Wednesday

The Shakti Centre 

For Integrated Spiritual and Social Transformation















  
Looking for a way forward to create a new world? Come join us and help co-create the Shakti Centre!

"The Shakti Centre is a vision for a living community bringing together spirituality, social transformation and the wisdom of the feminine. Our major areas of activity would include: meditation; healing; creative expression; research, dialogue and sharing circles; and sacred activism, in connection with local and global collaborative networks.  For some the Shakti Centre would be home; for others a place to visit, heal, meditate, and share inspiration. Combining personal and global healing, through inner communion and outer community, it would gather those who seek to forge the connection between deep, inner universal non-dual spiritual realization and outer transformation, to a world based on interconnection and caring, for each other and the whole web of life on Earth."

The Vision:

In ancient Indian mythology, it is Shakti, the power of the feminine, that transforms and saves the world at a time of great danger and crisis. The Shakti Centre is a vision for a living and learning community restoring the values of the feminine -- the highest spiritual wisdom of our interconnection with each other, nature and our own Source -- to transform our present ecological, economic and cultural crises into opportunities for awakening, a collective shift in consciousness and how we live on this Earth.

The Shakti Centre would serve as spiritual sanctuary and international center for research, healing, creative expression and social change, helping to bring the wisdom of the feminine into spirituality and society. Our vision is to create an interspiritual, sacred activist paradigm that at the same time embraces the values of the feminine so needed to bring balance into the collective consciousness, as a vital basis for world peace, social justice, economic transformation and ecological restoration.

This is an exciting vision, one whose time many feel has come. We see ourselves as part of a larger, urgent movement in consciousness today to go beyond religious and political divisions, and foster in their place the spirit of interconnection and Oneness, as both inner experience and in its outer social expression. Many today are seeking the essence of unity, in the human heart and our global society, so vitally needed to heal ourselves and our fragmented world. They seek a true spiritual centre, both within and without, encouraging interconnection, co-creativity, integration and Wholeness. Yet there are few places today where people can actually go to help create this new paradigm, free from dogma, division and patriarchal structures of power.

Our aim is to create such a place. The vision, in its fullest scope, would embrace a whole-systems transformation, of spirituality, psyche and society. This entails transformation at: 1) the consciousness-level; 2) the level of psychological well-being and life-purpose; and 3) the social systems level, including our ecological and economic approaches at individual, community, national and global scales.

The Shakti Centre would offer a generative space for an integrated paradigm of spiritual and social transformation highlighting the following aspects:

1. Interspirituality: Distilling the universal essence of the world’s spiritual traditions. Developing a universal language of spirituality, practices and forms that have the depth and power of the highest spiritual traditions but are not religion- or culture-dependent, nor embedded in a patriarchal context. We would also identify those values that are most relevant to transforming today’s crises, and encourage different spiritual groups to come together around those values.

Whatever differences there may be in spiritual ideology, there is also a certain common ground amongst the different religions and spiritual approaches: an affirmation of the sacredness of all life; mercy and compassion; equity and fairness; a sense of interconnectedness, and being part of something bigger than oneself alone. Each of these naturally translate into ecological approaches that are sustainable and respect all life, and economic systems based on interdependence, cooperation, sharing and service to others. These values serve as a strong common ground on which we can come together, and from which we can act in movements of solidarity.

2. Direct Experience: Offering techniques that are directly experiential, leading to the ultimate experience of Oneness with the unified Source of Consciousness that is our true nature. Dogma and division would be left aside with approaches that facilitate the direct experience of unconditional love, interconnection and Oneness, the central principles of spiritual realization and the core of mystical union at the heart of diverse spiritual paths. Forms of meditation leading to non-dual realization, often expanded to embrace more feminine styles and approaches, along with supportive and integrative energy and bodywork, will be the focus of the spiritual practice, and the fulcrum for both personal healing and engaged social action.

3. Integration: A Holistic, Systemic Approach to Inner and Outer Healing  -- A holistic, whole-systems vision combining inner and outer transformation. Integrating personal, holistic transformation at the inner spiritual, energetic and psychological levels with outer, systemic transformation at the social, political and ecological levels.

