We Have the Power

“We have the power to imagine better.” J.K. Rowling is relevant as ever.

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I believed I truly belonged. I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive.”

Rowling spoke about the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination at Harvard University to its 2008 graduating class.

“Imagination is not only the unique human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation; in its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.”

Eight years later, Rowling’s words shed light on America’s 2016 presidential campaign:

“Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places,” said Rowling. “Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate or control just as much as to understand or sympathize, and many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they other. They can refuse to hear screams or peer inside cages. They can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally. They can refuse to know. I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters; they are often more afraid. What is more, those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters, for without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy.”

Today, Tuesday, election day in the USA, we join together as decent human beings to vote for the first woman leader of the free world.

“The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government has an impact way beyond your borders,” Rowling said. “That is your privilege and your burden. If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice, if you choose to identify not only with the powerful but with the powerless, if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will be not only your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change.”

Rowling quotes the Greek author Plutarch, who said: “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” What is it we need our outer reality to be?

“We do not need magic to change our world,” said Rowling. “We carry all the power we need inside of us already. We have the power to imagine better.”

We have the power, and we are stronger together.

The Realm of Possibility

August 28, today, in 1963, 53 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to our nation and to the world: “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children! It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”

Dr. King addressed our one United Public in his historic speech, “I Have a Dream“: “We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom from drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

Dr. King’s dream is alive in all of us. This is the story of humanity!

Now is the time. Now, today, this moment is alive, is with us, because we love.

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Have we forgotten? It’s so EASY TO LOVE. Let go and feel it, because it’s all there is that’s real.

Loving takes less energy than not loving does. And through each of us loving we’re collectively keeping alive our infinite wholeness. This amazing grace.

Easy and infinite, that’s love! It’s up to us to always choose it, always emphatically, always powerfully Now, in this moment, here, within.

As long as we search for Now, we will never find it. We will stumble upon the collective, the infinity, the perfect circle of Now as soon as we let go and give up our egos to the whole.

Humans, I beg of us: What if we could be different? What if we could all get better? (And better, and better, and better, and better . . . ?)

This is a vision for the future in which we’re all truly alive. Let’s envision living in a world where we communicate creatively with each other, and always intentionally. Forever like children in our pure curiosity; our giving and sharing; our laughter; our unconditional love for nature.

It’s possible! It’s the singularity, and we’re almost there.

P.S. We don’t have to be afraid. It’s turtles all the way down!