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The Ego or The Planet?

Ever since the big bang and probably before even that – the universe has been evolving: from a hydrogen cloud through the birth of Earth, the appearance of the first mammals, the domination of the planet by humans, to now. The direction has been towards ever increasing organisation and complexity: atoms organised into molecules, then single celled organisms, then animals with nervous systems, then socially organised colonies and now self-aware human beings. This may be the first time that, through us, this universe has become conscious of itself.

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Ever since the big bang and probably before even that – the universe has been evolving: from a hydrogen cloud through the birth of Earth, the appearance of the first mammals, the domination of the planet by humans, to now. The direction has been towards ever increasing organisation and complexity: atoms organised into molecules, then single celled organisms, then animals with nervous systems, then socially organised colonies and now self-aware human beings. This may be the first time that, through us, this universe has become conscious of itself.

Listen to the podcast

Putting aside the big questions around the cause or purpose of our evolution for now, I would like to acknowledge what we as a species have already done: we have put men on the moon, created the internet and developed medicines that can postpone death. At the time of writing, we seem to be experiencing one of many hiccups in this trajectory as we experience the effects of a virus we cannot control and yet, this is stimulating innovation and adaptation and there are already glimpses of a different future marking a large step forward in our evolution.

But as we emerge from this disruptive period we will immediately be faced with the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced: those of climate change and the not unrelated ecological collapse. Our survival as a species is in grave and, in evolutionary terms, is under imminent threat. It is a threat that has been looming since the 1970s but due to fear, greed and ignorance, we have, as a species, been ignoring it until it now towers over us as an unavoidable and horrifying reality. And what is uniquely different about this earth’s 6th extinction event is that we are aware of it, we know without question that it is real and we have the option of trying to avert it. We also know that we can only overcome this threat, if it is possible at all, by pulling together, sharing expertise and innovation and sacrifice and pooling our resources.

So why on earth aren’t we doing it?

If we look back over the course of our evolution as a species we can see an innate human quality in play that runs alongside, and often driving, our creativity, countering progress towards a better world on a personal and global level: our ego. Unchecked, the ego has the power to sabotage, subvert and destroy us: it created the great wars, it prioritises selfish gain over the needs of the many, it causes infighting and petty squabbles within our government rather than work for the common good and it sabotages our personal relationships. Any attempts to address our global challenges are doomed to fail while our individual egos run unchecked.

We have reached a point where we absolutely must collectively pause and rebalance: acknowledge, understand and learn to transcend the driving force of the ego or we are, probably, doomed.

Free from the influence of the ego we are no longer driven by a need to put the self above others, we are conscious of our connectedness to everyone else and the planet and we can allow love to be the driving force for reducing suffering and destruction. Our motivation is no longer compromised by fear and we can focus all our energy on what we know, in our guts, to be right.

Throughout history there have been remarkable people who have lived largely free from their ego, they have been recognised for their courage, clarity and selflessness but often also feared and pilloried as their example is a threat to peoples’ comfortable, small-minded way of being.  Since the 1960s there has been a growing surge of people recognising the need to become more conscious and selfless, then in the 1990s a period of exponential growth in popularity in the West of the practice of mindfulness began. Mindfulness is a state where we experience connectedness and peace and are free to allow love to guide us. This possibly marked the start of a new period in our evolution. Mindfulness was quickly  followed by a rapidly growing interest in techniques that clear unconscious patterns that hinder our ability to be loving and mindful such as focusing, inner child work and trauma healing. The Focussed Mindfulness Method which has been developing since early this century builds on this progression, it offers an accessible and effective method for transcending the ego and entering a more conscious and loving state. With regular practice we gain increasing clarity on our values and purpose and feel more and more empowered to act with integrity and from love and be a force for good and healing in the world.

Focussed Mindfulness is a contribution to the growing number of practices now available that support people to achieve a state free of ego. Once the numbers reach a critical mass they will drive the change needed in order for us to begin acting collectively to heal this planet.

Let’s hope it’s not too late.

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