Awakening Consciousness – Viewpoints of the Local Faith Community

 

By Lisa Moore

 

Although it is a critical time on our planet – economically, politically, socially and spiritually – there is great opportunity for transformation through our collective action. Oftentimes we get so immersed in our individual worlds that we fail to realize the potential of doing together what is not possible alone.

Perhaps the most powerful event facing humanity is a planetary awakening that has been emerging across religions, cultures and viewpoints for centuries. Global Oneness is the gradual shifting from more egocentric patterns of life to becoming sensitized to what is truly going on—within ourselves, our loved ones, in our community and the world.

It starts with being mindful and responsible of our thoughts and actions so we may then harmonize with the bigger picture. By accepting and nurturing our diversity we are free to awaken the global heart and mind to operate as a unifying force for the betterment of society.

Representatives from the diverse spiritual community in Charlotte share their views on awakening individual consciousness and how we may move towards collective thinking for the highest good of our planet.

 

What does awakening consciousness mean to you?

Awakening consciousness is about the choice—the intentional, disciplined, ongoing choice—to pay attention, to be attentive, to notice. It entails the intent to open our minds and hearts, our reflection and our actions to the world’s great beauty and the world’s immense pain. In awakening consciousness, we relinquish being anesthetized in any way and, instead, work at becoming sensitized to what is really going on—within ourselves, with those we love, in our community, and in the world.

Rev. James C. (Jay) Leach
Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte

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The Yogis, the householders, the Pundits, the religious scholars,
and the beggars in religious robes they are all asleep in egotism.
They are asleep, intoxicated with the wine of Maya.
Only those who remain awake and aware are not robbed.
Such a person overpowers the Lust, Anger, Greed, Undue love of Worldly attachment & Arrogance.
One who contemplates the essence of reality remains awake and aware.
He kills his self-conceit, and does not kill anyone else.
One who knows the One Lord remains awake and aware.
He abandons the service of others, and realizes the essence of reality.
Humble being remains awake and conscious,
Who applies the ointment of spiritual wisdom to his eyes.

From Guru Granth Sahib (Holy book of Sikhs)

Courtesy of Surendrapal S Mac
Sikh Gurdwara (Temple) of Charlotte

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Awakening consciousness means to be deeply in touch with life as it is. We can awaken only in the present moment. For most of us, this moment includes a lot of hubbub — driving in the madly-rushing river of vehicles on Charlotte roads; finding our children’s socks and shoes; preparing meals after a long, hard day of work; wondering how long we’ll have a job; wondering how we’ll afford the holidays; and so forth.

 Awakening consciousness means living fully in that hustle including the worries, but in a way that we aren’t overwhelmed. We can only be awake now and now holds a lot. We love our dear ones with their wonderful qualities and their not so pleasant ones. An awakened consciousness approaches the world with the same loving spirit. Awakening consciousness is a process.

Leslie Rawls, Dharmacharya, Unified Buddhist Church
Charlotte Community of Mindfulness

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A conscious person acts for the highest good in each moment, considering the whole situation before making decisions that may affect others. How do you think a person can become more fully awakened to adapt to life’s ever-changing circumstances and to live a more peaceful and content life?

Too many people simply walk through life unaware. Possessed either by busy-ness or boredom, too many people simply miss what some have called the possibility of “horizontal transcendence” – that life itself is mysterious and sacred. People need to be invited to this awareness through personal encounters, reading, lectures and sermons.

Pastor Russ Dean
Park Road Baptist Church

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Personal responsibility, self- love and acceptance. The more we as individuals take responsibility for the love, prosperity, health and harmony in our own lives, or the lack of same, the more we will tip the scales of a collective consciousness based on fear and power over another.  This personal responsibility must also be steeped in the ability to love and accept ourselves first, for only then can we really contribute unconditional love and acceptance to a collective consciousness that can benefit humanity.  Otherwise we live in the delusional game of us/them from which all war and heartache are born.   
 
Rev. Christy Snow
Co-Spiritual Director/Co-Pastor
Spiritual Living Center of Charlotte

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Our world is going through a time of extreme crisis and the need to cut through delusion and recognize the power of collective thinking is paramount. What do you think it will take to move towards a shared collective consciousness that can benefit all of humanity?

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According to Hindu scriptures known as Vedas, this material planet is going through a spiritually decline age called Kali Yuga. Our delusion is that we identify ourselves as body, but in reality we are all individual spiritual beings. According to teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says that individual spirit soul is a part of the same original Supreme spirit known as God.

Under time, place and circumstances we are molded in different denominations, but ultimately we are part and parcel son of the same Supreme person, God. Once we realize this basic principle we all can learn how to act in our day-to-day lives in different circumstances and to live in peace and harmony with people.

Thakor Topiwala
Hindu Center of Charlotte

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There is a oneness to humanity just as there is a oneness in the universe. We are all born of the same ancestors and of the same elemental building blocks. And we share a single planet, which is unaware of the artificial borders that we draw. We must retain our diverse cultural norms, values, and traditions, while emphasizing that we are – at our core – part of a larger whole.
 
Rabbi Micah Streiffer
Temple Beth El

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We require more collective thinking than ever. We need to get above partisanship and prejudice in all its forms, be they social, economic, racial, gender-based, political, ethnic, ideological, or national. But good intentions and a grasp of the need are insufficient. The World Order laid out by Baha’u’llah gives us the philosophical grounding for collective consciousness while giving us a practical administrative mechanism to organize our societies on a local and global scale.

Dr. Nabil Elias
Baha’i Community of Charlotte

 

To learn more about fostering interfaith cooperation in the Charlotte area, visit the Mecklenburg Ministries website at www.meckmin.org.

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