Sacred America, Sacred World

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Pub Date: July 5, 2016 • Paperback • 258 pages • $18.00
Hampton Roads Publishing • 978-1-57174-7440
Publicity Contact: Eileen Duhné  •   415.459.2573  •

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By Stephen Dinan
Foreword by Marianne Williamson

Stephen Dinan, a social entrepreneur and political strategist, is the CEO of The Shift Network who has also held senior positions at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and Esalen Institute. The author of Radical Spirit, he is a graduate of Stanford University and the California Institute of Integral Studies.

“This book is our survival manual. It provides the vision we, the people, have been searching for.” —Mark Gerzon

A hopeful manifesto for a “transpartisan” America

As the 2016 election approaches, our country is spiraling into a dysfunction that threatens us all, including our allies around the world. The two-party system, sprung from the aims of democracy, has become violently divisive, nearly to the point where there are two Americas, each at the other’s throat. America is being pulled apart, and every citizen feels the pain from this profoundly. When did political discourse become a boxing match? How did America, founded on the highest of principles of justice and freedom, get so far off course? And, most importantly, is it too late to repair the damage and get back on track?

According to leaders of the fast-growing transpartisan movement, it’s not too late to jump-start our country’s forward progress. Americans can transcend these damaging polarities — but only if we can hold to a vision that honors the ideals of both the left and the right, leaves behind their excesses, and embraces our country’s evolution, both politically and spiritually.

One of this movement’s most articulate champions is Stephen Dinan, a successful businessman and social innovator whose new book Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All (Hampton Roads Publishing, July 2016) is considered “a compelling blueprint. … A visionary work of the highest order,” by James O’Dea, former Director of Amnesty International.

Embracing a Sacred Vision of National Unity

Dinan’s timely analysis of our predicament shows how each hardened position along America’s political spectrum — be they Libertarian, Republican, moderate, Democratic, or socialist left — represents a selection from a larger set of sacred American principles. In other words, the agenda of each party is true but partial. Putting it all together requires a sacred vision, which Dinan offers along with numerous practical ideas and innovative strategies. This new America will value all political perspectives, seeing each as a valuable yet incomplete contribution toward the emerging whole.

Dinan’s solution calls for each side to grow up and evolve, rather than vilify each other and fight. Drawing on the findings of developmental psychology, Dinan shows how America can leave behind our adolescent need for winner-take-all politics, and adopt a constructive, patient, and mature adult approach to politics. This also requires that we confront and heal our buried traumas such as centuries of slavery as well as our genocide against Native Americans.

Stephen Dinan on how to evolve the political process:

“The evolution of our country to the next level of our potential requires the best of all of us — Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians and Greens. Our task is not just about getting the ‘right’ party elected or even finding the ‘right’ leader but about evolving our political process itself so that it generates greater wisdom and reflects the best in us. We need real, long-term solutions, and they are found in all value systems and in all parties. As we learn to appreciate alternative positions, we can help grow a healthier political culture where opponents become allies and adversaries become friends.”

Fulfilling Our Higher Mission to Nation and World

Our plunge into political gridlock began with the “culture war” that arose from the conservative reaction to the excesses of the 1960s. By the 1980s, Democratic and Republican agendas had crystallized around sharply opposing values. By 2016 the warring parties have turned even more extreme polarizing behavior, such as Tea Party libertarianism, Bernie Sander’s democratic socialism, and the posturing of a Donald Trump. How do we cope with this excess of partisan behavior?

Sacred America, Sacred World explores four ways America can transcend these divisions to fulfill its higher mission:

Part I: Developing a Sacred Worldview considers the emergence of a more holistic and reverential way of seeing the world, showing how such a sacred vision is already encoded into our founding ideals as well as implicit in our globalizing era.

Part II: Evolving Our Political Leadership Evolving Our Political Leadership addresses how we can become more whole as a people by healing the divides in our society, which are ultimately rooted in our divided consciousness. His solution is to “Occupy the 100 Percent” and enter into a new era without leaving anyone behind.

Part III: Creating Innovative Solutions turns to how a transpartisan and sacred perspective can lead to more effective policies at all scales, including families, schools, communities, the national economy — and even creating a peaceful and sustainable world.

Part IV: Building an Evolutionary Movement shows Dinan’s proposals on how to build an effective transpartisan political movement for long-term change that can address the deepest needs for evolving our country and world. It culminates with an exploration of how we can evolve global democracy as the ultimate fulfillment of our higher mission.

