Tag Archives: empowerment

The Deeper Call of the Election

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This presidential election season is clearly different than any in recent memory. Many feel frustrated, disillusioned, or perhaps even resigned with regard to the election.

However, as conscious beings, it behooves us to look beneath the appearances and to ask what is the higher calling that is beckoning us. Some insight can be gained from looking at the surprising popularity of candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, clearly not presidential material by past standards of electability.

Although very different candidates, the success of these two candidates stems from similar longings in the voters. The success of each represents a strong desire on the part of the electorate for significant change.

Whether we like either of these candidates or not, we can take solace in the symbolism that depicts a desire and willingness for change on the part of so many of our fellow citizens in the United States.

If we focus on this desire for change, and align with it, then we may find cause for hope and a place for us to take action.

What role can each of us take in casting a greater vision and joining with the many others who want change, and to harness that energy to bring about good in the world?

If we can turn away from what many see as the unseemliness of this election season, and instead see how the collective desire for change is an energy to join with, then we can let the politicians be politicians, while we ourselves put our energy into the important role that we are to play to bring about change.

In this time when people are so ready for change, what great ideas are we called to give birth and to invite others to join us in birthing?

This is a time that is ripe for new ideas, new ways of being and doing, and new paradigms. Will we waste our energy complaining about the politicians or will we take our rightful place? Will we worry about the politicians getting it right, or will we make sure that we each get it right, that we don’t miss the opportunity to bring forth what is ours to bring forth?

The invitation this day is to recognize that the timing is perfect for bringing forth your great idea and to focus your energy on inviting others to join you in creating newness. Let us bless the candidates for elected office, vote our conscience, and relish this auspicious time in human history.

Enjoy the journey.

Gregory Toole offers spiritual life coaching to individuals and groups who want to create and live extraordinary lives. For more information, go to gregorytoole.com.

Meeting the News of the Day

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How are we as conscious spiritual beings to meet the news of today, where events of the world can seem to compete daily for how extreme and outrageous they can be?

One strategy used by many spiritual seekers and practitioners is to avoid the news. This strategy has the advantage that it allows us to keep our attention on that which we choose and therefore to align with a vibration more conducive to creating the world of our choosing.

Whether we choose to avoid the news or not, we are not completely untouched by it. We are still touched by the collective vibration of all that is taking place in our world.

Many, including this author, have chosen to see everything that is taking place in the world as a prayer request or as an opportunity to steep even more in the vibration of love, oneness, and wholeness.

When we realize that all beings essentially want the same things – love, respect, and honor – then we can see the most outrageous behaviors as a deep cry for those wants. While this knowledge doesn’t excuse harmful actions, it does keep us from going into a sense of separation or hatred, and it takes us deeper into ourselves to expand our capacity for love and compassion.

It is easy to get caught up in effects, or appearances, and miss the deeper underlying meaning of what they are calling us to. In saying this, I don’t mean to minimize the appearances, because they are highly impactful and at times greatly harmful to many. But as Einstein, and many others after him, said, we can’t solve the problem at the level of the problem, or with the consciousness that created the problem.

We can’t stop bombing with more bombing, hatred with more hatred, or ruthlessness with more ruthlessness. Compassion and wisdom together form the basis of what we individually and collectively are called to cultivate in order to truly create a world where all feel loved, honored, and respected. When we truly feel whole, we act whole and are incapable of harmful acts.

What we see, in so many corners of life today, is an implicit demand: see me, accept me, respect me, honor me; and an apparent desperate desire to have that demand met.

The invitation today is to give what is so desperately being asked for: really see those you encounter, notice their pain as well as their longings. Find ways to communicate “I honor you, I respect you, I have compassion for you.” When reading of atrocities, offer the same in your heart to the victims and perpetrators in the situation, “I honor you, I respect you, I have compassion for you.” Surely it is challenging to do this with those we see as the perpetrators, but wisdom guides us to remember the underlying cause of so much that is taking place – a sense of separation and isolation from one’s fellow beings.

Yes, the invitation today is big, and I know we can do it, and I know it is what is needed if we are going to truly meet the news of today.

Enjoy the journey.

A New World Is in Motion

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Last month I attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah. This event brings together people from all the world’s religions to collaborate around common goals such as alleviating poverty, world peace, justice, and stewardship of the planet. The first Parliament was held in Chicago in 1893. The next occurred 100 years later, again in Chicago, in 1993; followed by Cape Town, South Africa in 1999; Barcelona, Spain in 2004; and Melbourne, Australia in 2009.

The Parliament last month in Salt Lake City is the first one I attended after hearing what a great experience people had in Melbourne in 2009. Now, I too can share what a great experience it was to be with nearly 10,000 representatives from the world’s religions, all in one room, sharing common values, clapping together, laughing together, and at times lamenting together. The feeling of oneness and togetherness was palpable in the general sessions where all were gathered as well as in the smaller breakout sessions where 100 to several hundred participants met.

