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Excerpted from The Secret of Shambhala by James Redfield. Copyright 1999 by James Redfield. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Books and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"The common bonds among all of us seemed to be a persistent idealism and the need to stretch our particular professions by an infusion of spiritual vision."

James Redfield, The Secret of Shambhala, Part 2

The common bonds among all of us seemed to be a persistent idealism and the need to stretch our particular professions by an infusion of spiritual vision, all in the best Tenth Insight tradition. Yet almost everyone in this valley stayed to themselves, content to focus on their diverse fields without much attention to community or the need to build on our common vision. This was especially true among those of different religious persuasions. For some reason, the valley had attracted people holding a wide range of beliefs, including Buddhism, Judaism, both Catholic and Protestant Christianity, and Islam. And while there was no hostility of any kind by one religious group toward another, there wasn't a feeling of affinity either.

The lack of community concerned me because there were signs that a few of our kids were displaying some of the same problems seen in suburbia: too much time alone, too much video, and too much regard for the slights and put-downs at school. I was beginning to be concerned that there wasn't enough family and community in their lives to push these peer problems into the background and keep them in proper perspective.

Up ahead the path narrowed, and I had to make my way between two large boulders that edged right up to a sheer drop-off of about two hundred feet. Once past, I could hear the first gurgles of Phillips' Spring, named by the fur trappers that first set up a camp here in the late seventeenth century. The water trickled down several tiers of rocks into a lazy pool ten feet across that had originally been dug out by hand. Successive generations had added features, such as apple trees up near the mouth and mortared stone to reinforce and deepen the pool. I walked up to the water and reached down to cup some in my hand, brushing a stick out of the way as I leaned forward. The stick kept moving, slithering up the rock face and into a hole.

"Cottonmouth!" I said aloud, stepping back and feeling the sweat pop out on my brow. There are still perils involved in living here in the wild, although not perhaps the ones that old man Phillips faced centuries ago, when you could turn a corner on the path one day and come face-to-face with a big cougar guarding her young, or worse, a pack of wild boars with three-inch tusks that would slit your leg wide open if you didn't get up a tree fast enough. If the day was going especially bad, you might even come upon an angry Cherokee or a displaced Seminole who was tired of finding some new settler on his favorite hunting grounds . . . and was harboring the conviction that a large bite of your heart would stem the European tide forever. No, everyone alive in that generation--Native Americans and Europeans alike--faced direct perils that tested one's mettle and courage in the moment.

Our generation seemed to be dealing with other problems, problems that are more related to our attitude toward life, and the constant battle between optimism and despair. Everywhere are the voices of doom these days, showing us factual evidence that the modern Western lifestyle can't be sustained, that the air is warming, the terrorists' arsenals growing, the forests dying, and the technology running wild into a kind of virtual world that makes our kids crazy--and threatens to take us further and further into distraction and aimless surrealism. Countering this viewpoint, of course, are the optimists, who claim that history has been filled with doomsayers, that all our problems can be handled by the same technology that produced these perils, and that the human world has only begun to reach its potential.

I stopped and looked out at the valley again. I knew that the Celestine Vision lay somewhere in between these poles. It encompassed a belief in sustainable growth and humane technology, but only if pursued by an intuitive move toward the sacred, and an optimism based on a spiritual vision of where the world can go.

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