It is not an understatement to say that humanity has entered into a period of crisis that has never before been seen. In virtually every nation, the social, political and economic institutions that govern and regulate human affairs seem to be collapsing before our eyes. Understandably, because of the magnitude of the problems we face, feelings of gloom and fear naturally arise. Yet, it must be realized that this is not a crisis that predicts the end. Instead, it is the antechamber to a new beginning. Humanity is now stepping onto the burning ground, which eventually leads to a new and dawning era.
To appreciate this remarkable period in human history it must first be understood that, by nature, human evolution is cyclic. Whether we consider the evolution of an individual, or of humanity as a whole, our growth is governed by periods of crisis followed by stabilization and harmony. Because of this, the crisis phase of the cycle should not be viewed with disappointment or dismay, for it is built into the fabric of evolution itself. Crisis creates the tension needed to liberate life into a higher way of being. The loftier way of life we seek is always earned through tension and its resolution. The burning ground is therefore the forerunner to opportunity, not its obstacle.
Upon close examination, we can see that humanity evolves through the adoption of new and progressive ideas. New paradigms give rise to innovative ways of living. They are the yeast of societal change and renewal. In truth, culture and civilization is nothing more that the out-pictured expression of human thought evolving over the vastness of time. New ideas eventually become old. They give to us what they can, but eventually become imprisoning. As they say, “old ideas die hard,” and it is this that eventually forces society to step onto the burning ground.
In the past, societal crisis has been largely confined to regional, tribal or national issues. Yet, for the first time in human history, the burning ground experience has reached global and multi-institutional proportions. All of humanity is feeling its effects, and every societal system is involved. This is what is most strikingly new about this period of crisis. It is manifesting in every social system, and within every society.
All of humanity is now walking the burning ground and new ideas are being explored. Because the crises we face are global, one idea that is becoming increasing realized is that humanity is essentially one. Indeed, humanity’s oneness is becoming a foundational paradigm, and to recognize this is the first step in rising above the global crises we now face. Yet, it is not just that we are one in kind, but also in essence. Deep within the recesses of the human mind is a unified field of consciousness. It is an interior place where we are fused as one living soul, the soul of humanity.
At this remarkable time in history, the Soul of Humanity is glimmering for the first time. Its flickering light is beginning to be recognized through the many garments of its outer expression. We see it manifest in the growth of cultural appreciation, in the movement toward human and environmental sustainability, through the principles advocated in the ecumenical movement, and in our growing sense of responsibility for the welfare of the human family. Indeed, it can be recognized in all acts driven by a concern for the welfare of the larger whole.
Humanity is now walking the hot coals of the burning ground. It is a time of painful adjustments, and no country is free from its gripping demands. We are being forced to let go of many ideas that have served us in the past but are now obstacles to the future. Admittedly, our survival during this transitional period is not assured. We could fail. Yet, if history is any judge, failure is unlikely. For subsequent to every darkened age, the spirit of renewal appears as a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Humanity stands at the threshold of a golden age. The global crisis we now face is simply the darkness before our dawning hour.