There has been a debate in the spiritual community if we should be independent individuals guided by our own desires, or if we are all interconnected as One and meant to help each other as a collective? Are we independent Gods or are we all One? Are we meant to only follow our bliss or are we to help and serve one another as if they were ourselves? Are we the ocean or just a drop of water in the vastness of All That Is?
My answer is that we are both.
Just like light is either a particle or a wave depending on the perception of the observer. We are both an individual and a collective. Both the role of the individual and the collective are important in the evolution of our consciousness. We are always both but sometimes one role becomes more dominant in our lives. Two contrasting examples of the role of focusing on the individual vs. the collective can be seen in the examples of adolescence and motherhood.
Adolescence a time to focus on the self
During adolescence it is very appropriate to be totally self-absorbed and focus on one’s own development. It is a time of self-discovery and separating from the family to spread one’s wings and develop your own sense of self. It is a time to discover one’s life philosophy, to determine who am I? Self-discovery and independence should be encouraged at this phase of life. Space should be given for the adolescent to ponder life’s deeper questions and to develop in healthy ways away from the family, while still receiving support and connection. This stage is much like the exploration of the toddler who needs to have freedom to explore, but also a safe base to return to. If these needs of independence and a backup of a secure base to return to are met, then adolescence is appropriately resolved and we move into adulthood. Of course many also get stuck at this level because they did not receive what they needed to transcend this level of development.
A phase of life where interconnection is central is motherhood. This is a time in the life of the baby and the mother where they are in a symbiotic state. The baby is totally dependent on the mother and ideally can be in a relaxed state of having their needs taken care of fully. Ideally the mother can also be fully taken care of by the father, friends and other family members so that she can relax and give her full focus to her baby. The interdependence of all humans can be beautifully seen in a situation where everyone comes together to care for the mother-child dyad. When this relationship is nurtured by all those around her, we have beautiful healthy results.
We are meant to go back and forth and experience being both the particle and the wave, independent and interdependent.
These two examples are two extremes in the phases of our life. We are meant to experience both independence as well as total interdependence. These are polarities with many shades in between. Just like light experiences itself in different forms and bends and flows in many iterations, so too humans as energy beings, come here to experience both independence as an individual particle, then collapsing into the beautiful dance of the collective wave. We go in and out of this dance through our lives, weaving our different colors of the rainbow into a bright glowing Oneness. We are the ocean and we are the drop of water made of the ocean. We do not need to choose either path, but rather realize the Truth of both.
Another example I see in wildflowers. Each wildflower is uniquely beautiful in its own way. They blossom, fulfilling their true potential, but you stand back and you see how each one contributes to the collective–the vision of the mountain meadow. Without each flower reaching their full potential, many withering and dying the whole effect would be diminished.
This is why when we see one among us struggling, not doing as well, their energy is off, we realize that we must shine our light on them and lift them up. This way the whole of humanity can express itself in its highest potential like the mountain meadow.
Although these ideas may seem theoretical, there are many practical applications to understanding these concepts.
The United States is a country that has valued the individual, independence and freedom. There is great benefit to valuing individual expression in helping people reach their full potential, innovation, invention, and being an incubator of ideas for the world. There is also a cost in among other challenges, trampling on the environment and polarization-seeing the enemy in the other. Other societies are more interdependent and connected. These interdependent societies may take care of the individual better, but there is a cost of stifling freedom and innovation. If we can recognize the truth of both of our states of being and that they are both our nature and that they are both valuable and necessary we can create a new reality that values both the individual and being part of the human collective equally and sees their importance. We need to let go of rigidity and embrace our fluid changing nature, just like light, let us shine like the particle and flow like a wave, weaving the tapestry of our life and all life around us.
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