At the Shakti Centre, we take a holistic, systemic approach to healing and transformation that integrates inner and outer, the personal and the global. We believe that consciousness-change and systems-change need to go hand-in-hand, that each supports and enhances the other. To this end, we bring together spiritual realization, personal healing and global change by addressing all the levels of our being in a holistic, systemic way: the inner levels of consciousness, energy and psyche and the outer social, ecological, economic and governance levels.

We know that the key to all healing is the consciousness at our core. All healing aims to bring us from a divisive consciousness to a unitive, interconnective one. If we are coming from a divisive, dualistic consciousness, we will be fragmented and unhealthy at all levels, personal and social; if we are coming from a unitive, interconnective one, all levels of our being will heal, flourish and transform.

a)    Inner: Holistic Psycho-Spiritual and Energetic Healing
The Shakti Centre would offer holistic psychological and energetic healing processes to help us bring the deepest spiritual realization of interconnection and unity into reflection and congruence at all levels of our being. Opening up the channels of flow between the levels of our being in turn opens channels of flow with the greater unified field, both of energy and consciousness, empowering us to receive inspiration and guidance for our own unique role in today’s great evolutionary transition. A vital part of this process is moving from “me-consciousness “to “We-Consciousness”, the basis for new, co-creative forms of communion, communication and collaboration with each other, nature and our own deepest source of wisdom.

 b)   Outer: Sacred Activism or Engaged Spirituality
Building on the inner work, we would explore and articulate visions for new directions in society, and generate collaborative actions to put those visions in practice. We call this “Sacred Activism”, because it bridges the gap between spirituality and social change, and reflects the recognition that the transformation of consciousness and the transformation of our social systems mutually call forth each other. There would be direct outreach and collaboration with social and environmental activist groups working in the areas of climate change action and other forms of ecological restoration; solidarity economy; social justice; and network-building for a “movement of movements” towards a sustainable, equitable and cooperative global society.

At the Shakti Centre, we recognize that we are multi-dimensional beings, existing on a spectrum from the innermost, unseen to the outer manifest levels. We seek to bring these dimensions into congruence, communication and flow, to lift the veil between spirit and matter and heal ourselves and our world.

4. A New Evolutionary Story: Going beyond the split between the old spiritual paradigms of renunciation and transcendence, on the one hand, and untrammeled  materialistic consumerism on the other, a new emerging vision of evolutionary spirituality is healing the rift between spirit and matter that has brought us to the brink of self-destruction today. A new holistic cosmo-vision recognizing the oneness of consciousness, energy and matter re-sacralizes our connection with each other, the natural systems that sustain us, and the cosmic intelligence that informs all life, uniting us with the whole of creation. We come to see ourselves as part of an evolving universe story, sacred participants in a co-creative universe. The Shakti Centre sees itself as a crucible for this new paradigm – aligned with indigenous and mystic traditions as well as modern quantum physics.

As we have seen, the Shakti Centre would serve as a point of convergence for several powerful trends emerging today in the collective consciousness: interspirituality (world spirituality), integral spirituality (holistic psychospiritual integration) and engaged spirituality (sacred activism). All have similar aims – bringing a unified, integral spiritual vision to bear on social transformation. Evolutionary spirituality builds upon these and takes them even further. The Shakti Centre aligns itself with these movements, and recognizes their synergistic connections.

Interspirituality means that all of the world’s wisdom traditions meet in a common ground of certain universal core truths, particularly that of the interconnection and unity of all life. Engaged Spirituality means that this core spiritual truth needs to be applied in sacred action for social transformation, especially in the face of today’s global crises. Evolutionary Spirituality means that both this integration of spirituality and social transformation, done consciously, are evolutionary – i.e., conscious evolution or co-creation. We no longer see ourselves separate from the Divine force that is shaping us but, knowing ourselves as part of it, actively co-create with it the next stage of our own and humanity’s evolution.

The Shakti Centre is based upon a vision of evolutionary spirituality, or conscious co-creation. Building upon interspiritual, integral and engaged approaches yet taking them a step further, an evolutionary approach involves the conscious, co-creative movement into the unknown. The perspective of conscious co-creation recognizes that none of the spiritual traditions has the final word; that there is no ultimate authority outside us, but rather in our own ever-unfolding, dynamic connection with the eternal Essence of all creation, our sacred, Unified Source.

