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Julia Culen

Time to shift the paradigm from separation to connection

If we look at our key burning questions like climate change, inequality with all its consequences like wars and poverty and the soaring number of mental suffering one could get hopeless and desperate. How on earth are we going to solve these problems? I would suggest to look deeper at the level of paradigm, rather than looking for immediate solutions, and one key problem ist the fact, that we are all living from a paradigm of separation.

We are all living from a paradigm of separation, even if we are unaware of it

It is this We against Them, the Good economy against Bad economy (industry), the New against the Old. This is the absolute prolonging of the past, creating more suffering as it is reinforcing that old pattern separation.

All of us (at least in the “Western” world) have been basically been born into and raised in the paradigm of separationit is all we know. We are coming from a world of competition, of “you or me”, of “more is better” and the illusion of the separate self. We are fully identified with our ego, mind and thoughts – that separated self – and we are trained in distincting ourselves from others, be it by race, sex, social status, nationality, religion, income, looks, cars or lifestyle.

We have been separated from nature, from being with plants and animals and from ourselves. Head is separated from heart, body from mind and this is reflected in our fragmented medical, education and research systems: we live in a fully compartmentalized realty and therefor society.

Raised in the mindset that not we are “owned” by mother earth but we ourself owning her, and therefor the world is here to be exploited and destroyed for the sake of our consumption and comfort. Even if we have learned to overcome some of these behaviors, we still live in the illusion that we were separate from each other.

Separation leads to suffering

This basic paradigm of separation leads to what the Buddha identified as the “3 root causes of suffering”: DELUSION – GREED – HATE. Now you might say: that’s not me and I tell you: this is exactly all of us!

We live in the delusion of a separate self and therefore separation, we are greed based to a certain extend, wanting more even when we all have by far enough (shoes, money, status..) – and we hate. As for hate I would like to point out “self-hate” as the biggest problems: we keep telling ourselves we are nothing, not good enough in various shapes and forms and that hate of ourselves we project onto the world out there. We are “civilized” enough to contain this most of the time, but if you look around you can see hate everywhere. We even coined the term “haters” on social media. Look at all the cynicism, envy, depreciation, war and what we do to ourselves and each other.

With separation comes fear, anxiety, loneliness, scarcity: no matter how much we have, we always feel something is missing, not enough, we never feel safe – hungry ghosts, never ever nourished. We are good consumers, because we want more, greed is the fuel of a growth based economy. Hate makes us vulnerable to fake news and ideology of all forms and delusion keeps us from waking up and becoming aware and cultivating our own consciousness.

Connection is a fact: “Nothing exists independently” says the Dalai Lama

What does that mean? It means exactly that! We might be different but not separate. We don’t even need to quote the Dalai Lama once more to get an understanding of the connectedness of everything that exists. Just talk to scientists: Biologists, Ecologists, Quantum Physicists, Cosmologists, some Doctors, Brain Researchers (some), you name them. No matter where you come from, if you look deeply, not just on the surface of perception, you will not find anything that exists independently from each other. This is where science and wisdom traditions meet: Not even a single separate piece of matter has ever been found on a quantum level. If you look at a wooden table it seems to be a separate solid object, but if you look deeply you see the sun, the earth, the wind, everything in it. One half of our lung hangs on trees in form of leaves breathing in what we breath out and we breath in what the tree breathes out.

An if we look even deeper, matter will disappear and the only “thing” that will be left is a pattern of interfering fields moving through the whole universe. Nothing is born, nothing ever dies, all there is is “transformation”. It is absolutely impossible to make a spec of dust disappear from the universe.

The underlying force of all of that seems to be loving consciousness – this is not new age crap – but science so far. The current model is an underlying unified field of consciousness out of which “matter” in our everyday awareness emerges. This goes now a little bit too far, I just wanted to make the point, that “we are all one” is not just a metaphor or a saying, but a fact. Our existence and consciousness itself is a big myth, nobody can explain it truly. We should be astonished every single day by the fact that we are alive, that we are conscious and that we are at all.

