The Heartest Thing
July 1st, 2014
Cross-cultural understanding and world peace aren’t wishful thinking: they’re exactly where we’re headed.
The peace movement didn’t just start in the sixties. It didn’t start a few hundred years ago or even a few thousand years ago. It started when time began.
The earth is not part of the human story; the human story is part of the earth story… There is eventually only one story, the story of the universe… If you do not know the story, in a sense you do not know yourself; you do not know anything.
Few of us know how we got here. We don’t know where we came from. We’re born hungry, and our needs lead to desires. We become consumers, aggressors, haves and have nots. We struggle to get what we want while everyone else is struggling too. How can we all get what we need? Is it even possible?
Most people are not asking that question. They’re just struggling to survive. They’re trying to save money, not the world. Others are striving to thrive. Neither is actually focused on themselves, because who they’re focused on is not who they really are.
The key to world peace is in realizing that we are not separate individuals. If we really were independent of others,
it would mean that existence is not one and harmonious but a chaos of competition and strife. It would mean that we are quite separate from our fellow man and could injure him, rob him, or hurt him, or even destroy him, without any damage to ourselves, and, in fact, that the more we took from other people the more we would have for ourselves. It would mean that the more we considered our own interests, and the more indifferent we were to the welfare of others, the better off we would be.
Of course it would then follow naturally that it would pay others to treat us in the same way, and that accordingly we might expect many of them to do so.
Now if this were true, it would mean that the whole universe is only a jungle, and that sooner or later it must destroy itself by its own inherent weakness… But of course, it is not true, and therein lies the joy of life.
Emmet Fox, The Sermon on the Mount
We are not just all in this together. We are all, together, THIS. That may be a subtle or abstruse distinction, but it makes a world of difference. It can mean life or death. It has killed millions of people already. You could be next.
The second leading cause of death in the world is cancer. One out of three women and two out of three men are getting cancer. Do you want cancer? If not, listen up.
Do you think you’re in competition with others? If so, then you have an ego. The ego is the essence and the cause of cancer. Here’s why:
The word health means “wholeness.” In order to be healthy, you have to be whole. If you thought you were just your nose, would you have a problem?
The word eco means “house.” In order to be ecological — and egological — you have to realize that we are not just on the earth; we ARE the earth. We’re not just renters; we’re the HOUSE. It’s this recognition of unity that will make or break us.
You can’t be healthy until you realize who you really are. Seeing that truth is called enlightenment. Cancer is the opposite of enlightenment. Cancer is individualism, from the social to the cellular level.
Cancer is often called a “disease of civilization” because it barely existed before a few thousand or even a few hundred years ago. Individualism, however, is nothing new. Throughout evolution, there’s been a movement towards it. Before city walls came cell walls. The sovereign nation, the gated community, and the private home are all part of a timeless movement toward self-determination.
In the most basic scientific terms, this movement is called differentiation. But there’s also an opposing tendency toward organization, toward working with others. It’s called integration. If there weren’t this opposing tendency, we wouldn’t have cities, nations, or for that matter, even bodies. The Big Bang coalesced into forms, and these organized into systems. What counter-culturalists call The System is just part of the solar system. It’s not unnatural; it’s just heading toward something better.
Differentiation and integration together create complexity. Complexity is a good thing.
It is by becoming increasingly complex that the self might be said to grow… Differentiation implies a movement towards uniqueness, toward separating oneself from others. Integration refers to its opposite: a union with other people, with ideas and entities beyond the self. A complex self is one that succeeds in combining these opposite tendencies.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow
Complexity is a system that allows for diversity. As the universe moves toward greater complexity, it becomes more varied, more interesting, and at the same time, more harmonious. This complexity, or “unity in diversity,” is exactly where we’re heading. It’s the reason why we’re here.
Like they say, success is not about who dies with the most toys. It’s about breaking out of the “matrix” in our own minds. There’s such a relief in letting go of individualism, of having to always be looking out for #1. What a burden to be operating under an illusion, especially one that says “it’s me against the world.” That’s a life lived in fear, not love.
This is not about selfless sacrifice. It’s about making the world work for EVERYONE. That’s not an impossible goal. In fact, it’s easy. It’s easier than what we’ve been struggling to do.
Peace is natural; it’s what’s keeping us alive right now. The 35 trillion cells in your body, barring cancer, are all cooperating for the common good. The entire universe, for the sheer fun of diversity, has conspired to bring the Earth to this point. It’s time for us to take over.
It’s time to grow up. Can we rise to the occasion? Can we be who we were born to be, who we really are, or will we collapse into chaos until the universe tries again?
Many have lived and died asking this question. But today, we have the skills. We have the tools and the intention. We see that we really have no choice.
Cancer, then, is individualism: thinking that who you are is not the whole but just a part. But cancer is not the main cause of death in the world. The leading cause of death is heart disease. Cancer is second just as individualism is secondary. Individualism has a deeper cause.
Humanity’s main disease is not of the mind but the heart. To heal our deepest disorder, we don’t need to get out of our heads; we just have to get back into our bodies. That is where cooperation naturally happens. Fear comes from the mind while courage comes from cor, the heart.
The body is the seat of sanity. We know in our hearts that, like Hafiz says, “all a sane person can ever care about is giving love.” A life lived from the heart is effortless because the truth is obvious. It’s why
The main thing is to love others as yourself. That’s the main thing, and it’s everything; there’s no need for anything else at all: it will immediately be discovered how to set things up.
Doestoevsky, “The Dream of the Ridiculous Man”
Peace is not a no-brainer; it’s a yes-hearter. And it’s no harder than loving a baby.