I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching (svadhyaya) lately and have come to realize that a Story of Separation is what is slowly (or quickly) bringing us down in any given moment.
You might hear semblances of this feeling of “the story of separation” in my story of my personal pain journey. Certainly when we’re in pain for long enough or have a health condition that keeps us from living what we sense as a full life, we start to feel separate, alone in our journey. I’ve not only experienced that, but I hear it and feel the experience through my patients and clients, every day, every week.
Especially now, when things are so tumultuous. Those that experience depression and anxiety are feeling that load even heavier now. And it does nothing but make you feel more separate, more alone.
And it doesn’t help that we’re also in the middle of a pandemic that has sheltered us (more alone). And kept us from doing things that give us joy (more alone). And we’re in the middle of a nasty election year where each “side” is speaking out against the other in anger and disrespect. And there doesn’t seem to be any “we,” only “they” and “them,” “left and right” (even more separation). The media and social media are not helping us come together in this, but creating more of a divide.
And the presence of shifts in the climate, remind us that we are not separate. But yet some will say that it has nothing to do with us.
At the same time we each have at least a little sense that we are all connected. You might follow a religion or practice spiritual practices that suggest that we are all connected. You watch out for you neighbor. You may donate to an organization that helps women across the globe in countries to which you’ve never even been. You may recycle and pick up trash, knowing that you’re saving a creature of the sea survive in this generation. You may donate time, food, or money to organizations that help people that you’ve never even met.
So yes, can we agree that we are not separate? And these examples above are ways that we can feel connected. That we can regain a sense of not being alone. It is a spiritual practice to feel this connection—to each other, to our environment, to something beyond ourselves.
I suggest we start to ease our pain (mental and physical) by discarding the Story of Separation and begin to engage in a “Story of Inter-being,” as Charles Eisenstein calls it in his essay, “We can do better than this.”
What do you think about these precepts in the Story of Inter-being?
- That my being partakes of your being and that of all beings.
- This goes beyond interdependency—our very existence is relational.
- That, therefore, what we do to another, we do to ourselves.
- That the purpose of life is to express our gifts in service of beauty, life, and love.
- That every act is significant and has an effect on the cosmos.
- That we are fundamentally in-separate from each other, from all beings, and from the universe.
- That every person we encounter and every experience we have mirrors something in ourselves.
- That humanity is meant to join fully the tribe of all life on Earth, offering our uniquely human gifts toward the well-being and development of the whole.
- That purpose, consciousness, and intelligence are innate properties of matter and the universe.
Do you agree or disagree? I for one am absolutely in love with these precepts. I can’t stop reading them over and over and over.
If we all felt this way, would we not have a different world?
Capitalism would not be based on greed.
People wouldn’t be going hungry in this world of abundance.
We wouldn’t be fighting over the questions of the existence of systemic racism exist in our country today.
We wouldn’t be rioting and killing each other in the streets.
We would not be basing our interactions and self worth on a “like” received or not received.
Leaders of nations wouldn’t be calling each other names and denigrating each other publicly over something as trite as a social media platform. We wouldn’t be abusing our planet when we absolutely know the better thing to do.
Our children would be taken care of, fed, educated and not sent to beg for food, sold for money or relegated to the streets to fight for themselves.
Yep, I like the Story of Inter-being much better. It’s compassionate. It’s painless. It’s purposeful. It’s mindful. It’s love and light.
What can we do to shift the story, at least one person at a time?
I for one have just left Facebook. I’ve been feeling its effects of separation for years now. Ever spend time on there and actually leave feeling good? Maybe I’m too empathetic, but I never really did. I would feel more separate: “I’m not traveling to exotic places. I’m not doing as well as that person in my professional endeavors. My post didn’t get as many likes as that person or business.” Or the nasty people sitting behind their avatars with the comfort of space and ignorance between us that will disparage others just so they can be “right.”
There is certainly goodness and support that has come from the platform. And friendships reunited. But doesn’t it sometimes feel a little superficial? More separate. More alone. I highly recommend checking out the documentary, The Social Dilemma if you need more reasons to not be on there or other social media platforms.
If you are on Social Media, perhaps use these “guidelines of engagement” written by Charles to help us invite in and help each other through these times rather than exclude:
- to express anger without diverting it onto hate
- to hold grief without diverting it onto despair
- to share compassion without diverting it onto pity
- to interpret each other’s words generously
- to let go of being right and seeming smart
- to value each person’s unique window on the world
- to be willing to see each other fully, shadow and gold
- to be willing to be truly seen ourselves
These guidelines can help us when interacting with others so that we can feel more connected, less divided even when we don’t agree.
Perhaps engage and follow Charles Eisenstein. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. He’s a fresh voice of inclusiveness. And not taking sides. And seeing the world from the “others” eyes, even if you absolutely despise that person/ideology/perspective. Give this quick video a watch to get a taste. He’s also got a Community called The New and Ancient Story if you want to be part of discussions away from the divisiveness and hate.
Remember that being connected is a spiritual practice. Or your spiritual practice is that which will connect you again. And it comes down to remembering that we all inherently want the same things. To be loved. To be respected. To be heard. And if we can do these things for another human, another living creature, for our planet, then we move away from the Story of Separation. We move away from pain. And we move towards a life that feels more whole. A society that is more whole.
Will you walk beside me on our way there?
I hope so.
I welcome your feedback and if you find this information helpful, please share with your colleagues, friends & family. I would love to hear how you’re going to shift the Story of Separation towards the Story to Inter-being–comment below. Contact Tianna and let me know—I’d love to walk beside you.