Recently, a group of about 200 people gathered in the hallowed halls of one of the Big Apple's favorite gathering places, fashion-designer/philanthropist Donna Karan's Urban Zen, in the West Village, downtown NYC. The occasion was that Arianna Huffington was to moderate a discussion between the highly-celebrated Deepak Chopra, and publisher of the well-loved publication, EnlightenNext, Andrew Cohen, on the subject of Creating a Spiritually-Inspired Future.
Arianna brilliantly and humorously laid out the ground for conversation, and both Deepak and Andrew added their inspired take on what we need as a humanity to take our dance routine to a next level. Looking at our current world situation both from micro- and macro- levels, it was obvious that we are a noble if somewhat troubled cosmic experiment, having gotten ourselves into the deepest of trouble -- ecologically, economically and ethically -- yet fertile with potential and creativity to pull ourselves out and into a brilliant, and yes, inspired future.
The ideas of one world dying and another being born, of living from our center in the midst of chaos, of finding a flow in life but being courageous enough to strike out into new territory, did inspire, I feel safe to say, the couple hundred people present and myself to let these age-old, wisdom teachings enter us. And each of the trialogue spoke their truth with humility, grace and humor.
Yet there was something else that emerged from this event at Urban Zen that afternoon; in my view it included, yet transcended, the creative thinking of the gifted people on stage. The people who gathered and spoke, which comprised nearly half of the time we were together, reflected an energy, a value system and a clear commitment to the ideas of an inspired, spiritual future and of some of the constituent parts of creating a better world.
The first woman who spoke was seated right beside me. She works at the U.N. and is part of the peace-making missions and relief efforts in Haiti. She is a peace warrior on the front lines, ironic as that may sound, bringing the values of a better world into the present and the future.
As it happens, I had very recently spoken at the U.N. to S.E.A.T. (Society for the Enlightenment and Transformation) on Creative Diplomacy and A Better World, which, inspired by the vast need in Haiti, is now supplying the U.N., NGO and Relief Agency communities with portable water filtration systems, recycled, pre-fab housing, etc. So what are the chances, what is the probability, even in an inspired gathering of some 200+ people, for us to be sitting right beside each other?
When the conversation turned to the role of technology in our upcoming future, the gentleman to my right (who, admittedly I do know through his partner, Ronit Herzfeld) spoke about a new app. he and Ronit designed which enhances our ability to cultivate awareness on a daily, if not hourly basis. This is an advanced yet profoundly simple application of technology to a fundamental need we humans have of knowing how we're feeling and how to work with whatever feelings arise in our daily lives.
Another woman came in for this event all the way from Ghana, where she is working with empowerment groups for women. She felt that the energy of this gathering was so worthwhile, just from its promotion, that she came back to NYC to attend (and to visit friends and family I hope!).
I was waving my hand to say that, in my assessment of "where we are" as a humanity, economics clearly rules the roost, and whoever dominates market share in a given sector, controls that market. If the market-controller is in the business of genetically modifying our foods, the mainstay of the marketplace will be GMOs, and political policy will be influenced by said corporations to support their product line. And if the market controller is organic farmers, then we can be assured of ample organic produce in the marketplace and laws to support that. And because we vote every day, not at the polls but with the dollar. To become highly conscious of our own individual "investments" made daily in the marketplace and in companies doing good empowers us to take greater control of our future. However, let us do this good in a balanced way and from a centered, grounded place.
In short, the power of the gathering shone through the people who were present in the audience as it shone through the wonderful trialoguers on stage. The fact is that there are numerous "peace warriors" out there in their respective fields pioneering change, not slowing down for the consensus and forging forward to promote high-minded, big-hearted, ecologically-sound, sustainable and humanitarian values, which we sorely need in order to preserve our precious Earth and humanity along with all sentient life. What showed up so strongly was that, with all due respect, it wasn't those on stage that made the event as special as it was, but the total group, including the speakers, that made this event worthwhile and so worth attending.
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