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A radical inner transformation and rise to a new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the Western mechanistic paradigm. – Stanislav Grof
A New Age emerges and the devastating changes that have preceded it are understood to have been necessary purgations effecting the transformation of humanity into a new mode of being. by analogy, just as the individual near death experiencer may have to endure the pain and suffering associated with the trauma of almost dying before positive personal transformation can take place, so the world may need to undergo a “planetary near-death experience” before it can awaken to higher, more spiritual, collective consciousness with universal love at its core. – Kenneth Ring
A new era of divine consciousness is upon us. The world of humanity is going through a process of transformation. A new race is being developed. The thoughts of human brotherhood are permeating the depths of hearts and a new spirit of universal consciousness is being profoundly felt by all men. – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 5, p. 37.
“A new era of divine consciousness,” the Baha’i teachings tell us, has arrived. Can you feel it? The Earth has never experienced such a transformative period in human history, exemplified by our rapidly-blossoming knowledge base, our increasing connection to others, our growing sense of human unity, and the expansion of our collective consciousness toward oneness.
If you look, you can see the burgeoning effects of this profound change everywhere.
I saw the new era yesterday, when hundreds of people from the little community I live in gathered together to consult on ways to address chronic homelessness and poverty in our midst. That big meeting came about primarily, I think, because of a growing level of divine consciousness in our town—the kind, understanding, empathic realizations that anyone can become homeless; that each of us has an essential human connection to poor and homeless people; that we all have a basic, spiritual responsibility to care for the other members of our human family.
Ironically, before the meeting took place, I’d been reading about my town’s not-so-pretty history. In the region where I live—the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California—many gold rush-era encampments turned almost overnight into large, crowded mining towns during the 1800s, a little more than a hundred years ago. The primarily white miners, who inundated California seeking gold, often behaved brutally toward the indigenous people who lived here first. In fact, the historical record reveals an ugly litany of displacement, disease and death, the Indians exterminated at rapid, genocidal rates as a result of the miner’s mass immigration. Even the Chinese migrant laborers, intentionally brought to the United States as virtual slaves to work on the building of the railroads, faced enormous prejudice and pain from the white miners.
In the nearby town of Truckee in the late 19th Century, for example, a viciously racist group of businessmen and civic leaders who called themselves The Caucasian Society formed, met and colluded to make every Chinese resident leave. During one particularly cold winter, they refused to sell the Chinese food, literally starving them out. With the slogan “The Chinese Must Go!” the Caucasian League fired every Chinese worker, boycotted all Chinese businesses, and even murdered some of its leading Chinese residents—with complete judicial impunity from the all-white court system. Finally, the entire Chinese population was forced to flee.
The stark contrast between those two events struck me with great force. As I thought about the enormous, altruistic strides we’ve made in the intervening years, I tried to contemplate the massive changes in the world’s spiritual progress over that period. Then, that night, I watched the news of the migrant crisis in Europe, and saw the remarkable footage of Germans happily and kindly welcoming Syrian refugees into their country, freely offering them food and clothing and lodging. One German woman told a reporter, when asked why she would take in an entire family from another culture who she didn’t even know: “Well, we’re all people, after all.”
Yes we are. Certainly some people in past eras offered kindness to strangers and assistance to the poor, but rarely at the broader and more organized levels we often see today. Certainly some people today still react to those in need with fear, rejection and hostility, but rarely at the extreme levels we saw in the not-so-distant past. Certainly we still see xenophobia and hostility toward immigrants in many places, but we also see much human kindness. Certainly the world still experiences war, racism and displacement today—we wouldn’t have refugees without those negative forces—but people increasingly seem to want to react with love, openness and a warm helping hand. This marks a very different phase in human history, human evolution and human development. Without question, then, we have entered a new era of divine consciousness:
Today the light of Truth is shining upon the world in its abundance; the breezes of the heavenly garden are blowing throughout all regions; the call of the Kingdom is heard in all lands, and the breath of the Holy Spirit is felt in all hearts that are faithful. The Spirit of God is giving eternal life. In this wonderful age the East is enlightened, the West is fragrant, and everywhere the soul inhales the holy perfume. The sea of the unity of mankind is lifting up its waves with joy, for there is real communication between the hearts and minds of men. The banner of the Holy Spirit is uplifted, and men see it, and are assured with the knowledge that this is a new day.
This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons of the world are luminous, and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes. You are loosed from ancient superstitions which have kept men ignorant, destroying the foundation of true humanity.
The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease between nations, and by the will of God the Most Great Peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world, and all men will live as brothers. – Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 19.