Monday, April 9, 2012

Spiritual Organizations and Redevelopment

This is a different blog post than usual. It's my invitation to you to take a different look at things. Recently I was rather overwhelmed by a huge church in Oakland. It's the kind of huge edifice that I imagine that Jesus never taught in. As I recall, he was usually getting kicked out of churches since he was being a reformer for Judaism and generally speaking the Truth. I don't know what he would think now-a-days of the monstrosities that get built in his name. I can't imagine he'd be very happy. Because the spiritual path isn't about building expensive monuments. Monuments to God are built through acts of kindness, feeding the hungry, and housing the homeless, not in gigantic cathedrals.

In this vein of thinking, I want to encourage you to re-think how you use your money and your energy as we come together to develop a new vision for this world.

Spiritual Teachers Can't Do Everything
I think people get very narrow ideas of what the spiritual path looks like. Some people seem to think that a spiritual awakening means that they have to be a teacher or healer. You don't. You have to be what you truly love. It's a beautiful thing really. God doesn't want you to do something that isn't in your heart because if you are not moving from love, you are not truly serving yourself or God. So long as you've done your work to understand why you do what you do and what you love, life can become extremely simple. Many people simply love serving, and there are so many ways that this world needs to be served.

For instance, we need people coming together for redevelopment. "Redevelopment? Like business redevelopment of a downtown?" you might ask. Yes. Exactly. Could you imagine if spiritual organizations like churches who can gather an amazing amount of money got involved in redeveloping downtowns out of a sense of service? Maybe it already happens (if so, please message me), but it would really change the purpose of the project. Perhaps, they let the money be a donation, and because they're not focusing on making back a return on investment, that would very likely change what type of organizations could afford to rent in that area because the rental structural would very likely be lower. Housing could naturally be available at lower cost, and there wouldn't be such a huge focus on expensive condos and what-not to pay back investors and cater to only a very affluent section of society. Spiritual organizations leading redevelopment could very likely be a way to fund and reinvigorate community in a new way.


Steal This Idea: Make Others
I make no claims to this idea, so you are welcome to steal it. Make something like this happen if you are in a spiritual organization or perhaps one day you will. Use it then. I want you to make ideas like this. I want you to think outside the box, but I also encourage to respect the box that we got. For instance, money isn't going away. It's just not, so don't get lost in the idea that money is evil. It's just a tool like a hammer. You can build a house with it, or you can hit someone in the face. It doesn't make the hammer evil. All the hammer shows is what is in the heart that is guiding the hand that's using it. There are plenty of other things not going away such as bonds, stocks, and different investment tools. We can use all of these to serve spirit. We just will now be doing it with more integrity.

In general, there is no aspect of our society that doesn't need enlightenment and which couldn't greatly benefit from it. Certain things like chemical weapons manufacturing would probably go away, but enlightened work with chemistry and manufacturing would still be there. I really, really encourage you to look at yourself and the talents you have, and then meld them into some of the tools that already exist. You can transform them from the inside out, and in truth, transformation always comes from within.

Not Demonizing Others and Industries
If you want to stop your spiritual growth, then get lost in demonizing corporations, governments, and ideas. Just keep saying that so-and-so is evil, and you're blinding yourself. You can't see the Truth. The Truth is that we're all one, and that we all need to be healed. You aren't going to drag anyone down this path, and in many respects, you will have to stand up strongly against those who would harm you. But don't over-react to these situations, and don't get lost in the ideas of fighting and struggle. You will only create more of it. It's best to learn how to meet the demands of an intense situation, and then when it is done, let it go. Most people will disappear from your life when you no longer need them to be part of your dualistic struggle for good (good with a little "g" because this is just your ego's idea of good).

Because the opportunity that can come up is that people can surprise you when they are no longer the enemy. They may see the value of your ideas over time as your persevere to create a new daycare center, protect a rainforest, or re-allocate school board funding to special education. Whatever it is, it really is about the "how." How you do something is everything, and that's part of what shifts the energy of this world. It's one of the ways that even in "losing," you are still winning at the deepest and most important depths.

Giving Yourself Freedom to Think Big and Small
We need to learn how to think big and small. Big is like a large spiritual organization contributing heavily to downtown redevelopment. Small is how we listen to a co-worker in a toxic office environment to begin to bring more kindness and awareness into that space. A lot of these actions need time, and I really encourage you to practice patience if you've come to this point that you're ready to share with the world. The world is used to operating in certain ways, and we're going to need a lot of patience to reverse the momentum that we've been building up for centuries. A lot of people won't think your ideas will work, or they won't like them. That doesn't matter. What matters is that you begin to dream up these new ways of doing things, and then you map out a plan and take little steps to get where you're going. And just in case you need a little help in thinking of ideas, here's a short list off the top of my head of where more consciousness is needed:

  • Enlightened farmers--raising food ethically and with as much purity as possible (clean water, natural seeds, healthy bees, etc.)
  • Enlightened entrepreneurs--creating sustainable businesses that support the greater community and don't sacrifice others or the environment for short-term gains (short term can mean even 20 or 30 years, we have to think really long-term on this one)
  • Enlightened politicians--guiding our cities, counties, states, and governments towards cooperation and harmony 
  • Enlightened teachers--helping students of all kinds to learn and to learn how to think for themselves in a world increasingly filled with noise and lies
  • Enlightened parents--helping children to grow up to be healthy individuals who can live and act from their hearts
Here's a start. That should get your brain going. Just about any job from janitor to IT manager to video producer can be enlightened. It's a broad, broad space, and every level of humanity needs this new awareness to be infused by it because there's just too much for only a couple of spiritual teachers to make all this change.

The Freedom to Recreate Our World
Most of all, I'm encouraging you to embrace the freedom to recreate our world. We're not always going to agree. Harmony isn't born from egos all agreeing conceptually. It is born from honoring all paths and moving from a space of love. Things are going to get intense and hot these next couple of yeas in my humble opinion, and it's also going to be this very pressure that's going to allow us to turn up the heat enough to burn away the old and make space for the new. Maybe extremely affluent churches will get into the redevelopment game to help build the new and true monuments to God through service to the local community. Maybe there will be other big changes. Who knows it all? But you do know your piece of the puzzle, and now is the time to embrace it and do it.
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