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Have you noticed how casual conversation has turned into a minefield of potential conflict? Our world has become so polarized in recent years that if often feels as if society is unraveling at the seams. What is contributing to this phenomenon and what can we do about it?
When we exclude, we lose
Lack of inclusivity fosters division, exclusion and, ultimately, persecution. This applies to family systems as well as to larger groups. We see this happening all over, from individual social settings to larger government policies.
Exclusion stems from a misguided survival mechanism – the egoic need to obliterate other viewpoints so we can feel secure. It operates on limited information and often rejects truth in favor of the deeper ego need to control. Over time, such limitations fuel victimizing and fragmentation, both at an individual level and beyond. It divides us instead of bringing us together around our common human values.
Exclusion creates social unraveling on steroids! We do not need more separation, but Higher intelligence to unite humanity around our common goals and needs.
The healing power of Higher intelligence
Higher intelligence does not seek to divide and conquer through fragmentation or transhumanism. Rather, it seeks to fully inhabit and transform human nature from within by serving a transcendent Power greater than our rigid, limited ego. Higher intelligence honors the wisdom of our common Divine Source and the eternal nature of our souls.
Healing for our world starts by remembering this common Source. When given its rightful place in the circle of life, this transcendent Power can gather humans from across the spectrum of diversity to unite around our common needs and values. Returning to Source is our first step toward mutual forgiveness and unification. It allows us to return to our inner compass.
Evolve or devolve: it’s our choice
Humanity has evolved this far not by compromising to meet the demands of every loud voice, but by honoring Higher principles. When we abandon our inner compass and water down Higher Truth, we surrender to the insatiable needs of egos gone amuck… and we devolve. Evolution requires us to stay aligned to Higher Truth and live by the Golden Rule: doing unto others as we would have them do to us. No-one is exempt.
We ignore the Golden Rule at our own peril. When we insist on being treated as special or more deserving than others, we reject the inherent wholeness that underlies all. The ego need for specialness blinds our perception to other views and leads to further fragmentation. When we dismiss facts and blindly cling to our limiting beliefs, we soon drift toward partial truths, twisted thinking and evil. There is a steep price to pay for this selective perception: By settling for lesser evil, everyone loses because choosing lesser evil ultimately further empowers evil.
Transcending our differences
How do we break free from this collective trance? We cannot free ourselves or wake others up by attacking other views – such a dualistic approach simply reinforces the desire to dig in and cling more to entrenched beliefs. We need to transcend opposing views to find workable solutions that benefit the whole.
Transcending our differences starts by finding the common ground that unites us. When we acknowledge our mutual need for solutions, we can build bridges of harmonious cooperation between ourselves and others. Working from our common core, we can find solutions that transcend duality-based viewpoints. This is known as the third way – a path that supersedes the entrenched viewpoints of self and other.
Living by the third way
Einstein understood this principle when he said that problems cannot be solved with from same level of thinking from where we created them. This third way is the path of higher consciousness which transcends the limited duality of ego. When we recognize one another as diverse expressions of the One Creator, we can overcome differences and work toward unifying goals that benefit the common good.
Ignoring Higher Law is not an option if we wish to survive and evolve. When we turn away from Truth, we lose our connection to Higher intelligence and get mired in the dualistic battle between egos. We feed our own egos on junk by judging others as bad or less than us – and by doing so, we ultimately turn into the very things we judge or despise.
Two sides of the same coin
Judgment and hatred of others tie us to the problem and make it impossible to find win-win solutions.
We see this dynamic playing out around us every day. Liberals call for freedoms by stressing the differences between groups, genders or color – and it ultimately becomes oppressive of anyone who does not fit into one of these limiting boxes. Likewise, conservatives reject liberal labels and fixate on the ‘liberal evil,’ oblivious of the evil in their own hatred of the other. In the end, opposing groups of all kinds are united in their common judgment and hatred which further fragments, divides and imprisons them duality. There is no unity to be found.
Even activism derived from ego does not have the capacity to bridge the divide among groups because ego always seeks primacy of the self. Dualistic activism is blinded to Higher Truth: it merely fuels further polarization no matter how well-intended. Instead of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, we may find ourselves weaponizing and throwing them at others.
Where is the Golden Rule in that? It gets trampled by egos on steroids! What is needed to bridge the chasm, is greater commitment to find the common threads that unite us as humanity and then to take appropriate collective action that benefits the whole.
