“The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.” – Akan proverb
“Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man,” Robinson Jeffers, the American poet considered an icon of the environmental movement wrote in one of his poems. His worst fear was that humans had distanced themselves too far from the rest of nature. In our pursuit of happiness, we have been blinded by our ability to dominate our environment and gone on rampage, destroying the wholeness that ensures our flourishing.
Too often, our unwillingness to thoroughly understand the whole before we embark on ‘doing our will’ has always been our weakest link. The universe, like life is one being. It has different parts, but none of the parts is important on its own except when they function for the whole. The parts transmit different levels of energy, but altogether they work for one another and influence each other in ways that ensure harmony and the proper functioning of life. Sadly, our illusion of “finitudes and fragmentations,” taught in part by an education that pits us against each other and charges us to aspire for the ‘peak’, often prevents us appreciating the interconnectedness of our decisions to the rest of the universe.
Our focus on the parts, on our individual selves and aspirations without linking it to the whole is a form of wickedness, except it is a taboo to even mention it. This is not something that happens to us, unreceptively; rather it is act we actively contribute to it, through the everyday choices we make. The truth is, every time we focus on the part, the whole suffers. This is because life is an inter-connected and inter-related process of immense complexity, that demands that we work with each other and for each other to ensure all of us are safe. We need to a consciousness that enables us to make choices that positively contributes to the good of the whole.
We may not be able to know instantly the end results of our good in the long arc of history. But we can appreciate our smallness and take a cue from the adage, “little drops of water makes a mighty ocean,” in order to understand how we each contribute to the whole. Every time we consciously make a choice that is self-centred, we are, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr “adding darkness to a night already devoid of stars, Darkness cannot drive our darkness: only light can do that.” It is only our goodness and the truth that can make life wonderful for all of us. If the majority amongst us would focus on the whole in our choices, we would be contributing to the meaning of life and the beauty of things.
Living is a participatory act. It is as much a function of becoming what we are capable of, and an ability to function as the beings we become. In effect our good is our end, and our end will become our good. We should thus strive to sanitise our attitudes in this age to ensure we make good and great choices in our everyday interactions. We must master the function of becoming, till we become that which is good, true and beautiful. To achieve this, we must help lift each other, especially those in the lower half of society till they are at par with those in the upper half. We must create a just society, where individuals can freely choose the good without fear or favour.
Imagine all us striving to be good and doing good. What do you think happens to the whole? It will blossom like the sunflower on a sunrise. It would simply make the world beautiful. Sadly the obstacle to this image, of our happiness, is the self-imposed perception we have of becoming ‘powerful’ individuals. It is a kind of smallness in thinking, and blindness in visioning; but it sounds and feels like the right thing to do for many amongst us because of our selfish upbringing. This is the learning we have to unlearn to empower all of us to live, and live abundantly.
It might seem difficult, but when we come to understand how Anne Gilchrist puts it, “that down underneath your feet, if you go far enough, you come to blue sky and stars again; that there really is no “down” for the world, but only in every direction an “up.” And that this is an all-embracing truth, including within its scope every created thing, and, with deepest significance, every part, faculty, attribute, healthful impulse, mind, and body of a man (each and all facing towards and related to the Infinite on every side):” then we would be able to make life beautiful in all its wonderfulness.
Let us always remember that the quality of a life, does not come from the quantity of achievements. Most of the time it comes from appreciating the moments, appreciating others and appreciating that life is a whole and we are merely parts. It comes from playing your part well, and all will be well.
Kodwo Brumpon is a management consultant and a life coach who inspires individuals, groups and corporate bodies to think and feel that which is true, and helps them to positively respond to that which is beautiful is, whilst nudging them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]