What can we do as individuals to move from the story of separation to the story of interbeing?
Full interview: https://youtu.be/ggdmkFA2BzA
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You can access a transcription of this talk here or below. Thank you to Rachel Wakefield!
Moving Towards Interbeing
Transcript of 2018 Charles Eisenstein’s Interview (excerpt)
You’ve probably had those moments of despair, where you think it’s just hopeless and the world is always going to be this way, and anything we do is not enough. But there’s also – and I would say this is maybe more of a heart-knowing, that understands that a more beautiful world is possible. We get glimpses of it sometimes, in moments of deep intimacy with a person or with nature, moments of cooperation or effortless flow. Maybe you’ve had a time where everyone just came together with their gifts, and was completely selfless, and the right person came at just the right time, and did just the right thing, and you had this feeling like, the world could be built on this. Or maybe you’ve experienced a miraculous healing, or a miraculous synchronicity, something like that, an experience that you could not explain but that was really beautiful to you and that gave you a hint of a reality and a realm of possibility that was much bigger than what we grew up being told was real and possible.
So you have these experiences and you recognize them as real, and not some bait-and-switch tactic from God to trick you into thinking that a more beautiful world is possible, but you recognize it as kind of a promise, the glimpse of a future possibility. It feels real to you and therefore you can bow into its service, even if your rational mind says, well, how could that possibly ever happen on a large scale on earth, that was just a peak experience or some anomaly, but could we really build a world on that? The rational mind cannot see a path from A to B. That’s because the rational mind, for most people in our society, is fully steeped in the logic of separation. Part of the logic of separation includes a theory of change, that tells us how change happens in the world: you have to exert force on reality, on a mass. So the more force you have at your disposal, the more powerful you are to change the world. That’s a recipe for despair, because the world right now is governed by the people who have most of the force: most of the guns, most of the money, the concentrated media and so forth. If it comes to a contest of force, it is hopeless, and for the mind that is accustomed to thinking in linear causality, force-based causality, it is a hopeless situation.
But these experiences that we have say yeah, but it’s still possible. And sometimes they suggest that the world doesn’t work the way we’ve been told, that things can happen that are beyond our understanding, beyond the understanding of the linear, force-based mind of separation. In other words, you could say that the despair comes from the same place that the crisis comes from. The despair buys into the causality of separation, and the crises also come from separation. The ecological crisis comes from treating the earth as an other, as just a bunch of stuff. If we really were in love with the planet, and incorporated that love into all of our systems, into our money system, we would not have an ecological crisis. If, for example, pollution was extremely expensive, because we honor the earth so much and we know that there’s such a high price to be paid for cutting down trees or putting pollution out there, so that we would only do that for a really, really important thing, then we would not have pollution, not very much of it. So it’s not just changing our attitudes, it’s also incorporating that change into systems, especially the financial system.
The experiences I’m talking of aren’t just personal revelations, they also include, maybe, coming across some amazing permaculture project, and it makes you feel alive, it makes you feel excited about the future. “Yeah, we could do it like this!” I’m not saying that everything that makes you excited is going to be part of the story of interbeing. You have to look inside and be present to what it is calling forth from you. Is it calling on your ambition, or is it calling on your love? I think that anything calling on our love, anything that enlivens us because it serves the well-being of those we love and expands our own circle of love – anything like that is going to be drawing from the story of interbeing, because that story really is a story of love. It’s an expansion of the self to include the other. That’s what love is: when you fall in love with somebody, their happiness is your happiness. You’re no longer just a separate self. You are a lover, you are a couple, you are a family, you are a tribe, you are a community. And when we expand that to include natural beings, then we are part of the tribe of all life on earth. So anything that awakens that and confirms that and strengthens that in ourselves, that is a guide or a pointer or a technology of reunion with those cast-off, othered parts of ourselves.