The battle for our minds
The true battle we are engaged in now is not waged on the battlefields of the world, but in the inner terrain of our minds. When we fail to discern the source behind messages we are bombarded with, we easily capitulate to propaganda. Likewise, we lock ourselves into the limitations of duality-consciousness whenever we blindly oppose other viewpoints. Every time we are too lazy to do our own independent research and instead capitulate to a steady stream of misinformation and propaganda, we get more brainwashed ourselves. Gradually, we lose our connection to Higher Truth and to our common humanity; we become fragmented by superficial divisions designed to splinter the fabric of our society. And we become part of the problem.
Finding solutions within
And yet, there are solutions to every problem. We find optimal solutions whenever we no longer blame, shame and marginalize others. The solutions needed in our world cannot be found in ego structures such as politics, institutional education or religion. They need to be rediscovered within, starting with the common ground shared by all humanity. We need to individually and collectively bow to the Higher Truth that resides in each of us. Only then can we grow into our full potential.
The spirituality of the future
Our human vessels contain the sacred potential of each soul that yearns for healing to begin. Instead of dividing and hating our fellow humans, our souls gently nudge us to come together and heal: forgiving ourselves for our individual blindness to Truth, and then extending that same compassionate forgiveness to others. We need to walk with eyes wide open to see beyond the façade and find potential for good in every situation. We must relentlessly search out and eliminate every virus of fear that hovers in our minds, seeking to hijack our thinking. As we stabilize our being in Eternal Truth, it will expose all lies masquerading as information. When we return to our sacred center and transcend the ego-made, politically inflamed divisions in society, we can gather around the sacred fire of the heart to heal and unite.
Each one of us is on this planet to learn and grow. We came here for this time of crisis, which also holds the potential for evolutionary growth. If we choose to navigate by marginalizing and destroying others and other life forms, we will devolve and potentially self-destruct. Evolution and survival require us to grow up as a species and as individuals: taking responsibility for our actions and making space for diversity in the circle of life.
You and I can start right here, right now by choosing not to feed the hateful path of separation but to embrace the path that nurtures, forgives and unites. The spirituality of our future requires that we release the grip of ego so we can walk our talk, living by the principles of Higher Law. That is true freedom and joy!
About the author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.
Photo Credit: Alexander Schimmeck, Unsplash
Everyone desires to improve their life in some way: to heal something, change limiting habits, find a romantic partner, lose weight, reach their highest potential, develop intuition, find their soul purpose, and more.
As long as we are alive, this process continues. Norman Mailer put it this way: “Every moment of one’s existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit.” There’s always a next step waiting to be taken, yet everyone – absolutely everyone – has trouble accomplishing these laudable goals. In fact, we spend an inordinate time making up reasons and excuses for not moving forward.
Not moving forward is extremely painful. It creates a sense of frustration with yourself because the desire to grow and expand comes from your soul. Resistance to following your path blocks the very expression of your soul. Imagine the impact of such dense emotions that accumulate in the body over years of wrestling with the same dysfunctional patterns!
Here are three practical steps to help you get unstuck and move forward more effectively:
- Ditch fear of humiliation
Most people are controlled by fear of being humiliated or judged by others – and that fear prevents them from moving forward in their lives.
You can overcome this paralyzing fear by recognizing that your true locus of control is inside of you; it does not come from anyone outside you. When you acknowledge the Divine Presence in you and start to follow its gentle prompting, you’ll find the courage and validation you seek within yourself.
Looking outside ourselves for approval or acceptance is an ego trap. It breeds fear of being humiliated whenever external feedback conflicts with our ego needs and is actually a form of pride.
True commitment to our soul path brings about a sense of authentic humility. When we no longer seek approval from outside ourselves, we’re better able to align with Higher truth within. Our relationship with Spirit cultivates deep inner honesty and humility within us. We no longer need to impress or win the fleeting approval of others; instead, we embrace with our true identity as souls and learn to operate by Higher law, resulting in inner peace.
Fantasy or reality?
Do you find yourself bargaining that you’ll do what you need to as soon as the children are grown, or after you’re out of debt, or once you get a new job? Are you dreaming of the life you desire if only you had the money, time or resources? Empty dreams are fantasy – they keep us in a state of scarcity unless we take appropriate action!
