A Message to Graduates – Everything Is Connected
Miriam Kashia, Blue Planet Green Living’s international editor, recently was invited to give a graduation address in British Columbia. When we read her speech, we instantly knew that it was a powerful message we wanted to share. Whether you have long ago graduated or are soon heading in that direction, we believe you’ll find Miriam’s inspiring words worth reading, pondering, and remembering. — Julia Wasson, Publisher
When thinking about this event, I considered what it is that I believe most strongly that might be useful to you. In my 66 years of life’s lessons with all the challenges, hardships, successes, adventures, work, play, educational endeavors, relationships, and spiritual seeking, the most salient thing I can share with you is something you already know. It is actually very simple and nothing new:
EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.
I am tempted to stop there, because I have just said it all. Kurt Vonnegut, when delivering a commencement address to a graduating class, once said, “Everything is going to become unbelievably worse and will never get better again,” and walked off the stage.
It may have enabled him to avoid having to write a lengthy address and get to an early golf game, and it undoubtedly caused quite a stir, but I doubt his cynicism was particularly helpful or inspiring to the graduates. I don’t aspire to be Kurt Vonnegut, although I enjoyed his books many years ago, so I will elaborate and try to explain something about what it means to me when I say, “EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.”
Before I continue, however, it’s important that I tell you I am not professing to speak “The Truth.” Rather, I am speaking my version of the Truth as I understand it today. There are undoubtedly as many versions of the Truth as there are people, and certainly Truth changes over time. Remember the flat earth?
Growth is about examining the evidence of what you experience and adapting your thinking according to what fits for you. With real growth, much of what we understand to be Truth is malleable and flexible over time. If anyone approaches you with the absolute TRUTH about what you SHOULD think or feel, I suggest you smile and leave the premises. Even the Buddha, on his deathbed, told his followers to examine everything they read or were told – even by him – according to their own internal compass. Find your inner compass, and pay attention to it. Most of the big mistakes we make in life come from ignoring it.
So now back to “EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.”
This is going to be a bit heady for a few minutes, but please stay with me. The implications of what I’m going to attempt to describe are off the charts.
Since the middle 20th century and even earlier, scientists have revisited their long-held beliefs about the cause-and-effect mechanics of the universe. I am definitely not a physicist, but from what I have read and the meager amount I can comprehend, I understand that there have been several groundbreaking research projects, done under carefully controlled conditions, that examined the behavior of the smallest sub-particles currently known. What they discovered was that the observer, by the very act of paying attention, affected the outcome.
The implications of this are mind-boggling. We now understand that it is not possible to be non-participating. What we pay attention to and feel strongly about is changed, whether internally in ourselves or externally in the world. As a result of that research, Quantum Physics is now well established within the scientific world, and there are several new theories about what it all means and how the universe works.
The old rules of physics still apply, but something new has been added which may explain certain things, such as spontaneous healing, bi-location, remote viewing, or other so-called parapsychological or mystical events, which heretofore have been ignored or denied in scientific circles. My thanks to Gregg Braden in his incredible book, The Divine Matrix, for explaining and synthesizing this complex body of material so that it is accessible to the layperson.
To start at the beginning, everything that was merged and compressed within what some scientists say was our pea-sized cosmos 13 to 20 billion years ago before the big bang is still connected! That means absolutely everything is connected. The newly verified and subtle force that serves to connect everything in what we think of as empty space, is called by various names and has been referred to for ages by mystics as well as some ancient cultures and modern, indigenous peoples. Braden calls it the “Divine Matrix.” What they have been telling us for centuries about the Oneness of Everything can now be validated in the laboratory. Not only that, but as it turns out, we are the creators of the universe we experience. In Braden’s words:
A growing body of research suggests that we are more than cosmic latecomers simply passing through a universe that was completed long ago. Experimental evidence in physics is leading to the conclusion that we’re actually creating the universe as we go and adding to what already exists! In other words, we appear to be the very energy that’s forming the cosmos, as well as the beings who experience what we’re creating. That’s because we are consciousness, and consciousness appears to be the same “stuff” from which the universe is made.
Rumi said it thus in the 13th century: “We are the mirror as well as the face in it.”
Margaret Atwood, a famous Canadian poet and novelist, said it in this non-scientific way, in her commencement address at the University of Toronto in 1983: “You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.”
Braden goes on to explain that the powerful Quantum Language of Consciousness that enables this creative change to happen is our deeply felt, non ego-based emotional states: compassion, imagination, and prayer paired with our absolute recognition that what we desire is already true. When we suspend disbelief, our consciousness has the power to alter the essence of the universe in ways that can change DNA, heal our bodies, create peace, and change lifelong patterns. If that isn’t enough, there is also growing evidence that our brain allows for experiences that transcend time and space. Albert Einstein knew that when he said, “Time is not at all what it seems. It does not flow in only one direction, and the future exists simultaneously with the past.”
Braden tells us,
It should be clear that it’s impossible for us to be simply bystanders in our world. As conscious observers, we’re part of all that we see. In the realm of quantum possibilities, we appear to be made to participate in our creation. We’re wired to create! Because we appear to be universally joined on the quantum level, ultimately our connectedness promises that the seemingly little shifts in our lives can have a huge influence on our world and even the universe beyond. Our quantum link with the cosmos runs so deep that scientists have created a new vocabulary to describe what such connections really mean. It’s called the “butterfly effect.” The bottom line of this phenomenon suggests that a single small change in one part of the world can be the trigger for a huge alteration in another place and time. The quantum net or matrix that connects everything suggests that you and I direct a force within us that works in a realm that’s free from the limits of physics as we know them.
