When I heard about what happened in Orlando, something within me that was dying to wake up finally did. On the spiritual level, this is why these kinds of tragedies happen. And it’s why they will keep on happening for as long as we don’t learn what we are meant to.


If a pebble won’t wake us up, a boulder probably will. Events like this are the boulder that forces us outside our comfort zone so we grow and change and get squeezed into who we are meant to be. We are finally jarred awake and stretched into seeing from a truer and higher perspective.


The universe is extending an urgent invitation to us to look at life, ourselves, and our fellow human beings through a more spiritual lens. We are being invited to see what happened in Orlando as a great call for love on our planet—evidence of so much love missing. Evidence of love not being extended to those places where it’s needed most.


And we ourselves can extend that love and fill that void! It can be “us”—we ourselves! From right where we are. It need not be some abstract “them” who take care of it for us!


What happened is also a call for the very healing—of individuals and of groups—that I’ve been calling for in so many of my writings and teachings. Healing will save our planet. And it starts with healing ourselves. Personal wholeness will ultimately yield planetary wholeness. A better you really does make for a better world.


We are also being called to apply greater levels of creativity to how we live our lives and how we choose to see things. We are being asked to evolve as a species and to cultivate the peace and harmony that's possible between us--accounting for our differences, not flattening them. 


It’s time that we honor our connectedness and our oneness—every one of us on this planet included. Even, say, Donald Trump (teeheehee)! I doubt he’d be any more comfortable about my claiming our oneness than I myself am, but even through the discomfort of it, it remains a spiritual fact.


We are all brothers and sisters. Being called into deeper levels of compassion and understanding—among all of us—across our differences.


With this bitter, ugly news from Pulse Nightclub glaring at me from newspapers and TV, I wasn’t going to YET ONE MORE TIME mourn, grieve, and be stunned and staggered by what a mad, mad, mad, mad world we live in. No.


This time I asked the hard questions of myself: “when are you going to bring forth what’s within you?! When are you going to show up differently in the world and stop acting like an innocent by-stander and a victim of circumstance? When are you going to get some skin in the game and stop behaving like a fly on the wall of life?”


In the late nineties, for instance, I wrote a dissertation about the nuances of black identity on a global scale. It was just as much about the nuances of human difference in general, how to break down the fictive “we/they” divide. And it was about how we could so much more effectively and more lovingly negotiate one another’s differences.


Here I am literally a tried and tested expert on the matter of human difference! That dissertation got me hired for two years at Harvard and then ten years at Yale! But yet, here I am focused on other missions and other passions, and hence not sharing these particular visions I wrote about with anyone. But that will be changing now that the boulder has landed in my lap.


And what, I wonder, is your version of that same story? Because my story is more similar to your own than you may realize. I know I am not the only one being asked to wake up and to make more of a difference in the world around me. We are all getting the same call! Every one of us.


And when the guidance comes in, when we hear the inner directive, then we must actually DO that thing. Maybe it’s a literal movement you must launch—a direct form of activism. But maybe it’s fulfilling your calling. Pursuing your passion. Doing your artwork. Launching a business that enhances lives. Committing to that daily meditation practice.


Maybe it’s a book you must write or some other project you must embark on. Maybe you must support an organization you admire, offering up your time and your money as generously as you can muster. The key is, we ourselves must pledge to be the light. To be the change we wish to see in the world.


In a way it can be difficult to realize, innocent as we feel, we are all collectively responsible for what happened in Orlando. For we are all connected and we are all one. We are co-creating our reality together through a powerful energy form called “the collective consciousness.”


One person, or one would-be "group," simply acts out the shadow (the "dark" side) of what is being generated by the entire collective. Hence, that shooter was literally us and we are literally him. And there but by the grace of God go you or I—hard as it is to believe. With a slight tweak in our own life circumstances, that could have been any one of us.


It’s a form of willful blindness, the degree to which we don’t quite grasp our interconnectedness. The debates in the news (and at many of our dinner tables) divide us into camps. The Muslims. The LGBT community. The terrorists. The lone wolves. The homophobes. These are not discrete categories! They overlap and they cross cut!


Obviously there are gay Muslims, for instance, out and closeted! And there are passionately homophobic men in a secret inward struggle with their own homosexuality! I mean seriously, our categories are arbitrary and fluid because we are ultimately human with all the complexity and contradiction that implies.


This is why we will never resolve problems that have to do with making generalizations about groups and putting people in boxes. We can’t solve a problem from such a base and uncreative level of thought. We will just keep replicating, recycling, and reifying the problem in our very talking about it. We can’t shed or release or dissolve or outgrow the problem that way. To borrow from Albert Einstein, “no problem can be solved from the level of consciousness that created it.”


Everyone on this planet (all 7.2 billion of us) believes, just like we ourselves do, that they’re the one who is right and that they’re the one who is good. And this means there’s gotta be a different way we are supposed to be measuring things.


And we have to learn to live harmoniously with people who see differently from how we see instead of trying to convert them to our way of seeing. We can’t ask others to do what we ourselves are unwilling to do—to compel them to change their minds when we won’t change ours.


The call to action is rather about BEING love and BEING the light and BEING the change. It’s about loving in spite of our differences, and loving TO SPITE our differences. That is the only path to any true and meaningful transformation on our planet.


For only love has the power to transform. Anything else is a show of power, force, manipulation, and control disguised as a solution. That which is suppressed by force will only later morph into an existential “return of the repressed.” And history will repeat itself over and over again.


I’m closing with the wise words of that great teacher on human difference so many of us admire so very much:

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality… Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.