We live in a time of profound global trends: climate destabilization, peak oil, water shortages, dying oceans, over-population, poverty, food shortages, soil depletion, pollution, weapons of mass destruction, trillion dollar scams. These trends are interactive, and combined represent an unparalleled adversity trends amounting to systems crisis.
The world financial system is now undergoing a global economic crisis of staggering proportions and we could easily see a repeat of what happened back in 2008 for the same reasons. All over Europe, national governments have piled up debts that are completely unsustainable. The European banking system is absolutely enormous, nearly four times the size of the U.S. banking system. The USA has gone from the world's largest creditor to its greatest debtor, 10 Million Foreclosures are expected through 2012. More Than 100 Million Americans Are On some sort of Welfare.
Suddenly it appears that times are challenging. Great things and great people emerge from difficult times. In particular, challenging circumstances are proving grounds for leaders of all ages and all levels, and those that emerge will be those that understand the difference between self-confidence and arrogance.
The global crisis is also a crisis in human consciousness. Never have we faced global challenges such as are upon us. Many are simply overwhelmed to the extent of just avoiding the issues. We need to make intelligent inroads into the nature of the problems and of our denial and discuss how individuals can begin to come to terms with the future.
On their website Peter Russell and Duane Elgin emphasize that the real crisis is one of the human psyche. In one way or another human activity is at the root of this crisis, yet we stubbornly ignore the human part of the equation. The deeper part of the problem is within ourselves: greed, selfishness and apathy. To change that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.
If that is to happen, we might begin by learning more about Spiritual Leaders of our times, and making an effort to learn what they have to offer.
1. Eckhart Tolle. Tolle does not advocate any particular religion, and has contributed to a wide range of spirituality. Eckhart's profound yet simple teachings have helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. His books, The Power of Now and the highly-acclaimed follow-up A New Earth are two of the best-selling Mind, Body, Spirit books in the world – more than eight million copies have been sold in North America alone. He deliberately avoided setting up an ashram or centre as he cautions that "one needs to be careful that the organization doesn't become self-serving".
2. Dalai Lama. Born Lhamo Dondrub, Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhists believe him to be a reincarnation of his predecessors and the Buddha of compassion. He is a vocal activist for Tibetan independence and has made an incredible contribution to global spirituality.
3. Wayne Dyer. A self-made success story, Wayne Dyer inspires readers to actualize their potential. He is referred to as a "preacher of self reliance" and is currently focusing on interpreting the Tao Te Ching. He lives in Maui, Hawaii and has eight children.
4. Thich Nhat Hanh. Buddhist monk, teacher, author and peace activist. He founded the Order of Interbeing and the Unified Buddhist Church, along with monasteries and spiritual centres in Vietnam, the USA and France, where he now lives.
5. Deepak Chopra. Deepak began as an endocrinologist, and then shifted his career towards alternative medicine. As a writer on Ayurveda, mind-body medicine and spirituality, he has had huge success with titles such as Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Chopra's immense cultural influence spans beyond traditional MBS, from children's books to comics.
6. Louise Hay. Louise Hay is a motivational author, and the founder of Hay House. Her best known work is You Can Heal Your Life; Hay House has published over 300 books, and has made an immense contribution to mind-body-spirit literature and the New Thought Movement. Thinking positively can definitely make a difference!
7. Paolo Coelho. The Alchemist is one of the top selling books in history—with over 65 million copies sold, and holds the Guinness world record for being translated in the most languages! He's a brazilian author, but he writes novels that transcend nationality and represent emotions and struggles that all humans can understand and sympathize with. "Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are."
8. Oprah Winfrey. Oprah might be the most influential person in the world. She has discovered and advocated for so many spiritually influential thinkers—from Obama to Eckhart Tolle. We ranked her at only 8th place, because her influence isn't focused on spirituality, but eighth place may act as a metaphor since 8 means infinity in numerous metaphysical paradigms.
9. Ken Wilber. Wilber has advocated Integral Thought and influenced figures as varied as Bill Clinton, Deepak Chopra, and Billy Corgan. He founded the Integral Institute and has written about adult development, developmental psychology, philosophy, worldcentrism, ecology, and stages of faith.
10. Rhonda Byrne. Well known for The Secret book and DVD. Byrne advocates the belief that we can all transcend our suffering by not falling prey to negative thoughts. She has been listed among Times Magazine's list of 100 people who shape the world, and has also produced television shows. Last year she published The Power as a sequel to The Secret. "You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life."
11. Lynne McTaggart. Best-selling author, researcher and lecturer McTaggart's work has rightly been described as "a bridge between science and spirituality. For the past 20 years she has been researching medicine and its shortcomings, and quantum physics and what this means for you and the world we live in. The result has been best-selling books: The Field, The Intention Experiment, and What Doctors Don't Tell You. The monthly journal of the same name has been described as the best health journal in the world. She has also been overseeing a range of intention experiments on the web - believed to be the largest mind-over-matter trials ever undertaken.
12. Dr. Bruce Lipton. A renowned cell biologist has turned his scientific exploration to the integration of mind, body and spirit. He studies how our beliefs affect our health. In 1982, Dr. Bruce Lipton began exploring quantum physics to more fully explain the cell’s information processing systems. His breakthrough studies on the cell membrane revealed its function as essentially an organic computer chip, the cell’s equivalent of a brain. He made a discovery that ran counter to everything scientists believed about the role of genes in the body. His research showed that environmental forces outside the cell control its behavior and physiology, turning genes on and off. This idea opened the door to a new and important field, the science of Epigenetics.