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In addition to "Merry Christmas" this time of year we hear refrains of "Peace On Earth." This latter phrase has special meaning as the world has never experienced so much turmoil. Warfare is occuring in many countries; immigrants are struggling to find a safe place to live; in the United States families are politically divided in ways never before experienced and so on.
Peace On Earth not only appears on Christmas cards it is often referred to by many who give lectures and speeches--such as politicans, church pastors as well as those who conscientiously seek it. In this context consider the word spiritual which is not the same as religion. Spirituality does not necessarily refer to church-going activities, but to the ability to transcend ordinary reality and to experience what is beyond. What is beyond? The human brain across the evolutionary span accounts for greater intelligence, with sophisticated brain imaging showing how specific areas of the brain light up during meditation and prayer.
Equally relevant is that many scholars have long believed that expanded conscousness--illumined perception and spiritual experience outside the linear mind--is integral to this unfolding. Teilhard de Chardin, the French Jesuit paleontologist who was as much mystic as scientist, alleged that since the beginning of time, the edge of evolution has been a matter of increasing consciousness. Many other scholars concur that since the outset, creation has contained all physical and spiritual matter--spirit rising out of matter in the creative act of self-experiencing and self-discovery. Thus whether we think we are dealing with matter or spirit, our expressions come from the same underlying manifestation in its continual unfolding. In fact,Teilhard de Chardin coined the term noosphere to describe the layer of thinking brains enveloping the planet--an enormous concentration of collective human consciousness wherein everyone influences everyone else. As positive energies such as altruism, empathy and compassion come forward they reflect a life lived through indivdual expression. Spreading acrros the collective web of consciousness, these energies catalyze movement toward positive action--from this perpsective the ripening of the whole of humanity. This would defuse powerlessnes felt by people who see no means for impeding the escalation of chaos and violence in the world.
What this means is that each one of us as indivduals has the power to influence change in the world that would bring PEACE TO HUMANKIND. There are many ways to apply that power--curbing one's impulses to harm another; to understand that the color of one's skin does not make him/her less human; to negotiate disagreements in a calm and reasonable way; to listen empathically to another's difficulties; and to find ways to help others who are in need. To me this is the true meaning of "Holiday Spirit" and indeed contributes to worldwide peace.
Reader comments are most welcome regarding sharing of experiences they have had of attaining and sharing PEACE with others.