Editor’s Desk: Words From Michael Toms

POSTED September 10, 2023 IN

I’m constantly amazed at how the invisible network of guides and helpers continue to show up in my life. For the past several days I’ve been wondering what new piece of writing I’d share with you at the end of 2022 in my Editor’s Desk.

As I was mulling this over, I picked up a cloth bag that was sitting on the floor at my feet. I have no recollection as to how that bag got there or what might be in it. To my utter surprise, inside the bag were three pages of handwritten notes jotted down by my late partner, Michael Toms. I figure the date was the early summer of 1983.

I feel this is a direct message to me and to you from Michael Toms. The following is what he wrote and his personal encouragement to me and to you as listeners of the choices we face in these threshold times.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The world is in transition. Traditional ways are questioned. Values are changing. The old is giving way to the new. The future looks bright or bleak depending on your perspective. What are our choices? In an age of nuclear proliferation, economic chaos, environmental crisis, and almost daily disasters, what are the opportunities on the other side of the problems? Is there a way out?

Crisis always precedes transformation. What is the transformation we may be experiencing?

As we look at the world around us, we can see the pain, the chaos, the problems, the dangers. Mass media brings these to us, even if we’re not looking for them. How does one cope with this seemingly oppressive invasion of our psyche?

One of the ways is to recognize that much of the time we are “seeing” the world through a dark filter, namely the media’s version of reality in the name of reporting the facts. This filter is frequently selective and subjective, bringing us some of what is happening — but not nearly all — and usually this is only the surface glimpse of what is happening.

Have you thought about how you have reached your views of the world? We’re all influenced by the media environment and by the dark filter so often in place. For those who recognize the dark filter, it’s possible to find another lighter filter — even a more clear filter. These take many forms and guises. Each of us has discovered our own as we travel the sometimes difficult, sometimes exhilarating road of life.

One filter that I found early on, as I sense in myself the need to see the world more clearly was a book called The Transformation published in 1972 written by George Leonard. Indeed, the book influenced the original creation and continued evolution of New Dimensions Radio. The book was a visionary one in the sense that it foresaw much of what has since taken place.

Its author, George Leonard has made a career of clearly seeing trends and writing about them. As a senior editor of Look Magazine in 1960, he edited the special issue entitled Youth of the 60s: The Explosive Connection. And two years later he wrote a special edition “California: A Window Into The Future.” It predicted many of the emerging ideas and changes in California that would soon be spreading to the rest of the US. Besides The Transformation he has authored the best-selling Education and Ecstasy, The Ultimate Athlete, and The Silent Pulse.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Justine adds this note to Michael’s writings.

Shortly after Michael and I co-founded New Dimensions, we conferred with several esteemed philosophers and wisdom teachers as to how to successfully proceed with our work. One of those was George Leonard.

George was very thoughtful and gave us quite a few glimpses into the possible potholes and boulders we would be encountering as we moved forward.

Later George Leonard became a guest on New Dimensions. As he sat down in the studio, I vividly remembered the sage advice he gave to us when we first met him in his home in Mill Valley. Prior to the recorded interview he shared with us that he regretted the advice he gave us because he felt it was filled with discouragement. We were shocked that he felt he was doing us a disservice in what we considered was a road map with warning signs of the hazards ahead. Rather than being discouraging, to the contrary, we took it all to heart and were better able to navigate the future course of New Dimensions. I’m forever grateful to George Leonard and his honest appraisal of our endeavor.




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