If we are honest, we will admit that deep down inside we are fearful. We are afraid of many of life’s encounters – which include the physical world, the plant and animal world, as well as other human beings. Perhaps not always in the beginning, but quite soon after we begin to interact with what is outside us we begin to experience fear. The instinct to stay safe is strong on every level.
What is the consequence of this? One consequence is that our reluctance to venture outside ourselves means that we don’t get a sense of ourselves as individuals in the diversity of this physical world. This means that we cannot have a firsthand experience of our I Am. This is exactly what the forces of opposition want.
If we become aware of the fear we feel when we encounter other human beings we might ask: Where does this fear come from? Does it arise because we do not want to be judged? Are we afraid of getting it wrong?
We usually put a lot of effort into reaching agreement with people. If we are unsuccessful, we part company. Differences in agreement arise through beliefs, opinions, or in an attempt to gain a position of advantage, or it could even be bargaining to get a better price on a purchase. Wherever we are, and whatever we are doing, we are reaching agreement with others.
How do we reach agreement? On an inner personal level we can change our thoughts and redirect our feelings so that we fit in – or we can fake it “for the sake of peace” which can compromise our core values. Our choice is to modify our behaviour so that we get on with others, or we move away from them.
The Taliban, I.S., and any other factions do not intend to negotiate their position. They are right and if you don’t agree they remove you. Is our own situation any different from this? “My way or the highway” is a fundamental human characteristic, which we could say is an instinct. Is it any different from the behaviour of the animal kingdom? At this time in the evolution of human consciousness, our task is to rise above our instincts and become fully human. To become fully human means to love regardless of race, colour or creed. Then we forgo our instinct to want to be right. It no longer matters.
Image: The School of Athens fresco by Raphael, 1510-1511