The Transformational Potential of Humankind:
Rising to a Life of Purpose and Meaning

I was born two years after the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The making and dropping of those bombs brought the realization that we had entered a period of historic crisis in which war could now bring us into an annihilation of life beyond comprehension.

If I stand behind the dropping of those bombs as acceptable retaliation I am complicit in the murder of more than 150,000 people. The exact number after a year of deaths from radiation poisoning is incalculable. If I stand behind any murderous attack or retaliation on fellow human beings I am complicit. Both sides contribute to the deadly loss of unlived lives - men, women and children.

The world is echoing an escalating crescendo of wars a quarter of a century after the first nuclear devastation was perpetrated on a civilian population. Undercurrents of nuclear inclusion are raising the potential of human annihilation. Every war, every implement of murderous intent, pushes the world closer to devastation. Every war takes away the future of our children and our children’s futures, whether they are killed while participating in war or as innocent victims, or left to deal with physical and psychological wounds and the collective aftermath. Soldiers may be considered the first victims, trained to suppress their own humanity and inherent nature in order to overcome the natural aversion to killing. Misleading terms like collateral damage promote the depersonalization and devaluing of innocent victims. The illusion that any war is just or that an act of violence is ever morally justified is passed on.

The world is growing smaller as we realize that actions anywhere affect the whole. We are all cells in the same body of humanity. What we do to others we do to ourselves. How can we turn a blind eye to any who are suffering – each is a cell in our own body. Those who will ultimately suffer the most are those who have perpetrated the violence. There is no moral ground held on either side of violence and a lifetime will not pay such a debt.

These are challenging times. In order to find peace and healing in the world, we need to find it within ourselves.

Our driving force in life is to find purpose and meaning, which transcends our personal lives and brings out the transformational potential of humankind. As we look deeply from within our own hearts at the question, Where do we go from here? we can look at the outer situation as a reflection of the collective inner situation. Peace starts within human hearts. Forgiveness and goodwill start within individual human minds. Integrity starts with the thoughts, words, and actions of ourselves. Whatever we want – truth, justice, peace, compassion, wisdom – we all need to become. This is the time to focus the power of our intention, to lift ourselves up to a life of purpose and meaning. We can all be healers. As we heal ourselves, we are helping to heal the world.

We can look to the collective view for perspective. The world is not at peace. Nations are warring against nations. Hearts are hardened. People are not speaking the truth. Humankind contains the potential for transformation. We, individually hold the potential to transform ourselves and contribute to the transformation of the whole.

We can begin that transformation in our personal lives by taking moments to sit in receptive silence, stilling the inner chatter that keeps us from connecting to that still small voice within. Or by taking time to walk in receptive silence in nature. It is during quiet moments that we connect with the highest source of inspiration and insight, the divinity within. Our highest nature is with us from the beginning of our evolution in human form, though it is unawakened until the spark is ignited. When we surround ourselves with inspiration and beauty our hearts open and that beauty is incorporated within, igniting the spark of divinity that is always there.

Evolution is the awakening of that higher nature within us. Our divine nature is not known through the five senses, but when we awaken the divine nature we know. As we connect with the inspiration that comes from this highest source we need to put our inspirations into action. Inspiration is the roadmap to our authentic path. As we live with a growing connection to this source we influence those around us and help to stir and awaken others to their own potential.

Lead with your heart in all situations and what you accomplish will be more than your dreams.

Mahatma Gandhi

Cheryl Canfield, CCHT, 2023