Here’s another way to look at life: Everything that shows up in your life and mine, is perfect for the purpose of our growth… not our comfort! On this planet, results are built by matching vision with action, step by step. Nothing falls from the sky ready-made, and circumstances never pause to create the perfect show-stopping moment for us to step into. If we wait for the perfect opportunity before taking action, we may even miss the steppingstones along the way. To break free from wishful thinking, the question to ask yourself instead is, “What I am I doing in the meantime?”
A colleague of mine used to tell her clients, “It’s only too late if you don’t start now!” You cannot satisfy your soul’s yearning with empty dreams and promises – you’re made of better stuff and your soul knows that! Start taking action now with the guidance you already have, and the next step will show up. When guidance is given but you don’t act on it, you may end up with information overload – overwhelmed, stuck or frustrated – whereas steady action will clear the way forward.
Information overload can come from asking for input from too many people but never acting on the information stuffed into your energy field. It is normal to gather information before moving forward. The trap lies in over-analyzing each piece of information or waiting for more guidance to appear before acting. This can move you into analysis paralysis or information overload with too much data floating around in your mind, triggering your fears, anxieties, limitations, or past trauma, so you end up too confused to start. Information overload also happens when giving your power away to others instead of taking full responsibility for your own life.
To break free from the bog of information overload, go back to the beginning and look at the very first step that needs to be taken. If internal chatter of fear, bargaining or limitation arises in response, deal with it! Your power lies in choosing your truth in the face of your fears. Drill down to the source of fear and recognize it for what it is – the ego’s stalling tactic to keep you from changing. Let go of it and take the first step forward despite the fear, and it will diminish. Once you’ve taken the first step, you can ask for more guidance, listening within for it. The next breadcrumb will show up!
Collectively, these three steps can help you get unstuck from the sticky bogs of stagnation, and help you live more effectively.
©Copyright Ada Porat. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached. For more information, visit https://AdaPorat.com
Photo credit: Rajesh Rajput, Unsplash
“Out of collision of opposites the unconscious psyche always creates a third thing of an irrational nature, which the conscious mind neither expects nor understands.” Carl Jung
How do we create unity and integrity in our world so those who are awakened can work together for the highest good of all? I believe it requires evolving spiritual consciousness. The world created by lower levels of consciousness is no longer viable: it pushes short-term agendas that benefit only an elite few, whereas higher consciousness fosters a long-term vision that includes and benefits all.
To foster more spiritual consciousness on the planet, we need to awaken the spiritual hero within each of us.
The archetypal hero within is common to all human cultures. It is a global story that reminds us of true purpose and potential. It calls us to tap into our innate power and to overcome daunting obstacles in our heroic visionary quest for optimal outcomes. When we embrace our spiritual hero archetype, we also tap into the infinite creativity and limitless possibilities of Source. The continuously evolving nature of Source helps raise our levels of consciousness so we can overcome challenges, becoming the spiritual hero in our own life.
Developing spiritual consciousness awakens us to the archetypal spiritual hero within. This aspect of our being is not restricted by fear or by the conditioned limitations of the ego self. It connects us to our Source, so we can access higher level solutions to transcend inner and outer limitations. Our radiant higher nature can light our path and bless all other forms of life.
Alignment with the Source of life awakens the fearless hero within so we can stand tall and face challenges with the courage born from deep inner knowing. It teaches us harmonious ways to align with others and uplift our interactions. This inner union with Source brings joy, not fear. It heals and includes, whereas ego-based actions attack and oppress.
The need to wage war and oppress comes from ego, not from Spirit. It creates a broken and suffering world where conditioned minds only know how to look at events through the lens of defense and domination.
Our souls are not at war, nor do we need to be.
Our souls are intimately connected to the Source of all life, goodness, abundance and harmony. There is no need for us to embrace conflict or limitation. We are called to be spiritual heroes, not suffering slaves!
From the perspective of spiritual consciousness there is no enemy to fear, attack or control. There are only blind minds and mass-programmed egos running amok. These are the issues that need to be changed, and they will change by awakening and finding solutions from higher levels of consciousness.
All of us are called to awaken to the hero within, yet few choose to respond. It takes courage to change ingrained beliefs that we are weak and limited.
You and I were created for these times! Our personal heroic journey to freedom beckons. Where do we start?
