To attain spiritual maturity is to become empowered to the fullest extent of our capacity. When we are integrated within, in our best state of relationship to others and the world, and full of energy and enthusiasm, then we can best take charge of our lives and affect the circumstances that surround us. In this state of Being, we have removed internal obstacles to our progress, and as we identify more obstacles, we can remove them too. We have become honest with ourselves and in relation to the world, and open to all that life has to offer and that we have to offer. By applying all the principles that have led to spiritual growth, and energetically pursuing corresponding practices, we rise to the most effective state of our Being.
Technical and Analytical Readings
On power through collaboration:
- R. Keith Sawyer, Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration (Basic Books, 2007).
- Morten T. Hansen, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results (Harvard Business School Press, 2009).
- Gilbert Waldbauer, Millions of Marches, Bunches of Beetles: How Bugs Find Strength in Numbers (Harvard University Press, 2000).
- Gilbert Waldbauer, Insights from Insects: What Bad Bugs Can Teach Us (Prometheus Press, 2005).
- Eric Topol, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is In Your Hands (Basic Books, 2015): “‘We are about to see a medical revolution with little mobile devices,’ he writes, and in this transformation, ‘smartphones will play a role well beyond a passive conduit.’ They will perform blood tests, medical scans, and even parts of the physical examination.”
Documentary and Educational Films
- Louder Than a Bomb: about four high school students devoted to poetry competitions and “the defining work of finding one’s voice”
- Paul H. Ephross and Thomas A. Vassil, Groups That Work: Structure and Process (Columbia University Press, 1988).
- Glenn M. Parker, Team Players and Teamwork: New Strategies for the Competitive Enterprise (Jossey-Bass, 2008).
- Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer, Virtuoso Teams: Lessons from Teams That Changed Their Worlds (FT Press, 2005).
- John Eisenberg, That First Season: How Vince Lombardi Took the Worst Team in the NFL and Set It on the Path to Glory (Mariner Books, 2010).
- Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking, 2011): “ . . . while Malcolm’s ideas changed America, his life journey has captivated us even more. He went from a petty criminal and drug user to a long-term prisoner to an influential minister to a separatist political activist to a humanist to a martyr. Throughout his life he continually grew upward, unafraid to challenge or refute what he believed, giving hope that any of us can rise above even our deepest convictions to become better people.”
- Steven Greenhouse, Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (Knopf, 2019): “ . . . a page-turning book that spans a century of worker strikes, without overcondensing or oversimplifying, and with plausible suggestions for the future. This is labor history seen from the moments when that history could have turned out differently.”
- Hilary Holladay, The Power of Adrienne Rich: A Biography (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2020): “Rich’s political awakening became a feminist one. She began to see her father as a tyrannical patriarch, for good and ill. She saw how Harvard shunted women off to the side at Radcliffe. She sensed she was a token female in the largely male poetry world. The oink of male chauvinism, she found, was impossible to evade.”
Film and Stage
- Poetry, “a masterful study (of) subtle empowerment” and the power of imagination and resolve to transform a “small, unremarkable woman”
- Jane Yolen, Raising Yoder's Barn (Little Brown, 1998).
- Roald Dahl, Matilda (Puffin, 2007): a young girl finds that she has the power to fight back against headmistress Trunchbull’s abuse.
- Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring (Flash Point, 2010), "a book about collaboration."
Stories of people not pulling together:
- Lionel Shriver, So Much for That: A Novel (Harper, 2010), a novel about the failure of the health care system in the United States.
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
I can only imagine what it might be like to be a greatly talented jazz musician, and to give a live performance with other highly talented musicians; and to have the sense of combined freedom and empowerment that might bring. Benny Goodman seems to have had that experience when he performed with his band at Carnegie Hall on January 16, 1938. The performance was so memorable that he was invited back for, and performed, a forty-year anniversary concert there.
- Perhaps John Coltrane and his group had a similar experience performing live in Europe in 1965.
- Erroll Garner performed a “Concert by the Sea”.
- Like many other musicians, John McLaughlin performed live at the Montreux jazz festival.
- Duke Ellington’s performance in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1940, is widely recognized as among the finest in jazz history.
- Anthony Braxton has performed live in many venues, famously including Willisau, Switzerland, in 1991. His “Paris – Concert” album also exemplifies empowerment through strong community effort.
- Lennie Tristano, “Chicago April 1951”
- Roy Brooks with Woody Shaw, Carlos Garnett, Harold Mabern and Cecil McBee, “Understanding”: in this 1970 gig, they were on fire.
- Luther Allison, “Live in Chicago” (1995)
- And of course, there was Louis Armstrong, who empowered others.
- Dvořák, Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor, 90, B166, “Dumky” (1891)
- Gubaidulina, The Canticle of the Sun of St Francis of Assisi for cello, chamber choir and percussion (1997): in this work, the cello represents the sun’s creative, life-giving power.
- Lutosławski, Concerto for Orchestra (1954): different voices come together to confront many challenges.
- Berwald, Symphony No. 3 in C Major, "Sinfonie Singuliere" (1845): harmonic community, culminating in triumph
- Raga Gawati (Gavati - Gavti - Gaoti), a late evening raag (performances by Banerjee, Shahid Parvez Khan and Shivkumar Sharma)
- Stanley Cowell, “Live at Keystone Korner Baltimore”
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
. . . while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
. . . .