Being Hopeful in Today’s World

January 2016


I belong to a spiritual group that meets monthly at different members’ homes and focuses on a different theme each time. Our host this month suggested the following:

In this period of challenging contradictions abroad and at home, please come and share your thoughts about “what sustains your hope.” What spiritual truths give you hope.

What gives me hope is the growing awareness that all life is connected or, to be even more exact, all life is more than merely connected – we are all one. As more and more people come to this realization there will be less willingness to treat one another as separate. People will realize that the idea that we are separate from one another is a myth. The more we insist on having conversations that separate us from one other, the more harm we are doing to one another. Indian-born mystic and Theosophist Jiddu Krishnamurti stated it this way:

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.


Separation breeds violence. Whether you call yourself a Democrat or a Republican, right or left, a Muslim or a Christian, an American or some other nationality, you are being violent. So not only is our separation a false reality – a lie – it breeds violence to boot. And the words need not be harsh for the violence to occur.

I am frequently asked if I am optimistic about the future and I usually respond by saying that while the large conspicuous systems are all failing or in some stage of collapse, individual consciousness seems to be on the rise. While the larger systems failures make the headlines, the collective rise in individual consciousness gets less attention. When the latter starts making headlines and people become more mindful and more conscious, they will create more functional social systems. I find this hopeful although there will be some tumultuous times we’ll go through as those systems we have depended upon for so long crumble and people adapt to the newer ones.

The faster people adapt to the new systems and let go of the outmoded ones, the less chaos there will be. But there will be chaos, that’s for sure. Many say it has already started. I suppose it depends on your level of comfort in today’s world. Those who are feeling the effects of the crumbling systems are far more uncomfortable than those who seem oblivious or removed from such chaos. It is far easier to ignore climate change, racism, terrorism, sexism, health crises and all the other challenges when one is not as susceptible or vulnerable as those being immediately affected.

When you see that we are all one, then parts of us are more aware of the chaos than other parts of us. None of us can escape the chaos completely any more than our feet can be freezing while heat causes sweat to drip from our brow. On some level, we all feel the fear of chaos and the pain of suffering half way around the world even if we are incredibly comfortable in our immediate environs. We may have learned how to ignore or deny these feelings but when we experience our oneness – the unifying field of the “we-space” – we can no longer deny our experience.

Despite the pending chaos I am hopeful. For beyond the chaos that comes with large scale change lies a better world, a better future.

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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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