By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
In the waning days of summer, I am slowing down to take a deep breath, relax and reflect. My beloved wife, Devaa Haley Mitchell, and I are about to go on vacation for a few days to rest and rejuvenate before Autumn. I hope you are in a position to recharge as well.
With headlines so often dominated by the worst in us, I want to remind all of us to remember the good that is taking place in the world, in particular in three areas: love, peace and activism.
It is easy to forget about the simplest source of inspiration and nurturance: love. I feel truly blessed to have wonderfully loving family, friends and colleagues.
While grateful for this abundance, I know not everyone has such love in his/her life (if you want more, I recommend Ken Page’s free seminar this week!). Much of what we do at The Shift Network is to help people tap into the love and peace that exists in their own hearts and souls, learn to connect with others in heartfelt ways and to take meaningful action that ultimately leads to a more loving and peaceful world.
In this edition of The Catalyst, we are sharing a collection of articles on love, peace and activism. Susan Audrey writes about how to attract a soul mate and Lisa Schrader on awakening the divine feminine in relationships.
Our Director of Peace, Philip M. Hellmich, teamed up with Kurt Johnson to co-author a brilliant piece about sacred and secular activists joining strategies for peacebuilding. In a profile piece by Bruce L. Cook, he shares reflections about his experience in writing the new book, Strategies for Peace.
Our friend and ally David T. Nicol wrote an inspiring article about “subtle activism” (prayer and meditation) being used to bring wisdom to the US political process. Also, Mushim Patricia Ikeda has offered a powerfully moving profile piece about the importance of self care in activism — I Vow Not to Burn Out.
Our Shift Philanthropy is the The Gaiafield Project, founded by David T. Nicol. Our Featured Artist is Mangalananda who teamed up with amazing musicians in the San Francisco Bay area to produce Auspicious Bliss, an album of beautiful devotional kirtan.
Also, remember that the Summer of Peace is continuing through the International Day of Peace (September 21) with powerful free interviews that are well timed for the events taking place in the world. (To register free for the sessions, click here.)
I will also be on the East Coast again next month for my book Sacred America, Sacred World — join me In New York (September 15th), Hartford (16th), Philadelphia (17th), Washington DC (18th), and New York again (September 20th). Click here for my schedule as it finalizes.
Finally, please start thinking about how you and your family will celebrate the International Day of Peace! (Please see the list of partner activities in Movement News!)
Join The Shift Network, The Gaiafield Project and people around the world for Global Shift Meditations the 1st of each month – click here to register free. We featured David T. Nicol on Subtle Activism for a WiseUSA on September 1, 2016. (Free recording available after event – click here.)
Are you searching for “the one” — yet instead of finding the soulmate love you long for — are enduring disheartening dates, childish games and ultimately a lot of frustration?
What if it were possible to experience an exponentially faster and more powerful path to love and know that while doing so you’re also discovering the keys to deeper intimacy in all your relationships — as well as your own deep inner gifts?
Well, it’s not only possible, it’s essential that you open to this path if you really want to find true intimacy, according to Ken Page, LCSW, a renowned psychotherapist, blogger for Psychology Today, and author of the groundbreaking book Deeper Dating.
It is very apparent that we are passing through a difficult time together on planet Earth. There is a growing recognition that our conventional social, economic, and political systems are no longer working well enough (if they ever did) to bring about a just, sustainable, and spiritually fulfilling world. However, while many responsible voices have identified the need for a fundamental evolutionary shift, other forces are exploiting this climate of discontent for their own ends.
Like many people, I have been disturbed by the recent spate of violent incidents around the world and the rise of extremist elements in our politics. A spirit of reckless destruction is afoot. One senses the determination in these forces to provoke the rest of the world into endless cycles of conflict.
It is our privilege to work with companion global networks and movements that are building new pathways to peace. What is unique about them is that today they join both sacred and secular activists in joint works toward global peacebuilding. These partnerships include the emerging global paradigm of “Interspirituality” (which seeks to recognize and meld the shared wisdom resources of all the world’s spiritual traditions), newly emerging, more secular, global peace networks and organizations, and the fruits of new research and discovery in the field of neuroscience. Together, these new movements seek to advance global peacebuilding by identifying peace strategies based not only on prosocial networks centered on both the sacred and secular, but also emerging science.
Mushim Ikeda says it’s not enough to help others. You have to take care of yourself too.
At the end of January, one of my close spiritual friends died. A queer Black man, a Sufi imam “scholartivist” (scholar–artist–activist) and professor of ministry students, Baba Ibrahim Farajajé died of a massive heart attack. He was sixty-three, and I’m guessing he had been carrying too much. It was only six months earlier that Baba and I had sat together on a stage in downtown Oakland, California, under a large hand-painted banner that read #BlackLivesMatter. A brilliant, transgressive bodhisattva, Baba had been targeted for multiple forms of oppression throughout his life and had not been silent about it. When he died, I was sad and angry. I took to staying up all night, chanting and meditating; during my daytime work, I was exhausted.
