Living a Spiritual Life: A Path, Not a Destination

Outlook on Spirituality

We Are Becoming a More Spiritual Nation

A Gallup Poll taken in November 1999 reported that from 1994 to 1998, the number of people reporting that "spiritual growth" was a very important part of their lives increased from 59 percent to 84 percent.

"Everywhere you go, there is a conversation about spirituality," observes author Marianne Williamson, who is spiritual leader of the Unity Church in Warren, Mich. She sees this spiritual renaissance in all walks of life — business, education, relationships and politics. "People are beginning to have a higher level conversation with themselves and others. Even in world events, despite terrible violence and problems, we see efforts to move toward a more just and loving world," she says.

Williamson recently invited 40 contemporaries to contribute essays to a new book on topics ranging from education and community to sex and the soul. The result is Imagine: What America Could Be in the 21st Century.

"We live in extraordinary times," says Williamson. "I think there is a global resurgence of spiritual forces; at the same time, there is a heightened chaos — we are living in a very divided world. One world is falling apart, and one world is being born. One world is closing the heart ever more tightly, and another world is racing open-hearted and ever more passionately toward love."

Each of us moves a little closer to that ideal when we choose optimism over cynicism, action over passivity, hope over despair. As Williamson says, "Every moment we're cynical, we could have been helping. I think being optimistic is a moral imperative.

"I think the way we help the world choose love is by recognizing that our personal world is a microcosm of the whole world, and that when we choose love, we help the entire world choose love."