Hello, and welcome back for Program Five in this seven-part Reaching Out presentation. I'm Joseph Tieger.

As you know, if you've been with us before, these broadcasts grow out of a series of town meetings in Oakland California, where a thousand participants came together to face the same challenge we all face--to change the story of our time.

In the first four programs of this series, we've been able to look together at social and environmental realities that can be daunting to look at alone, and to see that we're part of a vast network of people of all races and ethnicities who want to live in a caring community, a just society, and a sustainable world.

Given what we are all called upon to do, the real question is how can we do it together--across all the barriers that have so long divided us. How can we heal the wounds within us and between us, and how can we heal our relationship with the earth? And what miracles might we accomplish, when we can come together as allies, as people of heart?



ROBERT SHIELDS Good evening.


I am a robotic animatronic.


I consist of four hundred and fifty thousand moving components.


I have been secretly programmed to observe human behavior.


The human design has an unlimited source that can be tapped by the opening of the heart.


Unfortunately very few humans are aware of this.


There are many rare accounts of humans attaining great knowledge and wisdom.


But, in most cases, the species are content painting their nails, and dyeing different hair particles--and reading about other people who are involved in the same level of commitment.


In most cases the child inside these creatures dies at a very young age. And as the child leaves, the heart hardens.



CAROLYN COTTOM We will either destroy ourselves, or we will go forward and be able to transform into a partnership society and a partnership world where we work cooperatively. And that's where I think we are. I think we are at, we are very close to, the fork in the road.


RAM DASS You don't think we're beyond the fork?


CAROLYN COTTOM I don't think we're beyond the fork.


RAM DASS You think there's still choice. There's still space.


CAROLYN COTTOM Yeah. Yeah. What do you think?


RAM DASS I don't know. I really don't know. People have to leap out into unknown. And I notice that somehow we have gotten so obsessed with security that we don't leap. We just build our little walls and protect. And I think that is doomed. And I don't know what that turning point is, I don't know what the turning point is. That's the mystery.


CAROLYN COTTOM Well, I agree with you that that is doomed, for sure, for sure.


RAM DASS Yeah, that is doomed, yeah.


CAROLYN COTTOM That is doomed.



JIM WALLIS Our systems have failed the poor and they have failed the earth. They have failed the creation.

I was with a group of Australian economists recently, and we were discussing the breakdown of the paradigms that have governed the world economically. That both macrosystems, capitalism and communism, have failed, not just one, not communism only, but also capitalism. That's one advantage of living in my neighborhood. There are no illusions there about how well this system is working. I see the consequence every day in the lives of people of how this system has also failed.

And they were asking, the economists, well what is the new system that we need, beyond capitalism and socialism. And I said, well, right there is a problem in our thinking, as if you all in this room--typically they were all white men--can create some new system and then offer it to the world. It won't happen that way anymore. There aren't new systems. There are rather new ways that we will test and evaluate and hold systems, macrosystems or microsystems, accountable. For example, how well they serve the poor and the outcast is a primary religious test of any, of any of our projects and systems. How they are in harmony with the earth and the whole of the creation is a second. And thirdly, how they enable the participation of people in the decision making, in the process. Those three criteria for me are absolutely essential.

And what's happening, I think, is a lot of people, even outside of religion per se, are realizing that underneath all these social, economic, and political issues there's a spiritual core. At the heart of our relation to the poor, to the earth, to one another. These are spiritual issues.



ROBERTO VARGAS We have to love each other. We have to care for each other. And that's environmental work. It's the caring for each other. And I think that's what we also have to keep in perspective.


MARTÍN CANO You know, we can be more concerned about whales and dolphins than human beings. And just as we're not superior to them, I think we're just as important as them. And yet people don't have that empathy even for their own human kind. I mean, it's real easy to say, "Human beings, they can take care of themselves. We're going to take care of the animals. The animals are cuter, you know, we can help them more and they need our help more. Human beings can take care of themselves. I'm not going to worry about them."

You know, when you have that type of attitude about your own brothers and sisters, your own species, and the only things on earth that you can unite with are the flowers and the trees, and the other living beings, but you can't unite with your own species, then something's wrong, I think.


ROB KRUGER I think you're right, there is a big problem in the environmental movement. That a lot of people say, "Oh, well, let's preserve the flowers. But the people in the urban jungle, who are throwing their beer bottles all over the place, well, that's their own problem." I think you're definitely right on that.


