The solution to any problem is always in front of you
Patrick McCollum describes himself as just a regular guy. He’s also an effective mover and shaker for world peace, social justice and pluralism. This Wiccan minister brings a unique message of planetary consciousness on a global level that speaks of the sacredness of our connection with divinity and with each other. Ilonka Wloch talks to Patrick about his powerful vision.
Ilonka: How can we create world peace?
Patrick: Much of what we do relates to our cultural and scientific practices. I believe that however you believe that we came to be here, whether God moved his hand, or two atoms came to crash, we believe that it all started somewhere. There was a start, a point of initiation. I call that beginning the luminous light of beginning. If the one point is true, then we all have a common ancestor, creation itself. So we’re all family. This includes not just humans but everything. I believe that the key to world peace is to change the story we tell ourselves.
Have you been successful in conveying this message?
Very successful. Everyone seems to take the story home – from Kazakhstan [World Forum of Spiritual Culture], to the US Commission on Civil Rights, to the gathering of 100 million [Kumbh Mela] in India.
Can you give a specific example?
Last year, in Jordan I participated in a series of peace discussions between Arabs and Jews. Those from Israel, Syria and other Arab countries all would sit separately and talk about what they didn’t like about each other. I thought, somebody has to get close to these people, so I joined the Palestinians to befriend them. I asked “What would you like peace to look like?” They said that, for example, they’d like their wife to feel safe when out in the streets. I asked the same of the other groups and got similar responses.
I proposed a small mixed group to get together and talk. I got them to play music together on a roof of this hotel. The leader of PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] ended up dancing with the Zionist leader. Arabs invited the Jews to celebrate Shabbat and witnessed the event noting certain cultural similarities in the ritual. They were then ready to talk about how to end the transgenerational conflict.
Is this how you envision creating peace?
Yes, if you’re going to bring peace, instead of talking about the conflict, talk about what people desire. Ask what they want for themselves. Your worst enemy is your biggest ally when you realize that you want the same things in life and together work on them.
I know for sure that I’m just a regular person. People think you can only accomplish big things if there’s something special about you. We all have the same power and I’d like to see more regular people show up
What advice could you give someone wishing to get involved in making the world better?
The trick is in what you choose to imagine. If you think big, big things will happen and when you think small, small things will happen. I believe for sure that peace is possible and that any problem can be resolved.
If you want to make change, you have to begin with a concept. The world we live in is whole and complete and nothing is outside of it because it all originates from one central point or moment. If that is true, then our imagination is a part of creation, and it follows that if we can imagine something, than it has to be possible. Not only does it have to be possible, but all the tools to make it so are right in front of us.
I suggest 3 steps:
In your youth, you had a near death experience where you claim to have been in the presence of God. Was that encounter a direct motivation for your activism?
For a couple of different reasons; when one hears that voice it becomes difficult to deny what that voice wants you to do. For me, it gave me my spark, my touchstone. Whenever I think that the challenge before me is too big, I connect with that touchstone.
The other thing is, during that experience I came to realize that life is fragile and could end at any moment. Every day I’d like to live in a way that if this is my last day, it was worth giving up my life for it.
What is your VISION for the world?
I believe that when we all come to a place where we accept our commonality, and we treat one another in accordance with the sacredness that we all came from God or source, then we’ll come to a place where everyone is happy. We all have the power to do something. It just requires stepping forward and starting. It’s like being at the foot of a trail where rather than wishing to be already on top, we actually start walking.
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