Last month I was privileged to publish a trade book entitled Strategies for Peace. I joined Maria Cristina Azcona as co-editor and the book emerged as a collection of new ideas about peacebuilding.
At the time I had no knowledge of the Bonobo Monkey colony in D.R. Congo. Since then I learned on the CBS Program 60 Minutes that Bonobo Monkeys have a brain one-third the size of humans, but they don’t kill each other. One has to wonder where we, with much larger brains, have gone wrong. Further, female monkeys there are seen to squelch conflict without major injuries. Which makes these monkeys superior to humans in terms of important ways. If I had known that I might have consulted these primates instead!
Start Planning for the International Day of Peace — September 21, 2016. There are many initiatives offering ways that you and your family, school and/or business can participate in this global celebration of peace:
Find or create an event for the International Day of Peace — September 21 (click here)
Have your city become an International City of Peace (click here)
Oxfordshire, UK — August 26–29, 2016 — Even though its free, this is a very high quality festival, created as a labour of love with authors, artists, musicians and speakers who really care about contributing to a world of our dreams. Last year 10,000 people attended Peace in the Park and all costs were covered by donations from festival goers and volunteers. The Retreat Centre is an historical building set in stunning grounds, lovingly tended by volunteers and funded by the generosity of many thousands who visit from around the world each year. To learn more, click here.
Peace in the Park San Francisco — Free Event, September 17, 2016 Golden Gate Park. 11:00am–6:00pm — A rejuvenating day of peaceful activities for all ages and backgrounds alcohol free & vegetarian refreshments. Lets you explore a variety of ways to unplug and unwind while living in a fast-paced urban environment. It's an opportunity to find yourself, feel good and engage with our beautiful community in a fun, inspiring and healthy atmosphere. This free festival will feature world music, dances, tai-chi, hatha yoga, life-enhancing seminars, kids activities, peace exhibits, and meditation experiences in the exquisite Golden Gate Park Bandshell. To learn more, click here.
To honor the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21, Lake Shrine is offering a “World Peace Sunday” on September 18. Morning services will feature teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda themed on world peace, an opportunity to offer prayers for our nation and world, followed at 12:00 pm noon with a release of white homing doves to symbolize our commitment to being spiritual peacemakers. All are welcome. To learn more, click here.
Join Stephen Dinan for live book events and radio/TV interviews. Stephen will be on the East Coast of the U.S. again next month for his book Sacred America, Sacred World — join him in New York (September 15th), Hartford (16th), Philadelphia (17th), Washington DC (18th), and New York again (September 20th). Click herefor his schedule as it finalizes.
Available in Paperback: Subtle Activism: The Inner Dimension of Social and Planetary Transformation. David Thomas Nicol introduces the concept of “subtle activism” to describe the use of consciousness-based practices like meditation and prayer to support collective transformation, such as global meditation directed toward peaceful resolution of a conflict. Subtle activism represents a bridge between the consciousness movement and the movements for peace, environmental sustainability, and social justice. It is not a substitute for physical action but rather a potentially crucial component of a more integrated approach to social change. To learn more and order a copy, click here.
New Book: Strategies for Peace. Serious about world peace? Like a crystal, peacemaking has many facets. Review them in this definitive trade book featuring prominent scholars describing the alternatives. Topics include: Leadership, Language and Literature, Interspiritual, World Citizenship, Family Relations, Role of Women, Education, Medical Actions, The Arts, Conflict Resolution. Authors include: Ada Aharoni, Maria Cristina Azcona, Celia Altschuler, Joseph Berolo, Raïs Neza Boneza, Bruce L. Cook, Gloria Ines Currea Córdoba, Daniel Erdmann, Philip M. Hellmich, Kurt Johnson, Ernesto Kahan, Muli wa Kyendo, Glen T. Martin, Nina Meyerhof, Lida Sherafatmand, and Sunita Singh-Sengupta. Special discounts available for classroom use, write to: click here. To learn more, click here.
What is Kundalini Yoga — Starting in September — Join Karuna from Light on Kundalini as she guides you through an explorative experience of kundalini yoga and meditation. Gain greater awareness and transform limiting beliefs with this introduction to kundalini yoga. Immerse yourself into this life-changing practice and learn to use kriyas — a mixture of breath, poses, and mantras — to move energy in the body and achieve specific attitudes, mentalities, and behaviors. You will experience just a few of the thousands of kriyas taught by kundalini yoga founder, Yogi Bhajan, that can range from uplifting your spirits to confronting your deepest desires. To learn more, click here.
We are happy to announce we are offering Part I again as a mini 4-Day Immersion, which will allow new participants to join in on Part II, October 14–21, 2016.
This two week immersion training takes place at a 30 acre lakefront rustic retreat center near Gainesville Florida. Imagine...you...further developing essential skills, knowledge, confidence, perceptions, sensitivities and new understanding for your own personal development as well as contributing to a cultural shift in your community. Come join us for this innovative approach to community peacebuilding with a small group of like minded and committed individuals. Share in meaningful dialogue, new challenges, discoveries and fun. To learn more, click here.
