It seems that for all the talk about oneness, unity and peace, there is still a lot of distrust, dissent and resentment wherever we look. One of the ways humanity as a whole has been disempowered is through the amplification of our primitive and ignorant suspicion and distrust of anything that is not just like we are. As each of us is unique on the surface, this condition runs pretty deep. What humanity hasn’t figured out yet is that, while we are unique on the surface, we are all fundamentally alike at a deeper level.
Evolving our Idea of Ourselves
From the egoic perspective, we appear different from one another in all aspects of appearance and behavior. This perspective judges everything relative to its idea of itself, alienating and distrusting anything that differs. Of course this is a functional mechanism of growth, as everything we’re judging is ultimately a reflection of ourselves.
The things we resent or despise are traits we try to disown in ourselves because we believe them to be “bad”, while the things we admire are the “good” traits and qualities we perceive ourselves to be lacking. All these judgments fragment our idea of ourselves creating dis-integration, and directing our energy towards creating situations and circumstances to facilitate more integration. These situations and circumstances are not what we would actively choose for ourselves and often invoke a negative response from the ego.
The reflection of these traits and qualities is an opportunity to accept and appreciate the parts of our nature we have not yet come to terms with within ourselves. If we can accept them in others we are able to accept them in ourselves, leading to a state of greater integration and wholeness. In turn this affords us greater presence in every moment and a greater ability to manifest and create what we want in life.
Another issue is the lack of understanding of who we are, even on a superficial level. How many of us are aware, and willing to admit, that human beings are fundamentally self-serving by nature. People simply won’t do things that don’t offer some benefit or payoff for them, however subtle it may be. What’s required is mutual respect, rather than a self-righteous or self-minimizing attitude. If I get what I need while fulfilling the needs of others it’s a win–win interaction, a synergy. The minute we sacrifice our own needs to fulfill the needs of others we lose their respect, because we are not respecting ourselves. This is why “givers” often get taken advantage of. Those around us interact with us with the same level of respect we give ourselves. Similarly, if we ignore the needs of others while fulfilling our own needs we lose their respect and our own.
So what’s wrong with the world?
The world at large is an expression of the collective mental processes and actions of the human race as a whole. We obviously still have some way to go before we recognize our inherent oneness, or even the degree to which we are inter-dependent for that matter. Here again, many people judge the world around us to be unfair or threatening. The consensus is, even within the “spiritual” movement, that there is something wrong with the world. The truth is that the world is the way it is because we are the way we are. Its function is to facilitate as much integration as possible for the greatest number of people. The things we judge as “bad” and evil are exaggerated expressions of our collectively disowned traits and qualities. By disowning these traits and qualities we create a shadow self, and engage in an inner conflict with our own nature until we are able to integrate them. As long as we disown certain traits and qualities we tend to express them in an exaggerated form when we feel threatened. Once we have accepted and integrated a trait or quality we will no longer express it without conscious control. What the state of the world is telling us is that we are quite literally still afraid of our own shadows.
We’ll discuss more about how to reconcile oneness and uniqueness in a future article…