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The Actualization of Divinity
by Audrey Kitagawa

Audrey Kitagawa is the advisor at the Office of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. She is also the spiritual leader of a worldwide community based in Honolulu. The following remarks were made at a panel presentation on global consciousness at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Barcelona, Spain, in July 2004.

I believe that in each of us, there is the voice of advocacy and there is the voice of inspiration. The voice of advocacy helps us to be aware of what exactly is going on in the global landscape, because we cannot live in this modern world ignorant of the suffering of our brothers and sisters. We must do what it takes to raise the awareness all over the world that suffering has a human face and that we cannot live independently of each other but must be fully engaged in all of the issues that concern our human family. Ultimately, we do belong to one human family, and we do live in one home, and that home is the Earth. So we must fully understand that we do not live separate lives; that we are all intertwined and interconnected; and that your suffering is my suffering, your joy is my joy, the upliftment of one person is the upliftment of all persons, and the degradation of one human being is the degradation of all of us.

I'd like to call attention to the fact that between 1986 and 1996 alone, we had well over three hundred thousand children involuntarily conscripted to fight in adult wars. If ever you want to decimate a people and a culture, what you will do is decimate its children. Using our children as commodities of war is reprehensible, and we must do our best to protect and save them, because they are our treasures and the progenitors of our future. If we want to see how civilized any culture is, we must study how it is treating its children. And when we understand that half of the refugees in the world are children, we have to seriously examine how we, as so-called civilized people, are allowing such situations to occur.

At the same time, the voice of advocacy must ultimately be rooted in the voice of inspiration. And the voice of inspiration finds as its source and its wellspring our intimate individual and collective connection to the divine source. We must come to understand that the realization of that divinity is not somewhere far away in the heavens but right here within the sacred chamber of our own hearts. And the actualization of the divine in daily life comes from our ability to love and live love in our own lives, as a daily discipline in our thoughts, in our speech, and in our actions. We need to turn the searchlight inward and undertake a ceaseless, fearless self-examination to see how we must change. We have to be able to expunge all arrogance and egoism, to come to that humble state of "not I but Thou," "not my will but Thy will." We must be in that state of surrender where we will receive wisdom from the still, small voice of God that is already within our heart and is speaking to us every moment that we live. And when we talk about realizing God, we must realize that God is in the magnificence of the ordinariness of daily life. God is in how we share our love, heart to heart, with our brothers and sisters, in our own families, within our own communities. Are our thoughts kind and loving? Is our speech kind and loving? Are our actions kind and loving? For we cannot talk about all that is going on in the global landscape, we cannot talk about love as a philosophy, and not be able to bring that love into how we are living our daily lives.

So for all of us, this speaks to a profound personal responsibility. Each of us has value, each of our lives counts, and what we do in the world has an impact upon the collective. Therefore, we must never abdicate our personal responsibility to do our best to live rightly, to be in union with the divine, to actualize the divinity in our daily lives, by living love.


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This article is from...


October–December 2004