Hope Facing Death

As part of an online academy organized by the World Social Initiative Forum (WSIF), mystic and peace advocate Orland Bishop held an address on Zoom to mark the All Souls’ Day holiday on November 2. Below is a summary of his inspiring speech.

Orland Bishop; courtesy photo

All Souls’ Day celebrates our spiritual connection with those who are on the threshold of death or have already crossed over. At the beginning of his speech entitled “Wisdom Working,” Orland Bishop invited the participants to open themselves to the suprasensible and to acknowledge the existence of souls who have left their physical being. This is an immensely important step in our search for meaning at a time when senseless deaths in various conflict zones around the world are more present for us than ever.

Orland asked how we can stay in touch with one another and with life when we are confronted with death. His answer was: first and foremost, through grief. Grief and the acceptance of loss contained within it is the link between us and the deceased; it lets us know that their souls have not really left us. Grief is the first step towards creativity, hope, and trust.

Another important element when facing death and conflict is speech. Orland pointed to how human relationships offer us numberless wonderful possibilities. When we speak, these possibilities are able to become manifest. So, for us to be able to exist in a collaborative, peaceful reality, we must communicate with each other. This is the foundation of human rights: allowing human beings to speak and to be heard.

In his address, Orland shared that what allows him to remain optimistic about humanity’s future is witnessing what becomes possible when human beings choose to act out of openness. He asked why the world is the way it is—and gave the answer: Because we are human. He asked whether the world can be better—and answered: Yes, because we are human. So what can we do? We need to turn to each other and talk to each other, he said simply. We need to realize that there is no such thing as “the other side” or “the opposition.” All human beings face the future equally. We need to forgive. We need to stop choosing sides. Instead, we need to step into the middle. And if we do good, then do good for all sides. This is easier said than done, he acknowledged. And yet, like all other skills, we can practise being kind to one another.

More World Social Initiative Forum

Translation Joshua Kelberman
Title Image Some participants of the online meetings together with Orland Bishop (in the upper left corner); screenshot

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