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Sacred America

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For many who are committed to healing this world, America has developed something of a mixed reputation: innovative and bold on the one hand, but wasteful, arrogant, and self-interested on the other. Add the term "sacred" in front of "America" and many envision a kind of fundamentalism that blinds us to our shadows, inflates our sense of self-worth, and goads us into righteous battles.

In the course of 2006, I intend to write weekly about how we can reclaim a sacred vision for America, a vision in which America is truly leading the next stage of planetary evolution, not out of arrogance but out of a profoundly selfless sense of compassion, honor, and destiny. I see this as the essence of our political DNA, which was activated in such extraordinary ways 230 years ago. There is a deeper history of America that, when recognized, points to an even more glorious future, one in which we actualize our ideals and lead beyond today's global challenges into a peaceful, sustainable, and prosperous future.

We are in an era of intensified global problems. As the sole remaining superpower, America will be required to play an important role in successfully addressing those problems. We can either become a great champion of positive change. Or we can resist, protect our "interests" and become rightfully seen as a selfish empire-builder.

If we choose rightly, we can, quite literally, become the midwife of a new planetary culture unparalleled in history. To do so, though, many shifts will be needed in how we see ourselves and our role in the world. We'll need new approaches to public problem solving and reformed structures of government. Expanded systems of leadership training and deeper forms of community. Innovative approaches to diplomacy and integral models of healing. Sustainable businesses and lower-impact lifestyles. Fierce truthtelling and skilled bridgebuilding. The list of shifts is vast, but I believe they can be simplified by imagining a Master Plan for America - a grand vision of what we can still become, followed by specific strategies and tactics to put such a plan into action.

In my weekly writings this year, I plan to focus on how the big-picture shifts required by such a Master Plan for America will involve deep shifts in not only our social and political systems, but also in the consciousness of our citizens. Without a more enlightened, creative, and healthy citizenry, the best political and economic reforms will dissipate. The evolution of America thus cannot be separated from the evolution of consciousness of her citizens.

So, I want to begin this yearlong journey with a vision for Sacred America. Vision is the homing device we plant in our future. That homing device draws us magnetically forward, especially as we begin to trust that the universe, Spirit, God, Tao or whatever name we choose for the Great Mystery supports our success. When we imagine a potential future with vivid detail and creative commitment, we can begin to activate that vision in others and attract the resources and forces necessary to bring it into being. The suffragettes saw a future in which women were the political equals of men. Those who abolished slavery knew that a brighter future for African-Americans was possible. Those future visions helped them weather the setbacks of their day and draw our country inexorably forward.

Standing in today's America and looking forward in a visionary mode, I vividly see a world that has evolved beyond war. At some point in the not-so-distant future, war between nation states will become unthinkable. Children will read in their history books of millions dying in vast worldwide holocausts and they will open their eyes wide, asking their parents, "Those stories can't be true, can they? Did people REALLY use to do that to each other?"

I envision America gradually transforming itself from the greatest military power in the world into the greatest peace-making power. I see America training the peace troops of tomorrow - the healers, facilitators, social engineers, artists, psychologists, and teachers who will be on the front lines, defusing conflicts before they develop into wars and healing social wounds before they fester. I see an America in which a Department of Peace surpasses the Department of Defense in money, influence, and power. Our military infrastructure will have evolved to train powerfully disciplined torchbearers of a new culture. The wars of the past will give way to an era of global peace, sustainability and prosperity.

America can lead this transformation. Indeed, I believe it is our sacred destiny to reclaim the greatness in the American soul, shoulder the burdens that greatness requires, and offer ourselves as co-creators in the Master Plan. I invite others to join me in this yearlong exploration, either as readers, activists, leaders, change agents, or fellow writers. Together, we can begin to activate a new vision of America's highest spiritual potential and create new pathways to its manifestation.

Stephen Dinan
January 14, 2006

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Stephen Dinan is the author of Radical Spirit and the founder of the Radical Spirit community, as well as the Director of Membership and Marketing for the Institute of Noetic Sciences. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in human (more...)

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