I've learned that for the vision of One World, One People to really live in people's hearts and minds, several things need to happen. One way to talk about that is to use the Balance Point acronym:
R Responsibility; and
Most people in so-called developed countries live their lives in a blur. It could be described as the "developed country disease." People are so caught up in the activities of work, family and leisure, they seldom really look outside of themselves to others. It's been my observation that even when people do look at relationships, it's from the perspective of how those relationships affect themselves. Perhaps it's one of the most human of traits once basic survival is handled: our focus on ourselves and what serves the self.
The paradox is that this focus on the self seems to prevent the very things we all say we are seeking: happiness, joy, fulfillment and love.
What we've learned from EP's work with hundreds of thousands of people is that true growth begins only when people are willing to take the risk of looking both within and outside of themselves. Most of the 'major personal problems' people describe can be solved by simply accepting themselves, ignoring the perceived problems, and reaching out, beyond their 'stuff', to serve others. One of the central messages of our seminars is the amazing awareness and results that come from simply following the instruction to "stop, look, choose, and do it."
Each of us is unique, special and a gift to others. We feel a profound connection to other human beings when we can let go of our ego, doubts, fears and distractions. The actual condition for most people is one of being separate. In fact, when people ask me for a short definition of the One World, One People vision, I suggest they define for themselves the opposite of separation---that's One World, One People.
We experience our separation at many levels:
- a separation between our essential selves and our image;
- separation from our friends, family and co-workers;
- separation from and denial of our love for work, from our need for accomplishment and the opportunity to serve;
- separation from our communities, from diversity, from people of different ages, skin colors, religious or sexual practices, from people of different economic levels or lifestyles, from people with different perspectives;
- separation from the greater world community, a kind of narrow nationalism where we arrogantly think we are so different that no one 'outside' could understand and fully accept us. When this particular separation is amplified, it even results in feeling superior to others simply because of our nation of birth.
Really experiencing the vision of One World, One People, begins with an awareness of our separation at many levels and entertaining the possibility that we can heal this separation beginning with ourselves, then reaching out to the other people in our lives.
At any given moment, our planet has 15-20 shooting wars. We continue to allow a condition where over 30,000 people, many of them children, die each day of hunger related illness, even though we have plenty of food right now to feed everyone. We continue to foul our environment in an unsustainable manner. This list of our planet's dysfunctional practices could go on and on.
We also have a corresponding list of 'what's working'---of progress and development, of signals that love is alive with people, organizations and nations, of 'senseless acts of beauty', and incredible demonstrations of community organizing and commitment.
It seems to me that a powerful leverage point that operates within the distinction between what's working and not working, is to simply notice and begin to heal the separation we feel at many levels.
My purpose here is not to 'beat us up' for creating the horrible conditions still present in our world. Of course, we did it and continue to do it. It's not the birds, trees or some mysterious virus that creates these problems. People do. We do. But feeling shame, guilt or anger about this doesn't move us toward solutions. In a perverse way, it just makes us feel like good people because, after all, only 'good people' feel shameful or guilty or angry at injustice. Personally I have little or no space for people just wringing their hands about the world's problems or blaming others or just going unconscious about the issues and denying they exist.
My own belief is that operating from a position that I can make a difference and I am powered by possibility works better for me. And, that only from that position, can we change anything for the better. The place to begin making a difference is with you and me; launching a never ending process of self-reflection, understanding and growth ... then taking that growth out into the world.
I've often said that you want to meet the world's angriest people, join a peace organization. If you want to meet people with the most narrow and severe judgments, join the average evangelical religious organization preaching love. These kinds of groups often seem to attract people who want to deliver a message to others that they are not living themselves. My notion of taking responsibility for One World, One People is for me to begin with me and you begin with you. The poster slogan is true:
"If it is to be, it is up to me."
We can choose to participate in the realization of this vision not as a burden, nor a result of our guilt; but as an opportunity to give, to receive, to make a difference and to celebrate our common humanity.
The risk inherent in the Balance Point message of personal awareness, responsibility and growth is that we contribute to creating a population of narcissists, navel gazers and selfish, self-absorbed "loners." Successful but disconnected people. Having a personal experience of one world, one people and even taking responsibility for it is not enough. We must learn to communicate this vision openly, honestly, compassionately and effectively. We must learn to be 'masters of enrollment', capable of effectively engaging ourselves, our families and friends, our co-workers and the members of our community in our positive vision for a world free of separation, One World, One People.
The beginning, as with all good enrollments, is to build rapport, to meet people where they are and connect with them before introducing any idea for change and growth. It is urgent at this point to center ourselves, to quiet ourselves and especially to quiet any thought that our ideas and beliefs are superior or more 'right' than another's.
Questions work better than statements. Listening works better than talking. Feeling the other person works better than thinking about the idea or what you want to say next. Being one world, one people works better than doing it.
I have no doubt that people who follow a regular practice of prayer or meditation on subjects like peace, the end of hunger and even one world, one people are making a contribution to these worthwhile visions. I further believe that any 'quiet practice' is a form of communication that connects us to all beings at a subjective level. People do this with special body postures (hands clasped, spine erect, etc), while walking in nature (my personal favorite), through dance, sport or music and many other ways.
Other people communicate this vision through touch such as therapeutic massage and improved body postures or through spending time
regularly assisting the blind, deaf, aged or infirm. Some communicate through singing or art or photography or reading to people confined to institutions.
But we must communicate and act. It keeps the vision alive for us. It serves others and that energy returns to us, thus propelling us forward. It inspires others. It changes the energy field around us from taker to giver. It makes a difference.
My friend, the late John Denver said it magnificently:
"There are many ways of being, in the circle we call life."
One of the Balance Point seminar agreements is to keep confidential the experiences of others. This is to create the safest possible training environment. My personal experience is that the people that get the most value from an Balance Point seminar are those who keep this agreement while simultaneously and frequently communicating openly and honestly about their personal experience. Doing so brings the experience into the present where it can be better understood and deepened. It also brings other people closer to understanding and being with you. Open communication, both speaking and listening, about anything important to you, begins the process of accomplishment. It is through this action that we will create one world, one people, beginning with you and me.
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