|News Flashes of a New Time
"Appearing right before our eyes is evidence of
the soul of humanity awakening
and entering our world."
News Flashes of a New Time
Headlines trumpeting disasters have become a regular feature of our times. But recently, so have stories heralding “the better angels of our nature.” To be sure, the kind of headlines that engender fear, anxiety, and morbid curiosity—the ones that have always worked to “sell newspapers”—still dominate. But mainstream media outlets have increasingly sought to soften their effect with uplifting accounts of the human spirit.
Stories of compassion, altruism, and goodwill are no longer relegated to local newspapers or alternative media, which for decades struggled at the margins to highlight good news. Lately, major media have presented a steady stream of stories focusing on the good within the human soul. Appearing right before our eyes is evidence of the soul of humanity awakening and “entering” our world.
The growing tide of spiritual rebirth is most visible in the myriad ways that people are reaching out to help others and to heal our planet. Listed below are stories reflecting soul consciousness that are making newspaper headlines or being featured by network news outlets. Their cumulative effect makes it possible to discern the outlines of the plan of spiritual evolution, as predicted by the Ageless Wisdom.
We began this page in April '09 with the intention of adding to it from time to time. Please let us know of examples that you would like to see highlighted here. (The most recent stories appear first.)
A Note to our Readers: In the year since we launched this webpage, a profusion of good news has begun to appear in the major media. Inspirational stories about altruistic people are now featured so frequently that they are blending into the regular fare of many newspapers and television stations. In the media they no longer seem as exceptional as they did even a year ago. But they remain exceptional as examples of the higher potential of human beings.
In the past week alone, we've made note of several extraordiinary accounts. An Indian man, formely the chef of a five-star hotel, now prepares three meals a day for street people. Grief-stricken by the abject poverty he encountered, he left his job to devote his liife to caring for the poor. An American family sold their mansion and devoted half the proceeds to building a school and medical center in Ghana. Their move was prompted by their 14-year old daughter who was shocked by the sight of homeless people and realized that if her family shared their wealth, they could help many others. Over a thousand residents of a small American town facing high unemployment pooled their energies and resources to rebuild the house of a family whose children have a degenerative disease and needed wheelchair accessibility.
There have recently been so many of these extraordinary accounts of giving and sharing, and of openness to diversity in all its forms, that it is no longer possible to keep up with the flow in a timely manner. However, we decided to leave this webpage as it is, as a reflection of our times. In spite of all the bad news in our world, the good is keeping pace.
"Americans Often Mix Traditional Faith with Other Spiritual Ideas"
This sub-head of an article in the Washington Post (December 10, 2009) was headlined: “Survey finds complexity in U.S. religious beliefs.” Conducted in August by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the survey shows that many individuals are feeling increasingly free to combine various aspects of major religions with “Eastern or New Age beliefs.” A full 25 per cent of U.S. respondents said they believed in “reincarnation, the rebirth of the soul in another body.” Nearly half of them said that they had had a mystical or religious experience—a significant increase from 22% in 1962. These findings seem to confirm the emergence of soul consciousness—both the inner experience of invisible realms and a growing awareness of the soul’s journey through lifetimes.
"A Global Choir"
By late July of this year, the sensational music video of “Stand By Me” had been seen 20 million times on YouTube . On July 24th it had reached ABC-TV’s evening news under this headline. The segment told the story of the music video that began with a street musician in California, in 2005, then traveled the world picking up fellow musicians in Russia, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, South Africa and elsewhere, all playing their part on different instruments and turning “Stand By Me” into “a universal song.” That project grew into an organization called Playing for Change. Founder, Mark Johnson, says it was “born of the idea that we have to inspire each other to come together as a human race and music is the best way to do so.” They have since made other global music videos including, “Let’s Get Together and Feel All Right,” which features many musicians from Africa.
"Recession Lesson: Share and Swap Replaces Grab and Buy"
An article with this headline appeared on July 17, 2009 in The Washington Post. It was a story about the upside of the economic downturn: people are sharing again. These tough economic times have forced people out of their isolation and self-orientation, causing them to connect again. The article cites a variety of statistical and anecdotal evidence that neighbors and relatives are sharing and helping each other in ways they did not when the money flowed. A psychology professor observed that connecting and sharing makes us feel better about ourselves. An interviewee said, “People are helping each other and getting back together. You’re not the lone ranger anymore.”
"Kiva Microlending in the United States"
Kiva, whose mission is “to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty,” is the world’s first website that matches individual lenders with individual low-income entrepreneurs around the globe. “We Let You Loan to the Working Poor” is their website headline. Known for providing micro loans to small entrepreneurs in the developing world, Kiva has just launched a pilot lending program in the U.S. For the first time they are extending small loans to U.S. citizens with no chance of receiving bank loans for a range of different projects. The ventures and the stories of the people behind them can be found through the link to Idealist.org, which featured this story on June 30, 2009.
"Millionaire Gives Away His Estate"
On May 14, 2009, BBC World aired the story of a millionaire who decided to sell his 10-acre estate, which became a plush hotel and conference center, and donate the proceeds to charity. Brian Burnie, 64, from north Northumberland, wants to help provide services for cancer patients in his area. “We live in a me, me, me society,” he said, “and it has always been important to me to think of others.” Having begun working at 15 as a grocery delivery boy, Burnie acquired his wealth through an investment firm he co-founded. “To be able to do something to help people has a much bigger return than any financial gain,” he said.
