Recently I had a conversation with someone who works for a corporation that is striving to control seed production and other agricultural farming methods worldwide, which would destroy all other avenues and alternatives of agriculture that include organic and more sustainable, effective methods of growing food for people. This individual stated that he was so grateful that he still had his job, a job he has had for fifteen years.
I asked this man what his thoughts were on the controversy about the lack of ethical practices of the company he works for. His face had a blank look on it; he did not understand why I was asking the question. I informed him of what I generally knew of this particular corporation and my concerns for what it represented, which was contradictive of values of truly sustainable practices that take into consideration the natural world systems, healthy human cultures, and the overall well-being of humans and the bioregions in which they live. I went on to point out that this corporation and others like it are destructive of that which is in divine pattern and truly sustainable for the planetary web of life that is now endangered by the practices and policies of these unethical, profit-only-motivated companies.
This individual angrily retorted that he did not care about “all of that,” that he was just happy he had a job that provided a decent lifestyle for his family. I bit my tongue from arguing with him, for I knew (from decades of experience) he would not accept what I had to say, though I could not help but suggest before we parted that he consider looking for another job that would be better for the world and his children and grandchildren. Of course, he huffily stormed off, and I sadly went on my way.
This man represents the majority of Americans who have “secure” jobs and are quite content with their lives just as they are. They are basically “good,” law-abiding people who have worked hard to get to that point of contentment, and they are not interested in making too many changes in their understanding of life. These kinds of U.S. citizens feel that they must be loyal to the American status quo that provided the opportunities for them to experience to some extent the Great American Dream. The discomfort that the man felt with me was when I began to present an expanded way of viewing life. It went beyond his comfort zone, and he wasn’t about to allow himself to really listen to what I tried to share with him. Like most people, he did not want his deeply-entrenched ideas and opinions to be shaken or challenged.
It is challenging to be a change agent, someone who causes discomfort in people who are very comfortable in a consciousness that is selfish, narrow, and not very thoughtful. As long as any of us—who are more aware of the serious state of the world and the need to make huge changes—compromise and go along with other people’s comfort zones, we are not really change agents. We need to step out of the boundaries that the “unaware” and “unawake” and “comfortable” people have set up around their minds and hearts, and we need to speak out about wrongdoing, even if it causes others to feel embarrassed or upset or even really angry.
We change agents must continually challenge our own ideas as well as those beliefs and perceptions of others. If we truly yearn for truth and more truth, we must be willing to look anywhere for truth, and relay that truth to others. But, in order to inspire others to awaken and make changes that will contribute to a more wholly sustainable world—sustainable for all peoples and ecosystems—we first must be able to continually be awake and open to changing and adjusting our own perceptions and behavior to complement divine pattern.
As a change agent, I know that although this world is filled with confusion and much suffering, the divine Creator is alive and well on this planet—in human beings who have awakened to the innate sense of divine pattern within them, in the ordered systems of the natural world of which we are a part, and in the living spiritual forces that are on present on this world. I believe it is my destiny and responsibility as a change agent to share my personal experiences and realizations as I expand in my own understanding of what is right and wrong, what is actually scientific fact, and what is ethical within the morality of divine pattern and the laws of the Creator. I can be no other way, for when I have tried to compromise in order to not discomfort others when they should feel shaken and concerned, I do them and myself a great disservice, and I contribute to the continued suffering that could be lessened if I and others confronted evil (yes I dare to use the “e” word) with the truth.
Though much personal suffering in individuals is caused by their own decisions and thoughts that are out of divine pattern, there is another kind of suffering that is caused by the decisions and mindset of others who have the power to improve other’s lives but instead create terrible and destructive situations for those others. And then there are those who remain oblivious to the suffering of others and continue to go with the status quo and remain complacent within the Great American Dream.
Though I have had a piece of that dream, as a change agent I have struggled with the knowledge of millions of people unnecessarily suffering, and I have burned with a fire that drives me to continue to question any belief, situation, institution, or person that in some manner contributes to that suffering. Those who have a sincere love of truth are willing to go wherever it leads, and where that will always eventually lead is to divine pattern found within natural ecosystems and the higher systems of human thought and behavior.
Truth does indeed challenge any beliefs, ideologies, and values that are false (outside of divine pattern), and most of the mechanistic and strictly materialistic values and beliefs of the American dominant culture are not truths within the Creator’s pattern. Selfishness and materialism without true morality cause suffering in individuals and whole cultures as well as in the natural environment of which we humans are a part. If our ecosystems erode, so do we.
If any of us want to be change agents in action and not just in word, we need to ask some questions. Are we really willing to go wherever the truth leads? What if that truth leads us to throw out most of what we have believed to be “moral” and acceptable and O.K.? Are we willing to un-learn useless, incorrect theories or ideas that may be considered traditional and acceptable within the status quo but are contradictive to true righteousness and sustainablity? Are we willing to re-learn that which is true science and truly moral, right, and sensible within divine pattern? What if that truth leads to conflict with our family, friends, and acquaintances who become discomforted with our expanded consciousness? What if that truth leads us to receiving false accusations and ridicule from others? What if that truth leads us to feeling as a stranger in a strange land, struggling to bond with and relate to others who are not so willing to go where truth would lead them? What if that truth leads us to feeling grieved over the terrible suffering that so many millions are experiencing and therefore no longer comfortable with our own lives and the way we live them? What if that truth leads us to continually question our own motives, our own purity before the Creator? What if that truth leads us to never be satisfied with the way things are if they are wrong, but to constantly strive and struggle to make life better for others?
Though at times I experience inner agitation and conflict as I continue to go where rightness leads me, I can honestly say that truth has always led me to an inner peace and poise that “passes all understanding” and inexplicable joy and gratitude for being alive during these exciting times of great transition. I continue to experience expanding love and compassion for others and a daily sense of inspiration and purpose. Whatever my conscience has led me to relinquish has been replaced with something much higher and nobler. I have hope for the survival of this world and a vision of a much kinder, more sensible and sustainable world culture that encompasses many types of people and ways of living sustainably within the divine pattern of diversity and unity without uniformity.
This article was previously published in A Spiritual Voice
-Niánn Emerson Chase