Q&A with Author Stephen Dinan

We all know that American politics suffers from extreme polarization. Just as the middle class has faded away from our economy, the bipartisan “middle” has dropped out of our political process. In the last two decades, moderates have become far less prominent, giving way to ideologues on both sides of the aisle. As a result, our Congress is virtually unable to legislate because politicians on the left and right insist that they have all the answers. They focus on shutting out the other side with parliamentary maneuvers that were once rarely used, including the total abuse of the filibuster. They even stoop so low as to demonize the other side. They very often refuse to work with the President if he is from the other party. This behavior is a far cry from the bipartisan approach to solving problems we once had and that made us great. Our unity as a country is falling apart, and we need to renew ourselves by finding a sacred vision of national unity.

Addressing this division of American into “red” and “blue” is urgent. With the approach of 2016 elections, the prospect of dysfunctional gridlock looms even larger, further crippling our ability to tackle urgently needed reforms. Too many in Congress seem to love their party more than their country. But the fast-growing transpartisan movement offers the answers to this problem. I embrace its analysis of the problem, but I add to that a psycho-spiritual or visionary dimension that is drawn from the findings of transpersonal psychology and the wisdom traditions of both the East and West.


It means that Americans can rise above these damaging polarities. Transpartisanism provides hope that, if we supply the right intention, we can hold to a vision that honors the ideals of both the left and the right. No one can be 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong. We can transcend the divisions by embracing the truths of all the parties while leaving behind their excesses or errors. And it takes dialogue and maturity to sort that out.

You can be a Libertarian, Republican, moderate, Democrat, or a socialist and have an important piece of the truth — but this singular truth you stand for, such as “liberty” or “social justice” or “economic growth” represents nothing but a selection from a larger set of sacred American principles. To attain insight into these principles I propose a sacred vision. The new America I envision will honor all political perspectives, seeing each as a valuable yet incomplete contribution toward the emerging whole. In other words, we need to grow up and evolve, rather than attack each other and fight.


“Sacred” is a word that binds us together in the mystery of life and links us into a single human family. In a truly sacred world, no one is ultimately our enemy. A sacred worldview leads to a life filled with respect and reverence. We then connect the term “sacred” to America. America means many things to the world, ranging from a shining city on the hill that flies the flag of freedom to a feared military empire. Much can be said about the current state of America’s character, but perhaps the most essential is that America has a pioneering spirit, always experimenting to find something that works better, never resting for long on our past, always seeking the next higher possibility or the newest frontier. We are not a country that stagnates for long; America is a roaring engine for evolution.

It is that spirit of innovation, adventure, and possibility that needs to inform this exploration of what happens when “sacred” and “America” come together. Sacred America, Sacred World is a call for us to reach for our highest destiny as a country. I believe our truest destiny is not built on our desire to be number one, but is rather a humbler sense of calling, animated by a spirit of service to all. We are called to explore new frontiers politically, economically, and even spiritually, not just in service to our own citizens, but in service to the world.


I believe that we are transitioning to a truly global era in which we will, once and for all, eradicate war and unite as a human family as never before — which requires first of all that we create a “reunited America.” We see the advent of a united world happening remarkably rapidly in the realms of technology, travel, and business. But it’s also happening with our consciousness and our politics. We’re increasingly becoming global citizens first, national citizens second. I believe America simply must play a leading role in this transition, embracing it as the path beyond the waste and tragedy of war and towards real health, sustainability and prosperity for all. I believe the pathway forward requires the best of both progressive and conservative values and a collaborative style of politics that seeks higher ground. Global accords and councils will replace the endless posturing of the military era.


I used to be a more strident progressive who would see conservatives as the problem rather than part of the solution that represents a complementary value system. Conservatives tend to focus on preserving what has worked in the past, which is a useful function. Consider this analogy: In the human body, we have strong elements required for health that basically protect our homeostasis. Too much change happening too quickly is dangerous for our body and for life. Conservatives often play the same role in a society, minimizing the risk of chaotic change and preserving core values, commitments, and culture. Having a strong foundation actually allows us to grow further and so I have evolved to see and honor conservatives for their role in maintaining traditions and American character even while I still focus on the ways we are naturally evolving to another level — a “more perfect” union.

As I explain in the book, I’ve found that embracing conservative values and perspectives is a good form of “cross-training” in my role as a spiritually-based CEO, where it’s imperative that I not risk everything on each new idea. The Buddha taught the Middle Way as the more enlightened path and that also applies to drawing upon the best of conservative perspectives while opening to new possibilities for innovation and cultural expression, which tends to be the focus of progressives.


There are many interrelated shadow issues that America is often reluctant to face but I think at the root is an unwillingness to see ourselves as the aggressor and victimizer. Ultimately, this stems from never being able to face the Native American genocide and African enslavement that formed the twin sins of our early history. If we undertake a much deeper healing of these wounds, which will require humble contrition and an inventory of our shadow side, it becomes easier to see the ways that we are still perpetuating injustice and oppression in the world.

We can all do outreach and healing work ourselves and ultimately it’s helpful to have a kind of national healing and reconciliation, with public apologies the way Australia did with their native peoples. If we’re in denial more generally, it’s hard to own the specifics now. We also have a large shadow issue around unaccountable forces exerting a lot of power domestically and internationally, from finance to covert operations.


I don’t see the answer as simple but it begins with seeing the intrinsic, sacred value in other perspectives, even ones we strongly disagree with. When we start identifying only with one group “against” another, we slowly start turning them into caricatures and demeaning them in various ways. This process of polarization has gone on for a long time with political parties. So I think the ultimate solution is very personal; it’s about building bridges of curiosity, respect, and understanding, and recognizing that true, lasting solutions to extremely complex problems require the best thinking of both parties and ideologies so that some hybridization of solutions is going to be best.

We may not come to consensus on major issues but we can come into deep dialogue and human exchange. Reaching out a hand of friendship across the aisle is ultimately one of the most important things we can do as citizens. The women members of the Senate have been a great example in that regard, often creating breakthroughs through their very personal connections with members of the other major party.

Advance Praise

“The difference between a cockeyed optimist and a visionary is that one encourages us to sit back while the other inspires us to commit to a vision and take action. In Sacred America, Sacred World, Stephen Dinan offers us a highly compelling blueprint to engage in deep and totally achievable global transformation. This is a visionary work of the highest order.”

— James O’Dea, author of The Conscious Activist, former president of IONS, former director of Amnesty International (United States)

“Major evolutionary changes are looming on America’s political horizon, and Stephen Dinan’s book is the first I’ve seen to announce them so clearly.”

— Rich Tafel, Director, Project for the Future Right, Founder, Log Cabin Republicans

“Dinan’s book is a shot across the bow of political complacency. He is calling on Americans from all across the political spectrum to aspire to something higher than the conventional ideas and institutions that now drive our politics. He points to the reality of order and freedom as energetic forces within individuals and the culture as well as the need to address the country’s psychic shadow. It’s a starting point for very important conversations that must take place if our Constitutional Republic is to not only survive but thrive.”

— Michael D. Ostrolenk, Transpartisan Social Entrepreneur; Cofounder, The Liberty Coalition

Sacred America, Sacred World could not be more timely. It is profoundly courageous in penetrating the cloud of so-called “realism” that keeps from dreaming a new dream for our country. It inspires and challenges each of us to look at our own beliefs and behavior that make us part of the problem rather than helping to birth the solutions. Stephen is also profoundly courageous in engaging with our greatest moral and political challenges — from income inequality and terrorism to racism and genocide. Both Stephen and his book meet these challenges with that all-too-rare combination of tough-mindedness and open heart.”

— Robert Gass, Executive Coach, founder of the Social Transformation Project

“This wise and moving book will help us all in the central task of our time. That of reinventing a way of being and doing that reflects our sacred nature and sacred purpose.”

Andrew Harvey, author of over 30 books and founder of Institute for Sacred Activism

“When divisive and mean-spirited politics occupy so much of our public conversation, it’s easy to become cynical and resigned. But we are capable of something better, we crave something better, and in his sparkling new book Stephen Dinan has given us a vision of how we might actually achieve something far better. He outlines a clear path toward healing the rifts that have torn our society asunder, appreciating our differences, and uniting in common cause to create a world worth passing on to our children.”

John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and cofounder and president of the Food Revolution Network

“If, as the Bible says, ‘where there is no vision, the people perish,’ then this book is our survival manual. It provides exactly the vision we, the people, have been searching for.”

Mark Gerzon, author of Leading Through Conflict and The Reunited States of America

Sacred America is a crash course at the intersection of politics, spirituality, and citizens. Like the three-legged stool, all are required for the United States to fulfill our potential. We, as citizens, are at a crossroads. Will we pick up the banner of our responsibility and thrive, or allow the degradation to continue? To choose wisely, start with reading this book.

— Debilyn Molineaux President, Coffee Party USA, Co-Director, Bridge Alliance

“This is the first great manifesto of the evolutionary, trans-partisan political movement of our time. . . . In this appealingly personal but deeply knowledgeable book, Stephen Dinan shows us a better way. Like some of the great political philosophers of the 19th century, he shines a spotlight on the most promising currents of the day. . . . He shows us how we can better become the richly complex and self-aware beings that we truly are.”

Mark Satin, author of New Age Politics (1976, rev. 2015) and Radical Middle (2004)

Sacred America, Sacred World provides a valuable voyager’s guide to traversing the uncharted waters of planetary transformation. It points us in the direction of functional transpartisan politics, sustainable economics, and our individual responsibility as participants in nurturing civilization’s evolution. The insights offered in this powerful book have the potential to change the world.”

— Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, bestselling author of The Biology of Belief

“Stephen Dinan has performed a unique feat: he has created a holistic view of the future of the United States without demonizing anyone. This is book is a powerful roadmap to a better world and a better country. It will be a guidebook for visionaries, activists and change agents for years to come.”

— Tim Kelley, global consultant, author of True Purpose

“This is an important book and does a great job at connecting the big issues of our day, making it real and compelling for readers to act in ways that speak to the ‘better angels of our nature.’”

Diane Randall, executive secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation

“Bookstores are full of attempts to map the transition from the last century into the new one and away from a world full of silos, hard-edged ideologies, and personal agendas. Dinan’s vision is unique. He is recognized as the prime “shift-master” of our age and generation because he goes where most fear to tread and maps out new and fresh blends of tools and alloys that hold the promise of creating a brighter day for all. Get a copy of Sacred America, Sacred World. No! Buy 10 and delight your friends.”

— Don Edward Beck, PhD., Center for Human Emergence, Denton, Texas

Sacred America, Sacred World offers an inspiring vision of our spiritual roots and our future potential as a nation, while also addressing shadow elements that need healing. It provides fascinating insights on how to transcend rigid liberal/conservative ideologies, based on the author’s own experience, and gives many useful ideas for how citizens can get engaged in transforming America.”

Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson, coauthors of Spiritual Politics and cofounders of The Center for Visionary Leadership

“Rarely does a book come along that not only presents an illuminating picture of how our country and our world can evolve to work for everyone, but also offers profound understanding about how to get there. Sacred America, Sacred World is such a book and a remarkable achievement. As we approach America’s 250th anniversary, Stephen’s pragmatic vision can excite and guide us. A deep bow to his intelligence, his heart, and his commitment to our beloved country and the world.”

John Steiner and Margo King

“Heartfelt and personal, yet also well-informed by leading-edge political thinking, I highly recommend this thoughtful and thoroughly readable book.”

Steve McIntosh, author of Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution

“This book is simply beautiful, wise, and brilliantly conceived. It is a work of intellectual prowess, leavened with heart and wisdom, that calls us to a new American Dream. It inspires hope for higher possibilities in our nation and the world.”

— J. Manuel Herrera, Silicon Valley elected official

“Stephen Dinan invites us to connect with the sacred mission to reinvent the world that is America’s deep reason for being. He provides us with many transformative strategies to do that, but underneath each of them is a being infused with hope for the future and an indomitable belief in possibility. Read this book if you wish to be infused with Stephen’s two precious gifts for navigating the 21st century on Planet Earth.”

David Gershon, CEO of Empowerment Institute and author of Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing the World

“Stephen Dinan lays out a compelling vision for a nation and world with the political, economic and social conditions needed to bring lasting peace and prosperity. And, he advocates a clear path. Sacred America, Sacred World is a must read for all those who yearn for a brighter tomorrow.

— Steve Farrell, Worldwide Executive Director, Humanity’s Team

“Sacred America, Sacred World is a clarion call of hope. It conveys Stephen Dinan’s spiritually inspired vision for America’s political and cultural evolution. Steeped in the values of the left, he has come to understand an evolutionary vision of cultural change in which both Left and Right play enduring roles in the dialectic of progress, for which both must evolve. He offers an intimate, heartfelt confession of his sacred spiritual intuition in a way that speaks to the highest values of conservatives and radicals alike. Thoughtful, readable, original, and highly recommended!”

Terry Patten, founder of Bay Area Integral and author of Integral Life Practice

“Responding to a broken political world of ends-justified tactics and narrow self-interests, Dinan provides a positive, holistic vision for our democracy.”

— Don Ness, former mayor, Duluth, MN

“Reading Stephen Dinan’s epic tome during a presidential election year full of debased debates is like opening a window to a room that’s been hermetically sealed for decades. This book is disruptively sacred, delectably stimulating, and deeply spiritual. Read it and reap.”

Chip Conley, bestselling author of Peak, entrepreneur who built a $250M business, top-rated TED presenter

“If the Founding Fathers could have written a book about the United States in contemporary times, this would be it.”

Walter Semkiw, MD, author of Return of the Revolutionaries

“Very few times in one’s life does a book of monumental importance and significance come along. This book is one of those times. Sacred America, Sacred World will awaken the deep dream within you for the next level of the expression of America’s soul in the world. Stephen both honors ideologies and also transcends them into a shared mission and destiny for America and humanity. This book is nothing less than the blueprint and the foundation for the next level of the American Dream.”

Martin Rutte, bestselling author of Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work

“Reading Sacred America, Sacred World is like plugging into an evolutionary dynamo for the betterment of our precious country. It positively crackles with creativity, insight, unflinching analysis, and vision both sublime and practical. This ‘Common Sense’ from a fiercely patriotic, 21st-century Tom Paine is a must read for forward-thinking Americans of all parties and persuasions.”

Saniel Bonder, founder of Waking Down in Mutuality™ and author of Healing the Spirit/Matter Split