Good day, good people!
Here are some snippets from another conversation I've had recently. I hope you find them to be relevant. In the first section, the word "his" refers to a fellow named Charles Eisenstein. Well worth looking into if you feel moved. Enjoy!
His words are very moving and powerful. He said we feel we are separate beings among other separate beings in a universe that is separate from ourselves. This story of self creates our world. Don’t I know that!
D: Oh my gosh, me too! That pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
I guess if we feel we are separate from the universe then what we do won’t matter. And in reality, it does matter.
D: so true. That mindset has justified the destruction of the planet and the ruination of countless people's lives over the millennia. As I understand it, as little as a hundred years ago it was unthinkable to most people (white people, that is) that we are a part of something larger than ourselves, and that we are responsible for that larger something. The Judeo-Christian, science-based worldview which has dominated the west for the past two thousand years has everyone believing that they are apart from the world and other people, and that they have the right to do to the world and others what they want, out of pure self-interest. If you ever look into the history of the colonial period (when western powers took over the rest of the world, subjugating the people and stealing the resources), you'll be appalled. The pure cruelty is almost unbearable. People justified their actions in all sorts of ways (particularly by saying the earth is ours to abuse as we like, and that brown/black people are not really people) that would seem shocking to most today. The paradigm goes on, however, in more subtle forms. These days it's the large corporations, backed by and assisted by greedy individual consumers (I say that without judgment, but more as a fact: our entire society rests upon greedy consumption that everyone participates in, including me), who are destroying our environment, but a lot of that is hidden and sanitized for the public. And as you say, it really does matter. What you and I do every day matters a lot. And so we need to step out of the worldview that says we are separate and can do what we please, to a worldview in which we and the earth are the same, so that we can act in a way that cherishes what we have, and will save us from self-destruction. There's no way to know, of course, but it seems logical to me that if we continue in the same way, and do not change our cultural paradigms, then we're on a road that will carry us to the point where we will poison our own habitat to the extent that we don't survive. A bit bleak to consider, but a lot of people are predicting that outcome.
I still feel separate, to be honest. I want to feel one with everything, I really do. But I am still “me” as much as I’m trying to get to the place where I am one with everything.
D: Yes, well I hope you will be gentle with yourself around this. To let go of the separate self and to merge with Life in being is the ultimate goal of humanity, I think, and it's the hardest thing there is for us to do. And just to be clear, we're not trying to be "one with everything" in the sense of abandoning our authentic nature. We still get to be an individual consciousness on this earth. We just have to give up our egocentric orientation, and act as an individual for the good of the whole.
We have to start treating the world as it is alive. If we see the planet as dead-just a bunch of stuff, resources and products then we will kill the world as our stories are powerful.
D: Yep! That's how it happens. It's the lens we look through that has the power. And the lens that most people look through has been conditioned by eons of evolution to be self-centered, and focused on the needs of a separate self. It's really, really difficult to let go of that self and act in the way that's the best for all, especially when that contradicts self-interest. Ego is not alive, and so when we look at the world through ego we don't really see or appreciate the life that is there. We have to get to center, in touch with our own life force, in order to see and experience the life around us, and to value that.
I’ve never thought about any of this before. I need to think more about what’s beyond “me”.
D: Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the trick, I think: to look from a larger place than ego. It's possible to look, in a way, from the point of view of Life, rather than from self-interest and self-concern. That's where compassion and also skillful action happens.
I take my life and nature for granted. I just assume this will always be here.
D: You and nearly everyone else, I'm afraid!
Why have I not considered all this before?
D: Because, I would say, you were conditioned to look at the world from a self-centered perspective, and to put your own wants and needs above everything else in your life. That's what happened to all of us, I'm afraid--and it's the reason the world is in such a mess in these modern times.
I almost feel guilty that I haven’t.
D: No point in feeling guilt, of course. You don't need that in order to change your perspective and your behaviors. All you need is awareness and willingness and it will happen. Beating ourselves up for what we see is counter-productive.