At the end of the day our religions underpin values for very many people, and our values distinguish the human from the subhuman. We must live ecologically and we need to live as mature humans. So many have travelled different pathways to come to this same conclusion. Mehta commented that when we consider the environment, the institutions and ourselves, we have least power over nature, most power over ourselves. Therefore it is we who need to change. As Gandhi so famously said in probably one of the most oft quoted wisdoms of our time “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” We ignore the wisdom of old at our peril.
Ursula King is far from alone when she calls for anything that will kindle spiritualities, that will heighten awareness and sensibilities, give us a sense of global responsibilities and a new kind of spiritual literacy.
We are now profoundly connected as humans across the world. But we are guilty of a kind of group egotism, often loving only our own kind. Augustine saw that the State that looked after only its own interests and not a justice for all was no more than an organised band of robbers. We are in danger of copying that band of robbers and we need to look not only to universal justice now, but we need to look to the future with new eyes.
A rule of the ascetic Jains is for “Careful Actions, Careful Thoughts. ” Here is a good guide for living for us all. Before taking any action we need to ask ourselves what effect that action will have on us, on others, on society, on the planet and on a generation or more from now. This type of thinking is instinctive in many indigenous cultures. It also links with the Seventh Generation Principle, from the political culture of the Iroquois people, and now adopted by Native American elders and activists. “What about the seventh generation? Where are you taking them? What will they have?”
We need to understand that each individual is a unique spiritual mystery, and we must be prepared to not only make dialogue with others outside our own limited circle but also to see each other as divine and be prepared to then change ourselves at a profound level.
My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.
"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden