There’s a lot to be done in the world, and many projects we can undertake. The world needs all of our leadership, and all of our efforts on the projects we take on. Society needs to evolve, and culture needs to evolve.

But as we turn our focus to all the things we can do in the world, I want us all to keep in mind and to remember that there’s an even more fundamental project that calls all of us to participate in it.

That project is not something that’s going to be as tangibly visible. It’s not necessarily something we can point to—as in, “Look what I did over there that’s visible for all to see.” But to me, it’s really the most important project of all. And that project is the evolution of consciousness. It’s the evolution of human nature. It’s the evolution of what it is to be a human being.

The reason I feel this is the most important project of all is because without it, all the external changes we could make in the world are going to be limited by the consciousness of unevolved human beings.

And, some of us have to be the ones who are willing to pioneer a new way of being, a new relationship to life.

Humanity is really just getting started. We’re doing pretty well, given that we’ve been around for the blink of an eye, really, in geological and cosmological time. Yet, there are many ways in which we’re still pretty primitive. We’re a bundle of unevolved instincts and habits, and these need deep reflection and real transformation to be brought to them.

And, some of us have to be the ones who are willing to pioneer a new way of being, a new relationship to life.

Fortunately, there are many people these days who are feeling a calling in this direction—people who are drawn to evolve themselves in every way they can.

But in our culture, which tends to focus on and value externals, on the things we can tangibly measure, it’s easy for us to minimize the significance of inner work on our selves. We say okay, I’ve done some spiritual work, and now I need to go fix the world, because that’s the “real” work. That’s the “real” thing. It’s as if all this “inner stuff” is just getting us ready for “the real thing,” which is the evolving the outer world.

And I’m saying no, actually, this is also the real thing.

And I’m saying no, actually, this is also the real thing. I have no doubt about it. It’s the foundation for everything, and it’s in some sense the hardest thing and the bravest thing anyone can do.

The most courageous, the most caring, and perhaps the most integral response any of us can have to the suffering and difficulties and challenges of the world is to say: I’ll be different. I’ll figure out how to be different. I’ll come together with others and we’ll figure it out. We’ll find our way into what’s next for this human race, this extraordinary human event in the cosmos. Because we can sense the possibility.

So wherever you go and whatever other things you do in life—and may we all do many wonderful things in the world that have tangible and visible impacts—just remember this deeper project is at least as important as any specific thing you could ever do. And it’s never-ending.

And the good news is we can do it together, which makes it rewarding beyond measure.

Listen to the audio of this inspiring talk from Craig:

Craig Hamilton is a pioneer in the emerging field of evolutionary spirituality and a leading voice in the movement for conscious evolution. As the guiding force behind Integral Enlightenment, Craig offers spiritual guidance and teachings to a growing international community spanning 85 countries around the world. His online courses are designed to support people who are committed to evolving themselves and our culture, yearn to make their greatest contribution, and seek to develop themselves to embrace this calling. He is considered by many to be a “teacher of teachers” and counts several of today’s leading spiritual luminaries among his students.

Why do you think inner work might be the “hardest and bravest thing anyone can do”? How might it be the “foundation for everything”? We’d love to hear your insights in the reflection area below…

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