the West’s response
world is one world, and its sufferings are one, humanity is in truth a
unit ... The sins of humanity are also one, its goal is one, and it is as
one great human family that we must emerge into the future." ~
The Destiny of Nations, Lucis Trust.
Westerners view spiritual development as
a largely personal matter. We make individual decisions to work
consciously on spiritual development, and our relationship to the product
is proprietary: it is 'my' path and 'my' development.
This separatist perspective belongs to the three planes of personality,
and it serves its purpose. The personality is a separatist structure and
its functional value resides in this.
From a higher level, however, humanity is one unit, one
energy-transforming unit, and from a higher level the gains of the
individual are the gain of the collectivity and, ultimately, the gain of
We have a need now to borrow that perspective as, in our millions, we
Westerners watch the suffering across the world: the Balkans, Turkey, East
Timor, Taiwan, and now Indonesia, experiencing horror, despair, relief
and- probably in equal measure - guilt that we still have our comforts
whilst they have nothing.
How does this backdrop of appalling human suffering off-set our personal
spiritual quests? How do they appear now? Insubstantial, inadequate, self-
Does our understanding of what we can do for those left homeless,
stateless and destitute end with the supplying of aid and the sending of
our prayers? Or can we rise above our separatist perspective far enough to
see the redemptive possibilities in the state of inter-connectedness? If
we can, we will better comprehend our responsibilities.
Can we understand that if we, motivated by their suffering, resolve to
make our lives more purposeful we can redeem their suffering? We have to
come to this understanding.
We face now eight years of turmoil on our planet, the product of natural
disasters and their economic consequences, eight years in which the East
will offer us its suffering so that we Westerners may raise awareness, not
to benefit the West, not for the personal spiritual gain of the relatively
affluent and well-educated, but to benefit the collectivity.
It is, if you like, a division of labour, but there is only the one
planet, one humanity and one job to be done, and that is the
transformation of energy for our planet.
Will what we see on our television screens awaken us to our
responsibilities and create within us the determination to live more
purposeful, spiritually useful lives, or will it make us sink into
inertia, despondency and escapism?
If we allow that then we betray those who suffer, ourselves and our
planet. We cannot turn back the clock; we may not be able to arrest what
karmic law demands be worked out, but we can work in our lifetimes,
through 'our' personal development, to transform and redeem.
This is the responsibility, which has fallen to those of us in the West.