Since the current spiritual epoch initiated by Baha’u’llah in the middle of the 19th century, great progress has been made materially, technologically, and in our conscious evolution. Just in the realm of the expansion of consciousness, the rise of American transcendentalism created the first bridge between Christianity and the Dharmic religions, and inspired the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 in Chicago, where Hinduism was introduced to America by Swami Vivekananda.
Also introduced to America at this first Parliament were Jainism, Buddhism, the Baha’i Faith, and others previously unknown here. Having a broad and profound impact on attendees and the general public alike, who heard about the first Parliament of the World’s Religions from the world press, this auspicious gathering marked the birth of the global interfaith movement, which unfolded even further with many more similar multi-faith organizations.
A result of the technological advances of our time that also helped initiate this leap of consciousness were the photographs of the Earth sent back to us from the moonwalk, which gave us the literal vision of one planet with no boundaries between us. Space travel inspired astronaut Edgar Mitchell to found the Institute of Noetic Sciences, dedicated to supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research.
Indeed, we still have a long way to go, but we can’t help but wonder if this latest release of spiritual energy in our time is a missing piece in understanding the “new set of historical circumstances” that has made this time so ripe for so many shifts in consciousness.
After having spent many centuries restricted by an adopted consciousness of duality, with diverse communities and nations living at odds with one another, we are well on our way to reclaiming our inherent consciousness of oneness, while at the same time beginning to recognize our common heritage and build global goals around principles of equality and justice that will sustain us.
We are living in the early phases of a spiritual revolution, a time of renewed spiritual energy that is reforming all things. This is a time of disintegration and integration, a time when the clash of opposing forces are bringing about a transformation of consciousness. Ours is a time when there are forces in operation to assist in this process, re-creating patterns of interaction and relationship, and enabling disparate parts of the whole (who themselves are also assisting in this renewal) to retrieve our heritage of oneness. We are coming to recognize the timeless truth of indigenous teachings, as in these words from Chief Oren Lyons:
All things are bound together,
all things connect.
Whatever befalls the earth,
Befalls also the children
of the earth.