From childhood I took for granted that I interacted in the physical world with other people who believed likewise. I wasn’t particularly aware of that, nor did I articulate it consciously – it was just reality. The individuals who populated my corner of the world had more similarities than differences – it was a fairly homogenous small town. There was a community spirit – people could work together for the common good, but even in that environment there was an understanding that there were limits. People had their own problems and issues, their own families to support, their own jobs, drives, ambitions. And so I learned that it was fundamentally a separatist world.
My world has expanded but hasn’t changed all that much, except for the scale, the degree of separatism, and the escalation of conflict around it. Politics and religion across the world seem especially entangled and entrenched, with different factions unable or unwilling to compromise with, have respect for, or even tolerate other factions. Even in the land of the free there seems to be a civil war along those lines, although it is being fought with money and power instead of guns, tanks and missiles.
Yet there is an underlying wave of change that has been growing from grass roots. A way of being, of perceiving the world, of realizing its holistic and spiritual nature. There’s a growing awareness that we are all part of the same interdependent community of earth, and that we each have a role in that community. But I reckon you already know that.
Maybe that dichotomy between the holistic and the separatist point of view has always been there. I suspect that what’s really different is that I’m more aware of it now.
My perception has been changing over the last couple of years along with my spiritual development. I’m increasingly aware that everything I once took for granted as physical reality is created from a single, universal life force. That means we are all connected. Of course, not everyone can or wants to see that interconnectivity. Old paradigms die hard, which may explain some of what the world is experiencing these days.
The “us and them” perspective is a contrivance to create the diverse panorama of earth. The diversity is for us to explore and celebrate. It can also challenge us. Unfortunately, diversity is also used to draw battle lines. Suspicion and fear turn to anger, resentment and hostility. We see it on a large scale, and it can feel overwhelming. But if you break that down into its components, isn’t large scale conflict an amalgamation of the interdependent interactions between the individuals of the world?
We cannot change the world to match our ideals. We can only change ourselves to be the people we aspire to be in that ideal world. And in doing so, we change the world.