We live in a time of renewal. Though there seem to be too many disillusioning signs of decay and death happening all too often all around us, these are but part of a larger process unfolding. Lest we get lost in what these parts of a larger whole disguise, the bigger picture is what holds the promise of rebirth and new growth.

What our time calls for is a transformation of consciousness. In 1993, as part of their statement on A Global Ethic, The Parliament of the World’s Religions saw this need very clearly: “Earth cannot be changed for the better unless we achieve a transformation in the consciousness of individuals and in public life.” They note that the possibilities for transformation have already been glimpsed in areas such as war and peace, economy, and ecology, but “this transformation must also be achieved in the areas of ethics and values.”

This is a daunting task. It means a lot of hard work toward achieving a universal consensus on disputed ethical questions, having professions develop up-to-date codes of ethics, and having faith communities formulate their own specific ethic on the biggest questions of life, to make even more specific the already discernable global ethic. The Parliament of the World’s Religions pledged, therefore, “to work for such transformation in individual and collective consciousness, for the awakening of our spiritual powers through reflection, meditation, prayer, or positive thinking.”

But the Parliament, or any single religion, cannot do this for us. This is a task for all of us in our private and public lives. What is required is shifting our focus from the parts to the whole, from letting a process in motion determine our actions and reactions to acknowledging the oneness of Creation and letting this reality always be our guide. In looking at the long sweep of history, there is more evidence of biological, cultural, and spiritual evolution being a single creative unfolding process than there is of its opposite.