The Path of Transformation
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Hope of the Day
In case of emergency, break new ground.
Through the lens of our conventional thinking, things look bleak – or worse. But a way through this crisis – these many cascading crises – does exist, if we open ourselves to all the possibilities.
Many of us have experienced the healing outcome of a time of crisis:
Moments that tested our courage, our resilience, our openness to new possibilities.
Moments that trained us to become something more. The sometimes-painful lessons through which we became more nearly the people we wanted to be.
During these times, did we seem to flounder, did we feel overwhelmed, did we sometimes behave in ways we’re ashamed to admit? As with an individual, so with a nation. So with the human species, this great, diverse, troubled, confused, brilliant and beautiful manifestation of the Divine Creator in its billions of variations.
We can become the people we want to be – the people we must become if we’re to continue our journey on this planet.
Every healing, individual or collective, requires giving up the old ways that led to the crisis. If we could all suddenly just be different without going through a passage of healing, we’d all be angels and the earth would be paradise. The human journey isn’t set up that way. Sometimes the demons need to come out of the closet so we can clearly see what needs our attention; sometimes we need to hit bottom and stare hopelessness in the face, before we open to an expanded picture of reality where hope does exist.
We, the human community, have until recently been able to mostly ignore the earth’s physical limits – indeed, many are still desperately trying to look away from that “inconvenient truth”. As long as there was an ocean to cross to escape oppression or lack of opportunity and start over somewhere else; as long as there was a vast stretch of land we could move into while ignoring or subduing whoever happened to already be living there; as long as there was still a mountain we could strip-mine, a deposit of natural gas we could frack out of the earth’s body. We’ve now broken past the warning signs at the end of that road, and are well past the point where we might have stopped, regrouped, re-thought the future.
What now? We’re at the water’s edge, impassible mountains at our backs, a rising ocean in front, not a rowboat in sight. We already rejected the easier path that might have been possible 50 years ago and are now in far more drastic times than we could have imagined then, calling for a more radical restructuring of our vision – and maybe, from a human-evolution point of view, it was meant to be that way all along? In any case, the next ocean we need to cross is not of water, but of consciousness. And across that ocean is a territory that truly is limitless.
For the past several millennia, the arrow of human development, its primary direction of travel, has pointed towards individualism, and towards mastery of the physical world for the exclusive benefit of the human species. It’s a paradigm supported by almost all political ideologies and all modern cultures (except for a few remaining indigenous cultures), a worldwide secular credo that exists with the tacit approval of most established religions, even when their foundational spiritual principles appear to contradict it. It’s been part of our evolution, and we’ve taken it as far as it can go… and now it has to go if we are to stay.
Partnership with each other: This needs to take on new and urgent meaning. Dominance, exclusivity, competition for the basic sustenance of life – these have no place in a sustainable world. Who would deliberately destroy one of their own vital organs, and then expect their body to function just as well as before? We are about to learn that racism, oppression, economic injustice undermine the vitality, the survivability of humanity as a whole, just as surely as smoking three packs of cigarettes a day affects the individual.
Partnership with the plant and animal kingdoms, our fellow passengers on the earth: Ditto. The harm we do our planet is no longer confined to anyone else’s back yard. Mass migration of human populations due to climate change has already begun. The lungs of the world are on fire in the Amazon rain forest. If for no reason other than our own survival, we need to start understanding that the fire is only moments away from our own doorstep… but then there is a whole universe of wonder and fulfillment awaiting us as partners in the web of life, rather than consumers and destroyers.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we will not be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
When true simplicity is gained,
So where do I come in?
If you’re still reading, there is an excellent chance that you are here in this world to help guide it through the current crisis to the new world that awaits as possibility – a world free of oppression, overflowing with equitably shared abundance, waiting to support the full creative realization of every person while honoring and protecting the web of life that’s bigger than all of us. It’s not an exclusive club, all are invited to take part… but in this moment, only some feel it as a personal calling. Do you? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Are you ready for a whole new way of seeing what this world is – and who we are? Don’t accept doom as inevitable – more importantly, don’t seek to return to “business as usual” as we knew it before. It was killing us, and so much more is possible. You are part of its creation. The parts of the “old world” that genuinely sustained you will return, strengthened and purified – but first, there is much to correct. We will no longer have to accept the crumbs of a system that was fundamentally not supportive of life; it’s time to rebuild this house from the foundation up.
Hope is about the present, not the future
It’s not based in what we want to happen, but in what’s happening now: If our hope depends on what we want, we’re standing on sand rather than solid ground, our sense of well-being vulnerable to every turn of events… we grow stronger by finding our place to stand in the now: Presence in the now is our training for being able to show up and do what’s needed in an unknowable future.1
One of the most powerful ways we can prepare for the future is to start shifting our perspective about the present, so that – even amidst feelings of depair, outrage or fear – we also hold the possibility that the events before us are part of a process of healing. Even if we only believe it a little, this helps to hold the door open for a better future – and a door that’s cracked open even a fraction of an inch lets in a whole lot more light than one completely shut. Principles of this perspective include:
- Healing follows revealing: The worst extremities of peoples’ behavior in the public arena – deception, hatefulness, violence, willful ignorance that harms others – reveal darkness that was previously hidden, now being pushed to the surface for healing… and what applies to the individual applies to society as a whole.
