I recently received an email in which the correspondent observed that, in the assisted care facility where he is living, the devoutly Christian senior citizens around him are clinging more and more tightly to prayer as their days pass. This is hardly surprising. In any situation where we face difficult change—whether by warfare, decaying morality, disease, natural disaster, or any among an array of possible physical and psychological challenges, including death itself—we human beings naturally default to our accustomed beliefs and practices. We instinctively reach outside ourselves and pray for assistance.
Prayer is usually a petition to a higher power—on behalf of either ourselves or others—asking for a change in circumstance or expressing thanks for what we already have so we might continue to enjoy it. This is true even when it comes to prayer for peace. By implication, we are asking that the warring parties suddenly come to their senses and find it in their hearts to sit down and work out their differences. This assumes, of course, that we have the moral high ground and know what’s best for all concerned. In essence, we feel quite justified asking God to change the script to suit our personal vision.
This seems to characterize much of the metaphysical community’s thinking. Geographically and genetically removed from the fray, we hold hands, light candles, and send out thoughts of love to calm the turbulent seas engulfing humankind. Having earned our spiritual merit badges, we return to our daily routines in the firm belief that we have contributed significantly to the well-being of our planet.
We think we’ve accomplished something, but in the end, all we have really done is fritter away the one thing that actually could bring real change, our own power. And the only kind of power we have is the power to change ourselves.
On October 17, 2006, a great cosmic wave is said to have swept through our planet. According to the many emails I received announcing this event, a wondrous energy burst from a parallel universe would arrive with such force that, for a period of some seventeen hours, the effect of every thought, word, and deed moving through human consciousness would be amplified by a factor of one million. If I am to believe the messages that arrived in my inbox after the event, millions of people banded together that day praying for world peace. Yet (did anyone notice?) the ensuing weeks turned out to be among the bloodiest to date in the Iraqi war.
Isn’t it time we stopped asking others to shift the points from which they view in order to accommodate the points from which we do our own viewing? What if we heeded Mohandas Gandhi’s famous advice and became the change we would like to see happen in the world around us?
I acknowledge the potential power of prayer. At its best, prayer for the good of another is one of the highest expressions of compassion that we humans muster. Yet from my perspective, the central purpose of that seventeen-hour window on October 17 was not to have people connect in prayer. Rather, the events of that day were intended to offer us a unique opportunity for real transformation. The powerful cosmic energy wave was an invitation for each of us to step into our own personal power and, in the spirit of Gandhi’s statement, seek to align ourselves with our highest vision for others. In today’s parlance, we were being challenged to walk our talk.
When friends asked what I thought the October 17th event was all about, I offered the following comment: What if, as the physicists tell us, we live in an integrated universe in which all aspects of creation are intimately intertwined? To grasp the true implications of such a model, imagine that every time you think an unkind thought, speak an unkind word, or commit an unkind deed, someone else suffers a direct consequence. This response was usually met by stunned silence, as it is far easier to be comfortable with a vision of our own insignificance than it is to accept our true power and majesty.
I then invited my friends to overlay this concept on the events of October 17: What if on that particular day every negative thought, word, and deed significantly harmed not one, but one million people? Might they become a little more responsible for their thoughts and actions? The response was always the same. Everyone I spoke to volunteered to be especially vigilant during that fifteen-hour period.
But why settle for one day? What is stopping us from choosing to believe that the energy wave that arrived that day will never leave? What if in fact, we all now have one million times more impact on the world around us than we previously thought possible? Accepting this concept as a personal reality is the real gift of October 17.
When we think of God as an omniscient, omnipotent, judgmental yet compassionate patriarch who created our world and dispensed the laws that govern our lives, it seems natural to send up prayers and ceremonies beseeching his aid in times of distress. Then there are those, like myself, who prefer to define God as All Things unfolding in the never-ending dance of creation—to consider God as a verb rather than a noun. In this way of seeing things, there is only God; nothing can exist beyond All That Is. By extension, there is only one energy within all the creation. When it expands and unifies, we know it as love. When it contracts and separates, we experience it as fear. Whenever we act in fear—fear of not receiving eternal life, fear of not being accepted, or fear of not being worthy—we sell ourselves short.
Throughout the vast oneness of creation, there is only God. When we play the game of pretending to be separate from that One, we inevitably succumb to fear and believe we are abandoned and forgotten. Humankind these days is indeed slipping dangerously close to the precipice, and it is time that the real God stepped forward. If there was something important that you came to this planet to do, perhaps now would be a good time to do it.
Jean-Claude Gerard Koven is a writer and speaker based in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. He was a featured weekly columnist for the UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum and is the author of Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense, recipient of both the Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice Award and the USABookNews.com Award for the Best Metaphysical Book of the Year.
©2004 – 2021. Jean-Claude Gerard Koven / All Rights Reserved.