I’m not sure what transpired at the previous Parliaments, but from the descriptions on the website (www.parliamentofreligions.org), it appears that social justice has become a greater and greater focus over the last 22 years (during this time, four Parliaments have been held before this one). Sure, you’ve got your information sessions, performances, demonstrations, etc. but all of the major talks I’ve seen or read about have addressed climate change and sustainability, war and violence, islamophobia and hate crimes, income inequality, and more. The Women’s Assembly featured impressive speakers, calling on all women and men to step into their power and revolutionize. The Dalai Lama, who couldn’t make it to the Parliament, has purportedly said that the world will be saved by western women (though I’m sure a little help from Vandana Shiva can’t hurt!).
Could it happen? Could this coming together be the catalyst, the missing link that will activate all of the incredible work so many individuals and organizations have been doing all around the world? I’ve been so inspired by the dozens of people I’ve already met and the dozens more I’ve heard speak. There are SO many compassionate souls with SO many fantastic ideas steadily moving into action. And, now there is no excuse for them, us, to not connect with each other, right now while at the Parliament and in the future via our many digital platforms. I can see, in my mind’s eye, the network glowing brighter and brighter, branching out further and further.
The Parliament isn’t only about the classes and the pamphlets and the booths. It’s about the connections made in the lunch line, the lightbulbs going off in the mind, the hearts opening and softening just a little more.