Following last week’s elections, I was alarmed to hear that the BNP (British Nationalist Party) has achieved it’s highest polling yet and that it now has two seats in the European Parliament. It really sadden me that this racist, homophobic, extremist right-wing party gets any voters at all – much less enough to secure two seats in the European Parliament (what a shocking way to have our country represented in Europe).
There will always be an element in society that is deeply entrenched in ego toxicity and feels the need to bolster their own sense of identity by savaging others; in the past it’s been easy to dismiss BNP voters as hateful thugs, but the sharp upturn in the number of people voting for this party makes for unpleasant analysis.
“Your primary purpose in life is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet – because it is the purpose of humanity.”
So writes Eckhart Tolle.
By awakening he basically means recognising that this ego-identity, the ‘false self’ comprised of accumulated thoughts, beliefs, preferences and other such mental activity is in fact a phantom self; that who we truly are is above and beyond the movements of thought across the sky-like essence of mind and that we are, in essence, ONE. Einstein grasped this fundamental spiritual truth when he declared that the notion of being a separate entity existing independently in time and space is but an ‘optical delusion of consciousness’.
This spiritual awakening takes place gradually – oh so gradually – but can be quickened by spiritual teachings that are sufficiently ‘clear’ and devoid of dogma and the hollow ‘stuck on the surface level’ mentality that characterises the input of many religions (the path I now recommend is traditional vedanta). Yet, everyone is equally open to this ‘waking up’ from the illusion of self and the mass hypnosis of what is that’s being thrown at us by a world that’s buried beneath the spell of hollow materialistic maya. It can happen to anyone regardless of their religious persuasion or if they have none at all.
Many believe that this ‘waking up’ from the spell of mind and this reverence of an illusory sense of self is, in fact, an evolutionary break-through…and one that is necessary if our species is to continue without absolutely obliterating itself and the planet it lives on. When you no longer believe the content of your mind and unconsiously have the need to defend this ego-identity you mistake for ‘you’, there is no need for conflict, or for making others your ‘enemy’, for oppressing and harming others in thought, word or deed.
More and more people are waking up, I believe. Slowly, sporadically, perhaps, but the proliferation of teachers whose words simply and unobtrusively point to awakening is encouraging. More and more people are recognising that this gnawing unrest and achingly persistent lack of fulfilment at the core of their beings can’t be allayed by simply buying more and more ‘things’ or trying to use drugs, alcohol, TV or other weapons of mass distraction (WMD) to patch over the cracks. What they are really seeking is a way out of this mind-creating hell known as ‘ego’ and the accompanying need to build, fortify and defend this illusory construction for dear life. It’s the only true freedom in life….the ability to stop believing your own mental stories; the stories that you erroneously confuse with being ‘reality’. It’s the only way to peace.
Yet, it seems that although a growing number of people are recognising that it’s time to wake up – and indeed, this planet can’t endure much longer without the sorry nightmare ending – there are a growing number of people in whom the ego is solidifying its hold. They clutch ever more tightly to their beliefs and stories, to ‘who’ they think they are and ‘who’ they think others are and their need to be right by making others wrong. This can be seen in the people supporting extremist organisations such as the BNP…people who need to bolster their own identity and ‘rightness’ by oppressing and trying to expel others. How else do we construct and maintain a facade of ‘self’ than by determining it in relation to ‘others’?
This is the old way, though. Although the increased support for elements such as the BNP shows that many people are actually falling deeper into the dream – and an unpleasant one at that, one in which we must persecute others in order to make ourselves ‘right’ – I still believe that there is an almost evolutionary trend away from this kind of deeply dysfunctional mentality. The backlash against these hate-filled extremist ideologies is pronounced and the majority of people are rightly disgusted by the BNP and its exclusivist policies. Poll after poll seems to indicate that the majority of people are in fact becoming more tolerant and accepting of others.
It’s impossible to overlook the significance of a black man now being President of the USA, when just a few decades earlier black people were utterly – and legally – second class citizens. The USA certainly has many other social issues and prejudices, but even then, opinion polls show that at a rate of about 2% a year, the American public is becoming more supportive of gay civil rights, such as the right to have relationships legally recognised. Again, if we are to move forward we can no longer single out any group of people as being ‘less than’ or deserving of societal or even legalised oppression.
This is, after all, one world…..and nature demonstrates that diversity IS life. Strip away that diversity, convince yourself that one element is ‘better’ than another, and eventually things break down and the balance is destroyed. Life turns on itself like a cancer. Because within that diversity is ONE BEING, interconnected, interrelated in the same way that every fish in the ocean is interrelated by that ocean. The sooner people start to ‘get’ that the better.
So how do you reconcile the people that are intolerant of others and hateful and extremist in their outlook? Is that just part of this diversity? You certainly can’t fight such people. Maybe they just have to be accepted as part of that whole? As a staunch opposer of oppression in all its forms, I often muse about whether being intolerant of intolerance is an act of intolerance in itself?
I have never yet reached a satisfactory answer to that….I only know that all action must originate in the heart. The way forward is to ‘wake up’ to reality and burst the mind-bubble that keeps the majority of us prisoner to a fabricated, and often warped, version of reality. There will always be laggers, which is fine. Just so long as these laggers don’t get out of control as in the cancer analogy. It’s always a sad possibility…