'm curious for you, being on the inside of the system, dealing with people who are working inside of that system, what kinds of transformations are you observing, within the system towards these kinds of values or a feeling of being able to embody, or a feeling of optimism that the system can transform into addressing those values more effectively?
I think the transformations are real. They may not be dramatic but the process is engaged. I just said that ten years ago, fifteen years ago, you couldn't think of a spiritual summit for the United Nations. You wouldn't even dare put that on the agenda. You'd be laughed out of any meeting room. [Now] that is taking place. I think the conferences have had also a lot to do with it; these remarkable global conversations that the UN initiated and led which saw the participation and the contribution and ideas from sources other than the inside sources. Witness what happened in Beijing and that whole dimension that came [in the focus] on women; rich women, poor women; across national territory; and building a program of action of a global kind so that half of humanity will contribute better-particularly my part of humanity, the developing world in Africa-in economic development, in political activity, in social action which was not a traditional area. There is in many, many other dimensions, this window, this opportunity now. Civil society is no longer a bad phrase in the UN. I believe that if we're condemned-as I hope we will not be-to a purely status view of the human future, we all are going to lose and lose very badly. So that the whole idea of getting civil society to anchor thinking not like a state [but] thinking on the basis of collaboration, on the basis of sharing and human solidarity. It's a new ethos. There are many people, whether they articulate it or not, who really think of the globe as a world system, not as spheres of influence. The world is just too complex. We're running headlong into a very complicated future. And when you think of it in terms of the nature system and a world system, the entire world is part of the world system; it's not separate from it. Therefore the world is meant to be shared. All the resources of the world are part of the world system. And I am now given to asking this question which is very uncomfortable even for me to ask, let alone for people to respond to: Who owns the earth? This thinking is breaking in to the consciousness of our human family and [it] responds directly to the issue of poverty. Who owns the earth? It's a fearful question. It's a very oppressive question. It's a difficult question to ponder. But unless we engage those difficult thoughts-and I see evidence of that in the UN-we may not use the vocabulary exactly, the same wording, but the question of making the 21st Century work is also directly the question of who owns the earth. And as individuals, as groups, as communities, as nations and governments, we will be forced to answer that question as we move further into the human journey. I believe that the UN today is a different UN and it's a better UN because civil society is coming in and making a contribution in spirit and in ideas, and bringing tremendous intellectual capital and bringing tremendous spiritual capital. These difficult questions have to do with that. We shouldn't rest on our laurels. There's great work to be done.