Being an individual is a great thing as it makes you stand out from the crowd and shows you’re not just a follower, but more of a doer, someone who has his own path in life and makes his own rules.
But it’s also one of the main reasons for inequality. And if you haven’t noticed, it’s rapidly growing and has affected every single aspect of our lives.
We see inequality on the streets, in the media, at home, at school, at the workplace, even when we dig into history or make predictions about the future.
Gender discrimination, different nations with their culture, looks and religion, are something most people don’t feel comfortable to talk about, but it is also what has made us separated.
Inequality has many forms, and we take part in them every day. Be it when we pass by a homeless man without looking at him, being judgmental of a boy with tattoos, being angry at the driver in the car in front of us because it’s a woman and she’ll definitely do something wrong, choosing everyone else but the black boy while forming teams for soccer, seeing our father watching the game and drinking beer while our mother is doing the housework although her favorite reality is on right now, making a game out of stepping on ants on the street because they are so small and defenseless.
We’re not united. We’re not one with the universe, nature, other people and ourselves. But we used to be.
Here’s a story to show you what I’m talking about:
“Thousands of years ago, man lived in harmony with the rest of the natural world. Through what we would today call Telepathy, he communicated with animals, plants, and other forms of life – none of which he considered ‘beneath’ himself, only different, with different jobs to perform. He worked side by side with earth angels and nature spirits, with whom he shared responsibility for taking care of the world.
The earth’s atmosphere was very different from what it is now, with a great deal more vegetation-supporting moisture. A tremendous variety of vegetable, fruit, seed, and grain food was available. Because of such a diet, and lack of unnatural strain, human life span was many times longer than what it is today. The killing of animals for food or ‘sport’ was unthinkable. Man lived at peace with himself and the various life forms, whom he considered his teachers and friends.
But gradually at first, and then with increasing intensity, man’s Ego began to grow and assert itself. Finally, after it had caused many unpleasant incidents, the consensus was reached that man should go out into the world alone, to learn a necessary lesson. The connections were broken.
On his own, feeling alienated from the world he had been created from, cut off from the full extent of its abundance, man was no longer happy. He began to search for the happiness he had lost. When he found something that reminded him of it, he tried to possess it and accumulate more – thereby introducing Stress into his life. But searching for lasting happiness and accumulating temporary substitutes for it brought him no satisfaction.
By Luis Hernandez @Flickr
As he was no longer able to hear what the other forms of life were saying, he could only try to understand them through their actions, which he often misinterpreted. Because he was no longer cooperating with the earth angels and nature spirits for the good of all, but was attempting to manipulate the earth forces for his benefit alone, plants began to shrivel and die. With less vegetation to draw up and give off moisture, the planet’s atmosphere became drier, and deserts appeared. A relatively small number of plant species survived, which grew smaller and tougher with passing time… Man’s life span began to shorten accordingly, and diseases appeared and spread. Because of the decreasing variety of food available to him – and his growing insensitivity – man began to kill and eat his friends the animals. They soon learned to flee from his approach and became increasingly shy and suspicious of human motives and behavior. And so the separation grew. After several generations, few people had any idea of what life had once been like.
As man became more and more manipulative of and violent toward the earth, and as his social and spiritual world narrowed to that of the human race alone, he became more and more manipulative of and violent towards his own kind. Men began to kill and enslave each other, creating armies and empires, forcing those who looked, talked, thought, and acted differently from them to submit to what they thought was best.” (“The Te of Piglet”, Benjamin Hoff)
It’s sad. But it’s all a matter of choice. Because as every other transformation, this too starts in the mind. After all, that’s where it all started.
The problem that caused all these changes and made the world as we know it today is deeply rooted in our mind – we’ve separated from our true self, other people and creatures, and nature and the universe.
Proofs are everywhere around us.
Most people won’t even agree with the fact that I’m talking about animals here, because they connect inequality only to gender discrimination and racism.
But it’s much more than that.
Then comes the extreme economic inequality. Now that’s something everyone will understand because he suffers from the consequences.
We’ve all been taught that rich people are superior to us, that it’s not fair but life is like that and we need to put up with it, that they’re lucky and we’ll never be like them. We see attitude like that from teachers, parents, and basically the average person that has no ambition and finds comfort in such excuses.
Let the numbers speak:
- Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
- The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
- The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
- Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
Conclusion: Economic and political power has separated people. Everything is in the hands of a few and it’s like the rules and taxes are made for them. While all the others suffer from daily worries and live in deprivation.
And again, I will mention the fact that it all starts in the mind. And every single one of us carries the burden of being responsible for the inequality we live in.
