FAMILIES, TRIBES, COMMUNITIES, AND LIFE STRUGGLES
You know, human life is a transformative process. You come into the life as a small child, as an infant grown in your mother’s womb, and there is from the very first moment of life a struggle to take breath and the struggle to survive, to live, and to flourish goes on through your life -- until the very last breath when you struggle to let go. This struggle for existence, for happiness, well-being goes on throughout human life. People gather together in families, tribes, clans and communities to assist each other in this struggle of life, so that it is a little less difficult and that survival and well being are more easily achieved.
Over time, the habits of people become genetically encoded and they become a biological, instinctual response. The habit to seek shelter amid collective opinions, collective beliefs and collective living is an instinctual, biological response within most human beings. In some it is very strong and in others it may be weak, but it is there due to millennia of finding refuge and shelter in group situations. This has been a part of the learning of human beings that they are safer in a group than alone in the jungle or the forest, and so it has become genetically encoded. It spans across all races, continents and societies within the world; it is part of the genetics of the human gene pool.
There are other genetic factors that are more specific to one gene pool or another, but there are those that are universal with human beings on this planet. The knowledge that the struggle to survive is made easier by group association is a part and parcel of human existence. And, due to this loyalty to a group adherence, to the norms and beliefs of a group becomes a, becomes synonymous for many people with their own personal well being and survival -- whether it be to your family, to your religion, to your country, to your town, to your spiritual community -- it depends on what group you have identified with.
Group Identity This group identity creates many benefits in terms of psychological well being, but it has certain deficits because many times an individual’s discriminative thinking gets diminished and their objectivity falls away due to the group identity. They find themselves aligning with the opinions of leaders they respect and so they abdicate the self-reflective analysis that gives birth to more insightful thinking and deeper understanding. For the yogi, the practice in all situations, is to be in the world but not of it, to gain advantage from a situation without giving over your autonomy and well being; to gain equanimity of mind means to be able to step back from the collective and to see with a discriminating intellect, so that there is not the automatic adherence to the beliefs of a political group, a spiritual group, a family, or any association.
There is, instead, the ability to be in association with others and yet maintain autonomy and one’s own critical thinking. Life is an ideological flow; human life is an opportunity to move from physicality to subtlety of mind, to the waves of spiritual love, kindness, compassion, truthfulness, contentment and spiritual union with that unconditional love -- which is the source of all. To follow this path, is to follow dharma. In the path of dharma obstacles arise, due to the samskaras, the influences many times of one’s society, one’s culture, one’s group associations. They pull on you to conform. It is your biological tendency to want to adhere to those conforming pressures for your own well being, but when you do deep meditation those pressures are mitigated by your connection to the divine and that love is unconditional for all living beings.
It naturally allows prejudices and small minded beliefs to fall away from you and if you trust that divine source that you find within you and make that the poster of your life, that you take the guidance of how to live in the world and what decisions to make from that inner source -- rather than from your associations in different groups, different cultural settings, different political settings. Instead, you take that divine source as your guiding force, your primary association. Then when you do this you can live in truth, live in loving kindness and compassion for all beings because that divine one loves everyone unconditionally. What happens when you apply this great compassion to your political beliefs, to your actions towards those around you and to the work you do in the world? You seize to live in a world of them and us and you become a harbinger of loving kindness, even those who do great harm to humanity are the children of the supreme.
There is no need to hate, though there may be a need to stop their actions and to take actions to stop actions that are harming others or that will harm others -- but to hate, why do you hate what is divine, why do you have ill will to what is divine. Rather, see those persons who may be causing harm to humanity, as themselves in great need, and misguided in how to achieve what they want and in their misguided state they harm others. So, have love and compassion for all, but stand firm for the path to individual and collective well being.
Neo-Humanism Neo-humanism is a new humanism; now, in this humanism all beings are taken as important, as important as human beings. All forms of life become significant. If you just think of the welfare of human beings and you forget the welfare of the four footed creatures or those that swim in the seas, you forget so much of life. It is a form of discrimination. All living beings are a part of an integrated whole, all are important. All living beings love their life; they want to progress forward. Therefore, if any beings are severely oppressed, it affects all living beings. If an entire species is kept in intolerable conditions in factory farms, all beings are impacted; to discriminate against living beings due to the form of their life force is to not understand the nature of life.
How much difference is there between a pig and you, a cow and you? It is a small difference in evolution; you are both conscious living beings, who want to be happy, who want to be comfortable, who want to feel well fed, who want to have shelter, who want to have young and care for your young, who feel pain when loved ones (close ones) are pulled away from you, who feel pain if you are mistreated -- yet so many living beings who are not in human form are oppressed and mistreated in the world. As if because their form is different they have no importance.
How different is that from slavery, were those in human form, but from another race, another culture, another country are considered lesser and therefore their needs are not cared for. Whether it be by race, by country or by species this oppression of living beings affects the whole world. These crimes against living beings are crimes against humanity, for the true humanity is the life that lives in all beings. Therefore, neo-humanism recognizes all beings as part of the human family. None should be suppressed, none should be oppressed; all should have the opportunity to live their dharma and to be all that they can be. When there is mass genocide or mass abuse of any living beings -- be it by race, location and country or species -- it is an oppression of all life, an oppression of the human spirit. Just as racism and slavery oppressed the human spirit until people became awakened and realized this cannot go on.
This mistreatment of some people, so it is the mistreatment of animals in factory farms -- the great oppression of living beings must stop. A society built on such oppressive practices cannot sustain because it is out of balance with life, with dharma. It remains out of harmony and the consequences of such cruelty and oppression will certainly arise in due time, until people awaken to greater consciousness and awareness that living beings can not be mistreated abused and have a balanced society. The planet today is very oppressed. There is great imbalance in the human society and in the living conditions of many beings. The space ship earth has become very populated with many species and fragile ecosystem is challenged.
Now is the time to bring the scales to equanimity, to awaken the human heart and the human spirit and to make a commitment to a dharmic society -- where all living beings have the right and freedom to welfare and happiness, where none are greatly oppressed.
The oppression and suffering of people in different parts of the globe -- the oppression and suffering of species that are chosen to be used for food -- these things must end, and society find its way towards real harmony, honest loving compassion for all the members of all the races of all the species. Life is one and indivisible. You cannot make these demarcations. Love is something that knows no bounds and is shared by living beings of all races, of all species, in all parts of the planet. Let it unite you and walk together towards dharma.