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21st Century Spirituality: I Am the Problem, We Are the Solution

Most of us are acutely aware of having problems, physical, material, emotional and spiritual. But how many of us are as acutely aware that the problem is us? The way we treat our bodies, minds and spirits? The way we react to challenges and everyday situations?

And if we do acknowledge that the problem is us, how many of us have taken on the whole of ourselves? Those of us who have acknowledged that we have psychological problems may go for counseling but may not address the spiritual component of our lives. Those of us who feel the need for spiritual upliftment may not sufficiently examine our emotional reactivity. Those of us who are ill may focus on finding solutions for our aches, pains or disabilities but not expand the inquiry to our emotional or spiritual bodies.

For some of us, it may seem like a lovely idea that we are aspects of God in the process of evolution. It's an abstract idea, but an attractive one. It inspires us to think that we are part of a whole, larger than ourselves.

Of course, we all know that we exist on all levels simultaneously: body, mind and spirit. But few of us are ready to take it all on. We may engage in New Thought or New Age thinking, but we may still want to eat sugar, drink alcohol or take needless drugs, prescription or recreational. We may engage in psychotherapy, but we may not have resolved our unacknowledged disconnection from our spirituality and whatever version of God we may have brought into our adult lives. And we may go to exercise classes for physical wellbeing, but we may still justify snapping at our children.

Until we recognize that the problem is us -- all of us, our habitual patterns of body, mind and spirit -- how can we address the totality of who we are? And until we recognize that these patterns are societal and need to be transformed on a collective level, how can we be freed from the habits of body, mind and spirit that permeate the collective consciousness and, therefore, permeate our own? It's hard to clean the air over one house in Los Angeles, and it's just as hard to heal ourselves as discrete individuals, when we are all connected. It's hard to maintain an attitude of peace and generosity when we are surrounded by people who are uncaring toward us and one another.

And then there is God, the totality of all being, which includes us. How many of us realize that we and God need to evolve together? How many realize that the solutions lie within me as an individual, us as a family, community, nation and world, and even the broader "us" -- the totality -- which includes God him/herself? How many realize that the God we call upon is also a part of us and is in the process of change?

For some of us, it may seem like a lovely idea that we are aspects of God in the process of evolution. It's an abstract idea, but an attractive one. It inspires us to think that we are part of a whole, larger than ourselves. But how many of us think of this as a practical reality? How many of us remember that we and God are connected, body, mind and spirit? How many of us remember that if we are evolving, so must God be evolving? How many of us remember that the whole is related to its parts (God is connected to us), just as much as the parts are related to the whole (we are connected to God). And so just as we need to change for the whole to change, the whole needs to change for us to change; God needs to change for us to change.

Let's try to think about this in concrete terms. Think of God as the sky, for example. We would never believe we could change the weather by catching one drop of water as it was descending to earth. We would realize that the weather is caused by a multitude of factors, each impacting the other, and each contributing to the whole. That whole is God. So the weather over my house is created by all those factors, and we can't change a patch of that weather without changing the whole weather system.

Just so, if we take our spirituality seriously, we realize that we are all aspects of God's consciousness, and so we can't stop the storm of human cruelty and despair without simultaneously taking on the consciousness of the whole itself -- that is, without God and us taking on God and us.

This is truly holistic healing. It is not just that I need to heal myself body, mind and spirit. It is not just that we need to heal ourselves body, mind and spirit. It is that the heavens and the earth, the human and the Divine, need to heal ourselves in all dimensions and in all ways.

For this we need to begin to experience the reality of Oneness. I am One with myself, body, mind and spirit, and I need to heal on all those levels. We are One, body, mind and spirit, and we need to shift as a collective to truly transform as individuals. And we and God are One, body, mind and spirit, and we need to shift on all levels and in all dimensions for there to be evolution and transformation.

This is the new spirituality, the spirituality of the 21st century: holistic, comprehensive, connected and evolutionary on all levels. We live in a world where we every day become more aware of the connections between and among us: a fire in a factory in Bangladesh caused by attitudes of retailers based in the United States, a bombing in Boston caused by children of another war, climate change in our nation caused by decisions made globally, science and spirituality overlapping. And, yes, the most important connection: God and humanity being in the Oneness, all made of the same stuff, all suffering the same malaise, all evolving toward an unknown destination, energetically connected, bonded by fate and love, destined to find our Oneness despite our long-standing alienation and the illusion of our separation.

In the end, while there are millions or billions of problems, they all boil down to one problem, and that is the fragmentation of consciousness: the lack of connection that we feel with our own selves, body, mind and spirit, the lack of connection we feel with one another, the lack of connection with God and between God and all the fragments of consciousness on the earth and beyond.

The most esoteric philosophy, which reveals our Oneness, turns out to be the most practical. I am the problem, and I need to face that. But we are the solution: Oneness within ourselves, among ourselves and between us and God; Oneness between the fragment of consciousness and the whole. We can do it.

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