- All are fundamentally innocent: The spark of Divine goodness lives in every human soul. When someone “does evil”, or allows it to happen on their watch, they are betraying their own essential nature and paying an inner price for it. We can stand up to evil while still acknowledging the suffering of the person involved, in least in our own minds. This makes us stronger advocates for the good, not weaker (think of Gandhi or Dr King).
- We are not alone: Heaven and earth are both full of beings working hard to help the earth through this time of transition. Even if you don’t believe the ‘heaven’ part, look at the forces rising in our world, right now, to counter hate and injustice and innovate better ways to meet the future – especially among the young. It’s a unique and new time in human history and we’re here to take part in it.
Hope is a fundamental truth
We love ‘comeback’ stories because of what they reflect within each of us. It is in our nature to be resilient, to bounce back from defeat, to rebuild what’s been torn down… to experience damage and loss, but not accept ‘no’ as an answer to life itself. Where does this come from? It is the nature of the Divine essence that each of us carries inside – in fact, it is evidence that the Divine essence exists. In the Divine, there is no such thing as “defeat” because all that happens is held within the essential Goodness of all that is – even the nasty stuff. There is no such thing as a “bad person” – only painful behaviors, evidence of varying degrees of lost-ness – because all souls are on a journey back to their Divine essence.
Hope is a practice
We can feel hope when – well, when we feel it. We can’t manufacture the feeling for ourselves, only look for it, “hope to hope”. But we can always practice hope, to seek the place in us that knows it to be a fundamental truth, to hold that in front of us at times when the events around us seem overwhelmingly discouraging and say: “Yes, all of that, but this too”. It sometimes helps to remember that we are not seeing the full picture. Forces are working on the earth, and in our individual lives, that are beyond our understanding – but pointing in the direction of redemption, of all life turning back towards the Divine. When we practice hope, we offer ourselves as loyal soldiers in service to the Good – and there is immense power in service through faith (even without a spiritual belief), in showing up to help without needing to know all the details.
What you need is already inside you
You have all that you need to meet the present and the future, already within you. You will expand your capacity to meet the challenges of the future – for the simple reason that you came to this world to do so, and the Divine has equipped you with what’s needed not just to survive the expedition, but to make an invaluable contribution towards its success.
All will come again into its strength: the fields undivided, the waters undammed, the trees towering and the walls built low. And in the valleys, people as strong and varied as the land.
The houses welcoming all who knock, and a sense of boundless offering in all relations, and in you and me.
No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond, no belittling of death, but only longing for what belongs to us – and serving earth, lest we remain unused.
~ Ranier Maria Rilke ~
You were made for these times 2, and we are here to recognize and uphold each other. Come fully awake. Make yourself a good strong cup of coffee – or whatever helps you come present to the start of a new day. If you see someone struggling to wake up, make them a cup too. We are short on time, but overflowing with talent, skill, love, willingness – and an inexhaustible engine of creativity. Let’s get to work.
Note to Readers
This website is still in its infancy. It consists of the four main departments listed below, plus a blog (see Recent Posts in the footer below). As of now, the departments contain only a little introductory material, the blog a few posts: A sketch of what is to come.
The Daily Hope was first created in 2004 3, but went dormant for many years. It was reborn in its current form in April 2020. Our intention is to provide a gathering place for material that supports and inspires us, as we go through the challenging times now and to come, as our beloved earth goes through its birthing into greater light. We are actively seeking suggestions for material that will further this mission, and at some point will also welcome other contributors to write for The Daily Hope website. For more information, please visit the Suggestions and Contributions page.
Meanwhile, we hope you will feel nourished by what is here. Please feel free to share your comments about the site; each blog post also contains a form to comment on the individual post.
- Imagine if, ten years ago, the “you” of that time could have seen into this present moment with a “time telescope”. How many of today’s events would have seemed unthinkable, unsurvivable? Yet here you are, showing up with your heart and mind fully present (even if feeling stretched to the breaking point). The point is, for the most part we expand to accommodate what is asked of us as human citizens – especially if feeling called to serve the earth at this time.
- While many (including us!) have adopted this phrase, we believe it originated with poet and post-trauma specialist Clarissa Pinkola Estés in her ‘Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times’, which has been widely published online (one source: https://www.mavenproductions.com/letter-to-a-young-activist). Note that her reference to ‘new normal’ is unrelated to Covid-19, as it was written a number of years ago. It’s about the numbing effect of trying to emotionally absorb so much wrongness being manifested in the world – and an encouragement to stay open “even when it hurts”.
- The original Daily Hope site can be found here. Some navigation links within the original site no longer work, but you can still find all of the original writing there.