The challenge of life is the "Courage to Make a Difference" as co-creators in the continuing evolutionary process of humanity. From its inception, the Oversoul Associative Religion has been deeply committed to reducing human rights abuses, promoting the welfare of mankind through the elimination of pain and suffering, and modification of conditions and circumstances that affect the existence and development of an individual, organism, or group.
"It is plain that there is no separate essence called courage, no cup or cell in the brain, no vessel in the heart containing drops or atoms that make or give this virtue, but it is the right or healthy state of every man, when he is free to do that which is constitutional to him to do. It is directness, --- the instant performing of that which he ought.
In esoteric terms, "spiritual affinity" does constitute class. It is made up of those who, while not necessarily following a particular religion or creed, yet regard spiritual questions and concerns as a vital force in life. Emerson viewed this class as a natural aristocracy. Indeed, if we are ever to know "what we are" we have to move beyond the fragmented self to a larger view and to accept, if only in theory at first, the concept of unity.
The "Courage to be All we can Be." (what we are) finds it's expression in carrying a principle through the circumstances. "Human beings are the means by which the divine law is expressed in matter. We are designed by nature to overcome entropy, not to express it. As we look at the world, we see the weakness, cowardice, corruption and decay. We may also be gifted enough to see the principles, laws, and actions which are needed to overcome them. In our cities today, taking the streets back from decay in all its forms is an act of courage. The impulse is quite beyond mere convenience. The anger we feel when ignorance, crime and human degradation of all kinds pour from the darkest corners of the culture into the public thoroughfares comes from a natural outrage against the waste of human potential. Let vermin scurry out of a grating to grab a piece of food; that is their nature. But it is not a human being's. Dignity is a birthright, and it is denied everywhere."
"The task in life is to carry this principle of dignity into the circumstances of existence. Dignity is not just good manners, dignity has to do with human nature, with the truty emerging in action, in how we face the world. The loss of dignity cries out today among the aging, dying by degrees, wired to external life support in hospital wards; among the victims of AIDS, as they struggle with the limited hope of just dying with dignity; among the addicts left in the streets by the greed of pushers and dealers and the neglect of governments. It is not just a matter of money needed to correct these circumstances; it is a matter of dignity expressed by the "courage" of those who see and understand the nature of the struggle.
In short, courage consists in equality to the problem before us. Courage gives us the knowledge that the circumstances are never superior to our ability to overcome them. But most often, at least in the public, sector, the need is for a collective act of courage. Society as a whole has to act. Even as the circumstances are oppressive and dangerous, so are they also illusory. If we realize that our business is with expressing natural law, then we can find the words and the detachment to use them well in the cause of "making a difference." Every time we say THAT'S JUST NOT RIGHT and then act upon that statement, we help to describe a higher vision of human nature.
Emerson said that real courage, "courage with eyes, courage with conduct, self-expression at the cannon's mouth, cheerfulness in lonely adherence to the right, is the endowment of elevated characters." Courage seizes the moment when, briefly, the eyes are opened to the truth of things, when the heart opens and the judgment affirms the course of action. "Cowardice --- shuts the eyes of the mind and chills the heart.
Human rights abuses have been recorded from the beginning of time. The Crusades, the Inquisitions, War atrocities, and genocide. The base causes of the American Revolution was predicated upon human rights issues. Emerson wrote the essay "Courage" out of concern for human suffering of slaves and the stance of John Brown at Harper's Ferry in 1857. In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, Emerson marveled at the power of the collective response as the citizens defended their sense of "what was right" in determining the inalienable human rights of others. His participation in the underground railroad, lectures, and essays dealing with basic freedoms was his remedy. His strong outcry against the human rights abuses associated with the Cherokee Nation's Trail of Tears made a Nation confront its own human rights inadequacies.
Succeeding generations of the "common belief system" added their voices to those who opposed human rights abuses, such as those perpetrated at Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Buckenwald. Oversoul revisited its Germanic heritage by joining with others to deliver food, medicine and supplies to those deprived of their basic human rights in operation Berlin Airlift; assisted with legal fees and testimony in bringing the issue of "Equal Pay for Women" to a conclusion at the Supreme Court; and during the Viet Nam War, Oversoul joined with other major religious organizations in achieving "Conscientious Objector Status" for those who wanted to perform their military obligations, yet, objected to killing other human beings. Needless to say, it would be impossible to list all of the human rights endeavors the Oversoul Associative Religion is currently engaged in or even those as may be associated with its 168 year history.entious
The Oversoul Grants Committee assists in the promotion of the welfare of the global community by providing grants to worthy groups who are dedicated to advancing human rights projects --- using seven tenets as a guide:
1. MIND: Will the project express the highest vision of self-reliance?
2. SPIRIT: Will the project provide a learning experience?
3. SOUL: Will the project unite the recipients with creative process?
4. PRINCIPLE: Will the project establish high performance and integrity?
5. LIFE: Will the project lend itself to the Doctrine of Synergy?
6. TRUTH: Will the recipients of the grant use best efforts to work for systematic change?
7. LOVE: Will the project establish thoughtfulness and consideration as a prelude to peace and harmony?