THE UNIVERSAL FLAG...
A Resource for Peace
By Lexi Soulios
Change can be simple... and it needn’t take heroic effort on any one of our parts to help the world spin in a more positive direction. Just think of all the issues that you would like to see resolved… poverty, hunger, violence, cruelty, greed. At the root of them all is one very simple,yet powerful belief: that we are all separate — that we are separate from the source who created us, and that we are separate from other beings and other things.
If we want to experience real peace and prosperity in our lifetime, we need not take it upon ourselves to change the entire world. Instead, we can simply embrace and share another belief, a different vision of reality — one that affirms our inextricable connection with all of life.
Together, we can recognize every living being, idea and energy form as a valid and worthwhile part of our own life experience. From this position, we become powerful, inclusive of that which may have once scared us, and we align ourselves with the monumental forces of Grace. When we do this, the world may seem to change before our very eyes.
Consider some of the great philanthropists of our time — Oprah, Bono, Bill Gates. Rather than living from a tiny, fragmented place of isolation, these humans extend themselves from a larger impulse of the heart, reaching out to those in need.
Their fundamental sense of connection with the world not only calls them into service in the first place, but it connects them with a larger flow of love bringing to them everyone and everything they need in order to be effective.
With each being they help, a bold and fearless statement is made, reminding us all that our world is beautifully connected and in that connection, it is sacred.
For those of us who may see ourselves now as having far less resources to work with than Oprah or Bono, we can still begin where we are. We can start right here by committing ourselves to the higher truth of life’s interconnection and sharing this understanding through a symbol that embraces us all, the Universal Flag.
Rather than representing any one group, race, creed or religion, the Universal Flag is a symbol that includes all of life. Without discounting the value of diversity and uniqueness, the Universal Flag elegantly beckons us to a higher way of living and being in our world.
Since its creation several years ago, people all over the globe have taken ownership of this symbol, proudly flying the flag in their homes, schools, offices, churches, and community centers. It is flying at the Center for Spiritual Living in Las Vegas, with Kaiwa in Uganda, in the town and provinces of Freetown, Sierra Leone, and with a man named Fred who teaches soccer to homeless orphans in America. And recently, its vital message of Oneness has even inspired the creation of a theme song.
Sharon Benson, a renowned songwriter, musician and lead vocalist of her band Soul Dogs (a.k.a. The Cosmic Rescue Team when the late legendary actor David Carradine took the stage), has teamed up with friend and fellow musician, Michael Zephro to write “The Universal Flag.” The song celebrates the flag’s message of Oneness and invites us to fly the flag for peace, unity, equality, diversity and harmony.
Benson and Zephro make it clear that the process of change is in our hands and that it needn’t be difficult. As we listen to the calming, sultry backdrop of jazz instrumentation, we can hear their invitation to a new paradigm and begin considering how easy it just may be to come together.
In addition to her work on “The Universal Flag” song, Sharon collaborated with Susana Bastarrica, founder of the Vigil for International Peace & Ecology, in order to bring the Universal Flag to the Peace Vigil during this year’s United Nation’s International Day of Peace celebration in Central Park.
In 2001, the UN unanimously passed a resolution designating September 21 as an “International Day of Peace,” with the intention of urging the entire world to observe a full day of “global cease fire and nonviolence.”
In support of this objective, Bastarrica’s Vigil for International Peace provides a venue for the people of New York City to come together and demonstrate the power of prayer and intent as a way to heal and empower.
It is a one-day event that took place this year on September 19 with art, music, dance, peace meditations, talks by international and local peacemakers and representatives from world religions. All day long, thanks to Benson’s inspired efforts, the Universal Flag was also there, flying high right alongside the flags of many nations.
The vigil culminated in the evening with a grand finale celebration, which included Benson performing “The Universal Flag” to the entire crowd. She was accompanied by water activist, William “Waterway” Marks on the Native American flute.
Sharon Benson’s involvement with the flag came out of a conversation with Brian McClure, founder of the Universal Flag Foundation. The two share a deep comprehension of the underlying reality of life’s inherent holism and a passion for helping to create a more peaceful, prosperous life for everyone on our planet.
They both understand how important a tool the Universal Flag can be in our times of political, financial and social upheaval. The flag can help us focus attention on what we want to create, rather than who is to blame.
McClure is excited to see so many people beginning to recognize the flag as a means of empowering themselves. As he says, “When we begin to see everything in our world as interrelated, our hearts begin to open and we find ourselves in a world of infinite possibilities. Positive change becomes a natural, organic outpouring of that.”
This is the kind of transformation he hopes to be a part of, where individuals around the globe change the world through a simple shift in their thoughts, an opening in their hearts.
We can each be a part of this forward evolution by realizing that the Universal Flag is a symbol for us all; it is a resource to help lift our spirits and raise the consciousness in our homes and communities. Every time we raise the flag or display the symbol, we send out a signal of love, a beacon of hope, a call to imagine the infinite possibilities that are available if we begin seeing our lives through the eyes of Oneness. And this is what will ultimately heal the world.
So in the words of Sharon Benson and Mike Zephro, “Let’s raise the flag, the Universal Flag... fly it high for everyone to see.”
Universal Flags can be purchased at the non-profit Foundation’s website, www.universalflag.org
To have Brian speak at your event: please call Steve at (818) 848-3213 or email: email@example.com
N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 9 A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E / 31
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Vigil Grand Finale Photo by Lysiane Ribeiro, MD, MPH