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« It's Our Inescapable Interconnectedness with All Life That Makes Peace and Nonviolence Work (M.L. King, Jr.) »

King in 1964 (Public Domain)With Martin Luther King, Jr., Day coming on January 16 this year (2017), I want to honor his life with one of his quotes on our inescapable interconnection with one another. It counters the many voices in our nation and across the world that follow the egoistic thinking of separateness—separating ourselves by ethnicity or nationality or economic-social class, or separating ourselves from other species. The following is from my book, From Egos to Eden: Our Heroic Journey to Keep Earth Livable (available Valentine’s Day). This excerpt is from the final chapter which describes the end of the heroic journey when we arrive at home in a much larger consciousness than ego-thinking can engage. I follow David Korten who calls this consciousness, Spiritual Consciousness.


The biggest difference for us as we take up living in the topography of Spiritual Consciousness is how thoroughly the treasure of interdependence with all of Creation’s community of life affects our daily thought and action. Martin Luther King, Jr., is quoted as underscoring our interrelatedness during a 1967 Commencement Address at Oberlin College:

All life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be—this is the interrelated structure of reality.

King went on to say that this interrelatedness is why nonviolence and peace work—two kinds of thinking and acting that do not happen successfully in ego consciousness where violence and war are relied upon to control MultiEarth civilization. But the results of the heroic journey, during which we metamorphose from a human of the ego to a human of the Self, make nonviolence and peacemaking a first response, not something we hope for. In Spiritual Consciousness, living interdependently transforms many ideas and behaviors that we’d previously thought of as ideals to daily practice. The normal procedure thinks and acts in terms of “all of us” instead of “me.”

In a community of Spiritual Consciousness [King called it a “Beloved Community”], we reinforce for one another that interdependent relationships are the Tao of the physical world. They are the locus of life’s renewing energy. Disconnect from the Tao and we disconnect from what sustains us. Or to say it in the frame of process thought: reality is in the interdependent process we are part of more than in the physicality of that process. Our primary focus is on what happens among us and on aligning that with the processes of all of Creation. We live in the knowledge that we cannot do any one thing without triggering consequences elsewhere. Furthermore, we approach the ongoing processes of plants and animals as having intelligence; often it is intelligence that we do not have. So too with Earth’s processes that MultiEarth thinking regards as inanimate. In Spiritual Consciousness we open to the animation of all things and the intelligence of the interactive processes that we see ourselves inside of. Since we are no longer superior to these intelligences or outside of these processes, we are far more attentive to them. Even when we can’t understand them, we respect them enough to seek the best interaction with them that we can.

The world of Spiritual Consciousness is enchanted by a living Earth, our Self-directed souls, and the Spirit of One moving through the interactive, interdependent community of all life. We live eager to understand more of the interactive Creation we are in; at the same time we recognize that what we understand is a fraction of all that is happening, and that, even with rapidly expanding knowledge, we can know only a fraction, albeit perhaps a bigger one. Self lives with a humility about living within the whole of Creation that ego does not. Self feels the awe, wonder, and love. Self senses the sacredness of the interactivity and relishes this way of being beyond the enchantments that ego’s Civilization Project offers. We see wealth as in the relationships and processes of Earth’s community of life not in extraction from them. As a result we increase our sense of wealth by seeking the fullest possible participation of all who are impacted by a decision, including all the species and generations impacted by a decision.

All of these changes, many of them beyond our reach before the heroic journey, become possible and expected when we arrive home in Spiritual Consciousness. Living interdependently, interactively in the processes of Earth’s living community tests the thoroughness of our passage from ego-humans to Self-humans and gives us daily opportunities to increase practical, holistic living in Earth’s intra-activity. 

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