During the last two thousand years of human evolution we have developed individual consciousness into a fine art form, and now define our identity in terms of separateness rather than togetherness. The last vestige of collective identity, albeit a distorted one, passed away with the failure and demise of communism. Equally we can no longer rely on strong arm ‘everyone out for themselves’ tactics, the approach of the last century fascist movements that have also had their day. In the new world order, each of us is a potential victim of the enemy in our midst, outwardly identified as the terrorist threat, inwardly yet more elusive.

            We are learning to behave like responsible adults, each with a separate individual identity (me) whilst also in touch with the collective energies of life of which we are a part (we). Our consciousness moves from ‘me’ to ‘we’, not through returning to an imagined golden age, or through somehow re-merging with the collective oceanic oneness of bliss out of which we emerged. The golden age of the past (that never really existed anyway) is gone. Our direction now is forward, as we each take our individual part within the collective, both individual and connected at the same time, like stars in the heaven, each star with its own particular path, or separate identity, yet each also part of the one heaven.

            To successfully transit this shift in consciousness, we are learning how to release our essential divinity, not to become stronger or more powerful or ‘holier than thou’, but rather to honour the essential divinity of all living things. We are finding new ways that blend an understanding of collective consciousness from the East with the individualised consciousness of the West. We find that we are all divine beings, not in some abstract sense but in each moment, each event in our lives.

            Our primary concern as incarnated divine beings is with healing the pain we experience through our fragmentation and disconnection. When we are fragmented it is as if an unbalanced part of the personality ‘takes over’ our awareness and it seems to become all that we are. Everyone has such experiences of fragmentation on a daily basis. Imagine you have just struck your thumb with a hammer, it is throbbing, and the pain is so intense it has ‘taken over’ your awareness. You cannot think of anything else; you rush around, cursing, alternately sucking your thumb, shaking it, frantically trying to change your awareness (that is, stop the pain.)

            When you are ‘taken over’ by the pain from a physical mishap, like the hammer example, the pain is soon reduced to a manageable level. Some physical pains are more chronic; if, for example, you suffered from appendicitis, you would not be able to just make the pain go away, you would need assistance from others, and even then there would be no guarantee of success. We have to recognize those situations where we can do our own healing, those where we can call on others and have a good chance of success, and those where we need to contemplate some things cannot be healed. If you work with people as a guide or therapist, these conditions apply in assessing a client.

            The same is true with emotional or mental pain. It can be very sudden and intense, such as the shocking news that a loved one has died (we feel intense sorrow), that someone has committed a gross act of abuse against us (we feel intense anger), the forthcoming important meeting (we feel intense fear), and so on. Just as if you hit your thumb with a hammer and the intense sensation involved took over, you can be just as easily taken over by the intense emotional or mental reactions to events in your life. In fact, these mental or emotional reactions can be more painful at their outset and much harder to shift.

            People also feel fragmented when they feel a lack of spiritual connection in their lives. The classic ‘mid life crisis’ is a good example. Everything has been going fine when suddenly the individual starts to ask: what am I here for? What’s the purpose of my life? Is everything I’ve done so far meaningless, shallow, and disconnected from any deeper or meaningful significance? What is my responsibility in life? There are many ways that spiritual pain can affect us, and it can be equally as difficult to shift as mental, emotional or physical pain. You might be cured from a serious, life-threatening disease but it does not ensure you won’t still feel angry. You might discharge your anger in appropriate ways, but that would not ensure you find meaning in your life.

            To heal something is not just to take the pain away, to make it somehow better. Healing may reduce or even eradicate pain, but primarily healing is about making something or someone ‘whole’. To bring wholeness to something or someone, to heal them, is to complement fragmentation with harmony, and pain with wisdom, not to replace or somehow overcome the fragmentation and pain. To experience successful healing simply means to become less fragmented than you were before the healing.

            To heal the system you are working on, whether for instance your own body and psyche, or someone or something else, is to move it towards de-fragmentation, that is, to bring together the component parts of the system in an including rather than an excluding way. When we do this we bring about true healing rather than just that kind of ‘healing’ which is concerned with fixing pain, disguising discord or in some way treating the symptom rather than the cause. The healing process will be inclusive, holding the vision of the whole person and not just trying to fix a part of them. If it did that it would contribute to the fragmentation rather than work towards the healing. It may help a temporary pain go away in the short term, but in the longer term it will simply create delay to the necessary changes in the system involved.

[This is an extract from Chapter 20 of Psychosynthesis: The Elements and Beyond … if interested in more of this, why not consider buying the book – available from Amazon and to order all good bookstores, or in Kindle editions too.]