Much needs to change in our world, and while this was clear before COVID-19, the pandemic is highlighting festering issues and creating a space in which to re-access current modes of living. New and just socio-economic and political systems are required together with positive values that encourage the good. Mankind needs to learn to share, to live more simply, to cooperate and to create a world free from conflict, and the planet needs to be allowed to heal. The list is long, but everything is interrelated.
Underlying the various crises facing humanity is a crisis of identity. Identifying almost exclusively with the form (physical body, thoughts and emotions), we believe that we are separate – from one another, the natural world and from that animating force to which we give the highly charged name of ‘God’, whatever that may be. The belief in separation is firmly held and is constantly perpetuated by the structures of the day – social, economic, educational, and so on – it conditions relationships, is a source of deep seated psychological conflict and fear and cloaks the truth.
The reality is Oneness; all of life is interconnected, whole. The essential first step in the process of renewal (for us and the planet) is for humanity to see itself as one, and from this realization to design systems and ways of living that cultivate and strengthen the experience of oneness. Humanity is a family, a group, large and diverse, consisting of unique individuals with a variety of gifts and qualities, all sharing the same constitution and inherent nature, and all suffering from the same or similar fears and longings.
Belief in separation has led to the creation of divisive unjust systems and a ‘dog eat dog’ mentality, a widespread acceptance that man/woman is inherently selfish, greedy and driven by pleasure. As we transition out of the present dying order and into the new, many people are challenging this false idea and calling for a shift, not only in the modes of living, but in ways of thinking.
Oneness and Fragmentation
One of the most significant characteristics of our times is the polarization between large sections of the population. There is the worldwide movement towards collective action, greater tolerance and cooperation, and, rooted in the past, the converse reaction towards tribal nationalism, the aggrandizement of the Nation and the success of the individual at the expense of the group: Unity or Oneness in opposition to Fragmentation or Separation. On the noisy surface at least, fragmentation is in the ascendancy, and unity, although often warmly referred to, rather like a much-loved eccentric relative, is held within the margins and spoken of in condescending unrealistic terms.
Fragmentation constitutes the normal, if totally unnatural, way of things; it characterizes virtually every aspect of life and describes the state of mind of most, if not all of us. Where competition exists (and its hard to find anywhere where it doesn’t), where ideology dictates and nationalism triumphs, fragmentation, like a giant jigsaw puzzle will be found scattered across the mind and the society, in chaotic, yet familiar disorder.
Motive is also a primary factor in the creation of fragmentation and the belief in separation. Any kind of motive – noble or ignoble – creates fragmentation, and where is there action free from motive? Desire, which sits alongside motive, colors all activity it seems, polluting and corrupting as it passes from one form to another, one discontented agitated mind to the next.
Generations have been systematically conditioned into believing that this is the way to live, that we are separate and must compete with one another to survive; that greed, selfishness, social division and tribalism are part of who and what we are as human beings, and that there is no alternative. According to the Doctrine of Division it’s good to ‘love your country’ above all others, flags are saluted, anthems of obedience and loyalty sung, conditioning the mind young and old. To compete to be the best and to overcome your enemies or competitors essential, if we, as separate divided human beings are to survive and prosper, to fulfill our potential.
This fundamentally misguided, and false approach has led to the creation of a deeply divided world, to brittle unkind systems of governance and control that perpetuate violence and social injustice, creating a frightened world community at odds with itself and the natural world, to say nothing of ‘God’. Fragmentation is division and where division prospers so does conflict, internally (psychologically and physiologically) and externally.
From this fractured state of mind decisions flow, personal and collective, political and corporate. The negative results of which we see in our own lives and in our societies; endless war’s, needless poverty and acute economic inequality, social division, relationship break down, mental health illnesses, climate change and the widespread collapse of ecosystems, etc., etc. Fragmentation and the fervent belief in separation defies the natural way of things, which, if allowed to flow unimpeded is ordered and harmonious. It crushes brotherhood, sews mistrust and suspicion of ‘the other’, and obstructs totally the experience and realization of our innate self; that essential reality that, beyond the time-bound constructs of thought, we all are. That is our true being, and when actions proceed from that unified non-fragmented place harmony ensues.
If we are to move out of the crumbling chaos of the old and create a new and just civilization in which humanity can live peacefully together for the first time in our long and painful history, we must, first of all, recognize that we are one; that all of life is interconnected, something we know in theory, but disregard in practice. The new forms and ways of living that must emerge need to be based on and encourage expressions of brotherhood and compassion. This will establish a living cycle of love; yes, perhaps unsurprisingly it’s all about love, and the absence of it. Unity is an expression of love.
The creation of a fertile ground in which harmony can come into being is a great deal easier than might be imagined. As humanity collectively demonstrates (excluding the minority) in times of need, underneath the outward shows of cruelty and selfishness, mankind is good; remove the obstacles (fear, desire, competition etc.) to compassion and that unifying force – love, which is our very nature, will naturally and spontaneously express itself. As the shoals of fish swimming in the previously polluted Grande Canal in Venice show, remove the noise and pollution, allow the filth to settle to he depths and the waters become clear by themselves.