The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Saving the World, Step Three, Part B

Follow the Map: Review and Overview

The emergence!  See the photo and caption in Part A for the hopeful metaphorical meaning in this.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps toward Saving the World

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

This is Step Three, Part B, Review and Overview.  Please see Step Three, Part A that gave an Image, Metaphor and Introduction to this step.

Review of Steps One and Two: 

The goal is to save the world and create what my brother George Kinder is calling the Golden Civilization, a society that can live sustainably with freedom and sufficiency, justice and peace for all.

Step One toward that goal is to identify what is needed to overcome the many obstacles in its way.  That step was summed up succinctly by Gus Speth, who wrote, “Many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness.”

In other words, the path to a Golden Civilization starts in the Golden Room.  The Golden Room is our truest self, our heart’s core.  We live increasingly in, from and for the Golden Room as we move to higher levels of consciousness and deeper spiritual states.  It is the place within us where we find the intuition, insight and creative connections we need in order to fulfill our individual callings and solve seemingly impossible local or global problems.

The Golden Room is also the place where we find our oneness with all.  Universal empathy and unconditional compassion grow out of the sense of oneness.  Empathy and compassion lead to support for the changes that saving the world requires.  Imagine how seeing our oneness and having compassion for all would change the way our society looks at climate change or economic inequality or war, no matter how far from our back yard it was happening.

We do not need to raise the consciousness of a majority to have oneness become the dominant perspective.  Step Two in this series showed that we need a committed minority of only 10% that sees the world from a new, higher level of consciousness in order to make the transitions required.

The first thing we need in order to implement solutions to the problems threatening the world is the higher consciousness that can both produce those solutions and engender sufficient political support to enact them.  (See the story at the end of this post for a practical example of this.)

Overview of Step Three:

So how can we move 10% of the population to that higher level of consciousness as quickly and directly as possible?

Continue reading

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Saving the World, Step Three, Part A

Follow the Map: Image, Metaphor and Introduction

The beech leaf shone with a green-gold light on sunny mornings in its spring, filling the woods with a feeling of youthful hope.  Now the natural cycle has brought it to this, as happens to all, from single cells to civilizations.  It hangs on, drained of vitality, weather-beaten and wilting.  Meanwhile the bud is swelling above it, about to burst forth with new life.  The old leaf feeds the new with the light it transformed and stored in its roots.  The natural cycle is not only birth, life and death, it is also to move through that process over and over, each time building on the past and growing higher, stronger and filled with more light than ever before.  That is the eternal hope the universe has planted in the heart of all things.  We need to keep living in and for that hope.  It is The Map.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps toward Saving the World

This is Step Three, Part A the third in a series of posts about the relationship between the Golden Room we each have within us and the Golden Civilization that we need to create in order to live sustainably on earth with freedom, justice and peace for all.

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

The Golden Room is our truest self, our heart’s core, the place we live increasingly in, from and for as we move to higher levels of consciousness and deeper spiritual states. It is the place of self-emptying at the heart of our self where we find our oneness with all, and find the gifts we have to offer for the transformation of the world.

In Step One of this series we heard many voices—the Hebrew prophets and Hindu Bhagavad Gita, Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi and leaders in many fields today—calling us to transform ourselves to a higher level of consciousness as a necessary first step to the world transformation that our survival requires.

In Step Two we saw that a surprisingly small percentage of transformed people could make the difference to save the world.

The third step’s four posts will look at a map to see how we can get from here to the needed higher consciousness.  It requires that we make attaining a higher developmental stage a priority.

The final installment of this series will present the Fourth Step, which is to adopt practices and tools to reorder our lives to follow this map and speed our inner and outer transformation.  We will get there if we commit our time and energy—as we need to do, if we want to be part of the solutions that will save this world we love.

You can continue reading this series in order by clicking here.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps Toward Saving the World, Step Two

It does not take many golden-hearted hawkweed blossoms in a patch of grass to sweep our hearts up into an enlightened state of attentiveness and joy.  The golden light changes us.  It shines through us and brightens the people around us.  It does not take many blossoms to transform a whole field.  It does not take many enlightened people to transform the whole world.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps toward Saving the World

This is the second in a series of posts about the relationship between the Golden Room we each have within us and the Golden Civilization that would arise if we each lived in, from and for our Golden Room or heart’s core or truest, deepest self.  In Step One we heard many voices saying this in different ways.  Here we will show that a surprisingly small percentage could make the difference to save the world.  Step Three will show a map of how we can get from here to there.  Step Four will talk about some of the tools and practices we can put to work right now to speed the transformation.