The beauty of all this for me was really the vision and the mental equivalent that were forever impressed upon my psyche, that also entered deep into my physical being, and that inspired me to see in an expanded way what is possible for us as humanity. While people have often been divided by religion over the course of history, at the Parliament people from different religions were not only tolerating one another, but proactively engaging with one another to put forth strategies and plans for how we can work together on issues of common interest.

To share one example here: climate change was a prominent topic of discussion. The call to action was for people of faith to lift their voices in support of the planet, our Mother Earth. Our voices are so powerful. In what ways can each of us speak up and speak out, so that the interests of large business are not the only ones being heard and having influence? And what concrete actions can we take in support of the planet? In Salt Lake City itself, the interfaith community is acting to put solar panels on houses of worship with the goal of hundreds of houses of worship all using solar panels as a source of energy.

In my own life, I have largely become paperless. While I still seem to receive much paper in the mail, I myself hardly generate anything in paper form. Through the use of technology I am able to read news, books, and reports all electronically, rather than in paper form. I have “apps” that allow me to sign, deliver, and store contracts without ever printing them. Where possible I receive all communication electronically.

There are so many daily choices we each make that can have a powerful impact on taking care of our environment, from buying organic, which keeps poisonous pesticides out of our ecosystem (and our bodies), to driving automobiles that use less fossil fuels and have lower emissions, to educating ourselves about the environmental footprint of products we use and activities we engage in.

Recently I have learned how much of a drain on our water supply livestock agriculture can be and how, by comparison, plant-based agriculture, in general, uses far less water. As a vegetarian myself, that was welcome news. While not everyone may be called to become a vegetarian, this knowledge allows us to make conscious choices regarding how much meat and dairy we consume.

While I’m sure that each person is called to do his or her part in different ways, we all make a difference. We are the eyes, the hands, and the instruments of the Divine, powerful beyond measure. My teachers over the years have taught me that if I see a problem, then it is mine to address it. No so-called problem in our world is without a solution, if we all recognize that we each are the answer. We are the ones who can create heaven here on earth. My experience at the Parliament reminded me of the many, many people who are doing just that.

Thank you for the part you are playing!

Enjoy the journey.

See Marianne Williamson’s talk at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions in the video below.

Creating A World That Works for Everyone

earth looking planet render with thin atmosphere and shadow

by Gregory Toole

On the spiritual journey, we are frequently presented with paradox. Paradox occurs when two seemingly opposite statements are both true. One such paradox is that each person is divinely given everything they need, and each person plays an essential role in everyone else getting their needs met.

One reason we might be challenged with this paradox is our tendency sometimes to think of ourselves as separate entities, only theoretically or metaphorically connected to one another. Since we all navigate the world in what appear to be our own unique bodies, it is easy to think of ourselves as individual silos or islands, and to think of the spiritual teaching that offers us dominion over our lives to mean we have little or no responsibility for our fellow beings, or the opposite, that we have to take care of each person because they are less capable than we are.

We see the dysfunction of this belief in separation played out through the two major political parties in the United States. In general, Democrats vie for more social programs because of a belief that society has a role in meeting individual needs. Republicans vie for fewer social programs espousing the virtue of individual personal responsibility.

When we understand the paradox discussed here, we realize that both parties are arguing for the two different sides of the paradox. And since both sides of the paradox are true, it is a meaningless contention, with the real opportunity for dialogue being on how to balance resources between the two truths.

It calls us to remember that all of life is one divine whole. The very earth that we live on is but one planet in a galaxy of tens of billions of planets in a universe with tens of billions of galaxies, numbers that we can’t really even comprehend, except to know that all that we inhabit is but a speck in the universe.

Our bodies literally have trillions of cells all working together to allow one human body to function perfectly. And yet each living cell is also an entity unto itself, perfectly capable of fulfilling its purpose. We, as individuals on the planet, are like the cells in the body. We are all individual parts of one body called earth, each fulfilling our own purpose, and also playing an essential role in the functioning of the whole.

While the cells in our body, under normal conditions, do not vie with each other to meet their individual needs without regard to the other cells and the overall functioning of the body, we as humans often do that very thing.

Every person is divinely provided with everything they need, and we each are part of the meeting of everyone’s needs. We each are the hands, feet, and eyes of the divine. It is through each of us that the world works for everyone, or not. The whole is one of harmony and each individual is called to work in harmony with others for the benefit of the whole.

Each of us has great potential to create a world that works for everyone. This need not be a burden, but more an expansion of awareness. When we are aware of the essential role we play, it is all the little opportunities that make a difference.

There is the well-told story of two people walking along a beach where thousands of starfish have washed ashore and are drying out in the sun, ultimately destined to die. One person begins to pick them up one by one and throw them back into the ocean. The other person says, “What are you doing? There are thousands of starfish here. How can you possibly make a difference?” The first person, upon casting the next starfish into the ocean declares, “Made a difference for that one.” And that is each of us – we have great capacity to make this a world that works for everyone.

Thank you for the difference you are making, just one starfish at a time!

Enjoy the journey.