What we see as our universe is really us — our individual and collective minds — transforming the possibilities … into physical reality. This radical new way of viewing ourselves and the universe gives nothing less than direct access to every possibility that we could ever wish or pray for, dream or imagine. The key to experiencing the power of these potential outcomes is that we must think of ourselves in this new way. And when we do, something wonderful begins to happen: We’re changed.
I cannot tell you how thrilling it is for me to realize that what I have long believed and sometimes experienced is being validated and studied by the scientific community. I want to talk to you a bit about some of the things this can mean in your life.
First, it means is that you are not bound by the same limitations that have been unknowingly self-imposed on the generations that preceded you.
The men and women who have made a positive mark on history often turn out to be those few who operated from this place of creative consciousness.
I quote Barack Obama from a graduation speech in spring 2008, six months before his election:
I hope you’ll remember, during those times of doubt and frustration, that there is nothing naïve about your impulse to change the world. Because all it takes is one act of service — one blow against injustice — to send forth what Robert Kennedy called that “tiny ripple of hope.” That’s what changes the world.
Here’s a simplified version of the quantum formula for conscious creation, as I currently understand it:
- Start with your unqualified belief that your creative consciousness has the power to make your tiny ripple spread beyond your wildest imaginings.
- Add your heartfelt, ego-less investment in that change.
- Create your ripple by doing whatever you do from a place of compassion.
- Know that the change you seek is already a reality.
- And, voila! Whatever problem you choose to tackle will be transformed in some meaningful way.
You are no doubt painfully aware that the most massive, dangerous, and seemingly insoluble problem facing the world today is the degradation and destruction of our planet’s ecosystem. How’s that as a testing ground for implementing this newly identified quantum creative consciousness?!
Paul Hawken is an environmental activist, entrepreneur, author, and, most important, a dreamer. He spoke to the graduates at the University of Portland this spring. You can hear him using the formula I just outlined, though he may never have heard of it. I quote:
Here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.
You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power.
Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, re-imagine, and reconsider.
This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, challenging, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hopefulness only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.”
Gloria Steinem, a ground-busting American journalist and feminist leader talks about tackling the impossible in her commencement address at Tufts University in 1987:
Whatever you want to do, just do it. Don’t worry about making a damn fool of yourself. Making a damn fool of yourself is absolutely essential. And you will have a great time.
Remember: You are not bound by the same limitations that have been unknowingly self-imposed on the generations that preceded you.
What else does quantum consciousness, that “Butterfly Effect,” mean in your life?
It means we must shed our addiction to power, material “success,” and our personal and cultural narcissism. The newly recognized “language” of Quantum Physics is deeply felt emotion, especially compassion, because compassion is always from the heart, not from the ego.
Compassion has an open heart and long, open arms, and can only be experienced when we allow ourselves to deeply feel the connection we have with others, even those we will never meet. Compassion is also contagious. I allowed myself to be cracked open by what I experienced in my work with the Peace Corps in Namibia. When I wrote about the effects of poverty on the children, my friends and family responded with compassion and action, followed by the compassion and participation of others. When someone initiates a process for positive change without self-serving motivations, others are inspired to do likewise. It is, indeed, contagious.
And finally, what this means in your life is that you are free to be all you are. Not only free, but compelled by the laws of the universe to create yourself and your world.
Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios said in his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was preparing to write this speech, I read about 30 commencement addresses delivered over the past 70 years that Mr. Google told me were the best. For my money, Alan Alda’s speech, delivered at Connecticut College in 1980, is the best of the best. He, too, understands what it means to be all of oneself in order to create not only your life, but also your world. He says:
I want you to be potent, to do good when you can, and to hold your wit and your intelligence like a shield against other people’s wantonness. And above all, to laugh and enjoy yourself in a life of your own choosing and in a world of your own making. I want you to be strong and aggressive and tough and resilient and full of feeling. I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.
I want you to have chutzpah. Be bold. Let the strength of your desire give force and moment to your every step. Move with all of yourself. When you embark for strange places don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory. Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. It is not the previously known. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.
There is far more to explore in this reality-transforming old/new understanding of the laws of the universe. You will be watching this century unfold in ways we can only try to imagine. But that’s the whole point — the Quantum power of compassion and imagination and creative consciousness will become commonly understood scientific belief, as well as daily wisdom for living. For today, I hope you will remember these three things:
- You are not bound by the same limitations that have been unknowingly self imposed on the generations that preceded you.
- The language of creative consciousness is deeply felt emotion, especially compassion, because compassion is always from the heart, not from the ego. And it is contagious.
- You are free to be all you are. Not only free, but compelled by the laws of the universe to create yourself and your world.
My warm congratulations. Thank you for inviting me to share in this most memorable day of celebration and transition. I challenge you to grow your own Truth throughout life and to live that Truth to the fullest. By the time you are my age, perhaps the expanding awareness that we are all quite literally connected with everything and everyone will have altered the way we live on this planet. You will be the conscious creators of that better world, tiny ripples that spread.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Emmanuel:
Destiny is the soul’s consciousness flowing ever and ever more strongly and swiftly toward Light and toward Truth and toward Oneness. There is no other destiny than this.