Toward a More Loving and Caring World
NEW KNOWLEDGE TO DEVELOP A STRONGER SENSE OF
HUMANITY IN OUR PERSONAL AND POLITICAL LIVES
In a world that seems to be topsy-turvy, my wife and I needed to remind ourselves of our participation in and contribution to a common human destiny that is more loving and caring. So we wrote a poem together:
Look for Beauty in all things,
Expect Love at all time,
Give from the Heart,
Be grateful for Life itself,
With all that is channeled into our living room via the news, it seems silly. But regardless, we have been reading it out loud each night and something has been happening that was a complete surprise: We’ve been able to tap into an inner healing power that is much welcomed at our age. Try it. It’s worth the few minutes. The brain is always growing and developing and this message from the heart apparently has a deeper significance to its ongoing sense of mindfulness.
With a stronger sense of our humanity in our personal lives comes a new awareness of our wholeness and access to our powers of healing at every level - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. With a stronger sense of our humanity in our political lives comes a awareness of oneness and an ability to mend our living together. For the past forty years, we have been caught up in a process of globalization that is putting pressure on us to change in ways that will make us more inclusive of our ongoing learning as a species and more open to conserving and sharing our planet’s resources. We are at a crossroads. We can continue to build a world based on fear and greed, a world governed by competition; or we can choose to build a world based on love and generosity, a world governed by cooperation. How do we make reinvent ourselves personally and politically to meet this challenge? Simply put, we can choose to participate in and contribute to a better tomorrow.
It is generally accepted by the helping professions that when we are under pressure to change and are seeking a more balanced outlook on life, we tend to ask ourselves four basic questions: Who am I? What’s it all about? Where do I fit in? and Why are we here? The wording of these four most basic questions is different for any one of us and from culture to culture but they represent mindful paths of inquiry that tap into our inner humanity and help us build a stronger sense of peace and of being at-one with the universe. By asking them continuously and keeping our minds open, we can find give new shape and direction to our growth and development as individuals and we can feel more identified collectively with our common human destiny.
Otherwise, we lose our continuity of civilization’s slow progress, one generation to the next. Simply put, today’s goal of a more loving and caring world challenges the concerned reader to become better global citizens and to participate and contribute more effectively to our ongoing humanity.
Back in 1972 when I left my teaching position at the University of Manitoba and went into private practice as a child and family therapist and educational consultant, it was because I had begun to notice something in my dialogue with children and their families that was not being taught: Whereas life is a four dimensional process - Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual - my clients were trying to live it three-dimensionally and were feeling unfulfilled. They were anxious and ill-at-ease within themselves and at odds with one another because their outer success was not leading them toward inner happiness.
I began to realize that what we are all trying to find is a balance of these four dimensions, a wholeness. Therapy, to me, became a dialogue where two or more people work at this balance together and learn from one another within the context of family or society - indeed, within the context of humanity itself. The key was a common sense of humanity that respects cultural and religious learning. It is the most basic kind of love.
So when I went into private practice as a family and child consultant and educational consultant in 1972, it was because I had become convinced that the key to our expression of this kind of love was a mutual awareness of the innate sense of spirituality that was seeking to find expression in the material world in which we both find ourselves, therapist and clients together. Gradually, I discovered that finding a balance between the growth of our basic spirituality versus the development of our social sense of self came down to something pretty simply: we need to be constantly be asking ourselves Who am I? What’s it all about? Where do I fit in? and Why are we here? These questions are deeply rooted in our innermost sense of spirituality and need to be kept uppermost by our constant questioning as we develop as successful members of any society within the global community. They are simply questions. The answers are ever-changing.
This means on the one hand that as societies, we need to be providing freedom for individuals to live out the uniqueness of their lives and to question; and we need to encourage individuals to be look toward a balanced sense of diversity, unity, purpose and meaning in life. On the other hand, it means that as individuals, we need to be seeking opportunities for dialogue that open us up to a renewed sense of respect for one another and for peace and wonderment. In short, we need a more therapeutic and healing attitude toward ourselves and others based not only on what we know by way of psychology and sociology but also theology and even cosmology.
Toward a More Loving and Caring World therefore is a unique combination of research from biology, psychology, sociology and even theology. It had to be as we are four dimensional: body, mind, heart and spirit. I discovered in private practice as a family and child therapist that when we have a more balanced awareness of life as a four dimensional process that integrates the material, intellectual, emotional and spiritual realms of our growth and development, we are happier as individuals…and we contribute more successfully to the lives of others. Whereas none of this was being taught at the Universities that I attended and later taught, this integrated approach to the whole person is now being researched and may be “googled” under the headings of “mindfulness” and “soulfulness”.
There is an urgency today. We are going through a process of globalization that is putting enormous pressure on us to change. The more we are open in mind and heart to our common human destiny, the more likely we are to create a more loving and caring world. To do this, we need to generate a stronger sense of Universal Love – love of self, love of others, love of society, and love of humanity – all within the context of an awareness of our Cosmic Reality.
Bottom line: Toward a More Loving and Caring World is about continuously asking ourselves life’s four most basic questions is all about. It may seem overly simple, I know, but it seems that the human being is an amazingly constructed vehicle for the expression of our individual spirituality. It is guided by an inner compass that leads us toward a collective destiny that is loving and caring…if only we will continuously remind ourselves of the meaning of life one generation to the next and feel ourselves a part of the mystery that is unfolding.
While globalization brings an enormous potential a more integrated and fulfilling lifestyle based on our common human destiny, its new demands for integration also are causing confusion and anxiety. But by repeating the four fundamental questions of life (who, what, where, why), we can foster a new sense of wholeness within ourselves and in our relationships with our family, our society and humanity-at-large.
It all comes down to increasing our effectiveness as global citizens and making us happier in our personal lives. Globalization is going to change our world for the better – I know it; we just need to approach it the right way. In today's world, psychologists are calling it Mindfulness; theologians are calling it Soulfulness. We need both - an expanded awareness of ego and more open notion of soul.
In short, we need to be more aware of an overall balance of all four levels of our existence:
By choosing to be more loving and caring, we can have insights into an integrated awareness of these four realities that will give new direction and meaning to how we can participate individually in the creation of a global community and to how we can make more effective use of the enormous gift of an ever-advancing technology that comes with it. We know these dimensions in a more loving and caring context as as MINDFULNESS, SOULFULNESS, PEACEFULNESS and BLISSFULNESS. Could these be the four cornerstones of tomorrow's world? Love is the powerful integrating force within us to build onto these cornerstones.Quite possibly. But it's up to us. Eric Fromm's research reported in his 1956 book The Art of Loving is more urgent now. He was one of the first to recognize four kinds of love; Love of self; love of others; love of society; and love or humanity. And to make love an acceptable subject of study and advanced understanding. Yes, today's world is different from the one that I grew up in, practiced in as a child and family therapist and now am retired in. But it seems that the need for a more loving and caring world and for understanding how we can make it happen as individuals is even more urgent.
I invite your comments and have included a section entitled CONTACT in this website for this purpose. I will provide a free PDF version of Toward a More Loving and Caring World to any kindred spirit who contacts me and contributes their thoughts and ideas for a more loving and caring world.