Most of us have been raised on a diet of survival of the fittest, competition, and a strong belief in going alone in order to achieve. Our school lives were dominated by praise for individual performance and assorted comments or worse for the rest of us. Much of our thinking was based on being the best and if you were not t
he best then it was OK for the following marauders, hyenas and Jinn’s to clean the gene pool of you, removing you as that awful reminder of the possibility of failure, that possibility of falling behind. Then our business world seems to reinforce these principles of competition and the belief that the best individuals will rise to the top.
How strange that we seem to create structures in society that reflect a totally different picture from our awareness of our true nature. Sue recently attended a schools conference in London and was so excited to hear about school models that are based on co-operation, mutuality and group support that not only are achieving incredible results but also producing happy people.
In one inner city Boston school the students form ‘crews’ of 12 and the function of this small team is to get every student to graduation. A few years ago they achieved 100% high school graduation, unheard of for this demographic, and of those almost 80% finished college rather than dropping out, which is also highly unusual. The students were motivated by sharing success and excellence in their teams, and by achieving more together than they ever thought possible.
All this seems to indicate that our true nature is the desire to help, the desire to help others, help our families, our communities and help the world. We are all here to contribute, here to give. And it is our giving that brings our happiness and success. Our true nature is to reach out to others, to give a helping hand and to contribute to others’ happiness. We have all been like that from the very moment of our births because all we wanted to do as kids was to help our families, to see them as happy and almost everything we did as children was to fulfill that goal.
Unfortunately things did not always go well and in the disillusionment that followed we threw the baby out with the bath water, we turned our backs on our true nature, dissociated and began worshipping independence in the belief it would keep us safe from our past pain. This typically does not make us happy, it makes us lonely so thank goodness we have built this consumer society so we can compete and buy our way to happiness!!!
Philosophers have asked what it is that makes us human and the answers seems to be that if we witness someone drowning in a river we would typically jump in to help them. Not only does this helping lead us to our humanity it will also take us to the next step of our recognition of our divinity through our giving and our willingness to be a friend to all.
Remember our true nature this Christmas as we celebrate the Friend; think of who you could reach out and support not only because it is helpful but also as a celebration of ourselves and our true nature.
Sue and Jeff