The hero’s journey starts with alignment to our Source, so true power can flow into us from there. In the presence of this alignment, fear and falsehood dissolves. The more we embrace Higher truth and love within, the more our lower nature is purified and integrated in service to Source. Ultimately, we can become shining beacons of hope, radiating inspiration and positivity for others to evolve.
We also develop higher spiritual consciousness by cultivating unconditional love for Spirit and for ourselves. Then we are able to extend that unconditional love to others, including the ones still acting out their shadow. It is the presence of unconditional love that awakens the human heart, not judgment or hatred.
We further awaken to our true nature as spiritual beings having this earth experience. We come to understand that our true nature is spirit, not ego. The ego is a human construct created by blind minds, feeling separated from Truth. The old paradigm of separation drops away as we come to understand that we are each a unique expression of the one Source. We are all one. Each of us are part of everything, the whole universe.
This recognition of Oneness reframes our relationships with all other expressions of life around us. There is no one individual better than any other; we are simply different expressions of the one Source.
Since we all come from Source, each of us has access to that power and inspiration. We do not need to find the hero in another to fuel our purpose. We need to discover it within ourselves first, no matter how long it takes.
When we let go of the limiting conditioning and fully embrace our oneness with the Creator, it fills us with humility, awe, joy, inspiration and passion. We can drink from that fountain of wisdom and let it renew our commitment to do our part in the unfoldment of humanity’s potential. We embark on the spiritual hero’s journey!
All change begins within. Whatever we wish to change, needs to first be changed within us. So do you want to see a more loving world? Become more loving. Do you want to experience more abundance? Become more generous. This is how we change the world – leading by example!
This work of awakening to spiritual consciousness and embarking on the spiritual hero’s journey, is our ultimate purpose in life. The drama and drive on the surface of life are simply distractions to this true work.
Refuel your passion every day, so you will have resilience to navigate the twists and turns of life. You are a spark of the Creator and your passion is fed by consciously participating in creativity: whether you create a tasty meal, create a beautiful garden, create technical solutions or create community with other individuals. When you create, you tap into your oneness with the Creator and refuel your passion for your purpose.
On the spiritual journey, it does not matter whether you are in the front, the middle or the back of the pack – you are part of one human tribe traveling home to our Source. The hero’s journey is not a race: simply doing your bit daily will carry you to the finish line.
When you feel wobbly, remember that you are the one you have been waiting for! Awaken the spiritual hero within and join the wave of spiritual consciousness that is growing now. Together, we are embodying the vision for a better world.
About the author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.
Photo Credit: Aamir Suhail, Unsplash
None of us are exempt from the upheaval sweeping around the globe. This time of great shifting and change has been foretold eons ago, and it is called the Great Awakening. It is a period of both chaotic change and great opportunity.
In communities everywhere, growing awareness of injustice acts as a catalyst for people to release pent-up frustration around issues of inequality, greed, suppression, abuse and more. As this energy gathers momentum, it evokes many mixed emotions in others as well: fear, disgust and recoiling, to name a few.
What are we to do with these mixed feelings?
I believe these emotions can be very useful, because it can arouse in us the will to take action.
Evolution and awakening are not armchair hobbies! This is not a time to hide until the storm passes; it is time awakened souls to clear their own energy and hold a clear intention for the unfolding of optimal solutions.
If we truly want a better world, we need to actively tap into the power of intention for the collective outcomes we desire to see. Is that not infinitely more productive than passivity while angry mobs create a post-apocalyptic reality based on their woundedness and pain?
I believe we can do better. We must!
Recent events are exposing many fundamental problems that have festered in societies around the world for a very long time. While you and I may not express our disgust violently, we share a part of the problem, too. Have we not benefited from the very inequality that caused suffering for others? That makes us responsible for finding a solution as well.
It is time for all of us to see the bigger picture. We are called to step into our sovereignty as co-creators of reality in the world around us now, as well as the reality we wish to see moving forward. It is either this, or passively accepting the post-apocalyptic nightmare created by blind egos fueled by greed.
Humanity cannot continue functioning with the enormous disparities that currently prevail. I recently watched an Amazon documentary titled “Human Flow” that touched my heart. It showed how millions of people around the globe, displaced by war, famine and inequalities, are barely surviving in refugee camps without amenities, forgotten by the world. If we wish to survive as a species, we cannot stand idly by or build our own fortunes while others suffer, stripped of everything they had.
