What a beautiful man Joseph Campbell was. This simple sentiment is one of the most potent statements I have ever encountered in my life, largely because authenticity has been a fundamental aspect of well-being for as long as I can remember. I’d like to propose that the root and origin of just about every perceived problem in the world today (to do with humans) is the fragmented state of internal conflict experienced by nearly every human being who is alive. The process by which one “thing” interacts with another “thing” – person or otherwise – is known as relationship:
- 1 The way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected
No thing in the universe, from atom to galaxy, exists independently of any other thing. So many identified “things” – temperature, pressure, color, sex, altitude, velocity, atmospheric composition, water content, breed, electrical charge – the list of variables influencing any given thing at any given moment is beyond comprehension. Even without being able to identify all of these variables ourselves, it’s clear that the dynamics of the world and universe have been mostly worked out and that these relationships are taking place in highly organized and sustainable ways. Humans seem to be in a steep learning curve when it comes to relationships, and I am suggesting that it all begins within this domain. The simple notion that an individual is separate from the events of his or her life is the first division.
Internal conflict or cognitive dissonance as it is known in the mind sciences is what I define as a lack of integrity. In this case, a lack of integrity is not intended as an accusatory description, but a functional one, where integrity means “the state of being whole and undivided”. When a person makes a statement that includes the clause, “A part of me thinks/feels/wants…”, that person is internally conflicted, fragmented in regards to the subject under consideration at that moment, else why not simply say, “I think/feel/want…” ? There is an epidemic of cognitive dissonance within the human species. So many people are participating in activities they do not believe in or feel personally connected to. This internally conflicted state consumes energy, the kind of vital energy that is used for the healthy functioning of bodily systems, creative expressions, and choices that are in integrity with the whole person. It creates “drag” in one’s life, manifesting as resistance to obligatory employment, the breakdown of communication in relationships, and any of the multitude of forms of dis-ease that comes from a lack of inner peace (ease).
Have you ever noticed that how you are perceived by others is often not how you perceive yourself? As children, we are punished for our honesty, and thus become students of deception and learn to lie under “appropriate” circumstances. We learn to create an appearance of things that But the long term effects of lying to one another are fragmentation and the loss of integrity of oneself, and the building of invisible walls between each other, where every lie becomes an invisible brick in a barrier separating the individual from the world. It is a tragic state of affairs to teach children that honesty, sharing, and conflict resolution through peaceful means is the best way to do things, and then lie to them, slap ownership and property rights on everything in the physical and intellectual world, and use guns and larger weapons to enforce policies and laws. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
Can you imagine how good it would feel to be able to say no and not have your motives be suspect? Or that the other individual doesn’t take your refusal personally? Can you imagine if the pressure were off to be someone else and you could simply be yourself without worrying about the approval or disapproval of others? The call of the inner being is for authenticity and integrity. The ache we feel when we deny who we really are at any given moment is at the root of the discomfort that it is to be a human being today. I used to wish for the ability to turn myself inside out – figuratively speaking – so that instead of trying to use words to explain myself, I could simply show others the true essence of what I meant. When I speak honestly about something, it isn’t to judge others who aren’t honest about the same thing. I want the level of connectivity that comes when the illusions and appearances fall and we are left with the living essence of each other, the essence that becomes distorted, whose utter nature changes states under pressure, just as gases become liquids. Human beings are something more than these fragmented, scripted lives, and my greatest desire in this life is to know and experience what that is. I want the peace of saying yes with the wholeness of my being, when my whole being is available to say yes, and to give my best when I engage in whatever I am doing. There would is nothing “wrong” with me if there are no arbitrary comparative standards being used to measure perceived value.
I believe it is possible to design and create the circumstances and environments that would enable access to the largely untapped field of human potential, that other 90% of Being promised in our brains, our DNA, and the furthest reaches of our imagination, that field of conscious, non-physical exploration. I believe it is possible to reach a level of inner peace that enables an individual to stand before any other being in the world or universe and declare, “Yes, I did that”, without any shred of guilt, shame or regret. I believe this because others have found the way there, and through time, have left us clues, keys, tools and tricks along with a few different maps to get there.