A New Age Matures

New York City Central Park



















I write these words a week after the heartbreak our world was forced to bear on September 11th. Focusing on any other topic is nearly impossible. Unforgettable images and stories stir our minds and hearts and too readily overwhelm. Yet in our quiet moments of reflection myriad emotions also give way to inner spaces that serve as wombs, to nurture the gestation of wisdom.

In these surreal days we have chosen from a sacred, life-giving core more than we realize. It is expressed in ways we naturally reached out to each other. In the aches of our hearts, being compelled to go to New York or Washington and help. Being nudged to take time off, contact loved ones, pray and pray some more, and gather together in community. Tender moments shared, our world’s boundless generosity, the total dedication of leaders, rescuers and caretakers—all are radiant facets of wisdom and compassion. These are the seeds of a true "New Age", a way of conducting our lives re-sourced from our hearts and souls.

Lately we keep hearing the phrase: "The world will never be the same." As I write on this particular day, there are many unknowns yet to live into. Now today as you read this, weeks or months after September 11th, what would we say are those differences? Have we remembered what felt most real and meaningful? Continued to breathe life into the heartfelt, loving connections made? Brought forth the understandings that came through such a transforming shock? Has the wisdom conceived through the pain birthed new substance into our lives?

The horrors we’ve faced together these past weeks have awakened us to each other as never before. Roused to both shadow and light, we hold in our hearts enormous potential for healing. How the country and world united to help each other shows how humanity can exceed itself. Of course, we never expected this kind of initiation, yet the expansion of consciousness and connection that resulted has been seeded in our psyches for awhile now.

Actualizing potential and surpassing limits were banners waved in the 60’s, in the dawning of the "New Age." Peter Russell (The Global Brain Awakens, 2000) outlines the basic themes of the New Age:

  • We all have potential beyond what we use or may even be aware of
  • Humanity and the environment exist within a shared, interconnected system
  • We can change for the better both inwardly and in how we treat our world.

In the past few decades promises of something more stirred up a creative stew of experiments and innovations along with much criticism. Many saw the New Age movement as a naïve, trendy, superficiality that bred "spiritual materialism". Others condemned it as idealistic narcissism. And though the term has lost its central place in our vocabulary its seeds have burst into bloom in varying forms.

Today those "new" blooms are being put to the test of maturing and deepening. Since September 11th we have been living out an inner potential of goodness and care in response to an unbelievably stark potential of destruction. Both the dark and the light are seasoning our souls and tenderizing our hearts. We are growing a capacity within we probably never really thought was possible.

What is the substance of this capacity? At moments it is difficult to be sure. But thankfully over the past weeks I have read and listened to many voices speak to the essence of peace, love, support and transformation.

Turning off the news has been crucial -- though not with the intent to deny or minimize. It’s more about listening intently to the authenticity of being alive rather than to the blare of fear. As the visionary Jean Houston wrote in an internet communication, it’s about aligning with your own spiritual resources

In this present day, so soon after such an unspeakable trauma, her promptings bring inspiration and breath. There can never be enough of that grist for the spirit, so please seek it everywhere. And now as you read this, no matter what may be the reality of the day, may her words invite you toward a vista of hope and healing.

"Consider living daily life as spiritual exercise. Watch your finer intuitions and ideas, and share them with others. Commune with your spiritual allies . . . In the place of spiritual connection feel strength and compassion and intelligence flow. Become creative in your actions. Plot scenarios of optimal healing . . . Practice miracle management."