Life, as we know, is changing so rapidly before our eyes. Every generation seems to reminisce about the good old days. My parents tell me stories of what life was like before TV was invented and extended family lived next door to each other or lived within blocks. They share stories of how fresh the food was and how staples were purchased at mom and pop shops run by butchers, bakers, produce grocers and how milkmen delivered diary items to your front stoop. I tell my children about the days before iTunes and smartphones were created that I listened to music on eight-track and cassette tapes, and I completed college assignments on a typewriter.
Even though each generation experiences change, I believe the transitions that are underfoot today are epic. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift occurs when the usual societal and worldview undergo a significant transformation. Scientist, Thomas Kuhn, who coined the term, states that during such a time individuals will experience chaos, uncertainty, and even periods of “intellectually violent revolutions” as the old way of thinking and being is collapsing as the new shift in consciousness is struggling to emerge. The caterpillar struggling from its cocoon to emerge into a spectacular, colorful butterfly is a perfect metaphor for this cycle of emergence of a new worldview.
Currently, we are watching the breakdown of our educational, religious, economic, and political systems while the harmful effects of Global Warming are being experienced by the whole of creation. Rapid advancements in technology are not only changing the delivery of our media, but is also replacing man/woman power, and is having an effect on our social-emotional intelligence, on our person-to-person contact, and how we define community. All of this is exciting and can be frightening at the same time as we bid farewell to the comfortable and familiar as the landscape changes right under our very own feet.
Not only are brick and mortar businesses feeling the effects of our shifting times as some of them are forced to close up shop, but churches and spiritual communities are experiencing the impact as well. Forty-eight percent of the population born between the years 1984-2002 consider themselves to be unaffiliated when it comes to belonging to a church or spiritual community. As a result, Sunday service attendance is down nationally across all religions and many communities have had to close their doors because they were unable to remain financially solvent. Two months ago, I became dismayed when I discovered that over the last year one Unity spiritual community a month had to dissolve for the same reason.
When I heard this news from Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM), I became fearful about how the changing times would affect Unity by the Shore as I witness a drop in attendance during the summer months. I knew quickly that I had to begin to shift from fearing the changing times to welcoming it. I began looking deeper at the paradigm shift that we are in the midst of, and I believe we are collectively being called to shift from the consciousness of separation to the consciousness of Oneness. I have shared in previous articles, that I believe that the patriarchal ways of competition, greed, and every man/woman for himself is being played out before us as leaders try to resist change by going back to how things used to be and by constructing walls to keep “the others” out as solutions to what ales our failing institutions. The polarization of duality and the consciousness of the “other” are also being played out among us as we argue, defame, and resist those who have a different political belief or worldview than we do. Spiritual teacher Dr. Shariff Abdulla states that we are collectively feeling the effects of four major shadows, violence, “the others”, lack, and despair, as we encounter our current global challenges. In order to for us to shift into the experience of Oneness, we must collectively unite in our efforts to bring the four Lights, peace and security, inclusivity and community, true abundance, and fulfillment of embodying on Divine gifts in service to one another. Dr. Shariff Abdulla is partnering with Unity World Headquarters (UWH) and UWM in bringing a pilot program to Unity ministries called Shadow to Light (S2L), and I will be sharing this program with UBTS this fall.
In the meantime, know that the board and I are looking to embrace the technological age by raising funds to purchase equipment so that we can Livestream services and key events. Over the remaining lazy days of summer, I invite you to take respite, recharge, and to recommit to the spiritual transformation of yourself, UBTS, and the planet. We need all hands on deck!