Nancy Roof

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= founder of Kosmos Journal and Global Commons advocate



Founder of "Kosmos Journal: The Journal for World Citizens Creating the New Civilization" in consultative status with the United Nations. She works closely with James Quilligan who is on the Board of Directors of Kosmos Associates which publishes feature articles on the Commons. She is co-founder of the Values Caucus and the Spiritual Caucus at the UN.


"Nancy Roof, Ph.D. is the founder of the award-winning Kosmos Journal: The Journal for World Citizens and Planetary Civilization, which is based on evolving interior development and cultural values as they impact globalization and world community. Kosmos Associates, Inc. is also actively involved in the founding of the Global Commons movement with James Quilligan of the Global Commons Trust. Nancy won the 2009 Images and Voices of Hope award for journalism as a tool to inform, inspire and engage individual and collective participation in a global shift to higher-level thinking. In 2004, Kosmos was nominated by Utne for excellence. Her testimony on the human dimension of the United Nations was distributed to the US President and Congress. As a founder of Transpersonal Psychology (late 70s), she served as a spiritual guide to individuals for 20 years. In the late 80s, she began to define the field of global transformation at the United Nations, where she successfully lobbied for elevated global standards in international treaties and co-founded the Values Caucus (1994) and the Spiritual Caucus (2000). Working with 78 international organizations in war zones for over two years, she recognized the traumatic effect of war, not only on military personnel, but on their families, communities and service providers. She then designed the first global training programs and workbook on secondary traumatic stress, implemented initially during the Balkan wars and now used internationally. She is a founding member of the Global Commons Initiative, World Wisdom Council, Creating the New Civilization Initiative, 2020 Climate Leadership Campaign, WorldShift 2012 (Ervin Laszlo), Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment, a Board member of Integral Review and Living Earth TV and a speaker at Mikhail Gorbachev’s World Political Forum." (


Spiritual Autobiography

Nancy B. Roof:

"My Story: Changing Myself to Change the World

You could say that it’s been a lifetime quest. As far back as I can remember I was asking, Who am I? What am I here for? Where did I come from? What should I be doing with my life? I am grateful to my family for not indoctrinating me with any particular religion or belief system. My Father was against it having suffered a sense of sin from his Baptist upbringing. This gave me the greatest gift of all—the freedom to start my spiritual search for the meaning and purpose of life with a clear slate. I attended different Christian religious services with friends (that was all that was available at the time), but couldn’t find anything that satisfied my deep inner quest. I knew, even then, that I had to depend on my own experience for the answers I sought.

When I was 24 years old I was totally paralyzed with polio (except for my arms) and was diagnosed as a hopeless case. As I lay for months unable to move without help I found myself reflecting again on the important questions that my condition induced. Is life worth living even if you can’t move? My resounding answer was, of course, I have the most precious part of life as I can still think about creative ideas and communicate with others.

The Dark Night of the Soul

However, becoming a single mom with three children in the 50s living on $150 a week and working two jobs stretched my capacity for survival. Now my questions turned again to “Is life worth living?” For 7 long years I fell into a ‘dark night’ with no answers to my desperate inner plight. Why should I live at all? There seemed to be no meaning and purpose. Finally a day came when a delicate, but radiant pink rose dropped into my mind’s eye. I was breathless contemplating its beauty and with every inner glance my heart began to open wide again. Love. Love. That is the answer. I don’t need to wait to receive love. I need to give love right now — at the grocery store, as I walk down the street, everywhere! Most of us are beginners at true love and I was one of them. Agape love transcends erotic love and is a choice, a decision. And I made the decision that turned my life around. My personal life was no longer important. Giving it up was not a sacrifice, because my passion for interior development and service was so much more compelling.

Discovering Eastern Religion and Esoteric Thought

Shortly after this stunning revelation in the 60s I found Eastern religion and esoteric approaches to spirituality. At last I found some answers. I was so enthralled that I kept reading, reflecting, reading, and couldn’t stop. I found meditation, consciousness practices, exercises to help me manage my mind and emotions and much more. I was aflame with curiosity and love. I had an extremely difficult time stopping my overly curious mind in order to meditate, but finally I managed, with the help of heavy exercise before dropping into meditation. Here was the new spirituality for me, devoid of dogma and providing me with practices to help me master and develop my own capacities and relationship to the Kosmos. The Buddhist and esoteric paths teach us to believe only what we know in our own experience. I had found my path—life itself brought the lessons I needed to learn. It was important to develop discernment, particularly the difference between conditioned responses and those of the Higher Self. Direct inner guidance was to be my teacher with no intermediaries, along with the learning from my own life experiences. I began to define what spirituality was to me.

