A Civil Rights Movement for the Soul
Julie Barrie describes a growing movement towards a new understanding of our place in the world.
Wouldn’t it be great step forward for humanity if we had a civil rights movement for the soul? Well, a group called Humanity’s Team describe themselves as exactly that. This growing worldwide movement was the inspiration of Neale Donald Walsch, author of the hugely successful series of books called Conversations with God. After witnessing the events of 11 September 2001, Walsch believed that humanity was at a turning point and that lack of understanding of our essential oneness – one of the major themes of the books – was the reason.
Walsch decided that it was time for humanity to start waking up to its true identity – oneness, love and unity – and so he created Humanity’s Team to demonstrate through a worldwide spiritual and practical movement the truth of his belief that we are all ultimately one essence, whether you choose to call it God, the universe or love.
Former entrepreneur Steve Farrell from Colorado in the US connected with Walsch through the Conversations with God books and is now the group’s worldwide coordinating director. He sees the idea of separation as the lynchpin of our current worldview.
“The things we see as collective problems in the world today can all be traced back to the illusion of separation,” he says. “This belief has created all the other chronic problems in the world such as climate change, crime, poverty, war, excessive materialism and environmental problems.
“When we realise that we’re all one and that we’re connected like cells in a body it becomes natural to step into a place of service to that body. So this was the idea of starting Humanity’s Team.”
Since its creation in 2003 Humanity’s Team has grown to include 60,000 members in 90 countries. It has a very popular website and a wide programme of events that include lectures, seminars, study groups and meditation circles all based on the theme of oneness, love and unity. Youth groups have been set up and many local groups worldwide offer community support by organising practical help for poor and homeless people, including soup runs, donations of clothing and furniture and help for sick children.
Farrell says: “We use a simple methodology based on the Conversations with God material called the 5 Steps to Peace. This is a series of five statements that invite people to rethink the way they look at the world. They are:
• Permit ourselves to acknowledge that some of our old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.
• Explore the possibility that there is something we do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which could change everything.
• Announce that we are willing for new understandings of God and Life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet.
• Courageously examine these new understandings and, if they align with our personal inner truth and knowing, enlarge our belief system to include them.
• Express our lives as a demonstration of our highest beliefs, rather than as a denial of them.”
Humanity’s Team are sharing the message of oneness in many ways. They have set up educational outreach programmes that run lectures, retreats, workshops and discussion groups on subjects such as sacred activism and spirituality in action. They are also running classes in many countries that explore oneness in relation to abundance, relationships, work, the soul’s journey through life and the law of attraction.
Studies have estimated that less than 2% of the world’s population understands the idea that there is a connection between all of life and that therefore to make the world a better place we need to be of service to all of life. Central to Humanity’s Team activities are programmes for young people to help them to grow into compassionate and self-aware adults.
Farrell believes that we can all experience oneness on different levels. “When we don’t understand oneness, we may say, ‘Well, I’m concerned about what’s happening out there, but I’ve got a wife and two kids and I’ve got to look after my own.’ The notion of sharing is not very widespread at all. But we can all share – if we have a little we can share a little, if we have a lot we can share a lot.”
Two years ago Humanity’s Team had an encouraging meeting with the veteran UN diplomat Anwarul Chowdhury, and as a result of this, on 24 October 2010 it held its first Global Oneness Day, for which it had gathered 52,000 signatures from around the world. It was a day of fun and celebration on which people from over 50 countries connected with each other by offering free hugs on the street, entertainment, picnics, meditation circles and discussion groups to spread the message of oneness. Global Oneness Day has now become an annual event. This year Humanity’s Team plans to involve hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.
Farrell says: “Ambassador Chowdhury said something very important, which was that until there is a sense of oneness in the world all efforts for peace will go nowhere. That’s why we are doing this work. We are all unpaid volunteers who believe very strongly in what we are doing.
“We are making a decision to live our lives as a demonstration of the highest and grandest vision we have ever had of ourselves, not in denial of this. There’s no dogma involved in our philosophy. As Gandhi said, you must be the change you wish to see in the world. That’s all we are doing.”