From time to time, my beloved readers write in with questions that are weighing on your hearts, or occupying your thoughts in significant ways. Thank you, dear Claudia, for this thoughtful inquiry, and for sparking the exploration that follows.
Question: What can we each do to bring an end to the fracturing of our society?
What Causes Societal Fragmentation?
Our society is, in part, the product of choices, decisions and actions taken by our cultural ancestors, by those who preceded us.
It is also a function of the choices we make collectively, about what we value, as a society; how we wish to live together; how we choose to balance the imperatives of sovereignty with our responsibility to the earth and to all the beings with whom we share this planet.
Our society is also defined and shaped by our systems of governance.
Being human, there’s always a gulf between our intentions and our actions. This is especially true when we are attempting to include, in our constitutional framework, a widely diverse set of individual beliefs, values, and cultural practices.
If that gulf is left untended, it results in fracture patterns in our society. These fissures may remain largely invisible in times of peace and prosperity, except to those who live on the wrong side of the divide. They deepen into seemingly unbridgeable chasms in times of economic and other stresses that reveal the true nature of our cultural and social landscape.
As Without, So Within.
Once revealed, it becomes obvious that these fissures are echoed in the fracture patterns we carry internally. Many of these develop in response to the fragmentation in our environment. We cannot live in a fractured society without becoming fractured ourselves.
In trying to survive within a capitalist society, where the engine of progress requires a never-ending supply of human lives, bodies, consumption, and labour to keep it humming, we become disconnected from all that truly matters to us. Our relationships with our souls, our bodies, our hearts, our humanity, our families, our communities, and the natural world are all distorted by this disconnection.
To heal these internal fissures, begin by identifying, reflecting upon and naming the fracture patterns that you carry within you. Be precise. Where, in your life, are your values and beliefs NOT reflected in your choices and actions? In what ways are you living someone else’s ideas of what your life should be?
Where does your walk diverge from your talk? In what aspects of your life are you compromising your integrity, blurring the clear edges of truth, going along to get along?
In what ways do you override the imperatives of your body – your need for rest, for play, for movement, joy, pleasure, nourishment — in order to hike up the illusory mountain of success, or to avoid the appearance of failure?
In what ways do you surrender your sovereignty to the exigencies of status, wealth, power, fame? Conversely, in what ways do you diminish yourself in order to hide from the malevolent forces that would chew you up and spit you out for their own gain?
How do these internal fissures affect your life, your choices, your behaviour, your actions? How do they affect your health, your happiness, your relationships, your creative contribution to your world?
How do these effects ripple out into your world? What is the true cost of living in an internally fractured landscape?
Take your time with this. It’s a process. Be compassionate as well as rigorous in your exploration.
Often, the price we pay for living in this fragmented way remains invisible to us, not because we’re stupid or wilfully ignorant, but because we’re conditioned to believe that this is just the way things are. We don’t see the costs to ourselves and our beloveds, or the price we exact of others and of our environment, because it’s hidden under shiny skirts, or buried in the garden bed of pseudo-belonging.
How Do We Heal Internal Fracturing? Be the Change.
Clarity, revelation, truth; embracing all of ourselves, without fear or judgement; aligning with our souls; wearing our humanity with pride, humility, and dignity; engaging in right action, right relationship: These are our allies in restoring our inner world to a state of coherency and wholeness.
We are born whole; wholeness is our natural state. When we enter this world, we bring our unfettered souls into the boundaries and limits of incarnation.
Filled with the power and radiance of our souls, we arrive on this planet with a clear trajectory — the pattern that our souls have laid out for the perfect unfolding of our lives. This pattern is not fixed or predictive, and we are always free to harmonize with it, or to depart from it.
But that pattern becomes distorted in our encounters with the world.
Here’s a simple way to experience, and correct, this distortion.
Feel into the flow of your life, as it is right now. Feel it as though it were a stream that flows within, through and from you, out into the world. Notice the quality of this flow. Is it swift and unimpeded? Is it chaotic, swirling, sluggish or herky-jerky in its progress?
Now, tune into the flow that your soul holds as the pattern for your life. Notice the quality of this flow. Steady, strong, purposeful, clear… In what ways does it differ from the flow of your life as it is right now?
Now, bring the two flows together.
In any situation, the clearest, strongest energy prevails. Harmonize the flow of your life with the pattern that your soul holds for its perfect unfolding. Notice what changes you experience, as you hold the space in which these two flows harmonize.
Stay with this for as long as you are able. If you find yourself checking out, nodding off, feeling agitated or restless, stop. Tune into your breath, your pulse, your heartbeat. They will restore you to the ground of your being.
The more you practice this, the easier it will become. The more you practice wholeness, coherency and integration in every aspect of your life, the more power and skill you will bring to the task of shaping your own life, and the world around you, in harmony with soul.
