I’m seeing some patterns here so let’s see if I can communicate this with some consistency and get your take on it. You will need your microscope and your telescope for this one. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the “State of the Province Address I Wanted to See” and what I was trying to convey in that piece is that is not so much ‘who’ is governing but ‘how’ we are being governed that is frustrating me. In the way that the Universe does I have since then had a lot of evidence that supports this. Now I need to keep in mind that that’s how it works, you make a belief and then that’s what show’s up! So let me preface by saying that this is a temporary viewpoint and a reflection of what I’m seeing right now on this ride we call life.
In the last week I came across an author/teacher who is talking about us moving from ‘win-lose democracy’ to ‘cooperative’ democracy (here’s an adorable video of her here). This is exactly what I was talking about. Cooperative democracy- can we do that? What does that even mean and what do we need to let go to let this grow?
Well, we need to give up fighting for our side and move to communicating for our side. So often we feel like the choice is fight or surrender, and in a win-lose situation I guess that’s the option. In win-lose there is a loser, when there is a loser in society we all lose. It creates an atmosphere of competition and fear that interferes with our caring and supportive nature.
My opinion is that this is a societal maturation. Win-Lose democracy was an expansion beyond autocracy and in the past 100 years we have been building a value around individualism and expression.
I’m going to veer from the large picture here to the individual. This win-lose democracy is also alive and well inside of me, a near constant election is happening about how I be or do. Ultimately I believe there is only one choice- fear or love but I’m not always aware of that because fear is really good at keeping me busy with other choices that are actually choices between fear or fear (fight or flight? Freeze? Appease?), then busy assessing whether I made the right choice or not and finally busy meting out punishment and reward according to the assessment.
To deal with this we’ve built up social mores and structure. The simplest to understand is our structures around men and women. This is how women are ______________. This is how men are _____________. This has made it easier to get along while we are all fighting the battle inside. This external authority that was once a support to our peaceful coexistence no longer holds what we’ve grown into. There was a time when men had complete control over the physical domain while women were charged with the emotional domain (obviously I’m oversimplifying all of this to make some point- there’s always exceptions!). As women have moved into expressing themselves in the physical domain everyone has had to adjust! The shift has happened and men are being expected to share the emotional load as women share the physical load, we are all becoming more whole as a result, more complex and more diverse as well- more of our True selves I hope, like snowflakes; each distinct. While some may see that the world has ‘gone to hell in a handbasket’, what we are seeing is a natural growth and response to expanded awareness and ability. Equality is the truth and no matter how hard we try to enforce unnatural laws, they are inherently unstable. Just because we’ve told ourselves a story for a long time doesn’t make it true (men aren’t as sensitive, women are too emotional, men are better leaders, can you think of some more?).
Back to the inner battle (are you still with me?), another way to talk about this is our inner masculine- simplified to doing and our inner feminine – simplified to being. This do, be, do, be, do battle is happening, it’s what you catch in meditation and mindful activities. In this we need to move from win-lose to cooperation- these are complementary activities. We can do so much more when we attend to our being and we can be so much more when we also attend to the doing.
Cooperation on the outside is going to require this inside cooperation, as Ghandi said, be the change. Another way of saying this and another sign of societal maturity will be a move from the need for external authority to internal authority. What a change if we could move our resources, both emotional and physical, from control (fear) to trust! As one author says, if we could move from spending on weaponry to lifery. So, bottom line, use the microscope- look inside sometimes so that you can see what’s going on in you, when you find that you can be at peace in you, well, then you can contribute to the peace in your home and beyond until peace is what we see in our telescope. I can get really excited about that!