The moment we thought we can be cruel to nature, hurt animals, consider other people inferior to us because of their income, gender, looks, intelligence or religion, is the moment we created our nightmare. And put an end to a beautiful era of peace, compassion and love – because these are the 3 virtues we need to refind in ourselves so that we can live in harmony again.
By Heather Katsoulis @Flickr
Every healing process starts with a realization and acceptance of the disease. Then we need to find out what caused it by going back in time, and then we can do something about it.
If every single person understands how our judgments, prejudices, Ego, apathy, insensitivity, lack of compassion and the desire to take rather than to give and share are a self-destructive behavior and affect every other being and the world in general, we would make the first step towards change.
Accept our mistakes, accept the past with its many innocent victims of inequality, accept the fact that it ruined our moral system, and environment. It started poverty, wars and human injustice.
And what caused all that was separation.
We separated from the universe, from others, and most importantly – from our true self.
And as it is greatly put in Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now”: After all, who in their right mind would harm another if they experienced that person as part of themselves?
You see, things weren’t meant to be this way.
Everything we see around us is made of energy. We are human magnets and attract events, things and people who have the same vibrations. And that means we’re all one.
We’ve felt that oneness at least a few times thoughout our lives – when we felt love, when we were alone in the nature seeing a magnificent view, while meditating, or every other spiritual experience. And we’ve had these indescribable emotions of true joy, bliss, contentment, gratitude, peace and calm.
That’s when we’ve been closer to our true nature, which is one with the nature of every other being on the planet.
And if oneness prevails, inequality can’t survive.
Let’s go back to the more materialistic point of the matter and state a sad fact. Did you know that ‘The top 100 billionaires added $240 billion to their wealth in 2012- enough to end world poverty four times over.’ ?
Maybe you felt a bit happier when you didn’t.
Simple, isn’t it? The money needed for solving that global issue is in the hands of those who don’t really even need it. We live in such inequality that we allow 1% of the population to have it all.
And as we all know, with money comes power. So basically they control everything. And not giving it to the ones who have nothing speaks a lot about human nature, our level of compassion and our spiritual development.
I went through many of the different aspect of inequality (and am sure many people didn’t even consider some of my points a part of the problem) to show you that everything and everyone in the universe is connected.
And now, I want to give my answer of the question “How can we eliminate inequality?”.
Let’s start with the not-so-spiritual part.
First of all, we should all realize it’s not inevitable. There are things that can be done, but we must all be together in that.
The world has seen that before and has handled it – USA after the Great Depression and Europe after World War Two.
The governments of the countries that have a bigger level of extreme wealth and inequality should do what countries like Sweden have achieved. There you receive good treatment when being ill regardless of your income, also if you lose your job you and your family get support from the country.
Taxation is probably the core of the problem: “taxation is increasingly regressive and the poor pay higher effective tax rates than the rich”. So we should aim for progressive taxation.
There are many other steps that can be taken but before all that people’s way of thinking must be changed, we need to be more open to new political and financial systems, to be ready to make sacrifices for the greater good, to see others as equal before we become united.
If every single person does something, or at least shows interest and compassion, the governments and the riches will start thinking about it too. After all, we’re together in good and bad. And tomorrow that 1% of the population can lose everything. But until then, the rest of the world shouldn’t suffer because of that.
Change always starts in the mind. So let’s be optimistic and believe we can reverse this dangerous trend and in a few years we will have reduced inequality while growing prosperous at the same time.
And that leads us to the second, more important matter, in which lies the solution for inequality.
People, become one again!
Let go of past and future and go back to that state of mind in which you realize that we’re together in good and bad. We’re all human beings and are living right here, right now. We all have problems and daily worries, deal with the same hardships in life, need love and attention, have goals and dreams, want to travel, have a family, become financially independent, have our dream house, look good and be approved by the society. We all want to sleep better at night, to be safe and get rid of the things that make us sad. We all love good food, a chilled evening with a nice movie, adventures, presents, holidays and not playing by the rules.
Aren’t we the same then?
By roger alcantara @Flickr
So the next time you see someone, something, or just feel the air and see the sun, don’t consider him/it something other than you.
Instead, feel how connected you are. Share your love, appreciation, compassion. Help and give as much as you can.
That’s the path to enlightenment, true happiness and peace.
And that’s where inequality ends.
This post is inspired by and created for Blog Action Day. The subject that was chosen for this year is Inequality. And I hope that with all the amazing writings and thoughts writers from all over the world will share, we will help to raise awareness and bring hope back.
178 OXFAM BRIEFING PAPER – SUMMARY (2014) Working for the few, 20 January 2014. Oxfam GB
OXFAM MEDIA BRIEFING (2013) The cost of inequality: how wealth and extremes hurt us all, February 2013. Oxfam GB