Within the first few months of seminary in 2013, I had the pleasure of taking an elective, and I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into. It was simply called the Peace Seminar and the description sounded interesting enough, about how we can create a world that works for everyone. Well, there were enough things happening in the world, that made me go hmmmm…. So how do we, who claim to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, engage in our world in a way that will allow us to shift to a higher way of being, doing, and having that alleviates suffering and the agonizing pangs of not enough-ness? It was a tough, challenging class taught by Dr. Shariff Abdullah, (center of photo) who has made his life’s work and spiritual practice all about inclusivity. Shariff Abdullah says in his book, Creating A World that Works for All,
“My work is my spiritual practice, and Commonway Institue is my principal vehicle for that practice. The institute’s focus is inclusivity – – teaching the theory, philosophy, and practice of the inextricable linkage between our individual lives and The Other. The links already exist; we just help people become conscious of them…We humans have much more that unites us than separates us. Commonly helps people see that.” (Chapter 3 Inclusivity–Spirit and Practice, page 63)
Little did I know that this class and this work would dig down into the core of me and resonate so strongly, so that years later I am still passionate about what Shariff Abdullah and Commonway Institute are doing. Through much of 2013, 2014, 2015, however, I could not understand the disconnect of seeing symptoms in our society of great dis-ease, fragmentation, and exclusivity driving the actions and reactions in our nation, and on the other hand seeing basically no higher ground operatives ready to meet the challenge of this atmosphere head on.
So here we are in 2017, and I asked myself “what’s changed?” We are all praying, asking what is ours to do, and finding our vehicles for taking action in some form of spiritual social activism in our own way. The headlines continue to be hurled at us ceaselessly and endlessly. I often hear within my own heart, ” do what’s in front of you.” Wherever we are working along the spectrum of healing the world, it is ALL needed.
Maybe this work of inclusivity is not sexy or glitzy enough for everyone to jump on the bandwagon in droves. However, I believe when enough people get sick and tired of being sick and tired…they’ll wake up and realize that instead of hacking away at the symptoms that are manifesting on the surface, we’ll begin to also work the deeper work of shifting our collective consciousness and awareness to the underlying spiritual aspects and qualities of our humanity and our divinity. Then we can find that pearl of great price — our linkage, our spiritual heritage that allows us to live in unified, divine harmony in the beloved community and be as One.
I’ve prayed, I’ve asked what is mine to do, and one thing is to bring people together who believe it’s possible to live, collaborate, dialog and make changes that come from a place of inclusivity and not exclusivity. Are you passionate about taking some action and don’t know where to start? A good place to start would be to engage in Dr. Shariff Abdullah’s Shadow-to-Light workshops. Working on a personal/individualistic level is fine if that is all you can do, however, working on the collective, greater system and institutional level is very much needed as well.
My action and activity over the next 12 weeks is to facilitate Dr. Shariff Abdullah’s powerfully transforming workshops called the Shadow-to-Light (S2L) Program, starting Sept. 5 at Unity of San Leandro in San Leandro, CA. There’s still time to sign up if you want to join in shifting the energy on the planet from the shadows to LIGHT……I will be the local lead facilitator inviting 12 other transformation catalysts to attend who also want to see a world transformed to higher ground. We need people from all walks of life, no matter your race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or political affiliation. For more information and to sign up, go to: unitysanleandro.org/special-events. We would love to have the synergy of face-to-face dialog, but if you are not near this workshop in the Bay Area or in your area, go to the online version of the workshop: Online Solo S2L Course
Together – Let us embrace and usher in the LIGHT!
Peace & blessings,