At the core of these realizations is the pivotal recognition that spirituality entails both eternal and evolving aspects. Can we be at home in the mystery, open conduits to its unfolding? We believe it is through this surrender, this deepest attunement to the eternal and its impulse of evolution within us, that the deepest transformation can take place.

5. Bringing in the values of the feminine: Helping to instill the feminine qualities of interconnection, empathy, communion and community into spirituality and society today. Promoting women spiritual teachers and social leaders bringing in integrative and innovative approaches, and working together with men who recognize and support the importance of bringing greater balance into the collective consciousness.

Many are recognizing the importance of women’s empowerment and leadership today, and seeking to support it. Women indeed have a special role in the global transformation to a new cooperative, sustainable society taking place at this time. This role has not been fully understood, however, as some women are returning to traditional women’s roles, and others see their “liberation” as entering into the ranks of the present hyper-materialist, male-dominated power structures. True women’s empowerment is not about breaking through old ceilings in the old patriarchal paradigm, but breaking through into leadership for a whole new social paradigm, based on spiritual values, with leadership styles and structures incorporating the interconnected, cooperative ethic of the feminine.

When women come together around a coherent vision for whole-systems change towards a cooperative, sustainable society, they achieve simultaneously both the highest aims of women’s empowerment and the essential social and ecological transformation we need to survive as humanity. It is time for women to lead the way in envisioning, conveying and then co-creating with men a vision for deep-seated systems-change that embodies the feminine values of interdependence, inclusiveness, cooperation and caring. This is true women’s empowerment, not simply empowering women to climb the ranks of the old, unsustainable, collapsing male power structures, but to bring in new systems that shift from power-over to power-with, for the benefit of all humanity and the whole web of life on Earth.

It is up to women to lead the change from the current paradigm of domination/submission, where those at the top dominate, aggress and exploit both others and nature, to one of co-creation, where all work together in mutual respect, reverence and communion, with each other and nature, for the good of the whole. In this way women can uplift not only their own position but the entire condition of humanity and the planet at this critical time.

Peace-making, caring, connection and communion – the qualities traditionally associated with the feminine – are needed more urgently than ever to heal our current global culture of violence, domination and destruction. We need to shift from a society based on division and competition to one of cooperation and caring. The essence of the feminine is this sense of interconnectedness, the recognition that the other – be it another human being, of whatever gender or race, as well as the whole web of natural life – is not, and cannot ever be, separate from oneself. This realization gives rise to a whole other set of values, which would naturally express themselves in systems very different from the present ones: systems based on community, resource-sharing, equality, participatory governance, sustainable energies, solidarity economy. Interconnectedness and interdependence, experienced at the consciousness level, would naturally express itself as cooperative, sustainable systems at the outer levels.  

Our premise is that transformation, personally and globally, depends upon the re-integration of the highest principles of the feminine in the collective consciousness and structures of society. These qualities, we strongly believe, though they have been historically relegated almost exclusively to women, are in fact the natural birthright of both genders, the gateway to the realization of our wholeness, essential to both our survival on this planet and our highest spiritual evolution.

The time is ripe for an on-the-ground, living center of research and practice where these themes can be explored in depth and acted upon in a sustained way. As far as we know, no such residential community, providing an on-going forum on these issues, exists – yet the need for one is obvious, as well as inspiring and exciting.

Many fertile movements of new thought and consciousness transformation are in the air today – not only the inclusion of the wisdom of the feminine, but movements towards interspirituality, movements integrating spirituality and psychology, spirituality and  science, as well as spirituality and social change. The trend is towards inclusion and integration, breaking down barriers between fields of knowledge as well as between different segments of society. But up until now there has been no physical, on-going base where these various strands have been brought together into a comprehensive vision of spiritual practice, healing and whole-systems global change.

To this end, we see the Shakti Centre as a chalice for transformation, creating a space for alchemy by drawing together these cutting-edge movements, each with their unique strengths, into a dynamic Whole. The centre will offer a physical base in which different levels of approach to consciousness transformation -- spiritual, scientific, ecological and social – can cross-fertilize and flourish into a holistic, integrated vision and network of action for change. Such an on-going community, offering the opportunity for sustained and engaged exploration and practice, has the potential to gestate the kind of spiritual and social alchemy so critically called for today, and at the same time help generate a new social model in practice.

