Corinne McLaughlin | Spiritual politics

McLaughlin: Absolutely. We are continuing to learn and grow, but when I was growing up we were not taught what really happened with the Native Americans—that they were raped, killed, rounded up onto reservations, had their lands stolen, had bounties put upon their heads, and so on. The good news is that now we’re more aware and can make amends. The best part is that we can learn from the Native Americans better ways to approach our environment. We can also adopt the awareness that we are all connected and responsible for each other—through our thoughts, prayers, and actions. Yet it’s important not to idealize Native Americans, because not all of them are living their traditional values. People practicing Permaculture methods, for example, which are based on how Nature does things, are more in line with many traditional Native practices, though they may be rediscovered and applied by non-Natives.

The MOON: The point I was trying to make is that white Americans believed, through the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, that God gave them the country. That it was the Divine order of things that they take it away from the Native Americans because the Natives were ignorant heathens and savages. So it seems that it could be dangerous—and wrong—to believe “the Divine Hand” is backing one group and not another. Plus, indigenous peoples all over the world are still fighting for their rights and their lands, which are threatened in the name of “progress.” It’s not as if this issue has gone away; the so-called developed world is still perpetuating it.

McLaughlin: I’ve been saying all along that we co-create with the Divine. Part of the problem is that we don’t always understand the Divine. We misinterpret it—often to support our own agenda. You see that every day when you turn on the news. Often the people who proclaim their religious beliefs most loudly turn out to be the most hypocritical when it comes to practicing them. When we wrote Spiritual Politics we were trying to point out that we all have a Higher Purpose and that each nation has a Higher Purpose. When nations are truly expressing their Higher Purpose, there’s greater harmony, greater abundance, greater peace, greater health in all our societies. When some people believe their role is to dominate others, or steal their resources, for their own selfish reasons, of course that’s unjust. A Higher Purpose is not about injustice.

When corporations exploit resources and indigenous people and think it’s all right because their profits are soaring, sooner or later karma comes back to them. Karma is the law of cause and effect. You reap what you sow. You can’t do wrong by others and get away with it forever. Blowback happens—for your own learning and growth, eventually.

For example, the movement to divest from oil companies that are doing great harm to the environment in places like Nigeria and Ecuador is a development that is very encouraging to me. More and more people are pressuring investment funds to withdraw their investments in socially irresponsible companies—including those that pollute, exploit their workers or the land, behave unethically, and so on. Correspondingly, there is a movement called Conscious Capitalism to invest in companies that are treating the environment, their workers, and their communities well. People are recognizing that they can do well by doing good—because in the long-run, companies that operate ethically outperform companies that don’t. There is now something like $2.8 trillion invested with some kind of socially conscious screen—in other words, with some kind of criteria other than profit imposed on investment decisions. This is the work I’m currently involved in—conscious investing and the role the private sector can pay in creating the world we want all to live in.

The MOON: I have been a student of Science of Mind, or what is sometimes called “New Thought/Ancient Wisdom.” However, it often troubles me that we are not supposed to draw attention to, or even think about, injustice, or war, because “our thoughts create our reality,” and “what we resist persists.” While I recognize that I can do my part to create the world I want to live in by being peaceful and just in my own interactions, it does seem as if I have a responsibility to draw attention to war and injustice being practiced in my name by my society. I don’t want to perpetuate it; I want to end it.

McLaughlin: I think it’s very common for people to misinterpret all religious teachings. I seriously doubt that the founder of Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes, or the founder of Unity, Charles Fillmore, or other New Thought leaders of over a century ago, nor the Ancient Wisdom teachers like Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey, ever intended that these teachings be used to justify not standing up to the evils and injustices of the world. It is, however, important to be clear about your particular life purpose—what is your work to do. Some people are called to be spiritual warriors, to speak truth to power, to protest and stand up and point out injustices. I myself was called to this in the late ‘60s to protest the war in Vietnam, and to call attention to environmental pollution and injustices against women.  This is needed.

But other people have a different life purpose, and our purpose can change or evolve over time, as mine has. Some are innovators, people who create the new world, the sustainable practices, the new technologies; while others are reformers within the system, bringing change from within the old paradigm. All three are necessary. We shouldn’t criticize others whose purpose is different from ours. There’s a fourth type, too, which we all can adopt, and that is the role of the exemplar, the person who embodies the values he or she embraces in whatever role he or she is playing—a mother, a father, an employee, neighbor, a member of a religious community, and so on. These are the four strategies we need to create change, to evolve. We just need to find the way the needs of the world meet our own particular skill set. This is the work we are each here to do.

There’s a story we tell in our book The Practical Visionary that describes an experience my husband had while working with a lot of high-level corporate executives on the Ceres Principles—then called the Valdez Principles—which were a set of principles they wanted corporations to sign onto to protect the environment. During a break in their discussions, my husband asked a group of executives why they were so willing to consider these principles after so many years of resistance. The men basically gave variations of, “You folks,” referring to the reformers within the system, “are reasonable and we can negotiate with you. The Greenpeace activists out there on the ships are giving us so many problems, we can’t talk to them.” One man also added, “My children come home from school where they’re learning about the environment and ask me, ‘Daddy, why are you destroying our planet?’”



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