Today Dave Pollard reprints a recent speech by Bill Moyers in which he implores the world to use its heart to see what is unfolding around us. Moyers ends the speech thusly:
On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: ‘How do you see the world?” And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: “I see it feelingly.'”I see it feelingly.
The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist, I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free – not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called ‘hocma’ – the science of the heart…the capacity to see, to feel, and then to act as if the future depended on you.
This capacity to see from the heart lies at the core of what it means to sense the emerging future. And seeing from the heart means sensing the patterns of our emergent future in the grains of sand that are our present, right now, right here.
Johnnie Moore put it nicely yesterday when he asked “is your future in your present?”
In talking with Sonny Diabo last week, I learned that recovering this capacity to see may well be the one emerging Aboriginal leadership capacity that distinguishes 21st century leaders from those who have gone before. The utter domination of scientific materialism (along with the empirical measurement craze of the last couple of centuries) has relegated this ancient skill to the bargain basement bin of divination and idealism. The result has been a civilization where we shut off our human responses to the world and trust our senses only if they are confirmed by some mediated third party
Seeing the future in the present consists of two parts I think. It first means “seeing feelingly” or apprehending the truth of the world as it appears in front of us. All of the forces and the obstacles and the obfuscations that stand between our eyes and what is really happening. Seeing with the heart is the only way through this mess, to truly sense what is upon us.
Second, the capacity for seeing involves what Sonny describes as “getting my foot in the door.” In other words, there is a subtle ability to discern opportunity in all of the mess of the world. Sonny’s work these days consists of being and Elder to several processes across Canada that are purporting to make a difference for First Nations people. Among his two pet projects are Aboriginal Head Start, and long term care. He decided to throw his commitment into these projects because being born and dying are our deepest connections with the spirit world and the experiences of the first and last years of life are the most important for defining what it means to be Aboriginal. He sees this clearly, and sees the processes he is working on like doors that are opened a crack. He sees those cracks as potential, which he can help realize by supporting them as an Elder. And for him, once he has sensed this “”rightness” he sticks his foot in the door and does not let it go. For to simply witness these opportunities coming and going is not his game. He is there to extract the most he can for Aboriginal people. There is no decision to be made – he simply stays in the knowledge and belief that holding space and keeping it open allows the potential he sees to become manifest for everyone.
At the Art of Hosting workshop last week, my dear friend Toke Paludan Moller had a realization that he shared with us. It is that at every moment we are together as humans, collaborating, creating and enjoying ourselves, we are embodying something of the future we want to see. In our very act of being with one another, we are saying “this is how it should be.” Toke asked the question “what if the way we are together is the future?”
Questions like that force the eyes and heart open to seeing the world feelingly, in a way that allows us to see where we are and to seize the future contained in the Now, to seed it and grow it.