Combining the strengths of an ashram, academy, holistic retreat, and activist center, the Shakti Centre seeks to evolve and offer paths to both inner and outer peace, and the realization of our highest potential personally, interpersonally and globally. Going beyond dogma, division, and all authoritarian forms of power or ideology, we would offer tools and support to all who come to find the core of wisdom within, and to discover and express their own unique gifts to the Whole.

Principles:

     1) Simplicity and Sustainability
     2) Community
     3) Healing
     4) Self-Realization: Creating a New Integrative, Interspiritual  
             Paradigm          
     5) Social, Ecological and Economic Transformation
     6) Bringing More Feminine Values and Women’s Leadership into
            Spirituality and Society

Structure:

The centre would be in nature, and built simply and sustainably so that all can afford to come. There would be a meditation hall, organic gardens, workshop spaces, retreat huts, a library and healing/counseling centre. A core staff would live in and look after the centre, with a “floating community”, some coming to volunteer in the kitchen, gardens or work in the healing center, others doing spiritual retreat, writing or research, or attending workshops and courses. There would thus be a variety of ways one could be involved in the centre; for some it would be an ongoing community, for others a venue for teaching, learning, healing or spiritual practice. Whether long-term or visitors, all would be welcome to deepen their spiritual journey, make new connections, explore new directions, and find their unique contribution to this great transition of which we are all a part. Both women and men are most welcome to come.

Because we are all one – interconnected at every level of our being, seen and unseen – we suffer when we live in systems based on separation, which is its very antithesis. To go the root of our global crises is to go to the very root of that sense of separation, and reverse it. Shakti is the power of interconnection, and the Shakti Centre would be a place to come home to that power: the power to come together, to see our self in the other, and to co-create a caring, life-affirming system of unity-in-diversity that serves each of us and all life.

If you are interested in this vision and would like to help co-create it, please contact Kavita Byrd at kavitaji25@yahoo.com. More about the vision behind the Shakti Centre can be found in Kavita’s latest book, “Quantum Co-Creative Revolution: We Are All In This Together”, available in Kindle form on Amazon.com.



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Sunday

Sacred Activists Network for a Cooperative, Sustainable Economy


 

Dear Friends,

I am embarking on a new project -- related to the Shakti Centre but more pointed to meet today's urgent crises -- especially climate change, widening social inequality and the need to change the global economic system behind it. It's called the Sacred Activists for a Cooperative, Sustainable Economy. Here is the plan -- let me know if you'd like to be part of this!



Global Citizens Movement Towards A World Participatory Democracy and Cooperative, Sustainable Economy

Our world is beset by crisis – climate change, other forms of massive environmental destruction and massive, growing social inequality. The time for denial and distraction is over: the time has come to act.

A global crisis demands a global call to action. “Global” means we, the people of the world – not the present globalized corporate economic system that is causing the crises – but we, the people, transforming it, to a cooperative, sustainable one, through the structures of a new participatory world democracy.

This is a call to galvanize a global citizens movement towards a world participatory democracy and cooperative, sustainable economy, based on the consciousness of interconnectedness, unity-in-diversity, equitable sharing of resources and non-violence. I will speak more specifically about possible strategies to do that, but first I would like to give a brief background of what I see as the deeper causes of the crises, and a model for how to apply the remedy – the consciousness of interconnectedness – at all levels, from our personal psyche to our social and economic systems.

1 -- The Three C’s: Connecting the Dots between Consciousness, Capitalism and Climate Change

Naomi Klein (and now the Pope!) has already clearly identified the causal link between capitalism and climate change (and in general, environmental destruction and the growing inequality that goes with it.) Here I add a third dimension to this causal chain, for it is the consciousness behind capitalism and climate change that is the deeper cause of both of these. This consciousness is a distorted one, the delusion that we are separate, and therefore must live in competition with each other, and in conflict with nature. This divisive consciousness finds its expression, par excellence, in the capitalist credo – the enshrinement of individualistic self-seeking and private self-profit, disregarding the consequences for others and nature -- the result being our twin crisis of climate change and extreme social inequity.