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

Step Two:

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation.”  That statement was true when he said it.  It is much truer today.  Of all the possible solutions King could have proposed to bring us back from that brink, he said, “This hour of history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists.” 

That sounds like a weak answer to planetary annihilation, but the anthropologist Margaret Mead reassures us, saying: “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Science has recently confirmed this.  In 2011 a group of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientists did a study funded by the United States Army and Navy research offices.  Their study documented the existence of a tipping point of public opinion.  They found that the culture will make a dramatic and rapid reversal when a committed and passionately dedicated minority becomes 10% of a society.

Step Two toward saving the world and establishing a Golden Civilization is for 10% of our society to fulfill Step One That step was summed up by Gus Speth who wrote, “Many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness.”

Ken Wilber has written an extremely important book not just for religion but for making “the transitions required” in every field to save the world.  The book is The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision for the Future of the Great TraditionsWilber refers to social research showing that already 5% of our society has attained the “new consciousness” Speth says must arise.  Wilber echoes the RPI study saying that if we can achieve 10% we will see a rapid transformation that will bring the changes in consciousness needed to solve the problems that threaten civilization and the planet today—things like climate change, weakening democracy, racial hatred and injustice, increasing economic inequality and war.

People have much work to do who are in the 5% today, striving in every field where civilization and the planet are threatened, but they also have this most important task: helping another 5% rise to a higher developmental stage and deeper spiritual state of transformed consciousness.  We need more people with a more enlightened perspective on the world, and we need them fast.

The next post in this series, Step Three, will talk about how we can get there, and Step Four will offer tools and practices that can cultivate the Golden Civilization where the new consciousness must arise, within the Golden Room.

Ken Wilber says that simply being aware that there is a higher stage and deeper state of consciousness that we can attain is “psycho-active.”  Just knowing about it moves us closer to it.  The RPI study says the 10% needs to be “committed and passionately dedicated.”  So I urge you to spread the word about this in every way you can, including clicking on some of the buttons below all four of these posts.

Thank you for doing all you are to bring about the transformation we so desperately need.

You can continue reading this series in order by clicking here.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps Toward Saving the World, Step One

This oak was cut down years ago.  Its structure remains, but is decaying and breaking.  Its heartwood core is gradually softening and rotting within a circle of cracking bark.  Meanwhile, what is left of the oak collects fallen leaves and galls.  It holds acorn shells and droppings that squirrels or birds have left.  Each humble contribution will feed the roots and heart of a future tree that will rise from the same ground.  All that has ever fallen on the oak will live on in what comes after, including light and rain and the remaining essences of other lives.  The new tree could not exist without all the lives and ways that have gone before.  They are its hope, as it is theirs.

The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps toward Saving the World

This is the first of several posts about the relationship between the Golden Room we each have within us and the Golden Civilization that would arise if we each lived in, from and for our Golden Room (meaning our truest, deepest self, our heart’s core).  The second step will show that all of humanity does not have to take these steps to transformation, a surprisingly small percentage of us could make the difference to save the world.  The third step will show a map of how we can get from here to there.  The fourth step will talk about some of the tools and practices we can get busy putting to work right now to speed the transformation.

Here is the outline of this series of related posts:

In this post we will hear about the first step from many voices.

Step One:

The first step toward saving the world is recognizing that it is from the cultivation of the Golden Room that a Golden Civilization will arise.  As Gus Speth summarizes the collective wisdom below, we need the rise of a new consciousness, a transformation of the human heart, a new way of seeing in order to bring about a major cultural change and a reorientation of what society values.

We KNOW this! We have heard it over and over. Yet we have not taken it seriously enough to ask how, and to set out as a people to accomplish it.

Now we must.  We have no other choice and no time to lose if we want to protect what we love and save what we depend on to survive and thrive.

We know this step because we have heard our wisest elders saying it increasingly stridently.

Heeding them and asking ourselves what we can do in our lives to follow their direction is the first step toward saving our world.

We can do this.  The following three posts will talk about why this can work and how we can do it.  Thank you for doing your crucial part.

First, some recent voices:

Gus Speth sums this crucial wisdom up beautifully in his book The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability.  Speth co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute.  He Chaired President Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality and served as a senior advisor to President Clinton’s transition team.  He was Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Here is what he says:

“Many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness. For some it is a spiritual awakening —a transformation of the human heart. For others it is a more intellectual process of coming to see the world anew and deeply embracing the emerging ethic of the environment and the old ethic of what it means to love thy neighbor as thyself. But for all it involves major cultural change and a reorientation of what society values and prizes most highly.”

