Whatever way you cut it, whatever the point of view: physics, spiritual, social, organisational − we are not only connected, but also highly interdependent. The point of view that goes counter to this is that of the ego. Ego creates separation.
When we live from the perspective of the ego (as most of us do, most of the time), we divide the universe into two categories: Me (everything inside this bag of skin) and mine (everything that belongs to what’s inside this bag of skin). This gives rise to the bubble in which most of us live, most of the time − the bubble called the “me centred universe”. From this perspective everything is divided into three categories as it relates to us: “good”, “bad” and indifferent (essentially invisible).
Think about a twenty-two year old looking for a partner. Every person we encounter falls into one of these three categories:
- Attractive/available, older than 21 but younger than 30 “Good”
- Not very attractive, or not available but older than 21 but younger than 30 − “Bad” don’t want that.
- Finally anyone older or younger than that range becomes largely invisible − neither good, nor bad, simply irrelevant.
This can be applied to skin colour, profession, nationality, species. We are full of the unexamined prejudices of the ego.
Separation is a very persistent illusion. If we want to be free of the blinkers of the ego even for a short time, then we have to keep reminding ourselves of it. No one and nothing exists independently. Who you believe you are right now, where you are, all the circumstances of your life, the fact that you are reading this is the result of all the circumstances, conditions, and influences of your life to this moment.
Most of the inequality, suffering and big problems we face as a species arise out of this fundamental misperception. What is worse, is that this misperception combined with our technology is creating an existential crisis for our species.
The whole system of constant economic growth and status which depends only on wealth, the worship of money and the greed it naturally engenders is completely unsustainable. It is a deeply ignorant way to live.
It simply won’t stop until we start to live the reality of inter-dependence, of connection.
You can start by seeing the world through the eyes of compassion; every being is just like me, simply wants to avoid suffering and experience happiness. Self-compassion and self-acceptance are an important part of this as it reduces the need for affirmation through material possessions.
You can experience it directly through developing your meditation practice in which you directly experience connection.
You can accept the responsibility that you make a difference. The world is different, because you are in it.
You can practice gratitude which reminds you that everything you have is thanks to the many people, seen and unseen, that have collaborated to provide you with the device on which you are reading this, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the house you live in, the water you drink.
Change is difficult; we keep forgetting and falling into old ways. Change is uncomfortable, but uncomfortable means you are learning, you are opening the door to change.
Our lives work better when they have purpose, when they have meaning that go beyond the ignorance of ego.
Be the change.