Individuality and community in the Age of Higher Awareness
The Age of Higher Awareness is an age of community. This is a subtle concept to fully understand. Normally, when you talk about community, you are talking about a group of people working together for some common purpose. They are working in a group. This raises the question of the interplay between the individual and the group.
What you have seen in previous ages is that the kind of groups that have formed on earth have been groups where people had a similar state of consciousness that magnetized them together. That consciousness was dualistic so that you had one group of people that were sticking together, but the main thing that made them stick together was that they were in opposition to another group. In order to avoid being overrun by the other group, they had to stick together to defend themselves. This is how you have seen many groupings form.
To some degree, you see in the European community a formation of this in a certain reaction against something else, against those who are on the outside. This could be the Eastern Block (as was the case when the European Union was formed) or it can be a sense that we are a group of nations who are superior, or who are able to work together, but those other nations are not at our level and we do not want to work with them. Or if we work with them, we cannot be equal partners. In so many individual and national groupings, there is this sense that some have to be superior to others. It is, of course, not this kind of groupings that we envision as the basis for the community of the Age of Higher Awareness.
We foresee a whole new approach to groups. The subtle thing is that, in order to get to the point where you can form such groups, humanity (especially in the more developed world) first had to go through a phase where they were focusing on individuality. Some have grown up in a culture that focuses on the individual person. You all have been told you have individual human rights, and you all have been brought up to educate yourself, to look out for your own interests, get the best possible education, job, income and so on.
The reality is that this is just a temporary phase. It was not a phase that was absolutely necessary. You will see that Jesus had his disciples and other followers form a community. In the Book of Acts you can see the formation of a community where the disciples lived together and shared many things. This was a pattern that could have continued throughout the previous age.
What happened instead was that the Catholic Church was formed and thereby Christianity was dominated by the manipulators. The manipulators can only conceive of a community of unequals; they cannot conceive of a community of equals. They want to set themselves up as the unquestioned leaders who have a number of obedient followers. This, of course, is not the community that Jesus started. He started a community of the spirit, of higher awareness, where it was recognized that there was no single leader because it was a matter of who was the open door for the Spirit, and that could change from moment to moment.
If this pattern had continued, you could have built a much greater sense of community in the previous age. Because of the takeover of the manipulators, you created this new perverted form of community where the many follow the leader, and they follow the leader without questioning what the leader says and does. You saw this in the kings in the Middle Ages. You saw how this was broken only by the advent of democracy, which is based on individual human rights.
A new type of spiritual community
It is important that, as the aware people, you also keep in mind how you as individuals can come together and form a true community of higher awareness. A community of equals where no one is superior, no one is more valuable, no one is above anyone else. No one is above the Law, and no one is above common sense. No one is above the need to treat others with respect.
I am not here talking about forming a spiritual community, as the many communities you have seen in the past, where you set yourselves apart and define yourselves in opposition to or as being different from others. I am talking about a different form of community, a community that is not a separatist, elitist, sectarian community but is a universalist, inclusive community. You still find a way to support each other and have certain common goals and visions, but you do not do it by setting yourself apart from society, apart from others and especially not by setting yourself above others.
This is a delicate challenge, but one you are capable of meeting if you are willing to transcend whatever impurity in yourself that blocks the manifestation of the goal. Any condition in the material world can be changed, and it is true but only if you transcend the consciousness that manifested that condition. Of course, you are capable of transcending these issues.
A higher awareness community
The Buddha emphasized three elements: the Buddha, the Sangha, the Dharma. The Sangha is another word for community. The reason for this is that we live on a planet that is quite difficult, quite challenging—in many ways quite dark. As we have seen in the past, there have been a few individuals who were able to walk the path to higher awareness alone, but in the Age of Higher Awareness, there is an entirely different model of community where people support each other.
The Buddha elected to withdraw from society and create a community that was set apart. The Buddha was in the community and had the students come to this protected sphere. This has value. It is not that this model has become outdated by the end of the previous Age. It is not that this model will not be seen in the Age of Higher Awareness. There will be communities that are set apart from the mass consciousness.