Becoming a Monk in the World

I learned quickly that I needed to balance solitude and action in the world. Much to the distress of my colleagues I turned the phone off for half the week and was unavailable to the outside world. Cultivating my inner life and spiritual sensitivities became my priority. I now spent three days in contact with the outer world while preserving four days for the rich inner life that speaks to me in silence and images that generate the motivation for my service in the world. I discovered that I was truly a Monk in the World, as Brother Teasdale would say. Love and beauty that had energized my passion to live in the past now was complemented by will and purpose. What was the larger Will of the Kosmos that led me so many times to know, ‘not my will but thine be done’? My husband was a mystic who had lived in Kalimpong for a year in the 50s. He was one of the first Westerners to bring Eastern teachings to the West. We founded the Mountain School for Esoteric Studies in the late 60s and held regular meditations and retreats in the mountains. This was the time when teachers from the East were coming to the West to teach. We had many in our home, inviting groups to share with us different practices and methods of meditation.

Pioneering Transpersonal Psychology

In the 70s I was invited to design and develop the first course in Transpersonal Psychology on the East Coast at Interface, while Esalen was thriving on the West Coast with Michael Murphy, Roger Walsh, and Frances Vaughan. I had to overcome my fears and develop these courses from the inside out. Later I learned that I would be required to do this many more times in my life, just as I had with the development of my own spirituality. We were entering a new era with an emerging new consciousness, culture and civilization. We were moving away from dominating authorities and experts toward personal experiential knowing. This meant systemic changes across the board and pioneers willing to define them. Ken Wilber lived near by and he and I shared several meals together in the late 70s. We used his developmental model in all our workshops and courses. We taught meditation, visualization, bodily felt sense, experiential knowing, hypnosis, journaling and many more contemplative practices. We helped people contact their Higher Self or Soul as the source of wisdom and guidance. We taught the stages of evolution. Traditional Western religion was unable to meet the hunger for Spirit in so many young hearts, so they turned to alternative means. I taught in classes, workshops, lectures, but mostly in one-to-one meetings as a spiritual guide, based on self-discovery of one’s own journey and path. I loved working with individuals and thought this was my life’s work.

Expanding to Global Spirituality: The United Nations

Suddenly, and much to my surprise, in 1987 I had an inner calling to enlarge the work I was doing to the global level. Now my questions became even larger. How does one apply spiritual principles, developed for individuals to global affairs and all of Humanity? And besides, I thought, I don’t know anything about global affairs. However, by this time I knew the wisdom of overcoming my fears and trusting inner guidance instead of my rational mind. I implicitly trusted that I would be guided from the inside out in this endeavor. Within a few hours I had an apartment in New York City and eventually one opposite the United Nations. The UN is the only place in the world where we find all peoples and cultures represented under one roof. We can intermingle, read each other’s newspapers and get an understanding of global affairs beyond our biased national corporate media. I thrived at the UN. I was consumed with learning about global affairs/global consciousness and making friends with the international community. When one is committed to service, somehow the right colleagues and companions appear to help. And indeed they did. My view of spirituality expanded considerably at this time. All the work we do on our personal lives is just the beginning. It is preparation for larger service to the whole.

From 1987-1991 I continued to learn about global affairs. I was consumed with trying to understand why we fought destructive wars with one another, elected to support corporate profits rather than the environment. Why did nations act in their own self-interest rather than for the common good? What could we do about it? I co-founded the Values Caucus in 1996 and the Spiritual Caucus in 2000 at the UN. Both Caucuses dove deeper into the causes of conflict through discovering the diversity of worldviews and cultural values. We successfully lobbied for language and new concepts in international documents and treaties—for the inclusion of life-long education and spiritual values. I learned about worldwide humanitarian efforts and developed healing techniques for secondary traumatic stress and more with a USAID grant in the former Yugoslavia. My concern was no longer limited to my own country, but to the whole of humanity. At the UN they say ‘humanity’ is the most common word spoken. This was why I was there. I identified myself not only as a Monk in the world, but also as a global or kosmic citizen." (