Friday, November 14, 2008

Links

If you're visiting my site as a result of the radio show with Deepak Chopra, here are some links to things I mentioned in the show:

Vision 2020: This slideshow explores a transformational vision for our planet as a whole in the next 12 years, weaving together many domains of change work. I'd love to hear your feedback.

Summer of Peace: The new non-profit we've started that aims to contribute to the global shift to a culture of peace by first demonstrating a local shift in possible in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Institute of Noetic Sciences: Founded by Edgar Mitchell, the leading research and education organization focused on science and spirituality

Shift in Action: the membership program that we've built with 10,000 global members and the largest archive of conscious change audio on the web from 450 leaders.

One Minute Shift: Short, fun, inspiring videos with potent messages

And make sure to sign up on my articles distribution list to get my latest postings as soon as they are released. Just send an email to stephendinan-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

A New Era Begins with Obama

published at HuffingtonPost.com

I believe that November 4th, 2008 will live long in the history books as the moment that marked the transition from one American era to the next. The most obvious aspect of this transition was moving beyond the legacy of racism to elect an African-American president, opening doors of possibility to minorities across the country. However, Obama represents far more than that, which is why his election will prove to be a major historical shift.

The President serves as the most important figure for the psychology of the nation. He (or soon “she”) embodies our values, expresses our thoughts, and shapes our priorities for the future. He determines our relationship with both allies and enemies on the global stage. On a subtle level, the worldview of the President reflects and reinforces the worldview of our country. Among our 300 million American citizens, his consciousness is the single most influential force in shaping the values that the majority of Americans share, which in turn powerfully influences the values of the world. As President Bush demonstrated, when there is a mismatch between the consciousness of the President and large segments of America, the results can be damaging on many levels, from national pride to national security and even consumer confidence.

When our President holds a worldview that is advanced, integrated, and balanced, he can propel the country forward to our next stage of development by virtue of his visibility and ability to translate his perspective into institutional change. A more enlightened President can catalyze great growth in our citizenry, which is a change that can endure for generations.

While using the term “enlightened” for Obama is too strong, most perceptive observers have agreed that he is highly developed in many ways – intellectually, emotionally, physically, organizationally, and spiritually. Those who value the mind are amazed by the caliber of his thinking, as expressed in deeply reflective books and breathtaking speeches. Those who study emotional intelligence see genius in the way he builds bridges and moves beyond polarizations, effectively drawing together talented teams and coalitions. Physically, he’s in good shape and exudes stamina and grace. Organizationally, he’s run the single most disciplined, efficient, and powerful political campaign in history, so he’s adept at managing complex systems. Spiritually, he’s attracted attention for his ability to bring in the light of greater awareness, touch the heart cords that elicit hope, and speak with moral courage about the highest calling of our nation.

Psychologists have also commented on his balance between traditional masculine and feminine qualities, something that leads to a remarkable relationship with Michelle, whom he treats respectfully as his equal and his beloved. Obama is not afraid of being tough or standing in strong authority and yet he also has connective, nurturing, emotionally-attuned qualities that we more typically associate with women. His masculine-feminine balance will be essential to balance a political process that has been heavily skewed towards the masculine since our Nation’s founding.

In short, I believe that Obama represents the most integrated, balanced, and highly developed President we’ve ever had. While some may critique him for less experience in government, I believe that the qualities of being that he has cultivated will allow him to rapidly learn those aspects of governance that are new to him and surprise his critics with the clarity and efficacy he brings to the tasks ahead. The challenges are certainly enormous and he cannot solve them all, much less by himself. But his way of engaging with the crises ahead will prove, I believe, a shining example for others to follow.

For America, then, the deepest opportunity President Obama offers is for us to quite literally lift the level of consciousness of our country by following his example. With his election, he becomes a hero to millions of children, an inspiration to millions of adults, and a new template for leaders everywhere. His advanced and balanced stage of development can inspire the growth of millions in the decades ahead. CEOs will have a new leadership template for how to integrate masculine and feminine styles. Military leaders will have a new example of how to be tough but also build bridges. Democrats will witness someone who can successfully champion progressive change while dealing respectfully with those who oppose it. In this respect, the template of his life can inspire the evolution of American values and ideals.

Other shifts that Obama’s Presidency can bring include the fact that he is the first post-Boomer President, meaning that he has matured in an environment in which the major change movements of the sixties have been integrated into the mainstream of American values, from concern for civil rights to support of women’s equality to commitment to environmental protection. He’s no longer “fighting” for those things; he operates with an assumption of their validity, which is the last stage of integrating value changes into society. This assumption of the rightness of many principles will trickle down until they are truly seen as American as apple pie.

He’s also the first Web 2.0 President, harnessing technology with remarkable skill and empowering the enormous grassroots of his campaign with distributed power. The Web 2.0 aspect of his presidency may offer one of the most fundamental changes in governance we’ve seen, for it can move us beyond a strictly hierarchical and representative form of leadership to one in which information, feedback, ideas, and action flow from citizens to the upper echelons of government and back. This offers not only a mechanism for increased accountability but an engine of innovation and engagement between election cycles. It creates a path to a more adult role for American citizens in governance beyond electing leaders that we believe in.

Finally, Obama is the first truly global President. His blood flows directly from two continents, and his upbringing gave him additional experience with Islamic Indonesia. His name is clearly a global name, shifting America from our primarily European associations. Never have people around the world paid closer attention to the American Presidential election nor been so jubilant at the outcome. In many ways, the emotional involvement of the world made it clear that they celebrated the election of their “own” President in Obama. The psychological importance of this can’t be underestimated; when America is seen as the feared “empire” that threatens to dominate others, war and terrorism become commonplace. When the world embraces our President as its own leader in many ways, there is no need to fight us as a perceived enemy.

