There is an old saying which states that “fences make good neighbours.” Although this may seem a logical way to deal with conflicts that invariably arise due to the human condition, it is a shortsighted solution. Of more importance, building fences–even mending fences–leaves us subject to judgmental behaviour that ignores our shared oneness. Relying on the fluctuating mentality of the masses only serves to separate us from the good that inherently unites us. Our only hope for lasting peace amongst neighbours and nations lies in dismantling our minds’ fences…forever. Below, is an example of what can occur when we truly don’t know one another:
December 1, 1955: On a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, the bus driver orders Rosa Parks and three other riders to give up their seats in the coloured section because the whites’-only section is filled. Rosa refuses to do so. As a result, she is arrested for civil disobedience and later fined ten dollars for violating segregation laws, plus an additional four dollars for court fees. A court case is launched and a bus boycott ensues for more than a year. The Supreme Court finally rules that segregation laws are unconstitutional. Throughout this time, and for years afterward, Rosa and her family receive death threats…for standing up for rights and basic dignities that should be–and MUST BE–afforded to All.
At what level do we do begin to dismantle fences? Nothing short of a spiritual approach will yield the best effect. However, there is a common misconception that enlightenment (which may be defined as awakening from apparent personhood through recognition of our True Self) is something that is done; a spiritual activity that will add a beneficial dimension to our life and make us better persons–in much the same way that someone might pad a resumé. To be interested in matters spiritual might even be branded as being namby pamby; an interest to be shunned by those who have better activities with which to occupy their time. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To embark upon a spiritual quest is the bravest–most important–journey we will ever undertake. It is a figurative journey that involves travelling from conditioned ignorance to an awareness of our True Being. Such is a courageous act because recognition of True Self, by definition, involves the surrender of the false self, with whom we’ve identified for the majority of our so-called personal life. This can feel like a tremendous loss; it requires that we surrender our pride, historical story, and every triumph which we may have held dear. In short, we realize that our trophies never belonged to us; for there is truly no one here to receive them. True enlightenment is not freedom as the self; it is freedom from the self.
Until we see the Truth beyond our own mask (the name and form identity called “me“), it’s literally impossible for us to see the true nature of those with whom we share this planet. Spiritual teachings may, at best, lead to more civilized and tolerant behaviour; but such is not the solution. It can lead to the smug piousness that turns individuals away from the subject of spirituality. The solution is to directly experience our Oneness; for through this knowing–lived–our fences fall down of their own accord.
The journey to Self, and a better world, requires that we engage a deep sense of earnest curiosity; a daringness to discover That which is beyond the egoic costume, which masquerades as our identity. Such a journey holds unparalleled value; for when we discover the Truth within ourselves, we, thus, are enabled to see It shining as the glorious identity in everyone of varying class, colour, and nationality. With clear insight from our heart, we realize that persons on the opposite side of the fence are, indeed, not others; we are Oneness in a variety of forms.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell
If you enjoyed this article (originally published in 2020), you can find more of my writing at my personal blog at https://think2wice.me/. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey.