Inward, Outward & Onward
Through the Storm
An intimate familiarity with our true nature is the never-failing protection against the seemingly darker forces of our universe.
– Paul Levy
Until recently, someone raising the alarm about the imperiled state of democracy and civilization risked being labeled a doomsayer, a cynical pessimist. But as I write this in the fall of 2021, the zeitgeist has emphatically changed. A growing majority of humanity now recognizes the threats of rising authoritarianism and a dangerously heating planet, and are deeply distressed about the future – especially for our children and grandchildren. And rightly so.
But we need not lose hope if we act now. To effectively confront our urgent and critical shared problems we must fundamentally rethink how we regard and engage one another. We can emerge from today’s manifold crises into a tomorrow that beckons with unprecedented promise if we accelerate our growth as consciously interconnected human beings.
In On Just Being I offer my experience and ideas on how we can accomplish this expedited growth to advance this vital cause.
The Critical Role of Inner Work
I have been fascinated my entire adult life with the topic of personal growth – consciousness exploration, self-improvement, spiritual development – call it what you will. Perhaps the best description for this lifelong passion is a quest for self-knowledge, in the spirit of the ancient Delphic maxim to “know thyself.” The “self” I seek to know is my deepest nature, the innermost core of my being.
In the face of today’s existential collective crises, such personal pursuits may seem akin to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. But in fact the opposite is true. The relevance of inner work in a troubled world is succinctly captured in these words written by Bertrand Russell in 1954:
The only thing that will redeem mankind is co-operation, and the first step towards co-operation lies in the hearts of individuals.
As we discover, explore, and become more familiar with our own inner core, we more readily recognize and connect to the corresponding depths of our fellow human beings and the natural world. This deep-rooted sense of our intrinsic interconnectedness is precisely what we need to rediscover and revitalize, individually and collectively. The goal of personal growth is not simply to become a better individual human being; it is to become a better fellow human being.
Will we mount a combined effort sufficient to successfully meet the enormous challenges we face? Or will our best efforts, even if we do rise to the occasion, prove too little too late to prevail over the formidable forces of division and destruction?
We cannot know the outcome of our efforts, but we owe it to ourselves, to each other, and to the gift of life itself to do all we can to create a world we want our children to live in.