“From Duality to Oneness: A Bahá’í Perspective on Humanity’s Conscious Evolution”
Sunday, November 5, 2017, 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Western European time)
The public discourse on the nature of the global transformation of consciousness currently underway is growing and spreading rapidly. We live in a time of change and recurring crises, and people everywhere are seeking answers. The Bahá’í principles and teachings provide the missing link in these meaningful conversations, offer the greatest hope, and enable a clearer recognition of the parallel path along which the spiritual forces and social movements guiding a process of profound transformation are taking us. This also helps us visualize how humanity is shifting away from multiple communities with a consciousness of duality toward an awareness of the inherent interconnectedness of all things, and ultimately toward a global community with a consciousness of oneness.
We will explore a range of Bahá’í principles and teachings that help clarify and frame humanity’s conscious evolution and this current transformational process, such as:
- How one universal law governs humanity’s conscious evolution
- How evolutionary leaps of consciousness can be deciphered
- How our inherent urge to understand reality expands consciousness
- How love is the underlying force of evolution
- What the evolutionary purpose of justice is
- Why world peace is not only a promise but also inevitable
- Why consciousness is evolving toward unity and oneness
“The Dark Night of the Collective Soul: A Bahá’í Perspective on the Role and Purpose of Transformation in Society”
Sunday, November 12, 2017, 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Western European time)
The world is being reformed and transformed before our very eyes. Each new change, each step taken, makes the entire progression seem more and more at risk. Yet, this entire process of transformation has a parallel in the ritual process and the developmental process, and is also clearly explained in the Bahá’í writings. A close look at the nature of transformation allows us to see that we are in the adolescent phase of our collective development, trying to overcome childhood tendencies while also struggling toward a more mature outlook and actions. We, collectively, are experiencing a symbolic death leading to a rebirth, higher levels of consciousness, and a whole new way of seeing the world.
Exploring the Bahá’í teachings on this topic, we will reflect on:
- How opposition and adversity are catalysts to transformation
- How we, individually and collectively, are built to overcome difficulty
- How we can identify a pattern of transformation when it is happening
- What we can expect in this time of crisis
- How we are all midwives in this process of bringing about a global rebirth
“Reality Is One, and Global Harmony Is Inevitable: Building a Culture of Oneness”
Sunday, November 19, 2017, 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Western European time)
The nature of reality reveals a grand organic whole, with everything in it connected to every other thing. As our conscious evolution leads us closer and closer to this understanding of reality as an indivisible oneness, we come to better understand how we, too, have been heading toward oneness and are now on the verge of realizing world unity. This leap of consciousness enables us to take a holistic view of the Creator, re-vision religion as a unified, ever-evolving, divinely-inspired knowledge system, and in the process move closer to the mysteries of creation, though they will never be fully known.
Beyond the dualities of this world – those causing separation and finding expression as bias, inequality, prejudice, racism and much more – there is a oneness that embraces all. This exploration of the global movement of our time – building a culture of oneness – looks at the spiritual forces guiding us toward unity, and helps us reflect on:
- How reality is a continuum that changes with experience
- How the One and the many can be united
- Why, beyond political peace, world unity is the goal
- Why religion can be seen as a sacred tree of many branches
- How and why religion evolves, just as everything else
- How a global network of activists are working toward a common goal
- What a culture of oneness really means
- What kind of action is most needed today
Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., an internationally acknowledged authority on life story interviewing, personal mythmaking, and soul-making, is the author of nine books, including The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness (2017), which was called “… a must read by the widest of global audiences…” by Michael Bernard Beckwith, and from which this web talk series is adapted.
Mystic Journey: Getting to the Heart of Your Soul’s Story (2012), was called “an exquisite exploration of the spiritual craft of soul-making” by Jean Houston. Of his memoir, Remembering 1969: Searching for the Eternal in Changing Times (2008), Thomas Moore said it was “profound, friendly, inspiring, and nostalgic… I loved it.”
His other books include, Songs of the Open Road: The Poetry of Folk Rock and the Journey of the Hero (1974); The Teenage World: Adolescents’ Self-Image in Ten Countries (1987); The Gift of Stories: Practical and Spiritual Applications of Autobiography, Life Stories, and Personal Mythmaking (1995; translated into Japanese, 2005); The Life Story Interview (1998; translated into Italian, 2002, and Romanian, 2006); and, The Beat of My Drum (2005), an autobiography with Babatunde Olatunji.
Dr. Atkinson’s BA is in Philosophy and American Studies from LIU, Southampton, and his MA degrees are in American Folk Culture from SUNY, Cooperstown, and in Counseling from the University of New Hampshire. His Ph.D. is in Cross-Cultural Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania; he was also a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago.
At the University of Southern Maine, he was the first Diversity Scholar in the College of Education and Human Development, and a co-founding faculty of the Russell Scholars Program and the Religious Studies minor. He was also a faculty member on the fall 2002 Semester at Sea voyage around the world. He is professor emeritus at USM, and director of Story Commons. www.robertatkinson.net