To reverse this vicious causal chain and replace it with a virtuous one – one that restores healthy life systems and our creative, symbiotic relationship to them – we need, then, to start with a fundamental change in consciousness. In fact, this change would restore our natural relationship with consciousness itself, which is itself the deepest source of our unity, our interconnected being. Consciousness is by its nature connective. Once we have we embraced this essential truth of our interconnectedness, with our own source, each other and nature, it is natural to base our social and economic systems on cooperation and sustainability – the outer embodiment, in our material systems, of our interconnection and unity.

Thus a new chain emerges, from a consciousness of interconnection, to cooperative and sustainable systems, to a course-correction on climate change and our crises of social inequity.




2 -- Interconnectedness: A Holarchic Model of Interconnectedness at All The Nested Levels of our Being

Einstein famously said that you can’t solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that caused it. It is obvious today that in order to solve our crises we need to come from a far more enlightened consciousness.

Enlightened consciousness – both in its most exalted and most practical sense -- is the realization of interconnectedness: that nothing exists as a separate self, but in interdependence with everything else. In fact, if you stop and think about it, you’ll realize that everything that appears to us is at its root dependent on consciousness itself; it is the “glue” – the unified field -- that connects “subject” and “object.” This means that “subject and object” are one: we as the perceiver, and everything we perceive – ourselves, others, nature, the cosmos – are not only intimately and intricately interconnected, we are actually boundlessly “One” with each other and with all that exists. (Some people call this God; but even secular science attests to this.)

Not only has this been the perception of great mystics and seers, but whole societies have been based on it. The collective insanity of extreme individualism and destructive greed we see today is neither inevitable nor natural; it has been deliberately promoted by commercial vested interests, and an economic philosophy that is wrong-headed, short-sighted and destructive. Actually, the understanding of basic interconnectedness and the need for cooperation (with each other and nature) is natural, and has been part of indigenous cultures, as well as a basic tenet of many forms of Eastern spirituality, for centuries.

The challenge today, of course, is that that needs to be applied on a global scale, and in a situation of much greater complexity. To this end we need a model, a framework, for how to translate this ancient wisdom – the knowledge of interconnectedness – to all levels of our being, transforming not only our inner psyche but our contemporary social, ecological and economic systems.

I would like to offer a simple model that could possibly serve as a nucleus for a global citizens movement towards this end. It would facilitate the expression, at all levels, of this principle of interconnectedness, which I see as fundamental to this great transition.

It starts with the recognition that we are not separate entities, but all of us are embedded in a nested series of systems. The mature, or integral, consciousness we need for our next evolutionary phase is to expand our identity from our personal sphere alone to an identification with all the wider systems of which we are a part. We are each citizens of multiple dimensions. As we mature, both personally and collectively, we come to identify ourselves not as a separate self but a seamless part of an integral, ever-evolving Whole.

We can imagine a model of the concentric spheres or systems in which each of us is embedded, and then begin to identify how a consciousness of interconnectedness would express itself in each sphere. These spheres, from inside out, would include the spiritual, energetic, psychological, ecological, economic, socio-political and planetary/cosmic.




At the deepest, spiritual level, for example, “interconnectedness” would mean the experience of unity with our spiritual Source (secular types can just skip this one, but for those who have a sense of it, this unity is also the source of our interconnectedness at all other levels, with each other, nature and cosmos… Or, in more scientific terms, it means that everything is interconnected within a greater field of consciousness – without this, nothing would appear at all!) This level, in my opinion, is in fact the most potent for both individual and social transformation, but, for the purposes of gathering a widespread global citizen’s movement in time to meet the most urgent crises, it’s not necessary that everyone relates to this innermost level.

At the energetic level, interconnectedness refers to the fact that we are all interconnected within a unified energy field, and thus every action we take (as well as any thought or emotion) invisibly affects all others. When we learn to respect and honor this, we gain enormous power to influence others and events for the good, rather than unconsciously from negative or self-serving motives. Quantum science is verifying how powerfully we affect each other, even at long distances. Deep healing can take place at this level, personally and collectively.