Ask yourself this: Are you a part of the problem or part of the solution?
You are inherently part of either the problem or the solution by your inner attitude. And you can help to heal this collective wound without ever marching for change – it starts within your heart.
It is time for all of us to harness our disgust and discomfort into compassionate action; doing our part to recycle the dense energy in the collective by sending it to the Light, and holding onto a clear vision for the emergence of a better world.
As awakened beings, you and I have a pivotal part to play in this unfolding drama. We need to BE the light called for in this world, radiating compassionate Light to others, and holding the energetic intention for unfoldment of a better way forward for all of humanity.
Like a wildfire, the waves of anger and violence will burn themselves out when we do not feed them. We are not to fight fire with fire; we are called to BE the peace we wish to see in the world. As spiritual firefighters, our tools consist of compassionate awareness, clear focus and wise action.
You and I can put out the fires of discontent by sending compassion to areas of conflict, allowing our compassion to quell the fires of the heart raging worldwide. Once these fires of injustice have been acknowledged, the flames will subside and reason will return. Only then can rebuilding begin.
Instead of judging others for the actions they take at their individual level of consciousness, let’s harness our collective emotional response and focus it on more optimal outcomes instead.
There are many different ways in which you can become part of the solution in a suffering world. The point is that when you are an awakened being, you are called on to respond.
The Course in Miracles says that there are only two calls in life: the call for love and the call to love. Which will you choose?
We can do this work in private, with others or in groups online who are holding a collective response for peace. Until we acknowledge the pain of the world and meet it with compassion, there can be no meaningful healing or rebuilding.
If you choose to join other souls in worldwide meditation, then do that. If you choose to do radical forgiveness the way Dr. Hew Len taught, then go right ahead. If you choose to participate on a local level to reach across boundaries of race and class for forgiveness, do that by all means.
We are called to lead by example – reaching across the chasm and building bridges to a new way of being. We are called to stand strong, to keep the faith and hold a clear vision of a compassionate society that leaves nobody out of its embrace.
Hold in mind your vision for a better world; then ask yourself what you can do to help bring that about.
Know that whatever attempts to suppress, diminish and deny human expression and growth, is ultimately destined to fail. Meaningful change will take time, but it is possible. It starts with you and me holding a vision of compassion in which all beings can evolve – for all sentient beings are worthy of the compassion, love and support needed to evolve.
At a soul level, we volunteered to be on the planet for this time. As the Hopi elders reminded us in preparation for this time, we are the ones that we’ve been waiting for. This is the moment to dig deep, to find the love of Who we are, and let our Light shine to point the way thru this darkness.
The light and solutions we seek in the world will only come in response to what all of us do, so please do not turn away or hide in a corner. Step up; participate with other souls who are working individually and collectively to radiate the light of Divine potential in this world.
Allow yourself to be what you were truly born to be in this life – a co-creative being of Light!
About the author:
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.
Photo credit: Alex Pavlou, Unsplash
“Anyone can build a house of wood and bricks, but the Buddha taught that that is not our real home. Our real home is inner peace.” – Ajahn Chah
How can we possibly experience inner peace at a time when humanity and our planet appear to be tumbling deeper into chaos? Can inner peace even co-exist with chaos?
I believe the answer is Yes!
In fact, spiritual practices such as mindfulness and the ancient wisdom teachings show us how to cultivate inner peace in any situation.
The only time we have is the present now; tomorrow is not guaranteed. This present moment, therefore, is the perfect and only time where we can find inner peace. This inner peace, which is also known as equanimity in Buddhism, cannot be found in the outside world. And yet, the potential for inner peace exists in the mind and heart of every individual, so each one of us can learn how to create the inner conditions for experiencing lasting peace within.
One of the perennial wisdom teachings encourages us to view peace as the result of letting go: letting go of clingy attachment as well as letting go of its opposite, which is aversive resistance.
The process of letting go is simple, but not necessarily easy to practice. It requires self-discipline. And so, we tend to shop around for easier ways toward peace, running the risk of getting confused by external voices promising instant bliss and freedom from the human condition.
You see, random information without context leads to overwhelm and confusion. Instead, we need to discern what is truly useful for us at any given time. We also need to distinguish between the loud presence of random information and the gentle presence of inner equanimity, because that is how we liberate the mind. In the presence of equanimity, the mind is not hijacked by attachment or aversion.
