In this age, the right of every one of us to investigate reality for ourselves is the most fundamental of all human rights; exercising this right can bring us the greatest of benefits, not only in this life but in the life to come. That human consciousness is endowed with the intellectual, moral, spiritual, and aesthetic capacities needed to undertake such an effort is evidence enough that this right exists. Our own spiritual development depends on this to transcend earlier levels of consciousness.

Our inherent urge to understand reality expands and fulfills our consciousness, enabling us to acquire the wisdom available to us as co-creators of this creation. An expanded consciousness is a means for advancing civilization. Those who seek truth facilitate their own transformation as well as the transformation of society.

Ervin Laszlo says our challenge is “reorienting our vision.” We need a good compass to guide us that can set standards and direct our steps. These ideals, he says, are found in our existing cultural and spiritual heritage, and “still have a latent power to motivate actions and influence decisions:”

“The great ideals of the world religions…embody perennial values…and should be reaffirmed… There is, for example, the Christian vision of universal brotherhood governed by man’s love for a God of all men and for his fellow human beings. There is Judaism’s historical vision of an elected people in whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed. Islam has a universal vision of an ultimate community of God, man, nature, and society. The essential goal of the Baha’i Faith is to achieve a vision that is world embracing and could lead to the unity of mankind and the establishment of a world civilization based on peace and justice. Hinduism envisions matter as but the outward manifestation of spirit and urges attunement to cosmic harmony through the varied paths of yoga. Buddhism, too, perceives all reality as interdependent, and teaches man to achieve union with it through rejection of the drives and desires of a separate ego. Confucianism finds supreme harmony in disciplined and ordered human relationships, and Taoism finds such harmony in nature and naturalness. The African tribal religions conceive of a great community of the living and the dead, to which each person belongs unless he willfully creates imbalances between the seen and unseen forces in and around himself.”

These are the perennial ideals based on universal human values. In their original and purest form, they can guide our steps into a sustainable future. In our search for truth, with our consciousness expanded, we come to a remarkable realization. We find that what we thought was out there is also within us. We find that essence of ourselves that unites us with all creation, all beings, and divinity itself. As Deepak Chopra has said, “What you seek, you already are.”