However, what you have seen in the previous age is that there has been a creation of communities that saw it as their role to isolate and insulate themselves from the world and its problems, however they defined them. You have seen some communities where people would make a lifetime commitment to become a monk, a nun or a member of that community, whatever the name was for those members. This is a model that will not be as useful in the Age of Higher Awareness.
Even in the previous age there were many examples of how such communities did not actually help either its members nor the collective consciousness grow. The people simply became trapped in a very comfortable state where nothing challenged them, and therefore they did not grow. There are many examples of Christian monks and nuns, but also many Buddhist monks and nuns, who have entered a community and simply did not grow beyond a certain point for the rest of that lifetime. Instead, they would actually have grown more by remaining in society where they would have been challenged more. In the Age of Higher Awareness there is need for a different approach to community where you realize that community is not an end in itself. Community only has meaning when it exists as part of the trinity of the Buddha, the Sangha, the Dharma.
Buddha, Sangha, Dharma
What is the Buddha? Well, the Buddha is a representation of what you experience as the flow of higher awareness. What is it the impulse from higher awareness ultimately wants? It wants to be expressed in the world. For the impulse of higher awareness to be expressed, the Law of Free Will mandates that there must be people in embodiment who become the open doors for expressing the impulse. This is where the Sangha has its most important role. It is a place where people can go, or where they can help each other where they are—support each other so that they become able to be the open doors for the expression of higher awareness. Then, when they have attained that certain level of consciousness (mastery, openness), then they go out in society and express it in society.
There is little point in attaining mastery in an ideal situation and then keeping your mastery confined to that ideal situation. First of all, for your own growth you need to actually test if you can maintain the mastery in a less than ideal situation. You also need to – in order to grow further – use your mastery to raise the All, to help others. This, of course, requires you to go out where people are and help them there.
This does not put any limitations on the exact form of spiritual communities in the Age of Higher Awareness. There is not a certain matrix: “This is the ideal matrix for how they should function.” There are many ways to implement this, but consider the thought that the Sangha is not a physical place.
There are many, many examples – and you can find them today all over India and also in the West – where a certain guru has set himself or herself up with an ashram. Then they have gotten followers to come in and receive whatever teachings, darshans and blessings they receive. The guru sits there, much like the queen bee in a beehive or the queen in an ant hill, and all of the students are running around, making sure that the guru can function in his or her capacity. This is not the Sangha. This is not the community. A true community, a true “coming-into-unity,” can only be done among those who are somewhat equal in their level of consciousness but, more importantly, who have overcome the ego’s need for being special, for being superior. You cannot come into unity unless you have transcended the entire need to feel that you are better, more important or more special than others.
Coming into unity, not conformity
When you have a group of people who have transcended that need, they can come into unity even if they are not at the same level of spiritual maturity and attainment. There may still be some who are further along on the path. There may still be some who serve in certain capacities, be it as a messenger, be it as a minister, be it as a healer—in various ways. If all have overcome that egoic need for validation, for feeling special, then you can come into unity. There are many examples of the creation of a physical ashram where people come together and it seems that they are coming into unity because they are all working for a certain goal. They are all working in cooperation, and they are all working in a seeming harmony because there is no conflict among them. However, coming into unity is not the same as coming into conformity.
There are many examples of how a guru has managed to create what from the outer looks like a state of unity because he has gotten all of the followers to submit to whatever matrix he has created for the ashram. This is not coming into unity because it is actually setting aside, getting the students to set aside, their individuality.
You do not need to set aside anything. You need to transcend the egoic patterns so that you actually free yourself from them. Therefore, you can be who you really are and express your higher individuality that is anchored in your higher self. In the community of the Age of Higher Awareness there is not one person who has reached some state, whatever you may choose to call it, and all the others have suppressed the expression of their individuality. This is not the kind of community that will help manifest the Age of Higher Awareness.
