Shooting Stars and Living Spirit
The night was cool and moonless, perfect for sitting around a backyard camp fire, wrapped in blankets and gazing into the skies. Wife, daughter, niece and I were sky watching for the shooting stars, or more correctly falling meteors, a gift of the annual Geminid Meteor shower. The sacred feeling of the moment prompted me to raise my thoughts to the group about David Korten’s article I had just read, “Religion, Science, and Spirit: A Sacred Story for Our Time".
I am on the Board of the Living Economies Forum, an organization founded by David Korten to advance an economic system and practices that support the preservation of life. We had just had a telephone board conference the day before and I was still reflecting on his article and our board conversations about the cultural stories we need about spirit and God if we are to save humanity from our current path of life destruction.
Gazing into the night skies and feeling the warmth of the fire, I summarized Korten’s article as being an appeal to all of humanity to consider our perspective about the origins and the purpose of life, so that we might choose a perspective that can increase our power to be collaborators in saving and evolving life.
According to Korten, our societies have been influenced by three distinct cosmologies or world views. Becoming aware of these influences we then have a choice regarding how much we desire to be guided by them.
Do we choose to view the cosmos and life as created and ruled by the distant father in the sky, which is most commonly associated with the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam? The downside is we consequently surrender much of our power to this distant omnipotent force.
Do we choose to view the origins of the universe from the “grand machine” or scientific perspective, which views life as an accidental outcome of complex chance?
Or, do we view life origins as the outcome and ongoing evolution of spiritual intelligence that is contained within all forms of life? We are spirit, Earth is spirit, all spirit is interconnected, spirit is the God force, and we are part of this divine force.
Despite her background of generations of active Methodists, Baptists, Catholics and indigenous healers, my daughter’s immediate reaction was, “Where’s the issue? It’s like common sense that we are all spirit. All we need to do is gaze into the stars and breathe and we feel connection to the universe, to ourselves, to each other, to spirit… And to invite people to these understandings, I don’t think heady articles work for all. We just need everyone telling stories about how it is they feel and know spirit.”
Our conversation continued with each of us interjecting thoughts and questions, not so much to generate particular answers, but to enjoy thinking and being together as we gazed into the skies.
Amidst our excited “oozes and azas” at capturing shooting meteors, many of the questions and related thoughts we surfaced remain worthy of continued reflection.
o What might we be able to do as a humankind, if we all accepted the reality that we are all are spirit, and that we together possess the collective potential through our spirit to transform selfishness or lift the power of love?
- Why is it that the big religions seem to resist acknowledging that our spiritual nature is “por vida”, for life and love? We just haven’t learned to see and lift the best within ourselves and each other. When do we get serious about moving the cultural revolution of actively seeking to become the best of who we are?
- What kinds of experiences could we create to get people in touch with their own spirit and the spirit that connects us?
- What do we do about this current cell phone technology that is destroying the culture of family and community connection around the world? People are yearning to connect. So many seek to create relationships via email not recognizing that we are losing our ability to know the person next to us and forgetting the joy, fun and sacredness of sitting around a fire, telling story, gazing in the skies, and catching the view of shooting stars.
It was one of those magic nights of connection to self, others, the universe, and to the spirit that connects us all. None of us wanted it to end, but the night was getting late and colder, and each of us had a big day coming up. Myself, I felt blessed to have participated in the flow of many beautiful ideas and questions, experienced a familia evening of living spirit while witnessing the travel of 15 falling meteors.
Roberto Vargas is an educator and consultant on personal and group empowerment, and a ceremony leader for activist communities and organizations. A native Californian, he received his Masters in Social Work and Doctorate in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). Roberto lives in Ventura, California, and often collaborates with his wife and daughters who share similar commitments. Among his many active affiliations, Roberto is a member of the board of the Living Economies Forum.
- Click here to read the essay and share your comments.
- Click here to read David Korten's reflection on the encounters that drew him to this inquiry, sparked key insights, and led to writing this essay at this time.
- Click here to read responses and commentary from friends and colleagues who helped shape this essay.
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