You probably heard it when you were a kid: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Some of us are still asking that question...I know I am. Every day is a process of "growing up"; of finding out who we are, and how we can express that call from within that is always encouraging us to be "ourselves writ large", to quote author Jean Houston.
In so many ways, our world IS growing up. Our science and technologies are leaping forward, literally taking us into a future that we couldn't have dreamed of just fifty years ago. Even what we've learned from some of the mistakes we've made--I'm thinking ecologically, here--mean we're better prepared to respect sustainable principals going forward. We welcome new ideas; indeed, our governments and industries support development and insights with the goal of "improving" our lives.
Yet there's one area that's strictly "hands-off": our religious constructs. Our holy books are, essentially, written in stone, and there seems to be no room for even considering that it might be time to re-evaluate what is and is not working according to books--and interpretations--conceived eons ago.
As such, we're stuck. We're stuck in our beliefs about the unfailing rightness of these great books, and it is that righteousness that is closing our minds to the possibility that maybe--just maybe--what we're continuing to pass on or believe as "fact" isn't actually working to take us to a place of loving, peace and harmony.
Now, let me be clear. I am NOT advocating the dismantling or abolishing of religion. ALL of humanities great books (not only the "religious" ones) exist to address that deep and timeless voice in each of us. We created them to do just that, and on a personal level, they have always been a source of inspiration and enrichment. But at the level of society at large, these same books have been--and still are!--justification for some of our most "ungodly" suffering...in the name of all that's holy!
Clearly, something's amiss. To say my book is more right than your book...well, what works on that level should be plain enough. The seeds of destruction are planted right beside the seeds of hope, and one only has to look around to recognize the fruit of that field. In fact, out perceived differences have escalated right along side our technological abilities to literally destroy ourselves. Some progress!
My personal feeling is that we're on some kind of brink. Whether one finds that frightening or inspiring could mean the choice between growing up as a race, or death by the hand of our current beliefs. Our religious ideas have so permeated the way we construct our societies and our systems that any kind of resolution according to the rules we've been playing by simply cannot take us to the place peace and harmony we long for.
I say it's time we advance our religions as we've advanced in so many other ways. Expand our spiritual wisdom as we've expanded our knowledge of the material world. Let's recognize what isn't working within our belief systems, and yes, within our religious books and teachings. Let's find in them that which unites us. Because it is only our IDEAS that are keeping us separate. In the sphere of Life Itself, there is only one energy, and we're all part of it...no exclusions; no "better". There is only Oneness; it is our fundamental and most natural state. We CAN make a better world. We KNOW it's possible if we could only get out of our own way. In the name of our very survival, we have to grow up as a race. Let's start by embracing Oneness as a way to peace. I can't see any other way.
- Stephen Jerrome
- Los Angeles, CA, United States
- I am a writer, photographer and musician living in Los Angeles. In the last few years, new written work--numerous plays, screenplays, and two novels--have demonstrated this to be the most productive period of my life. The journal I have also kept for thirty-five years has, of late, become a personal sounding board for my thoughts on peace and the state of the world...about which I remain hopelessly optimistic! My writing here will be in tandem to video "Peace Talks" I have recorded, and which will be released throughout 2011. You're welcome to visit my website, the "Studio 5" link, to see my photographs. As a classically-trained pianist, I have been composing music all my life. Two guitar re-mixes of piano music are attached here, as well as several music videos, including "Consider Peace" the title track of an up-coming CD. Balancing writing, photography and music has been a long and challenging path...not to be recommended! Yet this very Aries diversity reflects an enthusiasm for the modern world of which I feel very much a part.