I recently watched a spiritual documentary, a movie meant to be inspirational for living our life purpose, which it was. However, there was this underlying premise that I found kind of bothersome. Some of the best-selling authors and motivational speakers kept making comments like “Most people live in a trance, unawakened and on auto-pilot.” There was reference to shopping mall consciousness and the general apathy of the larger part of humanity. This kind of judgmental attitude towards billions of people on the planet struck me as actually contradictory to living my soul purpose, which is to love my neighbor as my Self.
In order to inspire us to live life to the fullest and really examine our passions and purpose, do we really need to think ill of most people? It feels kind of like flippantly saying “everything is an illusion” – it is kind of rude. And it seems not only unkind, but untrue.
I find that “most people” find ways to express love in their lives – small ways, big ways, medium ways, all kinds of ways. There are billions of people all over the world who do all kinds of good things – loving their children, supporting local charities, volunteering at local churches, feeding the homeless, giving to the Humane Society, sending care packages to soldiers overseas, donating their old clothes to thrift stores, taking care of their aging parents, helping a neighbor fix their garage door… I could type all day long and the list would not come to an end. These are all ways of expressing love and soul purpose.
I guess some best-selling authors or motivational speakers might not see a housewife’s passion for pottery as her fulfilling her purpose or going on her hero’s journey, but it IS her way of centering herself, meditating and putting love into what she does – not just in ceramic coffee cups or vases, but in all her actions as a human citizen. Why is that “less than” doing a series of success seminars or writing books on how to live your dreams?
I also hear this underlying judgment of “most people” in spiritual circles sometimes. Some of the sweetest most well-meaning people I know talk about how we have to hold the Light for all the un-spiritual people of the world or how we are part of the 2% of those who are focused on awakening. I am absolutely certain that I have said similar things many times, so in a way I am grateful to this movie for pointing this separation attitude out to me. I intend to be more conscious, loving and inclusive in the future.
And it might be true that those who meditate on the Light of God hold Light for the whole planet. I know there are great Masters and yogis in the Himalayas who spend their lives in service to the consciousness of humanity by holding the focus of God in meditation and prayer (though I doubt very much that they look down upon “most people”). In our kirtan at Chinmaya last weekend, as we were chanting the name of God and proclaiming the victory of Lord Rama I could feel the energy ascending, radiating out in all directions and manifesting the Victory of Love on Earth! I’m sure that was a good thing.
But there are many good things and many ways that most people hold Love and Light, too. I want to be careful to not hang on to any subtle separation that divides the 2% from the 98% or creates any kind of us/them thinking or spiritual elite. I don’t want to go around thinking that meditators are cooler than other people. I am not separate from my sisters or co-workers or friends, I am not separate from all the kind-hearted people at my church who may not meditate but who have a sincere love for God and who try to be the best neighbors and grandmothers they can be.
We are all part of the world we are creating together and we are all doing our parts to the best of our ability. Who am I to say that my part is any more important that anyone else’s? What would happen if all parents in the world stopped loving their children? What would that do to the vibration of human consciousness? I can’t even imagine how much upliftment and love all the parents of the world add to humanity! Is it more or less than the amount of love people on a path of spiritual awakening contribute?
What would happen if all the dogs and cats in the world stopped being cute and opening human hearts to feel love? What would that do to the sum total of love in the world? For that matter, what would happen if crickets stopped chirping their eternal Om? How would that change the vibration of the planet?
What would happen if all those people who “just” go to church on Sundays stopped going to church? If all the millions if not billions of people who go to churches and synagogues and mosques and temples to sing praises and honor God for an hour or two every week stopped doing that? When I started going to the All Saints Cathedral I’d watch everyone standing in line going up for communion. Some people would hold their hands in prayer, some people would stand in line glancing around at the people coming and going, but they were all participating in becoming one with the body of Christ. Who am I to say that the person holding their hands in prayer is worth more spiritually? Who am I to say that this person is contributing more than that person? All I see is that something holy is happening and so many people are participating and it makes God happy and it’s beautiful. It could be that the 98% who focus on God one hour a week do more for human consciousness than the 2% that focus on God 40 hours a week. I don’t think there is really a way to do the math, but the point is, it’s all good, we’re all contributing love to the world.
We are all an intricate whole. We are all doing our parts and adding our vibrations of love in our own ways and we are all dependent on each other. I don’ even know if I COULD be focused on God or awakening if it wasn’t for all the people in the world loving their sons and daughters or their dogs and cats or their spouses. If all those billions of people stopped holding love in their hearts and their daily lives, if all the artists and craftsmen of the world stopped putting love into every stitch, would there even be enough love in the world for me to focus on loving God? Maybe the world would fall into such a low vibration that I would just fall into chaos and despair? Could I even hope to awaken without everyone else doing their parts in the collective consciousness?
Instead of thinking of “most people” as living in an unconscious trance, I should be grateful to every single one of them for all the ways they help to lift me up!
I read the online bio of one of the speakers in the movie and it said “so-and-so is a major, major player in the spiritual transformation taking place on the planet today.” It struck me as almost strange to say that. Is that what we should want? As a spiritual blogger, peace activist and someone wanting to help all of humanity live in Peace, Love and Happiness, should I, too, strive to be a major, major player?
I know that there are great teachers and wondrous leaders in the world, of course, and I admire and love them and am grateful for all their inspiration and the power of their love. But Martin Luther King could not do what he did without the nameless guy walking behind him, the nameless son of a nameless mother who feared for his life as he marched. There were thousands of those nameless someones who marched and stood with Martin Luther King in countless unknown ways. There were also all the nameless people sitting in their living rooms watching the protests, watching the injustice, feeling horrified as the peaceful protesters were beaten and arrested, simply for asking for equality. Could the world have changed without those people feeling their hearts touched and crying alone in their homes? Could we have changed our collective consciousness without any part of the whole? We were all doing our part and in that way Martin Luther King is no greater than the nameless sons and daughters who marched with him or the nameless fathers and mothers who watched with wrenching hearts on the television set. Or if he is greater, at least he is not separate from any one of us.
I think that if there is anything that makes a great leader great, that makes someone a “major, major player” in our evolution, it is the ability and the humility to see ourselves in all of humanity, to see ourselves as part of a greater whole and to love that wholeness as our Self. There is a radical equality in Oneness, and to truly hold the Light for the planet is to remove any subtle judgments or separation, to see the beauty and perfection of “most people”, and to simply LOVE.