George Kinder, the founder of Life Planning and author of The Seven Stages of Money Maturity and Transforming Suffering into Wisdom: Mindfulness and the Art of Inner Listening and an upcoming book on the Golden Civilization:  “If you want a golden civilization, you must start with what is golden inside of you. If you want a civilization that will thrive for a thousand years, you must start with what is timeless inside of you.” Continue reading

More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors

The English word metaphor comes from a Greek root.  The “meta-” part means across.  The “-phor” part means to carry.  The Greek root meaning of metaphor is “to carry across.”

A metaphor is an image we use, a bridge that carries meaning across from one thing to another.  For instance, when we say that our spiritual quest for oneness is a journey home, we carry all the connotations and images of journeys and homes over to add to our understanding of the spiritual quest.  A metaphor is a plank thrown across a ditch to move studs onto a deck to frame a new house.  A metaphor is a door we open to enhance our lives.

Metaphors can be beautiful images that add meaning by associating one idea with another—we can read poetry and look at photographs for the sheer pleasure of how they transport us and expand our hearts and minds—but metaphors have urgent, practical uses as well.  We need them in order to grow, in order to build, in order to journey toward new understandings and destinations.  We need them as individuals living increasingly complex lives, and today we need them as a society facing threats to so much that we love and depend on to survive.

The Golden Room is a metaphor that first came to me as a vision (to read it, click here).  The metaphor has extended over time in two directions:

  • the image of making an inner journey to and through our heart’s core Golden Room;
  • and the image of building an inner home or outer ideal life that is an expression of our heart’s core calling and becomes the Golden Room in and from and for which we live.

This website moves back and forth between spiritual and material realms over the bridges of these two extended metaphors of journey and building.  They are not meant to provide a map or house plan to follow, they simply help describe the ways we go about finding and living in and from our Golden Room.

In Life Planning we try to go as deeply into the heart’s core as we are able to reach. Continue reading

What Is Waiting in Your Golden Room?

by Thomas Cary Kinder

What is waiting in your Golden Room?  A surprise, probably.

Often the EVOKE Life Planning process turns up surprises:

A successful business executive goes through EVOKE to help plan for retirement and uncovers an old secret dream to run a bait and tackle shop, and no one is more surprised than she is at the joy it brings her.

A man uses Life Planning to help plan the next phase of his career, which is to launch a nonprofit to address global poverty, only to discover that before he can undertake any major new enterprise he needs to reconcile with his father.  He is surprised to discover how much that pain is draining his vigor.  He sees how valuable his father’s wisdom and support could be as he confronts the obstacles it will take all his vigor to overcome.  It could delay his launch date, but there is no question he needs to do it.  The Life Planning focuses on how he will go about it, and sets aside exploring the nonprofit path for later.

The first time I went through the EVOKE process I was a pastor who had been overworking for years and was on the brink of total burnout.  My Life Planner was the Yoda of all Life Planners, but even he could not help me get through my exhaustion, bitterness and hopelessness to find the light in my heart’s core.  We flailed around in impenetrable shadow until finally I nearly screamed that I just wanted to run away to a cabin in the woods and have everyone leave me alone.

Surprise!  I am writing in that cabin now, where I have come to meditate and write and be rejuvenated many times a week for ten years, thanks to a sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute and Lilly Endowment that enabled me to build it.

The forest around this cabin has been logged over the years, and there are stump sprouts–clumps of as many as five trees growing in a tight circle around where a tree was cut.  Other trees have fallen and rotted where they lay and a line of trees has sprouted up fed by the rot.

We come to a transition point in our lives and may envision the tree that will rise out of the old life, but other things may need to grow first.  Surprises may pop out of our Golden Room.  We look down and see not a sapling but a vigorous clump of mushrooms, and if that is what we find, that is what we need to do, trusting that either we will discover our greatest fulfillment in this unexpected direction or that this is what the universe or Spirit needs of us now, and it will lead to something else.

The EVOKE Life Planning process calls the light we find in our Golden Room a Torch.  Continue reading

The Calling to the Golden Room

Sometimes it takes many calls to convince us of a calling.  The Hebrew judge and prophet, Samuel, needed three callings and the help of old, wise Eli to work through his confusion.  Jonah needed God’s voice, a storm at sea and the belly of the whale to overcome his resistance.