Free Telesummit: Three Essential Building Blocks for Starting a Restorative Justice Program — Monday, September 12 — 1:00pm–2:30pm Central — Please join us for a free telesummit session with Dr. Mark Umbreit and co-worker Ted Lewis of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota. Together we will explore key foundations for creating and sustaining new restorative justice programming that involves dialogue models at the center, while also addressing key challenges for building collaborative partnerships that blend the strengths of government and community systems. To register free, click here.
Upcoming Webinar Course — Building a Restorative Justice Dialogue Program — Starting September 29, 2016! Whether you are a Judge, Criminal Justice Worker, Public Administrator, Law Enforcement Professional, Social Worker, NonProfit Director, student or concerned citizen, this training is crafted to help support your process to build new programming in a team setting. This intensive, interactive course will feature 3 weekly 90 minute webinars (videocast in HD). Registration is now open! Discounts available for Individuals and Groups. Course Page & Registration
College and University Peacebuilding Approaches to Violent Extremism and Youth Recruitment — Oct. 6–8, 2016 — Cleveland, Ohio — The conference will include a focus on prevention, intervention and response with an overarching focus on prevention methods such as community engagement, youth and community empowerment, and education. The conference will review and highlight strategies that help build relationships in the community. Hosted at Cleveland State University, in collaboration with the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Baldwin Wallace, Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga Community College, George Mason University, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Kent State University, The Ohio School Resource Officer Association, The Ohio State University, Stark State College, The United Network of Young Peacebuilders, The University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. To learn more, click here.
Recovery 2.0 Retreat — Costa Rica — with Tommy Miller and Kia Miller — November 19–26 (Thanksgiving) 2016 — Join Tommy Rosen & Kia Miller for a rejuvenating week of recovery, yoga and relaxation in one of Costa Rica’s finest retreat centers. The Blue Spirit Retreat overlooks the Pacific Ocean and a three mile long white sand beach, which is a turtle preserve. This extraordinary setting will provide us with a deeply nurturing and unforgettable experience together. To learn more, click here.
Awake: The Life of Yogananda— Now available on Netflix, Amazon and other livestream programs.Plus, DVDs available with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch and Japanese. Plus there are new film showings in Australia and United States! You also can bring Awake to your yoga studio or community. To learn more click here. (The filmmakers were interviewed in the Yoga Day Summit, the recording is available for free.)
The Global Peace Index 2016 was released. The Global Peace Index, which ranks 163 countries on their peacefulness, has helped shift the world’s conversation about peace to a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human well-being and progress. Highlights from the report:
Global inequality in peace has widened in 2016 as least peaceful countries spiral into increased violence
The world became less peaceful in 2016, reinforcing an underlying decade-long deterioration in world peacefulness driven primarily by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability.
The economic impact of violence on the global economy totalled $13.6 trillion or 13.3% of gross world product, equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.
The economic impact of violence was $137 trillion over the last decade — greater than global GDP in 2015.
Refugees and displaced persons have risen dramatically over the last decade, doubling to approximately 60 million people between 2007 and 2016, nearly 1% of the world’s population.
Iceland is the world’s most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria.
Syria is least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
World Peace Library — Free Resource — Be sure to take advantage of the World Peace Library, a wide-ranging resource on peace newly compiled by the Shift Network: It contains more than 300 inspiring talks and mini-workshops from individuals such as Archbishop Tutu, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra, James O'Dea, Karen Armstrong, Chief Phil Lane and many more. With neuroscientists and lamas, faith-based activists and political leaders, this Library offers something for all in their peacebuilding efforts. The Shift Network has made the World Peace Library a free resource for all and encourages its use to promote peace in your families, schools, and wider community.
The Shift Network is delighted to be a strong supporter of The Gaiafield Project, an organization that promotes the study and practice of subtle activism, which affirms the power of consciousness-based approaches like global meditation and prayer events to support social and planetary transformation. The Gaiafield Project develops subtle activism principles, practices, and programs, builds connections between leaders in the field, and co-creates a global network of subtle activists to support a shift to a global culture of peace. To learn more, click here.
WiseUSA is a ‘subtle activism’ campaign intended to uplift the hearts and minds of the American people in the 2016 election cycle and beyond. It is designed to engage millions of Americans in regular meditation, prayer, and other sacred activities that allow divine grace to flow into the consciousness of America and the world at this critical time. To learn more, click here.
Acharya Mangalananda was a monk for years in India, serving the beloved Anandamayi Ma. He is also the author of Om Ma: Anandamayi Ma, a short life sketch of one of the twentieth century's greatest saints. Mangalananda is deeply devotional and it is reflected in his kirtan music. Mangalananda’s new album, Auspicious Bliss, is described as “a winning combination of traditional call-and-response holy chant from the Indian tradition played by American musicians all experienced and in love with this type of music.” Mangalananda calls the team a "Super Group" of kirtan artists playing beautiful chant melodies. If you are a lover of kirtan and the Beloved, you will absolutely find yourself intoxicated with ecstasy listening to Auspicious Bliss. To listen to Auspicious Bliss, click here.