By Nancy Seifer and Martin Vieweg
“America is “the prototype of the universal society… and a global pioneer.”
-Zbigniew Brzezinski (11.07.08)
On the morning before Election Day, two conservative pundits on cable TV were discussing what they already sensed would be a political tsunami. Bewildered by the Obama phenomenon, they were trying to make sense of it. One said off-handedly, in a tone slightly tinged with cynicism, “If you look at the newspapers from around the world, you’d think that if Obama wins it’s going to be the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”
The following night, as news of Obama’s election instantly encircled the globe, it seemed that if any single event could mark the start of a new age, this was possibly it.
Something monumental had occurred for humanity as a whole. Tears of joy streamed down the faces of young and old, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian, known and unknown. A palpable spirit of universal brotherhood and goodwill poured forth as spontaneous celebrations erupted around the world—from Athens to Sydney, Nairobi to Tokyo; from Times Square to Lafayette Square outside the White House.
In the eyes of people who spoke with reporters that night, there was a light reminiscent of the light shining from the faces of people who had caught the Aquarian spirit years earlier, starting at Findhorn—the community in northern Scotland where that spirit took root in the 1960s. That same light appeared among the throngs of celebrants at Grant Park, and at gatherings across the country and around the world—the light of the soul alive to goodness and truth, animated by hope for a new future.
For such souls, something new had entered the world that night. People interviewed by reporters sounded a common theme. One after another, with tears still streaming down their faces, they declared: “This is the best day of my life.” “I’m so happy to be alive right now.” “This is a new world.” “We’re on the verge of a new era.” Commentators immediately recognized that we had turned a corner. They remarked repeatedly that a transformation had taken place—a generational transformation in leadership as well as a “sense of who we are as a people,” racially and ethnically.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former National Security Advisor and well-known global strategist, saw the implications of Obama’s election on a world scale. Speaking on cable TV a few days later, he said that he saw America as “the prototype of the universal society” and “a global pioneer.” His words had an oddly familiar ring to students of the ageless wisdom teachings, which portray the Aquarian age as exactly that–a universal society in which millions of souls will become awakened to their higher nature, aware of the oneness of humanity, and concerned with the greater good.
To some, Obama’s election was a spiritual event more than a political one. In a very real way it inaugurated a higher stage of awareness on our planet. If we view the Aquarian Age as a new stage in human consciousness in which the Soul (the higher Self that is one with all of life) will transcend outer differences and cleavages, it might be said that the choice of Obama for president of the United States was the first utterance of our collective Soul. Everything about his campaign telegraphed the message “we” rather than “me.”
In one resounding decision by the American people, a healing balm was applied to the scars of a nation and the light of justice and equality radiated around the globe. The words of African-American commentators carried the sense that the soul of America was finally mending; its long civil war was finally ending. Stating that “Dr. King’s mission was to redeem the soul of America,” Jesse Jackson placed Obama’s election “in that stream.” By redeeming itself, America could now legitimately become “leader of the free world” and, in Brzezinski’s words, become the “global pioneer” for a universal society.
From the start, Obama’s campaign had been pitched to the larger world as well as to the American people. His speeches in cities and towns across the nation unfailingly ended with variations on the message: “Together we will heal the nation and transform the world.” In a sense the Obama campaign, unprecedented in its length and the millions of people mobilized by it, was a crusade to unify the American people first and next to build, on that foundation of unity, a genuinely new world order.
Ironically, hard-nosed politicians and commentators often chided Barack Obama about the softness of his message of change. When his opponents finally recognized the depths of America’s hunger for change and tried to co-opt the message, they were unconvincing. While they were still “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” Obama evoked the sea change possible through a massive stirring of souls. If enough people mustered the will to end the dark night of cynicism and fear, we could, together, forge a new reality for all.
That our old reality is teetering on the brink of disaster clearly worked in Obama’s favor. The worsening conditions in our global economy and environment have exposed the fact that a world order based on selfish interests is unsustainable. The chain of events now unfolding appears designed for humanity to see that competing self-interests, individual and national, eventually lead to mutual destruction. It has now become self-evident that the new reality of interconnectedness has to be the foundation of a new world era.
In his victory speech, Obama called upon Americans to “reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth that out of many we are one.” Alluding to the message that Americans had just sent to the world, by electing him, he repeated another of his themes: “We have never been just a collection of individuals, or of red states and blue states, we are and always will be the United States of America.”
The phrase “collection of individuals” was perhaps an oblique reference to the narcissism that has dominated American life in recent decades. And yet the corrosive alienation born of narcissism may have served as the fuel needed to awaken the Soul of America and engender a sense of shared identity. To realize this new identity, at a depth from which a genuinely new world order can emerge, is the mission of the coming age. Breaking out of the narrow confines of a separative sense of individualism, which brought us to this point in evolution, will obviously require time and struggle. Obama alluded to this when he said, “The road ahead will be long. The climb will be steep.”
“But,” he continued, “tonight I promise you that we as a people will get there.” As TV cameras panned the shining faces in the crowd, one could actually see the old era of “every man for himself” giving way to a new awareness of “we as a people.” And “we,” for Obama, is inclusive of all. “To all watching tonight from beyond our shores,” he intoned, “our stories are singular but our destiny is shared. A new dawn of American leadership is at hand.” Given what enlightened American leadership can mean for the world, as humanity comes of age, we may actually be on the cusp of the golden era prophesied by the sages of old.
Nancy Seifer and Martin Vieweg are the coauthors of When the Soul Awakens: The Path to Spiritual Evolution and a New World Era, a new book based on the ageless wisdom teachings. Both have been studying and practicing the principles of these teachings for over thirty years. Nancy was an activist and writer on women and diversity early in life, before finding herself on a spiritual journey—a personal exploration of the evolution of consciousness chronicled in her memoir, Russian Odyssey. Martin has studied diverse teachings and has lectured on topics ranging from reincarnation to meditation. www.whenthesoulawakens.org