Greater than the Sum
Over the holiday I’ve largely switched off online media. I’ve been very quiet and inward. I’ve read some books. I’ve watched some films. I’ve been in deep meditation, and deep contemplation; mostly about our technology, our systems, and our humanity.
Here’s my current perspective, upon emerging from a reflective solitude.
Modern civilization has now become so complicated — not complex, complicated — that it is overwhelming us, especially our minds. As we look around, we find that we’ve been shattered; fragmented, segmented and siloed into channels of little shards, which get smaller and more “niched” by the minute. Somehow we’ve been turned from human beings full of wild potential and creative gifts into “consumers,” “users,” and “target markets.” Stress is everywhere, and unless we know how and when to tone it down or turn it off, it is intensifying.
As for our hearts, where we are now is far, very far, from the wonder-filled, joyous and magical life we had imagined and anticipated as small children, before the overlays of culture began to distort our vision, cover us up with belief systems and weigh us down with self-judgment.
Over the millennia of our so-called civilizing, in our endless pursuit of technological and economic “progress,” “growth,” and “success,” we fell asleep, and then started sleepwalking (often under hypnosis, as it turns out). We allowed ourselves to believe (or were coerced into believing) all manner of things that disconnected us from the loving beings that we truly are. And from each other.
And so, dear friends, long story short, the task at hand is simply this:
We must love ourselves back to wholeness.
This means loving ourselves, as individuals. That is what is otherwise known as “the inner work.”
It also means loving ourselves as collectives. This is referred to, in wise traditions, as “all our relations”: families, friends, partners, communities, organizations, societies, cultures, ecosystems.
There are a great many kind and generous souls on this Earth, so there are tools to help us with healing and rekindling both these modalities of loving, the individual and the collective, when we choose to take them up. The choice is ours.
We can focus on who did what to whom and who is to blame, or we can focus on reconnecting with our innate essence, the love that we are, each and all, and have that be what informs our actions.
The essence of humanity’s gift, which lies in our capacity for love, is analogous to the sun’s gift, which is in its capacity to emit light.
The sun shines its light freely and indiscriminately on everyone and everything. It is not selective about who or what gets illuminated.
We, on the other hand, have become quite selective about who or what receives our love. Including ourselves.
By way of analogy, we don’t flip a dark switch to “endarken” a room; we switch off the flow of electricity to our lamps or close a door or draw the curtains. All we can do is block, to varying degrees, the inbound light that is already flowing toward us. Or we can let it in. It is up to us to attenuate the degree of light we allow.
It is the same with love. Like the light of the sun, it is given; we are it, we are in it, we are emitting and receiving it, all the time. But it can be blocked, just like light can be filtered or shut out by a curtain, an umbrella, a roof or a planetary body.
How is the love that would otherwise be circulating naturally through our world being blocked? Are we, consciously or unconsciously, deflecting the love that is being beamed our way? Are we withholding our own love in any way? And if so, why? How do we transform that? These are worthy inquiries.
Continuing the analogy, consider for a moment what a shadow is; consider what happens to it as more light enters an area. As illumination increases, shadows get darker. Darker, yes, but also smaller; they shrink and shrink with the increasing light until… ultimately, they vanish.
Where is our focus? Is it on how dark the shadows are, or is it on allowing more light into the room? We can acknowledge the shadows without making them our exclusive focus.
In the bigger picture, looking back especially over the past several centuries, what was sacrificed on the altar of profit über alles was honour and respect for our innate humanness, which is also our humane-ness.
That honour and respect is what we used to call ethics and morality; it’s less about rights than it is about aligning with and operating from what we know is good and kind and right. It’s about compassion and care. It’s about dignity. It’s about blessing life, cultivating life, magnifying life, sharing life. In ourselves and with one another.
A return to ethics, the elevation of our humanity and the proper stewardship of this precious jewel of a planet we call home will blossom as a matter of course when we love ourselves back to wholeness.
That is the great task before us. It starts with loving ourselves. As we re-member (the opposite of dis-member) ourselves, as we become whole again, the love that we are simply overflows. It cannot help but suffuse our environment, permeate into those around us, and move throughout our world.
How quickly can it happen? At the speed of love, of course.
So let us fling open the curtains and flip on all the switches! Let us offer our love; let us open to receive love, let us circulate love. Not our ideas about love, not our beliefs about love, not love with conditions and strings and quid pro quos (which isn’t love at all), but the real thing.
Since love is who we are anyway, what’s required is to let go into being more and more the quintessential us. To be just as we are, right here and now, and to love who we are and with whom we are, right here and now.
This is my dedication for 2019, and beyond. My fervent, heartfelt wish is that you’ll join me.
So… who’s in?
Happy New Era, everyone.