“Back in the Day” (as we, ahem, mature folks like to say), one of my favorite rhythm and blues groups was The Temptations. One of the group's most memorable and popular songs was Ball of Confusion. The song was penned and sung on the heels of civil unrest in cities across America, the Vietnam War protests, the consciousness exploration of Woodstock's psychedelic era, and the peace and love movement that it symbolized. Those were a few of the main events that took place during that era.
The lyrics from Ball of Confusion, in part, are:
"So round and around and around we go,
Where the world's headed, nobody knows.
Oh, Great Googalooga,
Can't you hear me talking to you?
Just a ball of confusion,
That's what the world is today..."
As we take a look at what's going on currently, the Temptations’ Ball of Confusion would be as relevant today as it was back then. COVID-19 and the shutdowns, the controversies surrounding the policies and responses to the pandemic, the civil protests over police misconduct, the shooting of the California Deputies in Los Angeles, the wildfires in California and other regions of the west coast, and the recent extreme heatwaves attributed to climate change. We are indeed going through our own confusing times.
A pundit on a news show asked how we can move from confusion and chaos to a place of clarity and order. The panel members' suggestions mostly focused on changing laws and policies. For the most part they were good ideas. Yet I wondered, from a spiritual perspective, "What is it we can do to help transform the moment?" I believe the answer is prayer.
Understandably, skeptics may respond to such a suggestion with, "What good is that going to do?" But that question is based on misunderstanding what it is to pray. Effective prayer is not begging or beseeching God or an outside entity to intervene in order to make our world right. True prayer is never about getting an external entity to do anything. Genuine prayer is about getting in alignment with the unchanging Presence and its divine and perfect order. When such alignment happens, then the external world corresponds accordingly.
The world we see, and its seeming confusion, is simply the out-picturing of the collective consciousness or the group soul. But the good news is this: We can heal everything that is showing up. Our current world circumstances can shift from confusion and chaos to clarity and order. For that clarity and order to happen, the collective consciousness must be bold enough to hold the vision of who we are when we are expressing our best selves.
The New Thought/Ancient Wisdom teachings are part of the spiritual philosophy that realizes we must focus on changing ourselves. Only then will our external circumstances change. With that inner change, we then weave into our society's fabric and transform our external events. When we pray aright and change who we are in the world, we can write the sequel to the Temptations’ Ball of Confusion. That song will be a melody and a rhythm that bespeaks of clarity, order, and heaven on earth.
Peace and Blessings,