I’ve just returned from an inspiring visit to Chicago where I attended a spiritual conference intended to uplift and enlighten me – and it accomplished exactly that, but not quite in the way I imagined.
My intent going in was to shift gears in myself, and I set aside these nine days to accomplish that task. My expectation was that the shift would occur through the experience of the conference itself, and then I surrendered to the experience.
I spent some time searching for the answers through the speakers who came before us – including media darling Michael Beckwith and the powerhouse that presents herself as August Gold. But in truth, the answers came through much more humble means.
While riding the CT on the way to a Frank Lloyd Wright house, I spotted a transit sign posted on the wall. The sign referred to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and reminded all passengers that the local transit authority doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, colour or religion. The implication, to me at least, was that I would be wise to follow suit.
It got me thinking deeply about the impact such a statement has on its people. And it gave me a context to what I had already noticed – a city where the perceived boundaries between these three things appeared to be no thicker than a veil, where people were consistently respectful, and courteous to the point hat it left me feeling like they actually cared. Where people looked each other in the eye, and as they say in Avatar, really saw each other.
I’d catch clusters of friend standing laughing together – white, black, Latino, Asian. Mixed race couples that were clearly comfortable with each other and failed to attract any attention from others.
I started to see too that each of these groups were made up of people born around 1964 or later. And I started to imagine what it would be like back then when a growing number of people set into mind that they wanted to do this societal thing in a completely different way. That they wanted to show that we are all One, and we’re experiencing this world as a collection of human experiences.
I know when I mindfully treat others with love, with kindness, with an open heart, my experience widens, my fear lessens, and my faith and trust in myself grows. And the more I practice this part of my daily expression, the more embedded it becomes to the point where I no longer need to think about it. I simply practice the art of seeing rightly.
To sum up, I’ll borrow a line I spied while grooving to the music at the House of Blues – “unity in diversity”. When we live from a place of unity, we create a new vision for the world, and a new expression. It feels good, and it is good.
This city of skyscrapers may be an architectural dream, but what those buildings now symbolize to me is the towering strength of the spirit that moved so deeply among so many that they changed their way of being in the world in order to create a new one.
We can all do that, any time any where.
I invite you to join in.