For all the reasons above, the election of Obama will go down in history as a watershed moment in the evolution of America. With his election, we definitively enter a post-racial, technologically-wired, globally-centric future in which a commitment to sustainability is a given, respect for one’s opponents is expected, engagement by citizens is essential, and America is again celebrated as a global leader in the growth of humankind. Entering this new era will require all of us, of course, but Obama’s election marks an important evolution for America as a whole.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America Awakens

After the extraordinary election last night, all that felt appropriate was poetry. A new era begins!

America Awakens

Long have we labored to perfect this nation,
Shedding the false images that do not reflect our true nature:
We are one people, indivisible,
Born of wholeness and to
Wholeness we return.

With one momentous leap,
We have crossed a chasm forever;
Our blazing torch of freedom
Now illumines a new future.

Never again will we be as divided
By the color of our skin,
Or the boundaries of our heart,
Or the limits of our imagination.

Our nation wept tenderly as we recognized the
Healing of an ancient wound.
We offer up our tears as a sacrament to wash
Away the stain of yesterday’s illusions
And see today with new eyes.

Obama is our new President
But even more he is our new template:
A face of America with
The strength of a warrior and the compassion of a healer
The pride of a patriot and the embrace of a global citizen
The wisdom of a scholar and the humility of a community organizer.

He is our country’s better nature:
A blend of the best of our world’s cultures,
Made real as a divine gift
So that we each better remember who we are
And what we can yet become.

America has slumbered in a long fog of forgetting;
Today we awaken to the pristine sun
Of a new day, pregnant with possibilities.

Obama opens the door of opportunity
For each of us to give our greatest gifts
Serve our grandest vision,
And strive for the wholeness that has always
Been our birthright and our destiny.

The world celebrates beside us with the
Sweet knowledge that America awakens again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Inspiration and Humor

Friends,

As we near the end of an historic campaign, I pray that America chooses the evolutionary path that lies before us, that the election is clean, and the results unquestionable. As we all reach out in our own ways to undecided voters, urging them to vote their hearts and their conscience, I thought I would share my favorite pieces of media that have brought me sustenance, opened my heart, expanded my vision, and made me laugh during the long road of this campaign. Forward freely!

Most Powerful and Heart Opening – Many moments in the campaign have soared beyond pedestrian politics into something transcendent, historic, and beautiful. The following have all deeply inspired me about what our nation can still become:

1. Yes, We Can, by Will.i.am– possibly the best political video of all time, still makes me cry with its soul-stirring sincerity, poignancy, and spirit of hope. Worth watching again and again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY

2. New Hampshire primary speech, with Barack Obama - the speech that gave birth to Yes, We Can. Perhaps the most important turning point for the movement Obama began: a tough loss to Hillary sparked one of the truly great speeches about our country's promise and destiny, demonstrating Obama's grace, dignity, eloquence, and indomitable will under pressure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe751kMBwms

3. We are the Ones, with Zoe Kravitz and Will.i.am – a potent sequel to Will.i.am's Yes, We Can that goes to the heart of the yearning for change in our country. A More Perfect Union – Barack's most transformational speech, given at the campaign's greatest crisis moment over Rev. Wright's controversial comments. This speech will go down as a major turning point in America's journey beyond racism and should be required viewing in schools for decades to come. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU

5. Obama Will Be One of the Greatest (and Most Loved) American Presidents, by Frank Schaeffer. The best article of the campaign: a poetic, inspiring, insightful, and beautifully honoring homage to Obama by one of the founders of the Religious Right. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/obama-will-be-one-of-the_b_132843.html

6. 2004 Democratic National Convention Keynote – a rare hush fell over the 2004 DNC gathering as Obama's keynote speech called forth something deeper, truer, and more beautiful in the American soul than partisan politics. This speech convinced many that he would one day be our President, although few imagined then how quickly that day would come.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWynt87PaJ0

7. MC Yogi:Vote for Hope- One of the best grassroots videos created in support of Obama: hip and catchy, but also conveys deep messages of unity:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iojPaw8yX0

Humor – This has been a fantastic campaign for humor, which has become one of the most potent ways to go beyond the fierce polarizations of politics and ultimately recognize our common humanity. Some of my favorites:

1. Palin v. Biden debate, Saturday Night Live. Brilliant parody of both vice-presidential candidates, especially Palin. Tina Fey's SNL series of performances have been a true highlight of the campaign.
Understanding Real America in Wasilla – The best Jon Stewart segment of the campaign, which sends a reporter to Palin's hometown. The scenes with the current mayor of Wasilla are devastatingly funny. Palin and Clinton, Saturday Night Live. Another Palin parody by SNL that was absolutely nailed the comedic elements of Palin's candidacy. McCain and Obama at the Al Smith Fundraiser. In the midst of a heated campaign in October, both McCain and Obama proved their ability to take (and give) a joke at this fundraiser that is famed for presidential candidate roasts. The speeches were hilarious, playing upon all the inside jokes of the campaign. Both candidates reveal their ability to parody themselves. I found this a particularly refreshing way to reconnect with the best in McCain. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20081017/pl_ynews/ynews_pl95

5. I've Got a Crush… on Obama , with ObamaGirl– the viral video that proved influential in early stages of the primary race. It's a parody that nonetheless reflects how deeply the Obama candidacy touches people's hearts.
Ron Howard's Call to Action – A playful endorsement mixed with TV nostalgia, featuring both Andy Griffith and The Fonz. Time for Some Campaignin' – JibJab's clever bipartisan roast of the whole electoral process. McCain vs. Obama dance-off – worth watching for the sheer entertainment value and absurdity: