In the 1980s a “call” went out from the Achuar people, an intact indigenous dream-culture in the Amazon region of Ecuador and Peru. In the late 1980s, the Achuar elders and shamans began having dreams and visions that a grave threat was coming to their people as the outside world’s thirst for oil threatened their land and culture. And so, the Achuar reached out to create a partnership with the very world that was threatening to destroy them.
As a result, in 1995 the Pachamama Alliance was formed to protect the Achuar lands, work that is still required to this day. (Pachamama is a Quechua word that translates as Mother Earth, but which more accurately includes the sacred presence of the Earth, the sky, the universe and all time.) The Achuar observed that this threat originated in the “dream of the modern world,” the culture of consumption and acquisition that disregards our impact on the natural world and even our own future.
They invited the Pachamama Alliance to find ways to change that dream. This request shaped the Awakening the Dreamer Initiative. Since its creation in 2005, the original of this powerful workshop has been presented in more than 70 countries, in 12 or more languages, by more than 4,000 trained volunteer facilitators.
Now, Unity Worldwide Ministries and the Pachamama Alliance have allied to adapt this message specifically towards Unity congregations. With video messages by Unity leaders, Unity teachings and a call to action through the EarthCare Program, the symposium will provide an important way for the Unity EarthCare Team (UET) to assist congregations in integrating an earth-oriented spirituality into their ministry.
The purpose of the Symposium is bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this this planet, starting within our spiritual communities. The intention is that by the end, rather than seeing these as three separate issues, participants will see them as interrelated facets of one profoundly interconnected whole. And importantly, they not only understand the scope and urgency of the planetary situation we face, but also see that the possibility of our times is greater than the crisis.
The Symposium was created out of the realization that the future of life on Earth is truly up to us. The main purpose of the program is to create a critical mass of global citizens who are awake—and who can see the future is not something we are going to live into, but it’s something we can actually create. What is needed are people who have a vision of a sustainable, just and fulfilling future—and who are in action together to transform human systems and structures that separate us from one another and the natural world.
The Symposium is organized around four key questions, and a new understanding of our interconnectedness:
- Where are we?
- How did we get here?
- What is possible now?
- Where do we go from here?
It’s important to remind us where we are and how we got here because many of the world’s problems can be traced to one central assumption: That we are separate from the world—and from each other.
Inside that story of separation, all of our destructive behavior starts to make sense. However, there are other perspectives and ways of looking that see the world not as made up of separate elements, but as all profoundly interconnected. For example, many indigenous cultures around the world share similar understandings and beliefs about the interrelatedness and interdependence of the natural world and the human community. Unity Worldwide Ministries shares this belief.
As UWM President Rev Donna Johnson said, “You know, it is so important to realize that we are living in a sea of intelligence and love. Unity’s founder, Charles Fillmore, knew this. He said every rock, tree and human being has within it the intelligence of God. And where there is the presence of the Divine there is also the vibration of love. Myrtle Fillmore knew this. Particularly by spending time in nature she could feel the love in the environment around her and it connected her to the divine presence within. She said people almost accused her of being a nature worshipper.”
Viewing the relatedness of the natural world and the human community as one can help us identify the areas where the “dream” of the modern world needs to change. This deep recognition of interconnection is supported by current scientific understanding of the origin of the universe, which has shown that all of creation is profoundly connected at both the macro and micro level. Once we, as a society, recognize this basic principle of interconnection, powerful new possibilities for the future are created.
This story of profound connection and realization that we are all part of one interconnected whole is beginning to shape the consciousness on our planet. That’s good news! Realizing that we are part of—not separate from—the web of life makes behaviors that previously would have been considered an assault on (the) Earth, or on different groups, to be understood as an assault on ourselves. And that emerging shared understanding creates the possibility for a whole new future, different from our most recent past.
By combining the ancient wisdom of indigenous cultures with Unity’s deep reverence for the natural world, an entirely new way of being can arise that serves us all—and benefits the Earth. Currently, the largest social movement in the history of humankind, by far, is underway. It’s called the “Great Turning,” as over two million organizations throughout the world are working towards social and environmental justice. And that’s a minimum. It is the coming world.
And of course, Unity’s own conscious participation in this “Great Turning” is its EarthCare Ministry Team. Since 2008, EarthCare has offered congregations an easy step-by-step way to integrate an earth-oriented spirituality into their ministry. An ever increasing number of congregations are taking advantage of this opportunity to share in EarthCare’s vision of a world in which all humanity lives in a spiritual consciousness that manifests as loving co-existence with all creation and care for our Earth home. Participants in EarthCare are helping further the vision by fostering an awareness of our spiritual oneness with our Earth home and promoting active care of creation.
In furtherance of its support protecting and preserving the environment, on September 29, 2015, the Unity Worldwide Ministries Board of Trustees adopted a Climate Change Action Resolution, unleashing a range of activities that have or are being implemented to put the powerful affirmation into action.
Call to Action
The Symposium empowers participants by giving them the tools to manifest all Unity basic principles, but especially the action principle: Through thoughts, words and actions we live the truth we know. The goal of the EarthCare Ministry Team is to have as many spiritual communities in Unity as possible present the Symposium to their congregations and friends. It will make a terrific Earth Day activity!
In order to present the symposium, you will need the following:
A. Adequate equipment
B. Awakening the Dreamer PowerPoint file
C. Facilitator manual
D. Live presenter
E. Handout material and bracelets
For more Information
Please go to the Awaken the Dreamer Symposium information on the EarthCare webpage and download Awakening the Dreamer Through Unity, “What You Need to Know.” You will also find other handouts and resources on the webpage. Contact Michael McCord at [email protected] for more information and to schedule a symposium in your area.
Related Article: “Awakening the Dreamer Through Unity”