Equanimity further grows when we recognize that all things are inherently neutral; it is simply our thinking that bestows meaning on things so we can then either attach to them or resist them. It is not the facts, but the stories about the facts, that hijack our minds into value judgments and rigid positions.
In Buddhist tradition, equanimity is seen as a central quality present in beings who have developed deep inner wisdom and alignment with truth, free from hostility and ego will.
Equanimity relates to inner poise and balance because it rests in a place of non-attachment; centered between attraction and repulsion. It poises in a calm place of neither clinging to nor pushing away from things. Finding that neutral resting place within offers us a higher perspective over issues rather than getting stuck in the egoic interpretation of what’s happening. The more we develop equanimity, then, the more inner peace and spaciousness we experience in life.
Each one of us can develop more equanimity by practicing mindfulness in our lives on a daily basis and using an inner inquiry process to help us unpack emotions as they arise. Here are five steps to help with the process:
1. Set a clear intention to stay mindful
Setting a clear intention reminds us to step out of the ego identification of attachment and aversion; story-making and drama. It is the first step in cultivating true inner awareness.
2. Recognize the triggers
When a trigger arises, we may try to avoid feeling our emotions around it. Instead, we may distract ourselves with shopping or work, or we may attempt to numb our emotions with food or other substances. If we truly want to discharge the impact of the trigger, we absolutely need to become aware and look at it. Sometimes, the simple act of clearly seeing allows our reaction to the trigger to dissolve so we can replace it with equanimity.
3. Become curious
When we feel lost in reactions of anger and frustration to triggers, it is helpful to recognize that there is a desire hidden there, way beneath the frustration or anger. There may be attachment to a wishful outcome, or a craving for safety and security. It can be helpful to ask questions about where the attachment or aversion came from, what it is attempting to accomplish and what needs to be done with it to help us dissolve inner dissonance. We can also investigate the ways in which we distract ourselves to avoid feeling pain or avoid accepting reality.
4. Let go of attachment and aversion
By bringing compassionate awareness to these inner emotions and processes, we can separate out truth from our colored interpretation. Next, we need to ask ourselves if we are willing to let go:
- Am I willing to let go of control?
- Am I willing to let go of my attachment or aversion to what showed up in the past or in my present?
- Am I willing to let go of the way I think things should be?
- Am I willing to let go of resisting what is?
- Can I simply let go and allow things to be as they are
5. Embrace peace
Letting go of attachments and aversions offers us the opportunity to return to our innate state of peace. As we let go of these things, we create space for equanimity.
Equanimity is the final result of this deep inquiry process that helps us dissolve inner dissonance, become aware of areas where we are distracting ourselves, and come back into proper alignment with truth and peace within, free from attachment and aversion.
After practicing this inner inquiry, simply bask in the stillness of awareness, allowing the radiant heart and mind spaces to open. Allow life to unfold in its fullness, expanding and contract with each heartbeat of life so you can know the peace of observing all without attachment, and in so doing, find inner peace.
About The Author:
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit https://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.
Photo Credit: Hanna Busing, Unsplash
Do you feel as if you’ve outgrown your circle of friends? Perhaps you do not feel safe or understood any longer. There may be fewer and fewer things you can share with people in your habitual circle, and it leaves you feeling lonely or isolated. If so, you are not alone. Welcome to one of the core dynamics of continuous growth!
As we continue to evolve, many of us struggle with a sense of not quite fitting in with our traditional community or tribe: we may have expanded or changed beyond the borders of tribal norms, and no longer find the same sense of belonging there. Other members may have tightened the tribal rules to foster a sense of security. As a result, we may feel a sense of disconnection or alienation.
In truth, each one of us belongs to many tribes simultaneously: there is your original tribe – the family you were born into – and then there are all the communities of choice you have joined: your work tribe, your social circles, your faith-based community, your neighborhood, and more. These communities are not static; they are in continuous flux because they consist of individuals who are in continuous states of change. When there is a lot of change happening in either the individual or the community, a sense of dissonance results.
How are we to deal with this? First, it is important to recognize that tribal allegiances were historically forged for survival. They were adapted over the course of centuries to ensure the safety and survival of the group. Survival required that individuation be sacrificed for the trade-off of security.
