''They arise as grief for our world, giving the lie to paradigm notions of the essential separateness of the isolated competitive ego'' - first reading
For me this is the key point behind the unwholesome path of the ‘’Industrial Growth Society’’, the belief on the level of the ego that the essential nature of ourselves and our world are separated, isolated and competitive. The illusion of duality and separateness is perpetuated on the level of the ego when the mind is habituated towards conceiving of ourselves as a separate entity struggling against the forces of nature and the contrary paths of other beings to fulfil our desires. The illusion can be seen through on an intellectual level so that we ‘think’ or ‘believe’ that the universe is a single light of which we are a point (or in whatever words we use to represent it). However, what is missing largely in most ‘industrialised’ or western society is the ‘experience’ of oneness which can be known through spiritual practice and living in harmony with nature. Without a daily or community practice there is the danger that it just becomes another identity to divide ourselves from others. In that by taking an intellectual standpoint or belief that, for example, we are one with nature, there is sometimes the tendency to identify with those beliefs and those who share those beliefs and create an opposition with those who don’t. In my opinion, too often the effect of this is to vilify those on the other side of our beliefs (whatever they are) and deepen the dichotomy that is the cause of our plight in the first place. For example, we hear a lot now about ‘evil corporations’ and ‘evil practices’ that reflects our addiction to being ‘right’ more than it does our understanding of universal oneness. Really groups or individuals who are engaged in actions harming nature or others are operating from the false understanding mentioned at the beginning, the illusion of separateness. That is the same illusion that causes people on the other side of the argument to paint them as careless wrongdoers. Change has to be more than defining ourselves in opposition to a created perception of the ‘other’ who is doing wrong; change comes from looking inside to unveil our own true nature of love, acceptance and unity. I believe that the ‘Great Turning’ will only happen if we remember that our actions, thoughts and energy have an effect beyond the physical dimension and what meets the eye. Being able to define ourselves as morally ‘right’ in opposition to the status quo is not enough. If we ourselves practice and experience ‘oneness’ through meditation, prayer, reflection and the establishment of communities for same, then the illusion of separateness will fall away and the compassionate action necessary to help others do the same will naturally unfold .
Right now in Ireland such types of communities are sorely lacking and I hope that during this week we will get an idea about how to be a seed for that kind of positive change!