At the psychological level, interconnectedness would entail the capacity for empathy, to put oneself in the other’s shoes, to extend one’s consciousness beyond one’s own perspectives, feelings and belief systems, and enter into the consciousness of the other. This includes the cultivation of compassionate communication and forms of collective intelligence (Lots of work is happening in this area today!) This is also the realm of the moral and ethical call to address the crises of social inequality and injustice.

At the ecological level, interconnectedness means the interdependence and symbiosis of ecological systems, and of ourselves within them. It means that we recognize the intricate balance of the web of life, and our own participation within it. This one is probably the most obvious, the easiest to convey, and already understood by many, as climate change is driving the point irrefutably home. Ecological interconnectedness can also be easily explained in scientific terms, without any reference to spirituality or consciousness (or even morality or ethics!) It is very pragmatic, and, at this point, impossible to deny, since the consequences of violating it are staring us in the face!

At the economic level, ideally our economic system would follow the contours of our ecological system, replicating its patterns and respecting its boundaries. It would replicate the reciprocal cycles in nature with it own patterns of cooperation, sustainability and reciprocity. Models of ecological economics, steady-state economics, non-growth, solidarity and resource-sharing economies, all give us clues to the features of a new economy based on interconnectedness. This realm is essential to address, because everything in our cultures is dependent on our economic structures.

At the sociopolitical level, working in tandem with these cooperative economic structures, the principle of interconnectedness would be expressed through collaborative and participatory democratic processes, from local-scale to global. This might eventuate in something like a world-wide participatory democracy, mediated by the Internet, one of the possible outcomes of the global citizens movement which we have been discussing. At the global level, certain structures for global governance would need to be agreed on, essentially to protect the principles of cooperation and sustainability, for the benefit of all. They would not supersede or conflict with, but rather ensure local sufficiency, as well as local creativity, and fair reciprocity between regions.

The planetary-cosmic level is the one that provides an over-arching perspective of who we are and what we are doing, of our place in the universe. It places us in the greatest context of the “Universe Story”, embracing both the eternal, universal, and the evolutionary dimensions of our being. It both imbues life with greater meaning and restores our sense of wonder at the sacredness of its ever-unfolding mystery. It gives us the energy and inspiration to serve this greater unfolding.

This is just a brief synopsis, of course, of what a healthy expression of interconnectedness would look like at each of these nested levels of our being. Much more could be said. But the basic point is that, by embodying an appropriate expression of interconnectedness at each of these levels, a systemic synergy would be created, forwarding ancient wisdom into contemporary, evolving complex systems.

When this holarchy of nested systems is balanced and healthy, the spirit of interconnection and unity permeates all the subsequent, increasingly complex dimensions emanating out of its core. Where it is violated or ignored, as in the disjunction between the natural expression of interconnectedness at the ecological level, and the rapacious, self-serving violence which our present economic system inflicts on it, that power of interconnectedness surfaces, erupts – as in climate change today – to course-correct and restore balance.

This is why the restoration of the principle of interconnectedness, as the guiding ethos of our culture, is so crucial for the next stage of our evolution. In this holarchic model, everyone has their place; there is no hierarchy by which the post-industrial Northern, Western cultures are taken as the most advanced, the ones to lead the way (an assumption many from these cultures, however well-meaning, still implicitly make.) In fact, those cultures that have preserved the ancient wisdom of interconnection and unity, and how to live in harmony with each other and nature, should have a central position (as, I believe, should the interconnective values of the feminine, which have also been so long repressed.)

At the same time, because we now need to apply those values to highly complex, global systems, all sectors and strata of society have an important place in this – the scientists, ecologists, systems-thinkers, economic visionaries, permaculturalists, political activists, etc., from North as well as South, combining their skills in the context of a holistic, integral vision, guided by the core consciousness of interconnection and unity, to effect this great transition.

What is important is to gather all these different sectors around this central, holarchic vision of interconnectedness, by which everyone can see the bigger context of how their various, respective roles fit together and contribute to the Whole. Each individual or sector can then focus in on the level of work most suited to their skills, talents and interests, yet never losing sight of the Whole, and how the different sectors and roles complement and enrich (rather than contradict or exclude) each other.

