As a student of history what I see in the progress of human cultural evolution is the continuing belief in the illusion of separateness and the simultaneous survival impulse that belief creates. When separateness dominates consciousness, “Me” trumps “You.” “Mine” trumps “Yours.” “Ours” trumps “Theirs.” And the needs of humankind continue to trump the inherent rights and dignity of every other form of life.
In all of human cultural evolution can we actually credit ourselves as conscious beings since belief in the separate self and obedience to self-interest is so instinctual? Even when bolstered by the highest levels of education or when we seemingly prove our intelligence by achieving exceptional success (in consensus terms) should we credit ourselves and such capacities as demonstrating true consciousness? Maybe the best we can say – and it would certainly do our collective human grandiosity that is sucking the life out of the earth a great deal of good – is to acknowledge that such basic human behavior is only conscious within a relatively narrow context.
The consciousness we need today to overcome the illusion of separateness and the consequent unconscious slavery to self-interest begins when we are aware of our survival instinct in all its manifestations: material, intellectual, emotional, psychological, and religious, and can more completely witness the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are based in this illusion. Then we can begin to make choices that ally us with all of life and our own lives become lived primarily as servants to the whole and not as sovereigns over whatever lesser domain we stake out for ourselves.
This is the third of a series of four short videos on the art of centering. Each video gives you a specific practice, the rationale for how it works, and guidelines for when to use it. Enjoy this opportunity to enrich your practice.
In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln simply and eloquently stated the consecration for which the Civil War was being fought: “All men are created equal, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.”
He knew that constitutional self-government belonged not just to the United States, but needed to continue to stand as example for all humanity for millennia to come. It could not be forfeit to economic self-interest and especially not to such self-interest built on the back of slavery. He spoke to the souls of those who were willing to live and die for a profound principle.
We must each discover the profound principle – beyond self-interest – to which our lives are consecrated. Only then are we spiritually born. – Richard Moss