ROBERTO VARGAS There's a lot to be done. Safeway will not now buy tuna that was used with nets that also carry dolphins. So now it's a landmark kind of victory and everyone says, "Great, let's support Safeway." Yet Safeway has total disrespect of farm workers, farm worker rights, and the fact that farm workers for years have been lobbying for, one, economic justice, unions; and also the control of pesticides that affect our foods. And we've got to integrate the two. We can't let environmentalists off the hook in terms of thinking it's just the environment, and forget about people. And forget about farm worker people. And about the pesticides. And about, you know, who is the cheap labor in this country. That's the challenge we've got to deal with in terms of environmental folks.



WINONA LADUKE We don't want to talk about the source of wealth in this country, and we don't want to talk about the price of wealth. And that is the essence of the problem, and it actually has to do with a structural problem in the society. And to deal with really the indigenous issue in my mind is to deal with the real core of what the problem is in this society.

It's my experience in working in the native community and from understanding things that are a part of our community that the way we look at things traditionally is that when you go and get wild rice, or when you go get a deer, you harvest a deer, you go up there and you pray. When you take something, you offer thanks, and then after you have it then you have a feast, a thanksgiving feast, and a greater honoring of the animal or the plant that you have taken. You always give something, and you always give it with honor. You honor what you've taken.

Another part of the relationship is that you only take what you need. You don't take more than what you need, and you leave the rest, because that's the deal. That's how it works.



THOMAS BERRY The basic biological law is that every life-system has opposed life-systems or conditions that limit each life-system, so that no one life-system or group of life-systems should overwhelm the others. But our technologies enable us to transcend that situation. We are not subject to being limited. We have to self-limit. So the basic principle has to be self limit--as regards resources, habitat and numbers. Three, three basic areas.


RAM DASS We're not doing very well in self limiting on any of those, are we?


THOMAS BERRY No, but America particularly has to begin to limit consumption.



MARTÍN CANO It's just obvious the answer is that we have to consume less, and we're too materialistic, and we've separated ourselves from the other life on the planet, and we think we're superior. That sounds so simplistic, you know, and easy. You know, "I can handle that."

But when it comes to applying it. . . Does that mean that we don't use electricity the way we have been using it? And if that's what it means, does that mean that we do without light bulbs? I mean is that what we want? Do we start saying, "OK, let's go back to the cave days," and we live in caves with candles, and we hunt and we farm?


ROBERTO VARGAS It means responsible technology. I mean, it's been said that a light bulb can be made to last 20, 30, 40 times more. But we're driven by consumerism. It's made for a short life span. Look at a lot of toys for children. They're made to break within a year. I mean, to me, that's irresponsible. We can still make toys, but they could last a lifetime. And they could be made so they could be passed on to other children. So in a way it's more responsible technology.


AMY KAMINER I disagree though. I think that we do have to step back. I mean, I don't think we can keep going, and just say, "By having more socially responsible companies, or light bulbs that last longer...." I think that there is a demand for a change of lifestyle. And that's the part that becomes scary.



WINONA LADUKE People recognize that this society is spiritually bankrupt, and because of that they look to reintegrate themselves to the earth. That is what is going on now. And a part of that whole process--when you start getting in touch with that, you realize the problem, you also realize your complicity in the problem--and you also realize that a part of that, you know, that there's things that you have to do. You have to take the change, and you have to, you know, actively reestablish your relationship to the earth. Not just in terms of the spiritual relationship. Because in terms of indigenous philosophies, spirituality is not separated from your way of life. It's essentially the same thing, and you don't go to church to practice spirituality on Sundays. It's how you live. It's how you think. It's how you treat people. It's how you harvest food from the land.

Those things, you know, those are things that people understand when they are a land-based culture. And it is my sense that people are moving more towards that in this America. I think part of that is where they are coming from. The other part of that is that the earth is very much alive, and I also think that the earth calls to people. It calls to people to re-turn to their relationship.

But indigenous values, like you talk about Native Americans or whatever, I think you've got to look at a bigger picture, which has to do with indigenous and land-based peoples, which are worldwide. It's not just people here. And even you, everybody comes from the land at some point. You just happen to have been colonized for longer than I have. That's basically the difference.



MILILANI TRASK The teachings for living with balance, spiritually and environmentally, over generations have been encoded into the cultural practices of native people. If you wish to understand the way to maintain the Amazon Basin or to maintain the fragile environments of the Pacific Basin, the people that will teach you this are the native people.

And it will not be a teaching that will be transmitted through a textbook or through some type of an academic approach, but it is something that is manifest in the gesture of the lifestyle of the native people. And so, in order for these teachings to thrive and be appreciated, we need to maintain the native cultures on their land bases and allow them the space that they need to practice their traditions.