"Spiritual Dimensions of Economics"
This was the headline of Worldview, a Chicago Public Radio program that featured an interview with Alfredo Sfeir-Younis on April 30, 2009. Before approaching economics, the interviewer touched on diverse aspects of the extraordinary life of Alfredo—a Chilean economist who became a senior official at the World Bank (for nearly 30 years) and later a Mayan priest. In his travels around the globe for the bank, Alfredo explored many of the world's religions and the cultures of indigenous peoples, who see the Earth as a living, sacred being. After leaving the bank in 2005, he founded the Zambuling Institute for Human Transformation and became a teacher of self-realization, promoting inner peace as the basis of world peace. About economics, he states in this radio interview: “We need enlightened corporate managers—people who know not only how to make money but how to create human welfare.” http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=33897
(Alfredo wrote: “In Transition: What is Next for Humanity?” for this website.)
"Earth Has a ‘Right to Life’"
On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, CNN.com highlighted the UN address of Bolivian President Evo Morales, who “called for the nations of the world to accept a set of principles that would protect the planet’s resources and ‘right to life.’” Morales is the first indigenous president in Bolivia’s history, and perhaps in modern world history. Addressing the General Assembly, he asked the delegates to consider four principles that would become part of a universal declaration of the rights of Mother Earth. These principles reflect Morales’ personal conviction that “Mother Earth” is a living being that does not belong to us. “It’s the other way around,” he said. We belong to the Earth.” http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/22/un.morales.earth.day/index.html
The UN General Assembly voted unanimously to proclaim April 22nd “International Mother Earth Day,” acknowledging that “the Earth and its ecosystems are our home.”
"Making a Difference"
Several years ago, at the height of the conflict in Iraq, NBC-TV initiated an occasional segment by this title on “The Nightly News with Brian Williams.” Recently the network has made it a nightly feature and invited viewers to share stories of “random or regular acts of kindness.” Thousands of responses poured in instantly. On April 2, 2009 the feature story was the saving of 450 service jobs scheduled to be cut at a Boston hospital. The jobs were saved through voluntary “givebacks” from higher salaried staff who sacrificed raises, benefits and paid vacation time to save the jobs of their lower echelon coworkers. The NBC archive of “Making a Difference” stories can be found at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10397946/
"In Fargo, Goodwill Runs as Deep as Red River"
One of the worst recent natural disasters to hit North America was the March flooding of the Red River that runs through Fargo, Bismarck and other cities in North Dakota. The effort to protect threatened houses and businesses drew masses of volunteers from near and far to fill “mountains” of sand bags that served as dykes. Notices on social networks like Facebook and Twitter attracted volunteers by the thousands in a matter of hours, despite sub-freezing temperatures. In Fargo so many people opened their homes to those made homeless by the flooding, to neighbors and strangers alike, that the Red Cross shelters remained largely empty. The headline above appeared in an Associated Press article of March 30, 2009. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29962032/
"Charter of Compassion"
Karen Armstrong, the British scholar of religion and prolific author, won the 2008 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) award, which grants the winner a wish of major magnitude. Armstrong’s wish was to create a global charter to “remind the world that while all faiths are not the same, they all share the core principle of compassion and the Golden Rule.” This February, a “Council of Conscience” sifted through contributions to the charter received from people of all nations, faiths, and backgrounds. The final version of the Charter of Compassion will be revealed in late 2009 and signed by leaders of the world's major religions. In a video at the Charter’s website, Armstrong says: “The task of our generation is to build a global community where people of all persuasions can live together in peace and harmony.” http://charterforcompassion.com/
Affirm the Charter here: http://charterforcompassion.org/
"Zero Nuclear Weapons"
The idea of ridding the world of nuclear weapons is no longer a pipe dream. Barack Obama gave voice to it at an outdoor rally in the Czech Republic on April 5th that was immediately broadcast around the world. The next day a press release expressing support was issued by Global Zero—an international initiative launched last December in Paris by 100 political, military, business, faith and civic leaders from around the world and across the political spectrum. Military leaders from 19 countries have publicly endorsed the effort. Global Zero notes “a growing chorus of world leaders calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons… and seeks to support these leaders by combining high-level policy work with global public outreach.” Queen Noor of Jordan is an ambassador for the initiative. http://www.globalzero.org/en/about-campaign
"Using the Internet for the Good"
This was the headline of a story aired on ABC’s World News, March 13th, about a project called “Wish Upon a Hero.” The project describes itself as an online community of people helping people. Those who make a wish are matched with those who are willing and able to grant the wish. Matches range from a plastic surgeon who donated his expertise to help an uninsured breast cancer survivor, to this website’s uncensored publication of what one individual believes to be the untold truth about our nation and our world. The site’s founder was inspired to help meet the massive humanitarian needs generated first by 9/1l, then by Hurricane Katrina. It was launched in September 2007 and has since fulfilled 27,000 wishes. http://www.wishuponahero.com/aboutus/
The Movie, “Slumdog,” and the Reality
While the Oscar-winning movie, “Slumdog Millionaire,” was promoted as a love story, it also served to reveal the pitiable conditions in which many millions of Indian citizens are forced to live and work. The film dramatically opened the eyes of Westerners to the painful cleavage between rich and poor in developing countries. Many TV viewers watched aghast as the child movie stars who had been feted in Hollywood returned home to utter poverty, in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum. Synchronistically, a developer who had studied and worked in the U.S. for many years had long since won approval from Indian authorities to raze the slum and create “state of the art” public housing for the current dwellers, as well as commercial buildings and luxury housing. The plan and the controversy it has stirred were covered in a recent series on India on PBS’ The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/past_programs/2009/april.html
Symbol of One Humanity