By Ben Hart
Here at The Shift Network (as you’re likely aware if you’ve been a part of the community for some time), our work is about much more than sharing transformational content through online courses and summits. We’re here to create real change in the world by supporting the shift of human consciousness to greater levels of awareness, purposefulness and love and helping evolve our collective ways of being in various sectors of society to create a more sustainable and harmonious world.
Obviously this is no small undertaking and there is much that can be said at another time about how we currently see our path forward. The beautiful thing about our commitment to this work though is that we are not alone. Not only are there hundreds of thousands like you who are connected to The Shift Network, but there are millions of citizens around the world working toward similar objectives in their own unique ways.
This past week, one such group of allies came together in Japan to launch a declaration for our collective world-changing work and to explore what we can do in the years ahead in our respective fields. I attended this gathering and would like to share some of the highlights with you, which included a closed door symposium in Tokyo and a large celebratory event with thousands at the base of Mt Fuji.
The main impetus for the events was the launch of the Fuji Declaration, which was initiated by Dr. Ervin Laszlo, Founder of the Club of Budapest, Masami Saionji, Chairperson of the Goi Peace Foundation, and Hiroo Saionji, President of the Goi Peace Foundation. The Fuji declaration expresses a commitment to “advance a more harmonious, compassionate and sustainable era for all humanity” as we “recognize and nurture the full human potential and divine spark within each human spirit”.
It is a beautiful distillation of the core principles we must champion to move toward the more enlightened society we believe is possible. I highly recommend you look it over and join the global community by signing your name.
Shift Network CEO Stephen Dinan and I were founding signatories of the declaration, along with folks like Jane Goodall, Muhammad Yunus, and Nobel Peace Laureate and Former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez. Many Shift faculty were signatories as well including Tim Kelley, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Howard Martin, James O’Dea, and Joan Borysenko.
In launching the declaration, a group of about 50 founding signatories came together for the symposium in Tokyo to discuss how we can make its intentions tangible. In groups based on our areas of focus in the world (business/economics, government, science, environment/tech, media, education, and religion/spirituality), we dived into explorations around the seeds of change we already see in our fields, our visions for what is possible moving forward, and what we can do now that will help bring such changes about.
I co-facilitated the media group and we had a wonderful discussion that left me more hopeful about the current changes underway in media and excited for ways we can contribute to the continued evolution. A few of the highlights of what we see already shifting in media include the fact that millions (if not billions) of us are now able to be content creators and share our work via online platforms that can reach people around the globe (Facebook, Youtube, blogs, etc.). This ‘democratization’ of media is allowing more voices than ever to be heard and is creating the potential for a more informed, connected world. Additionally, the rise of crowdfunding platforms has allowed more independent media makers to raise money to create projects that would otherwise not see the light of day. Another sign we’ve seen is that more people are becoming interested in ‘conscious’ content. Some examples of this are Oprah’s channel (OWN), which offers content that intends to be more conscious than regular programming, a white paper put out by Gaiam estimating that 100 million Americans are now consuming conscious media each year, and the fact that Avatar (with themes of sustainability and spirituality) is the highest grossing movie of all time.
In the future, we see the possibility for the norm being media that serves the interest of the global community through truthfully informing us while spreading inspiration and innovation that supports a harmonious and sustainable world. In this, media aspires to educate the public with a heart-based consciousness as it’s foundation, serving as a reflection of our highest ideals and intentions for life on this planet.
There were many ideas about how to move media forward toward this greater vision, the majority of which were focused on projects members of the group might undertake themselves. For my part, I’m excited for us to create more media here at The Shift Network that not only shares more of our transformational offerings but also highlights what’s working in the greater initiatives of shifting our world. There is so much amazing work being done on the ground as people take inspired action that can educate and catalyze us. More to come on this in the future!
The other main event of this gathering was a celebration called The Symphony of Peace Prayers (SOPP), taking place in a beautiful area at the base of Mt Fuji and attended by over five thousand people.
The Goi Peace Foundation’s sister organizations, the World Peace Prayer Society and Byakko Shinko Kai hold annual SOPPs in which thousands gather to pray for world peace. During the event, representatives from 9 different religions shared their prayers, which was a lovely experience. It was as if the prayer from each religion (Shintoism, Judaism, Islam Sufism, Protestantism, Sikhism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism and Buddhism) was a sacred instrument and in its sharing, we could experience them all merging into a greater symphony, expressing humanity’s deepest longings and grandest ideals.
Following this, the flag of every country was presented and the entire gathering prayed for peace for each country, in the native language of that country. I attended this event three years ago and was again so moved by this display of care and intention. To see thousands of people expressing their desire for peace in every region of the world in every language connected me strongly to our truth as one human family.
The day was also filled with amazing music and powerful speeches and I had the pleasure of co-hosting the global broadcast, which five thousands people tuned into. You are invited to view the entire ceremony, which had many moving and inspiring moments.
There is much more that could be shared but let me end here and express that my time in Japan was a truly blessed experience and I am very grateful to all the attendees, staff and participants who came together to create such magic.
Our discussions and prayers are now a beautiful part of the tapestry we’re weaving to create a better world. In the coming months and years, our intention at The Shift Network is to support all who are called to not only connect with your divinity but learn to bring forth your ‘divine spark’ through tangible inspired actions so that we can see ongoing evolution in every sector of society.
May we each find our unique ways to express our love and contribute to this world. And may we know our oneness in all we do.
Ben Hart is the Director of Marketing at the Shift Network. Prior to joining the company at its inception in 2010 and helping build it from the ground up, Ben worked in leadership development, producing conferences, leading workshops in universities and offering coaching for individuals. A speaker and writer, as well as a marketer, Ben’s focus is on sharing powerful ideas and the creation of initiatives and communities that support individuals sharing their deepest truth and genius. Click here to follow Ben on Facebook.
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This article appears in:
2015 Catalyst, Issue 10: The Enneagram