True transformation lies in a collective shift from separation to connection & abundance

Why is that? Because of obvious reasons. Separation gives us the motivation and the justification to destroy, exploit, hate. From that paradigm everything we do and the way our world looks today, makes absolutely sense. But now, if we choose to come from a paradigm of connection – and this is what it is, a conscious and deliberate choice – EVERYTHING shifts in an instant moment. Suddenly a different behavior totally makes sense. Because from now on everything we do to others we do to ourselves as we are not separate from anything we do, and the impact of our thinking and acting is connected with everything that is and so it is of universal impact.

Shifting from separation to connection is an act of cultivation

Connectedness for us is expressed in 3 KEY root causes of PROSPERITY (in opposition to suffering) and needs extra attention and cultivation, as we have not been raised in this paradigm – until it becomes a new and natural state of being and the genuine place we live our lives from. And even if we don’t live all the time from this place, we at least have a conscious choice now.

PRESENCE – INTEGRITY – KINDNESS

PRESENCE is the state of open awareness in the present moment.

  1. Inner awareness (e.g. body awareness, emotional state, thoughts, feelings, intuitive information),
  2. Outer awareness (seeing clearly what is, beginners mind, suspension), and
  3. Awareness of the potentiality of the current and future moment. There is much more to say about each of these, there are many aspects, distinctions and practices to it , but in this post I will not go deeper.

INTEGRITY for us is a another term for wholeness in 3 senses:

  1. Be your word: there is no difference between your saying and doing. You do what you say and you say what you do. It seems very simple but actually needs a lot of discipline and practice.
  2. Do no harm: One of the key principle in all wisdom traditions and religions is also subject to indefinite discussion, but we see it simply in this way: don’t do harm consciously. We cannot always know which action is beneficial or not, but the more conscious and present we are, the higher our awareness and the deeper our consciousness is and the connection to ourselves and the world around us is, the less we are at risk of creating unintended harm.
  3. Get your shit together: This simply means: Give more than you take, take less than you could, live a lifestyle you can afford, pay your bills in time, take care of your relationships, have your life in order, take care of your health and mental, financial and physical well-being. Things like that. Very easy.

KINDNESS speaks to our relationship with ourselves and others and can be expressed in different shapes and forms, like:

  1. Empathy, compassion and self-compassion
  2. Open heart, loving, caring
  3. Benevolence
  4. Being joyful, enthusiastic, playful and optimistic
  5. Tough Love

We could go on with this list and all of these words are hosting worlds of their own to be explored.

Oneness is a fact, which paradigm we live from is a choice

We cannot choose whether we are separate or not. We are connected no matter what. What we can choose is the paradigm we live from in our everyday consciousness. And as we are not raised or trained in that reality this needs special attention, training and practice.

To live from a paradigm of connectedness is nothing that was given to us. It is our call to rediscover and cultivate it and develop a deep practice in it. Our job is to wake up and acknowledge the fact that we live in the delusion of separation.

And then, bit by bit, unlearn “separation” and learn “connection”. And cultivate that reality. Probably this needs a lifetime of practice, but the true act of transformation is the moment where we become aware of our delusion and choose to shift into the natural state of connectedness and live our lives from that space. It is the result of a choice, not of fate, circumstances, hope or something that will come over time. It won’t. This needs an active choice and action.

Following that path we all will deepen our consciousness, our ability to perceive and experience connectedness on multiple layers and the world we live in will shift over time. We will work with intention, with the potential and beauty of every moment and life will be unfolding beautifully, naturally and with ease. We will stop struggling and experience flow and abundance as well as the feeling of trust and being guided and supported by the world. I am in that state most of the time, although there is still enough struggle, egoic energy (which is useful by the way if chosen deliberately), but things suddenly come my way and emerge as needed.

I would suggest this path espcecially to people, who consider themselves leaders, mentors, consultants, teachers, healers, helpers of all forms. Be the change you want to see in the world first. By living from a place of connection the world already IS a better place, because then you can be truly beneficial and inspire others to follow this path.

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