My heart has been heavy with the recent social-political events and the attempted coup at the United States Capitol in Washington DC. So much has already been said about the event on January 6, who caused it, and what it means, and although I am not a political expert, I am a student of Science of Mind, and I know the power of focus and consciousness. I understand the temptation to withdraw and retreat into spiritual practice when world events are overwhelming, or to focus on the complicity of others. However, Science of Mind has taught me to see that our spiritual, social, and economic wellbeing is intricately intertwined with others’ wellbeing through our shared experience of this one holy Life. Therefore, I cannot and must not imagine that I have no part in our world’s events. I must leave no stone unturned in my consciousness when I feel the tendency to flee. What is it, I ask myself, that I feel uncomfortable seeing? Is it the radical disparity between how different groups of demonstrators are responded to? Is it the shock I feel that we were potentially mere steps away from losing a whole branch of government? Is it the frustration and dissonance I feel when I encounter denialism that the disparity is real? What is it that I must do and what must I give voice to that I haven’t?
I think it is this: that the recent attempted coup has highlighted, again, the disparity between societal responses to race in the United States in a way that makes it impossible to ignore. And it is impossible to ignore the opportunity to challenge the mindset, in me and in our culture, that denies or is silent about that disparity.
I grew up in South Africa during the apartheid regime, where silence was a matter of safety. Not everyone was silent; those who spoke out changed history. And what Nelson Mandela accomplished is nothing short of a miracle and testament to the possibility of a peaceful transition. He did it by including everyone, acknowledging his feelings towards the oppressors, and steadfastly keeping his eye on the nations’ unity and healing. Unity and healing is the consciousness that will turn things around and usher in the end of supremacy of every kind. Control and domination of other people, nations, neighborhoods, or cultures is the recipe for suffering, not only in the United States but also anywhere where one group establishes itself as superior over another.
Spiritual growth is personal, and we must each examine our own consciousness. Everyone is going to have to decide for themselves where they stand. I stand for inclusivity. I stand for compassion. I stand for religious freedom. I stand for equality, justice, and equity. I stand for a world that works for everyone. It takes courage to declare such things because the world as it is today does not seem to support these statements. Yet, the declarations match something inside our hearts: the urge of the Divine Mind. My task then is to use my gifts to take a step in the direction of what I stand for, expecting my effort to be supported and increased in ways I cannot imagine so that I can do more of what is mine to do. We have a great deal of work to do as citizens of the planet whatever country we live in, and I trust that the work begins with the courage to examine our consciousness, take a stand, and plant seeds of truth through prayer, affirmation, contemplation, words, and action.
I leave you with the words of a colleague: What will I pray for today? I will pray for my personal courage knowing that each of us is being called to stand up for truth and integrity. I will pray that as I walk this path, I will release all fear and anxiety. My prayers will also acknowledge that regardless of appearances, the presence of the Divine exists at the center of all things. I believe that the recognition of this Truth opens the door to the miraculous.
As the Spiritual Leader of Centers for Spiritual Living, one of my roles is to be the spokesperson representing our organization’s Global Vision in responding to world events. During the pandemic, I have turned to social media to fulfill this role, using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blog articles to communicate our visions, values, and Science of Mind teaching.
I invite you to visit the Spiritual Leader social media content and help me in my effort to disseminate the content by liking, sharing, and commenting. Here are all the ways you can follow the Centers for Spiritual Living Spiritual Leader content:
• Spiritual Leader on Facebook: Centers for Spiritual Living Spiritual Leader | Facebook
• Spiritual Leader on Instagram: Rev. Edward Viljoen, DD (hon.) (@edward_viljoen) • Instagram
• Spiritual Leader Blog: Centers for Spiritual Living Spiritual Leader (cslspiritualleader.blogspot.com)
• Spiritual Leader on Twitter: Centers for Spiritual Living Spiritual Leader (@LeaderInSpirit) / Twitter
My blessings to you,
Rev. Edward Viljoen, DD (hon.)