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The Courage to Be: Rev. Sylvia E. Sumter

On Monday, March 5th, the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College welcomed Rev. Sylvia E. Sumter as keynote speaker for its second “Courage to Be” Dinner/Lecture of the Spring 2018 semester.

Summary written by 2018 Student Fellow Sacha Medjo-Akono.

Becoming a Spiritual Warrior

Rev. Sumter started by talking about the era we live in. She describes this as a “time of transition” as we enter the next phase of our evolutionary growth. This next stage could be a higher order of life or complete extinction (she mentions climate change). It is a time where choices have to be made regarding the constant flux of information whether it is of food, wealth, the model of the family unit…

There is both bad news and good news within this time of transition. The bad news is that no one is coming to save the world but the good news is that no one is coming because the generation that is in college right now is who we’ve been waiting for. Instead of searching for a saviour to drive the world, we are starting to focus on the empowerment of the collective rather than that of the individual being. We are in need of a group of conscious, conscientious, and compassionate individuals who have the ability to become what she calls a “Spiritual Warrior.”

The “Spiritual Warrior” is someone who is able to come from a spiritual plane; they are able to dismiss greed, ego, and other faults so that they can focus on waging peace. That person is able to live a life where they can conquer from within. This means that they change their inner being in a positive way before trying to fix what is in the outside world around them. She expresses that what a person shows is nought but a reflection of their consciousness.

The 3Ps → Purpose, Principles, Power… all of these come from within. You must understand and find your purpose, create good principles that help you respect that purpose, and gain power in being your true, good self. We are all spiritual beings, driven by a force whether it be energy, life source, god, or whatever you might call it.

Rev. Sumter says that a purpose does not have to be something so big that you spend your whole life chasing it. You can find purpose in small things. She sets a personal example by sharing that her current purpose is to “joyously connect through loving and allowing.” With this purpose she sets the principles to be less judgmental and gives herself the power to be good to others.

She shows how these 3 steps can be practiced over and over throughout someone’s life because they attain the skill of being able to open their eyes and see what “is” so that they can make “higher choices.” You are clearly unable to fix what you cannot see or understand. She affirms that is a waste of energy to place yourself against a cause; you should instead stand by something that you believe in.

Finally she talks about how the “Spiritual Warrior” is skilled in quieting the mind and entering one’s own consciousness. They are able to be flexible in their thoughts and are able to lift others by lifting themselves and entering stages of wisdom, intelligence, and finding solutions. In the end, Rev. Sumter has shown us that if we want to try and transform the world, we must start by transforming ourselves.

Posted on 9 May 2018 | 8:00 am

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