3 -- Global Citizens Movement Towards a Cooperative, Sustainable Economy and World Participatory Democracy

Our aim, as stated earlier, is to galvanize a global citizens movement towards a world participatory democracy and cooperative, sustainable economy, based on the consciousness of interconnectedness, unity-in-diversity, equitable sharing of resources and non-violence. Global structures would be developed in line with these universal principles; at the same time they would ensure the protection of local resiliency and creativity, assuring that no harm, violence or exploitation occurs between any one region or sector and another; nor any activities incurring environmental destruction.

At all scales, local to global, decisions would be made by the people, for the people, the Earth and future generations. It would be based on the understanding that what is best for the Earth, her interdependent life-forms and future generations, is also what’s best for us now.

There would be a short, pointed manifesto stating these aims, and made to go viral on the Internet. Signatures would be gathered on-line of people demanding this transformation, declaring themselves citizens of the Earth and global citizens of this emerging world vision, backed by powerful leaders. There could be a world-wide one-day strike and other forms of ongoing mass demonstration to bring the movement visibly to the public attention, as well as to that of the powers-that-be, and continue to gather momentum and traction, in the real world of action as well as the virtual one.

Meanwhile, behind the short manifesto would be a holarchic model (as outlined above) based on the expression and embodiment of the key principle of interconnectedness at all the nested levels of our being – spiritual, energetic, psychological, ecological, economic, socio-political, and planetary/cosmic. People could see where they fit into this larger picture, and direct their energies, talents and skills to the sphere that attracts them most, working in co-creative synergy. An interactive website would map and track the activities in the different areas, facilitating coordination and collaboration between them. This would also serve as a developing prototype of a digital platform for world participatory democracy.

4 -- The Two Biggest Obstacles to Action; And How We Can Break Through Them

Two barriers we have to overcome are first, the inertia, apathy and hopelessness that anything can be changed, the epidemic of “impotence” in the face of entrenched powers; and, conversely, the fear of any alternative, cooperative economic system being authoritarian, stripping away our freedoms (which is in fact exactly what the present system is doing!) People have to understand that a cooperative economy is an expression of people’s power, unlike the present travesty of democracy, where decisions are made by ruling corporate elites, who would indeed have us powerless.

Because our crises are global, we do need a form a global governance to remedy their causes and ensure that they do not recur. But this governance need not be dictatorial or authoritarian – rather, the very point is that it would cooperative and democratic, under the people’s control, for the benefit of the people and the natural world we are part of. Systems do not have to be based on top-down power and control; they can be based on collaborative, co-creative synergy, “power-with” rather than “power-over”; with basic cooperative values in place, as well as checks and balances, to ensure that no one dominant group takes over.

One might ask, but when has such a system ever existed? And that’s the whole point -- the emergence of such a system is the next stage of humanity’s evolution. And this is by necessity – for there’s no other direction to go but down. Crisis demands evolution, a jump to a whole new order. There are plenty of precedents in the past, of how necessity has compelled people to take courage in hand and jump into a whole new future. At such revolutionary turning points, people take power back into their hands. They set new norms for society, instead of passively submitting to the ones that have been forced upon them.

Another obstacle that, ironically, paralyzes many from action is the desire to control, and the unwillingness to step forward without having the “whole plan” in advance. No one of course has the whole answer in advance, but by coming together and sparking in each other new hope and new possibilities, a new evolving future emerges, greater than the sum of its parts, unleashing potentials we couldn’t have even imagined. We cannot afford to be afraid of the unknown, but trust that by stepping forward, step by step, its hidden, implicate order will unfold. The unknown can actually work to our advantage, if we are open and let it deliver its gifts.

This means, while we need a framework in which to work together, we need to always leave space for creativity and emergence. The model I have offered here is not meant to be air-tight – it is meant to breathe, at all scales. We warmly invite the participation of all who resonate with this vision to join us, to contribute their creative gifts, and help transform our world from one of competition and conflict to cooperation, connectedness, and the flourishing of the Whole. We are all in this together.

                                Kavita Byrd
                                Sacred Activists for a Cooperative, Sustainable Economy

                                 Contact: kavitaji25@yahoo.com
                                 www.shakticentre.blogspot.com