Transformation + Success: The Power of Thought
(From the Documentary I AM)
When Charles Darwin wrote the Descent of Man, he mentioned survival of the fittest twice, while mentioning the word love 95 times. In his book Darwin discusses the behaviors of mammals and expounds on his exploration, in which he found that all mammals are wired for both cooperation and competition. Which one gets exercised is simply a matter of environmental influence, and the choice of feeding one trait over the other.
Specifically through cooperation man strengthens the wiring for empathy. One of the strongest emotions for evolution, simply because we're hard-wired for it. When we show love to others, evolution reinforcers called endorphins (the feel good hormones) are produced in the body, which give the body and mind positive reinforcement, and consciousness the message that this is an emotion that is meant to survive. Simply put, we require connection, touch, compassion and empathy to feel loved in the world, and it begins with the act of self-love, self-care and the thought of self-worth.
Machines vs Beating Hearts
Here's a metaphor. If we were to take a car that is running, turn it off, take it apart, spread the pieces all over the driveway, call a skilled and talented mechanic and ask him to put it back together. The chances of experiencing the same car or an improved one are very high! Now, if we were to take our puppy dog, call the best surgeon in the world, ask him to cut him up into pieces, spread him out on the driveway, then see if he can put him back together. The chances of us experiencing the same puppy dog again after surgery are slim to none. WHY? There's a fundamentally difference between machines and nature. One has a soul, while the other is man made. The irony is that we are running our society as if it were a machine, instead of a world with a beating heart!
Individualization vs Community
When we run our world as a machine, we end up with separation. From this we create education based on the notion that we are separate, which reinforces independence and competition at a very young age. We create businesses on the idea of scarcity and never enough. A hole that drives the need for abundance, fueling competition. We create towns and cities on the state of individualization: separate houses, separate cars, separate lives, separate states of consumption. So our entire world is fashioned on the desire to be significant at the expense of someone else. Yet a well rounded capitalist will tell you that a sustainable economy is not held together by consumption. Rather, it is weaved together by small businesses united as a group that carry the ability of meeting the needs of its community.
Consumtion vs We Are Enough
One of the fundamental messages in American marketing is that wealth, consumption and happiness are synonymous, telling us that if we want happiness we have to buy lots of things and own lots of stuff. These foundational notions are grounded on us being cold, naked and afraid, outdoors, at night, alone, in the rain. In this example the probability of us experiencing unhappiness is very high! And if somebody opens the door and says, come in, here is a fire you can sit next to, clothing you can have, a blanket you sleep with, and a bowl of soup to fill your belly, we shift from unhappiness to gratitude filled-joy (Santosha) very quickly. A state of mind accomplished with very few things.
The Never Enough Syndrome
The hiccup is when big money uses this fundamental notion in the media to exaggerate that statement into: ten times the stuff will us make us ten times as happy, 100 times the stuff will make us 100 times as happy, 1,000 times the stuff will make us 1,000 times happy, and Bill Gates live in a state of perpetual bliss. Yet the foundational truth is that we require empathy to warm our hearts, fill our bellies and feed our souls. Although a few things are necessary for our immediate survival, it is the expression of love, kindness, connection and compassion that supports the sustenance of life.
The Nature of Existence
Therefore when the mind says, “I want it!.” Stop and ask the question: what human need is this want of the mind meeting today? Follow consciousness to the root of its perception, and you find the nature of existence (Yoga Sutras). So as we follow empathy to its root of perception, we see that empathy is a skill set. It is a deeply held spiritual belief that asks us to make a commitment to others in this world. A practice that is simply knowing our darkness well enough to sit in the darkness with others. It is a relationship between equals. No one reaches out to us for compassion or empathy so we can teach them how to behave. They reach out to us because they believe in our ability to sit in the darkness with them. As humans we tend to want to switch the lights on, but it is sitting in the darkness that offers the blanket of comfort in the moment of need. If we sit long enough, we see that the darkness shifts into light on its own, and we never had to turn the lights on. This is the power of thought. It is not a battle against us and the media, us and society, us and big money, us a war, us and politicians, us and authority. It is simply a choice.
Love vs Survival of the Fittest
When Charles Darwin wrote the Descent of Man, he mentioned survival of the fittest twice, and mentioned the word love 95 times. Simply put, we require connection, touch, compassion and empathy to feel loved in the world, and it begins with the act of self-love, self-care and the thought of self-worth.