The Rev. Samuel Schaal, a Unitarian Universalist minister from Texas, approached me at a Life Planning workshop in the fall of 2011 where I had shared the vision of the Golden Room.  He asked me if I would write it down for him, because he felt it could be useful for others.  It was just one more in a long series of calls spanning two decades, but it was the one that finally convinced me that I had a calling to bring this project to life.

It came along with a growing sense of urgency.

Photograph by Lesley Wellman

Continue reading

The Light at the Heart’s Core

by Thomas Cary Kinder

Morning glory blue–that is what my eye looks for on summer mornings, a flower or many flowers opening on the vines.  I wake up thirsting for more.  It diminishes the day, it dims me, when I cannot drink in that pleasure I am craving.

The wide open sky of the flower draws me in, but it is the light at the heart’s core that is the destination it has in mind for me.  It hopes I am not one of those who flies by or settles for petals.  It prays I will be a pollinator and dive into that light and help it seed the world with more of the beauty we are all born to share.

I confess that I often see only the blue, only the lovely surface.  I rush on drunk from one sip, calling it more than enough.  It takes time to move to the core.  Look deeply into this photograph and see what you feel.

Photograph by Lesley Wellman

It feels to me as if there is a sun down there in the center of all that sky, a powerful force and source of life.

It feels as if there is something waiting in that tunnel that wants to come forth, something the world needs.  I feel its urgency to make fertile the seed.  I want to help.

I feel that this tunnel leads to the light that dwells at the heart of all things, and if I dive into it here, I could swim anywhere in the universe.  If I help this light, I help all light.  If I know deeply its light, I know better your light.

I want to find that glow inside myself, inside every moment.  Where is it in me?  Where is it in this moment?

I want to help you find yours, too.  There are proven ways to do it, and we live in an extremely exciting time because ancient ways are being revived and new ones are evolving, blossoming from the intertwining strands of the old.  Here are two ways we can find our heart’s core light: Continue reading

Make an Opening

You may not be able to see it.  You may not be able to feel it.  You may see and feel in yourself only the old, splintery, knotty, worn out barn board that is all that remains of the fertile young farm you once were.

But make an opening, and if you cannot make one, wait patiently for a knot to loosen and drop and leave a hole, and see what happens.

Trust that the Golden Room is down there, waiting, eager to send forth what you were born to share and shine.  It will always return if we give it room.  Watch and wait and pray, and miracles can happen, a green spark can rise in people who have been lost in the darkness, people who feel useless, people who are dying and almost dead.  It is why we are here every minute that we are here.  It is never too late, because the Golden Room is who we are and always will be.

What do you need to do to let a new green shoot rise through you?

Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site

 

One afternoon in the late 1980s I was lying in bed with a fever, trying to meditate or pray a listening, contemplative prayer. I was turned on my side looking across at a carved wooden trunk that belonged to my grandmother when she was a girl. I felt called to get up and open it. I did not move, but I experienced everything that followed as absolutely real. I got up and opened the chest, and instead of seeing blankets, I saw a ladder dropping down into darkness. The same voiceless voice that called me to the trunk told me to climb down. As I went down, the light overhead grew smaller and finally disappeared. I was climbing through total darkness down a tight and hot tunnel. I was sweating. I was scraping my skin on the sides. I felt claustrophobic. I was afraid and had no idea that it was leading to any good, but I felt I had to keep going down.

After a long while, a golden glow appeared below me. I grew calm and curious. The ladder ended and I dropped down into a small room like a cave. Its walls were as smooth as yellow clay, but it was dry and warm. There was no visible source of the beautiful golden light. It just was. I was looking at the wall in front of me with wonder when I got the sense that someone else was there. I turned around and saw a man dressed in a white robe squatting on the floor, looking up at me and smiling. He said, “My name is Michael, and I am going to help you take what you find here and share it out there.” As he gestured with his arm the wall behind him turned into glass, like the wall of a bus station waiting room, and I saw the world outside and people passing by. Then the vision ended, and I was back in bed.

Over the next twenty years that vision kept coming to mind, and I pondered it. It was not clear to me what to do with it other than to keep up my contemplative practice and keep writing and working as much as I could from the place within me where I found my connection to God and my truest self. Over the years I learned much about how to live in and from the Golden Room, but I thought that what I was learning was meant to guide my own life.

Only recently did I come to understand that the vision is not for me alone. It is for us all. It is for the world. And it is urgent.

That is why I have created this site and why I welcome you here: to give you as much encouragement and assistance as I can for you to find your way to your own Golden Room and live in it and from it. This site provides insights, inspiration and tools to help you do that, as well as company for the journey and celebration along the way.