That is also why it is not necessary to create a community that has a certain physical location where everybody comes together physically. A community by definition cannot be all things to all people. A community that is isolated and set aside must make a choice and say: “These are the activities we elect to express in our community in the circle of the Sangha. And these are the activities that we select out, that we select not to express in the Sangha.” This is not necessarily wrong, for the purpose of helping people come together and, for example, overcome the ego, heal their psychology, attain higher awareness. Yet the broader community is a community where you are not having to set aside your individuality in order to fit into the community. This means the building of a community that uses the technology of the Internet and other communications technology to still build a sense of community, but you do not need to be all in the same physical location.
There is value in coming together for, for example, a conference, but coming together for a conference is one thing. Living together permanently is another. You will see that as you grow on your individual path, as you overcome the ego, as you overcome your birth traumas and other psychological wounds, what naturally happens is that you become free to express your higher individuality and your Life plan. If your higher individuality wants to be expressed in a certain way by working with other people, helping them where they are, giving them certain gifts, teachings or whatever, this is not necessarily expressed in the best way in a closed community. It is expressed better in a society.
A community cannot be all things to all people, but a society can be many more things to many more people. Do not to fixate your minds on the old model of a community where it has to be a physical location that is set aside, it has to be a community that has a strict definition of rules and regulations. Instead, look for a more open community where you can still support each other around certain common goals, but you also have your individual lives where there is plenty of room for individual expression.
It would be valuable to have a way to communicate where you can support each other on your path towards higher awareness. This can involve many different things, from sharing your experiences, to performing exercises together, to talking with each other, to helping each other in various ways, to even having certain therapists in the community who can help people in a more direct personal way, and so on. There is no fixed matrix because in the past, you can see that when people have a fixed goal, then all hell breaks loose. There is an opposition from people’s egos. Many times it actually causes people to go into an almost frantic state where they feel they now absolutely have to manifest this goal, and so they seek to force it, rather than flowing with it.
Spontaneous higher awareness communities
The world has many spirals or vortexes of ideas and energy that seek to pull people in, like a whirlpool in a river. You cannot come into unity as long as you are individually trapped in these little whirlpools and vortexes. You cannot truly come into unity if your energy field is an individual vortex of swirling energy because you have unresolved psychological issues or you have too much unresolved, untransmuted, energy in your four lower bodies. You do, of course, need to do the work that needs to be done to transform the energy, to resolve your psychology, to see your illusions.
When you have done that to a sufficient level, you can benefit greatly from making an effort to focus on the river. This is how you create the communities of the Age of Higher Awareness. A guru decides to create a Sangha or an ashram, he sets certain rules, he gives certain teachings, and he says: “Those who are willing to come into conformity with the matrix I have set, they are welcome here and others are not welcome.”
In the Age of Higher Awareness there will be the spontaneous emergence of communities because a group of individuals have, on an individual level, tuned in, first of all, to their individual Life plans and then to the River of Life. When you know who you are, what you desire to express, and when you are attuned to the river, then all of those who have a similar Life plan, a similar expression and who are attuned to the river, they will be brought together by the river—not by outer means. When you tune in to the river, the river brings you together with other people who are also attuned and who resonate with you and your mission and your expression. Therefore, you can find a higher form of community that is based on supporting each other. You always have the awareness of the Buddha, which is the driving force behind the river, and the Dharma, which is how the river wants to be expressed in the world, how it wants to flow into physical events on earth.
This is how you can form a kind of community that has been seen on earth before, but has rarely been seen on earth before. It is not based on these outer characteristics that require you to come into conformity because you do not have a set outer framework, such as living together at a certain place and having a certain type of community. You are living individually, but you still have a community where you support each other. You help each other not only overcome hindrances on the path, but you help each other tune in to the river. You help each other express what it is you individually desire to express. There is no competition here. There is no requirement that somebody has to set aside their outer expression of their Life plan or set aside their psychology in order to fit into the community. Having set this as the ideal model, it should be clear also that such communities, such spontaneous communities, can only form when people are serious about walking the path, raising their consciousness, healing their psychology and tuning in to the River of Life.