THE POLITICS OF COOPERATION
Based on the premise of unity and the understanding that we are not separate from the whole of humanity, that, therefore, the interests of one are the interests of all and the interests of all are the interests of one, to that extent, cooperation becomes more than a strategy of peace, it becomes the inevitable, necessary, and sought after way of leading a sacred life.
In order for this premise to take root, humanity must have an experience of oneness with which to build new structures of government and of social discourse so that a new consciousness can replace the old. This experience is simultaneously an experience of unity and an experience of love for that which we are part of. It extends beyond the human family to the family of all living creatures, and beyond this to the universe itself, both animate and inanimate. It is the experience, at root, of God's Creation being one.
With this shared experience as part of our collective consciousness, there are new possibilities for personal relationship and for governing, based on new principles for living, which become available to the awakened consciousness. These new principles operate as the foundation for establishing new relationships among people. They are all based on the fundamental premise of unity within a sacred whole.
We begin with where we are now, which is at the dawn of this awakening consciousness. The advent of greater light is already doing its work to awaken mankind to the need for a collective effort to establish peaceful relations and to deal with common problems. However, more than outer events are needed in order for us to move further in this direction. Consciousness needs to change within each person in the direction of immediacy - the undeniable perception of our oneness with all.
We begin with ourselves. We need to heed the calling to unity and to love, and look at our lives in terms of those places and people whom we cannot identify with, whom we cannot feel compassion for. For many of us, it is no longer about race or class consciousness in the ways that it has been, though that, too, may remain. It is often about the direction our spirituality takes us in, telling us that something that we see others doing is wrong. What often separates us from compassion and from seeing others as one with us is our judgment - as effective on the spiritual level as it is on any other. Our judgment tells us that we are moving in the direction of light and truth and others are not, and so we reject them. We do not see the soul in them that is searching for the way. We do not see the soul in them that is struggling to get free of uncertainty or confusion. We do not see the soul in them that is struggling with darkness. And we do not see the soul in them that is attracted to truth, that correctly perceives a partial truth, thinking it is the whole. We see their actions, or their distortions, or their limitations, and we blame them for these, all the while feeling that we are right and they are not. Our separation from unity begins with the judgment of our hearts when we remain willing to blame people for their actions and beliefs rather than separating the action which may be wrong or misguided, or the belief that may be limited, from the soul who lives within.
For some of us judgment is also directed toward those who govern,
toward those whom we accuse of the abuse of power.
We cannot see the soul within the political figure.
For some it is about law enforcement officials -
the police, the FBI -
The people in uniform whom we fear or see as threatening.
For some it is directed toward the homeless who wander the streets,
victims of their own poverty and often of their own
delusions or incapacity.
For some it is 'corporate America' - the CEOs who accumulate
wealth at the expense of others.
We cannot forgive them for doing so.
Or we may feel anger toward the pharmaceutical companies,
Or those who pollute the environment,
Or those who hurt children,
Or those who plant bombs in places where
innocent bystanders might get killed -
The terrorists, whom we see as the epitome of evil.
Wherever blame and anger remain, there, too, our spiritual life becomes muted or non-existent. Spirituality can take us in the direction of light and truth but if it takes us in the direction of judgment and of hardening our hearts to other souls at the same time, it causes us to lose our light and we become effectively sealed off from further growth in the area in which judgment resides. This is not to say that actions cannot be disapproved of. Only that the soul always remains.
The 'politics of cooperation' is not a strategy. It is not a mechanical set of principles to follow. It is an orientation toward life, emerging from a perception of life as sacred and of souls as joined with each other. It is not:
1) Strategic cooperation - in which two warring factions or parties in conflict decide that it is in the best interest of both to reach a compromise, even though the underlying ill-will, hatred, or distrust may remain at the same level of intensity. Strategic cooperation describes certain phases of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The 'politics of cooperation' is also not based on
2) Enforced cooperation - in which two parties are in conflict, one having much greater power or leverage than the other. The more powerful one insists on the cooperation of the other party using the leverage of some privilege or benefit that may be removed if cooperation is not obtained. Examples of this may can be found in trade agreements between the U.S. (or other western countries) and many third-world countries. Often, these poorer nations are compelled to accept trade agreements that do not operate in their best interests or lose the benefit of relationship.
Nor is the 'politics of cooperation' the
3) Cooperation of alliance - in which two parties come together in order to defeat a third who is perceived as a common enemy.
The 'politics of cooperation' that will be, will only be possible based on the principle of unity - the understanding that the interest of the self and the interest of the other are the same interest. Also, that the true purpose of an individual life and the purpose of the life of the planetary family is not, and cannot be, a separate purpose. For we are all one, and each life is connected to the greater Life to which we belong. Each soul has the possiblity of living in harmony with this greater life.
If we begin with ourselves and strive to see where our judgment of others and lack of compassion still remain, we will open the doors to greater light entering our hearts and minds. As a result, we will each become a force for peace and unity in the world and for the advent of this new consciousness. If we justify our condemnation of others who are 'less spiritual' than ourselves or not spiritual at all, we create an opacity in our consciousness that is resistant to light which will need to be healed later on.
Ask yourself: Who can I not forgive? Who can I not understand? This is the place to begin our healing of ourselves and of the earth.