BEARING WITNESS TO EARTH: The Power of the “Glocal”

ZPI encourages reflections from retreat participants, staff, members & others touched by our work and doing similar work from around the world, as part of the practice of bearing witness. Elizabeth Debold, organizer of the One World Bearing Witness Online vigil, illuminates readers the world of interconnectivity that COVID-19 is shinning a light on, opening the world to a great sense of wholeness. 

In this liminal world of COVID-19 social isolation, there is another consciousness, a sensing, that is growing stronger and binding us together as humans and with our precious home, Earth. For perhaps the first time, in nearly every corner of the globe, we human beings are sharing an experience of not knowing, uncertainty, and interdependence. The posture that most of the human species has been pushed into is not so different from the meditation posture that we practice. In our global meditations and trainings, those of us at One World in Dialogue are discovering that there is a powerful opportunity in the midst of this pandemic–one that can create pathways to peace.

In this quiet where the seismographs register half the usual vibrations and the skies are blue over Beijing, we are discovering the power of the “glocal”:  the global and local as nonseparate. So many are reconnecting (or doing so for the first time) with neighbors and the communities right outside the front door and at the same time, we (those privileged to have homes and to buy a little time now) are joining gatherings that are spanning the globe. A friend’s Qi Gong classes, for instance, now include participants from Ireland and Chile. Many of us are deepening our roots and finding new wings. The fact that we can simultaneously stay at home and meet people from across the planet is almost in itself a koan.

At One World, we have been using Zoom videoconferencing for years–long before COVID-19. These last weeks have brought so many onto Zoom, where we form crazy quilts of faces in rooms from all over the world. Our interconnectedness, not just as human beings facing a deadly pathogen, but on Zoom, where we see each eye-to-eye, smile-to-smile across great distances is opening a new sense of ourselves as a global humanity living on this gorgeous planet. In our work with meditation and dialogue, such as with our annual event, One World Bearing Witness, we connect spiritual leaders and activists from all over the world to bear witness to life in all its multifaceted miracle–on Zoom. (We’ve been blessed to have ZPI’s former ED, Rami Mukyu Efal, host the 2019 event with us.) Thousands participate and, in participating, discover a new felt sense of grounded connection with our human reality and this round Earth. A field of awareness is created that gives a visceral sense of being a part of the living planet. Imagine: if this awareness were to become commonplace, and we all felt this connection with each other as fellow humans and with Earth, would we respond differently to the issues of climate and poverty?  

At the beginning of the pandemic, we rushed to offer a 12-hour meditation event on March 29th: We’re All in this Together. And now we are offering a free program (for the second time), Creating Online Aliveness, to help people to become aware of the connection that is ever-present in the consciousness that connects us…even on Zoom. At the end of the year, Dec. 5-6, we will offer our 24-hour meditation vigil for the planet, One World Bearing Witness: Belonging to Earth. Between now and then, we will keep on responding to the crises and confusion of our world with the message and the growing experience of being one humanity on one Earth.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Debold, Ed.D.: I call myself a gender futurist who sees a new potential for human relationship in the emergent realm of We Space. For the past four decades, I have worked on the front lines of gender and cultural evolution as activist, researcher, journalist, spiritual explorer, and transformative educator. For the past twenty-some years, I have committed myself to exploring the transformative potential of the We, beyond and including our many Me’s. Through founding One World in Dialogue, I am working with my partner, Thomas Steininger, and others across the globe to develop a unified field of conscious awareness that can hold our differences in creative friction rather than conflict. Not simply unity, or even unity-in-diversity, we are creating in dialogue a capacity to meet as human beings in differentiated wholeness. Our programs, such as the 24-hour vigil One World Bearing Witness, bring sacred activism into the global digital age.

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BEARING WITNESS TO EARTH: The Power of the “Glocal”

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