Make A Plan. Take Action.
From this place of wholeness, turn your attention to the fragmentation in your world. Begin close to home, with your own community, your immediate environment, your town, your state, your country.
Identify those laws, those policies, that diverge from the values you hold most sacred. Be truthful with yourself and be rigorous – do your research. Who benefits from these fractures, and how? Whom do these fault-lines serve? Who suffers under their yoke? How, and by whose authority, is that suffering inflicted?
Feel your feelings. Fully, without hiding or turning away. Be a champion of truth.
Take the time to define and articulate a clear vision of the society in which you wish to live, the society you want to help shape for your descendants, and for all beings who will live there. Hold that vision clearly in your heart, in your mind. Revisit it daily. Make it a touchstone for your thoughts, choices, and actions.
Then, dream a new society into being. What will it look like, feel like, sound like, taste like, this society of your heart’s vision? Whom will it include? How will it serve their perfect unfolding?
Don’t let the complexity of the issues discourage or dissuade you. Break them down into categories: Clean air and water for all. Holistic healthcare. Education. Housing and food safety. Justice, equity, and the rule of law. Community. The environment. Policies that protect the most vulnerable and lift up the fallen. Free and independent media. Compassionate care and dying with dignity.
Choose an issue that rings a bell in your heart. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else – it just needs to speak to you in a voice that won’t be denied. Make that issue your own. Connect to your love, your devotion, and make a commitment to become an agent of transformation in this particular field.
Make a plan. Treat it like any other project. Break it down into its smallest components. What steps are needed, to effect the change you wish to see? In what order or sequence do those steps need to happen?
What will you do first? What comes next? What daily tasks can you undertake, that will pave the way for change?
Gather Your Allies.
What resources can you call upon or gather, to assist you with your project? Make a list: Inner resources, like willingness, love, devotion, determination, energy, skills. Outer resources like time, money, community organizations, allies, culture-makers, social networks, political and economic networks, and more.
Societal change requires the concerted efforts of the majority of its citizens. If you have the skills, capacity and desire to lead the change, then create a structure or organization that will activate reform or revolution. Make it easy for others who feel the way you do, to join you.
Articulate a clear and compelling mission. Define a sequence of concrete steps that will be taken to positively affect the situation at hand. Use your voice, your charisma, your passion, your dedication, your skills and resources to ignite a fire of positive action from your community on behalf of your cause.
If direct action is not within your capacity, own that and explore other ways to use your skills, strength, and heart to support change. Donate or volunteer with organizations that have a track record of effecting change in the area that you have chosen to focus on. Call or write to your legislative representatives and make your vision and your voice heard. Talk with the folks who are most desperately impacted by the status quo and learn, from them, what they need and how you can be an effective ally in their liberation. Remember that their freedom is your freedom too.
Attune to the Devas of your city, your region, your country. There are unseen forces that hold the pattern for the perfect unfolding of all forms of life, through every stage of evolution. There are subtle energy beings who work tirelessly to foster wholeness in all its forms. Learn how to partner with them, to harness the collective power of the subtle energy realms as well as the human realm, to restore wholeness to your fragmented society.
Wholeness: Your Central Organizing Principle
Remember, your own wholeness is the ground on which you stand, the ground from which you contribute to the restoration of wholeness in your society. So, do whatever is needed to remain whole, present, healthy, vital and engaged. Prioritize your own needs for safety, stability, connection, rest, play, and communication with your soul. Step back before you become depleted; renew your inner resources daily. Build joy, pleasure, delight into your day-to-day. Cultivate a reservoir of goodness to counteract the effects of societal fragmentation.
A daily practice of energy hygiene is essential, to remain sovereign, effective, creative, and free while continuing to work for the sovereignty and freedom of all beings.
Practice gratitude. Practice it daily. Name and give thanks for the blessings that hold up your life, the blessings you receive, the blessings you offer your world.
Let beauty restore you. The beauty of the natural world. The beauty of our perfectly imperfect humanity. The eloquent beauty of things, which offer their service patiently, without fanfare or expectation of reward.
Express your love daily. To the earth beneath your feet. The chair you sit in, that cradles you just so. Your bed, your toothbrush, the ant scurrying across your driveway, the trees outside your window whose breath flows through your lungs and keeps you alive. You are in relationship with everything around you. Acknowledge the sacred web of relationship, without which you would not survive.
Create. Create in a variety of ways. Create every day. Creativity is the speedboat that skims you across the waves of powerlessness, despair, denial, and fear. Creativity is a powerful portal into wholeness.
A society that is whole, integrated and coherent is one in which each of its citizens takes responsibility for their own wholeness, and that of the body civic. To be an agent of wholeness in the world, make wholeness the central organizing principle of your life.