In modern society, the tables are flipped. Whether we enjoy it or not, change is essential for survival at every level of being. The pace of change is driven by technological advances and happens with increasing rapidity: sociologists estimate that more change has taken place in society over the course of the past 100 years, than in the totality of the previous 6,000 years. Individual adaptation now is a requirement for survival, and the pace of individual change does not always match the pace at which our various tribal communities evolve. The resulting dissonance can cause intense friction and pain.
Dissonance also results from confusion between the concepts of ‘connection’ and ‘community.’ We tend to equate one with the other, when they really relate to different qualities. Connection relates to connectivity: the objective physical technology or media that enables us to build community, but which does not represent the quality of that community. Connectivity simply offers the opportunity to connect with others through internet, texting, phone calls, or any other social networking options.
Community is the result of building relationship through meaningful interaction over time. There is no shortcut; it is a process that develops when bonds of trust and intimacy are nurtured and honored.
And here lies a caveat: When we confuse connectivity with community, we depersonalize the sacred nature of true community and start relating to people as objects. Instead of developing intimacy over time, we collect friends on social network sites or try to buy people’s allegiance. Yet friending is simply an act of connecting; it does not create intimacy.
In fact, social experiments indicate that technologically dominated connectivity results in alienation and social collapse over time. In a groundbreaking social experiment conducted by Josh Harris, one of the founders of social networking on the internet, he found that the more people’s private lives were exposed by 24/7 technology, the more their sense of intimacy and relationship deteriorated until the community collapsed in violence and self-destructive behavior.
It is time to revisit our concepts of community so we can create tribes that offer a true sense of intimacy and belonging.
In his 1987 book, The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, psychologist M. Scott Peck described several core characteristics of true community. Beyond the obvious components of inclusivity, commitment and participatory consensus, Peck pointed out the quality of embracing diversity through realism. When each member contributes their unique viewpoint from a place of humility and goodwill, the community benefits from a broader perspective in which to better grasp the full context of a situation. In other words, mutual tolerance helps members to embrace one another’s different viewpoints as an integral part of the whole, instead of imposing a forced compliance to groupthink or cohesion.
In an environment like this, members experience and express compassion and respect for one another. They allow others to share their vulnerability, to learn and grow, and to express who they truly are. When conflict arises, they learn to resolve it with wisdom and grace. Members listen to and respect each others’ gifts, accept each others’ limitations, celebrate their differences, and commit to find solutions together rather than to fight against each other. Indeed, the true spirit of community is the spirit of peace, love, wisdom and power. The source of this spirit may be seen as an outgrowth of the collective self or as the manifestation of a Higher Will.
Does this description of community sound spiritual to you? It is indeed, because Spirit is the common denominator among all of us, regardless of how separate we feel from others.
As human beings, we often experience a socio-economic sense of separation from others because of different opinions, beliefs, expectations, language, culture, or interests, since each one of us expresses these in a way uniquely different from anyone else. And still, we continue to differentiate! In this ongoing process, we continue to evolve or devolve in response to life. A community that felt like a good fit last year may no longer work today; the places where we felt embraced, now may suffocate us. Over the course of a lifetime, we can expect to outgrow and change allegiances to many of the tribal communities we once belonged to.
And yet, when we transcend the layers of physical appearance, mental beliefs and socio-economic conditioning, we find in the presence of Spirit a common denominator in everyone around us. Perhaps it is time to expand our tribal definitions to embrace a spiritual community that includes all of mankind as children of God.
Mother Teresa admonished her nuns to see Jesus in every leper they encountered, to find His presence as they looked into the eyes of the homeless. When we can look past the issues that divide us to find omnipresent Divinity in each other, we will uncover the foundations of true community.
Spiritual community transcends all socio-economic borders, beliefs and backgrounds. It is inclusive because it operates on voluntary self-responsibility and mutual compassion, and its doors are open to everyone.
Building this type of community takes time: time to listen, to hear, to respond and to participate. Take a few moments to read the description of spiritual community again. Then, make time in your life to foster that type of connection with people who matter to you. You are one of the architects of community in your life, and you can participate in building a tribe where you belong.
©Copyright Ada Porat. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached. Ada Porat is an energy kinesiologist & pastoral counselor with extensive international teaching & clinical experience. She uses body/mind/spirit techniques to help clients make optimal life choices. For more information, visit https://AdaPorat.com