Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Third Great Awakening



"In 1976 Tom Wolfe wrote that we are now "seeing the upward role (and not yet the crest, by any means) of the third great religious wave in American history, one that historians will very likely term the Third Great Awakening."

I would posit that this great awakening is happening world-wide.


From the book Chop Wood, Carry Water:

This Third Great Awakening has been called by many names: the consciousness movement, the New Age, the Aquarian Conspiracy - or, as we have come to think of it while working on this book - "the new spirituality."

This "new spirituality" is not really new, of course, but more of a form of something very old, of something that has always been present, if often hidden. Aldous Huxley called it "The Perennial Philosophy," and found it at the center of all the great mystical traditions. The most familiar formulation of The Perennial Philosophy in the West is perhaps the statement that "The kingdom of God is within you."

The writers go on to say the sources from this new spirituality are varied and diverse, and actually are an amalgam of many different wisdoms that encompass all great religions as well as ordinary people. The book was written in 1984, and I read it sometime during the 1980's. Probably during my initial spiritual search that began after a series of difficult personal problems, not the least of which was a brain tumor. I'm now reading it again because it is one of those books that should be read more than once throughout one's lifetime. It is a reminder that the path we have undertaken doesn't have to involve perfection, but the task should include "the challenge, as for the Chinese Zen master a thousand years ago, is to live in such a way that there is no duality, no separation between the spiritual path and its manifestation in everyday life. The real challenge is, so to speak, to bring heaven down to earth, where we all live. It is a question of what Ram Dass has called "applied spirituality."

Always ask yourself - is this word, action, or emotion life diminishing, or life enhancing?  (Morning Messages.) 

14 comments:

Brian Miller said...

nice...love that last message...and i wonder though on the awakening...it seems people either are or are not honestly, many numb in them selves...

Nancy said...

Brian - I've found the same thing in my personal life.

m. heart said...

I love the term "applied spirituality" and was just working on a post today that began with this quote from No Destination, the autobiography of Satish Kumar..."". . . you must aim at integration of mind and body, hand and head, serving mother earth.
Working on the land is the path to spiritual enlightenment." I do believe we are in the thick of an awakening of some sort.

m. heart said...

Oddly enough, just last week I pulled an old copy of Chop Wood, Carry Water off my shelf and looked through it again...

Nancy said...

m.heart - I do agree with you. It is going back to basics that is what will get get us through. Synchronicity with both of us pulling that old book out.. there must be a reason we are both looking at that book again.

DJan said...

I think that is a very good thing to ask myself, every day. And thinking of myself as a spiritual person, I realize it is of the Third Awakening sort.

Nancy said...

DJan - I really try to keep that in mind. Not always easy, but it's a process.

Trish said...

This sounds similar to "cultural creatives."
Had a weird synchro with this. Just left terri patrick's blog, where she talks about 3s. Now, here: third. Waiting for the next three!

gayle said...

I love reading your post. Always gives me so much to think about!

leilani said...

I hear the words in the sunrise and sunset... I see it in the eyes of the turtles... I feel it in the vibrations of the dolphins song... Harmony , life-enhancing harmony.. it is a simple as a sunrise to awaken that which is within us! This is a maghificent post Nancy!

ellen abbott said...

applied spirituality...yes.

Bruce Coltin said...

We can only hope that the awakening spreads to those outside of the choir.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

beautiful post, nancy - and yes, to all - but especially yes yes yes to the comment left by bruce!

now off to amazon for chop wood - i "used" to have a copy! that would be several moves cross-country, however!

have a great day - hope you're able to get into my words today, lady!

Nancy said...

Trish - interesting - I wonder what the next three will be...

Gayle - Thank you! :-)

leilani - You have nailed it..."it" is everywhere.

Ellen - It doesn't do much good if it isn't applied.

Bruce - Good point.

Gypsy - It is a book you should put into your permanent bookshelf.