This is a book about human behavior and our spiritual hunger, and a fractured world in urgent need of healing.
It is a book that urges us all to take responsibility for this world before it is too late. More than that, it is a guidebook that shows us how we can between us build a more spiritual, peaceful and happier life for us all.
Most of all it is a book of hope: because I believe that our world is at the dawning of a new earth consciousness, a new deep spirituality that will enable us to build this better world for all time if we only allow it to happen. Generations to come may look back and marvel at how it took so long for us to see such obvious need for healing change.
The world is in such a mess. It is clear that our economic system is flawed, that our materialistic outlook in science cannot provide all the answers, that spirituality has been marginalized. We have ecological destruction on a large scale, problems in our societies, and more dis-ease than ever before in spite of massive medical advances. We urgently need a new world -view, a change of direction, a New Renaissance.
This book is for all those who, like me, want to make a difference, for the sake of our families, our children and grandchildren. It is written for Cultural Creatives, for Sacred Activists, for those of any faith or none who can appreciate the need for a greater spirituality in our lives, to create a better balance between matter and spirit, to carve happier, healthier, safer and more fulfilling lives, to be catalysts for social change. I am writing for all those who over the years have bemoaned the state of the world and asked "But what can I do?" Here are plenty of ideas.
The book has grown out of an idea I had in 2004 in Turkey, whilst reading the contemplative books by the Roman Catholic priest Henri Nouwen, including his short bestselling gem, The Wounded Healer. These books had become valuable and reliable sources of comfort and support in my own pain as I was recuperating from a massive mental breakdown.
It came to me in one of those "ah-ha" moments that the compassion and vulnerability of the Wounded Healer could have a significance for healing our dangerously fractured world way beyond the realms of the pastoral and medical professions, where it is primarily researched and understood as a means of healing and where most of the literature is to be found. Where else, I mused, can we find the Wounded Healer in our lives? How, I thought, could we hope to heal this world when so many of us have our own unhealed spiritual and mental wounds, and so much of our destructive behavior is because of those wounds; when for so many of us it is not regarded as appropriate in our working lives to show too much compassion, let alone vulnerability.
But I had not realized just how big this project was, where it was going to lead me. My researches over the last five years took me deeper and wider into so very many other fields. Meanwhile the wounds of the world become ever more serious and the healing needs more urgent.
Never have spirituality and faith and the ancient wisdoms of all the great religions been more relevant than in today's fractured world and we need to appreciate these in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. More than that, I believe there is an urgent need to integrate ancient spiritual wisdom and philosophy with modern scientific endeavors and rediscover the spiritual in all our material experiences. This is our responsibility and we have no choice if we are to halt the destruction all around us. This is a matter of faith for many and an obligation for all humankind.
So I write of all these things in the context of relationship and community, our economy, our environment, the medical and pastoral professions, and in creativity in all its forms, all woven together
I hope you enjoy the journey. Do let me know what you think. I love feedback.
Eleanor Stoneham December 2010