By observing and working with native people, then, these teachings can go global. And, you know, the truth is, is that it's a difficult exchange to make, because it's really not an intellectual exchange.

You can talk about protecting the rainforests, but there is no commitment in your heart. There is no understanding of it until you walk in the rainforest. When you go with the native people and you pray there, when you take a ho'okupu or sacred offering to the brink of Tutupele's caldera, where the volcano is raising up from the ground, you can understand the sacredness of that place. But it is something that is very difficult to transmit in the written word, or through the spoken word. It requires that you touch the earth and feel that the earth is touching you back.



CARL ANTHONY I don't have the privilege of being an indigenous person, because many of my ancestors were brought from the continent of Africa, not by choice. But I also have other ancestors who came here from Europe, by choice. And I also have other ancestors who were the indigenous people here. And so, for me, what is especially challenging and especially wonderful is to listen to these different voices in myself. And I think that, in a way, we all have those voices. We all were indigenous to someplace.

And it seems to me that there really is this confusion between, what shall I say, having, and well-being. Maybe if we really learn to treat people who are struggling with minimal resources with dignity, we might be able to find a path. They're not the ones that are creating the problem with the ozone layer. They're not the ones that are creating the problem with the rainforest.

So, what I see, is that there's really a window of opportunity here--to actually improve the quality of life, to improve the communication between people, as we get rid of some of these things, or leave alone some of those things, that are not giving us the satisfaction that we need. And part of it really means getting rid of, or getting away from, or not relying on, so much of what we have assumed as part of our consumer culture.



JIM WALLIS We're looking, I think we're hungry for values and visions that can bring us together, as communities, as families, as nations. You know, the Proverbs text that I use a lot these days..."Without a vision the people perish." And that's so true.


RAM DASS That's great.


JIM WALLIS We are perishing without a vision.

Between what is now and what is future, between the old and the new, there's always a door. And that door is hope.

So that when you look back at something that seemed impossible looking ahead, what is impossible in foresight becomes, in hindsight, inevitable--and is a process of history being changed. The critical question is: "Who will walk through the door?" Only those who believe there is something on the other side, and are willing to ground their, their lives in the belief that something is there, to which they'll commit themselves, that they can't see.


RAM DASS That they'll risk change.


JIM WALLIS Minorities, minorities who act in faith and conscience, believing a different kind of future, have always made the critical difference. Now whether we have that kind of conviction and faith in sufficient numbers in our time will finally answer that question.



MARTÍN CANO You know, I have maybe thirty or forty years at the most to give of my life to the world. What can I do with it? What am I going to do with it? Am I going to just leave on this earth...I'll eat, and leave a pile of shit. I mean, is that all there is? I'll have some fun, you know. And will I have done anything significant with my life? Will I have changed the world at all? Will I have made it better or made it worse?

And all of us are living for purpose. We have purpose in our lives. Everybody does. But some people don't realize what that purpose is. Some people's purpose is to fit into society and not have any problems, that's their purpose. And, for me, purpose is something very conscious. My purpose is to reduce suffering on this earth. To leave something good on this earth. So that when I leave, I can say, "I did something with it. I used my life effectively."



DAVID STEINDL-RAST If you really act from your innermost center, from your heart of hearts, you will serve. And I'm not saying you ought to serve or anything like that. I just say ask your innermost heart, go to your innermost heart, because you can't be truly happy unless you go to your innermost heart, so in your own interest go to your heart of hearts. You know that's where you're happy. Those are your most blissful moments, when you are 'one-d' with all there is, with yourself, with all others, and with God, or ultimate reality. You know that from your experience. So, at the moment you act out of that spot or of that center or out of that whatever it is, you will serve.




Open mine eyes, that I may see

Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me

Open mine eyes, illumine me

Spirit divine


What do you do for your living?

Are you forgiving, giving shelter?

Follow your heart, love will find you

Truth will unbind you

Seek out a song of the soul


And we'll sing this song

Why don't you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time

Why don't you sing this song?

Why don't you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time


Come to your life like a warrior

Nothing will bore ya'

You can be happy

Let in the light, it will heal you

And you can feel you

And sing out a song of the soul


And we'll sing this song

Why don't you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time

Why don't you sing this song?

Why don't you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time


Love of my life, I am crying

I am not dying

I am dancing

Dancing along in the madness

There is no sadness

Only a song of the soul


And we'll sing this song

Why don't you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time

Why don't you sing this song?

Why don't you sing along?

And we can sing for a long, long time

And we can sing for a long, long time.

©1998 Choice Point