The Words of the Farid Family
Reflections on their Assembly experiences were offered at the concluding plenary session by several participants.
I consider it a blessing that I got to go. The Assembly was probably one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. I'm still a little high off it. The experience definitely enriched me and I have become a part of it. It was like a great pilgrimage. There is a pilgrimage in Islam called Haj. Every year Muslims from all over the world journey to Mecca -- Arab Muslims, African Muslims. Chinese Muslims, Russian Muslims. This was the closest thing to that I ever experienced. But this had an added dimension in that it was people from all faiths and cultures, all focusing on one thought -- God and the return to our classical heritage.
I had never seen that kind of oneness before. People didn't want to leave. The first few days people were superficially cordial, but after three or four days people started gravitating toward one another. Friendships started to form and we really started to get to know each other. I was amazed.
We all had different bone structure, different skin tone, different hair texture, eyes, and face shape, but I started seeing similarities among everyone. When people stay together like this for a few days, all focusing on God, you start seeing how much all people are alike.
In ecumenical conferences of this type you usually hear speeches about how great everyone is, and what wonderful things the churches are doing. But on the opening night Rev. Moon spoke and he pointed out our shortcomings. He let us know that the work is not done, that we're not really there yet. And every one of us even the great leaders of religions, swamis, imams, and professors -- the speech humbled us all. He said that we have let atheists take the upper hand in the world because of our religious separation and our nationalism and because we don't truly understand the real meaning of our own religions.
I woke up the next morning at 5:00, full of the spirit of universal truth, and I wrote a poem. My thoughts all fell into place around the name Sun Moon. The moon and the sun are allegorical symbol. We see in the sun the characteristics of God, the center of the universe, the light-giving force. The moon gives us light at night. And yet the moon's light is not its own light; it just reflects the light of the sun. It is like a great servant of God. And in so many of the conversations we had [in Danbury] Rev. Moon would say, "This is the time. This is the time for God to come in:'
I read the poem at the Assembly during the artist's offerings one afternoon. It is entitled "Sun Moon"
It is time for the rising of the moon -- a new moon, a young moon, an old moon. A moon that has continued its cycle,
A moon that reflects the illuminating light of the sun.
A moon that shines for the sun, its master,
A moon that shines for the world, its servant.
It is time for East to meet West, for body to meet mind, for spirit to meet the soul and be as one with the sun and the moon.
It is time for the colors of humanity to form a rainbow on the horizon of life,
To show the world its creative majesty -- a rainbow of love, a rainbow of truth, a rainbow of oneness, all emanating from one light.
It is time for Sun Myung Moon.
It is time to put the spiritual maps away and learn the way to God by heart. It is time we see by the light of the sun and the moon.
Adam, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are brothers of one love, one mind, one spirit, one truth, one God.
It is time for Sun Myung Moon.
George Emery teaches leadership training at the Emissary Foundation International in Loveland, Colorado.
He allowed something to happen in our group which was a heart-to-heart thing. We were coming from our hearts. Of course some people were coming from fear and defensiveness but others of us were coming from spirit through the heart. You see, if your heart isn't open, the spirit can't really penetrate the mind because the mind is so conditioned. That's why the open heart, the feeling realm, needs to be responsive and open to spirit.
We had a terrific time. I was very impressed with what we were able to accomplish. We could tell that there was a friendship developing -- true friendship, not a relationship just in the mind. You could feel the energy. You could just come into that room and feel that we were loving each other, that we were really concerned about each other. We also realized that the spiritual substance that we generated was going out as a blessing to the world.
I think this conference has been a wonderful example of the kind of unity the world really hasn't known a great deal of, because oftentimes when people get together there's competition, there's argument, there's debate. There was quite a lovely spirit here of people with their hands open symbolically, saying "Here are my jewels -- here are things that are really precious to me -- my doctrines, my beliefs, my concepts, my sacred books, my sacred rituals. I would like very much if you would look at my jewels. And now I would like you to show me your jewels so I can see and understand:' That's a step in the right direction. But the more important thing, the only way to real unity and real peace of mind, is for each of us to listen to what our jewels are saying. They are saying the same thing that every other collection of jewels is saying, and that is: I am the jewel. You are the jewel. I am the gift. You are the gift. I am significant. You are significant. Because we are all made in the image and likeness of God. And when we accept that as our identity instead of emphasizing our differences, there's a similar spirit that allows us to have agreement and cooperation and creative interdependence.
One significance of the conference was that it helped people see where the answer isn't. The answer isn't in trying to make one world religion based on concepts and beliefs, and I think people realized that. It's not a matter of synthesizing the traditions, taking the best out of this and the best out of that. That will never do it. It's too mechanistic and you will never get an agreement. The answer is each of us taking responsibility for being who we really are, and when you are who you really are -- the spirit of God and its expression -- then we can see what we need to see.
I'm not under the illusion that this is going to happen with everybody. What I am betting my life on is that that pool of people who have had this experience, who are really coming from a place of unconditional love, will allow a breakthrough to happen in the consciousness of mankind and that the rudder will begin to turn in another direction. But it's the coming together with people who have gone through a common experience that's going to change the earth -- not common concepts and beliefs. God isn't a concept to be understood but an experience to be realized and expressed.
This historic occasion of the first Assembly of the World's Religions marks a beginning of a long journey towards religious harmony among people of all faiths. Through our dialogue with one another we are discovering our spiritual unity and how the real differences between our traditions might contribute to the wholeness of humankind. We want our dialogue to create the spiritual foundation for new forms of cooperation that can renew our common earth.
As members of this Assembly, we wish to thank Rev. Sun Myung Moon for his vision and his generous support. For his lifelong efforts to promote inter-religious dialogue and harmony we are deeply grateful.
We are honored to have participated in this historic event. Its vision of dialogue, harmony and service is truly inspiring. We call upon our sisters and brothers, from East and West, North and South, inheritors of the multiform expression of the Divine Life, to join us in friendship and service to bring peace to our planet.