Empathy and Ubuntu ~ a Philosophy for a New Humanity

Ubuntu-Empathy-the-New-Paradigm-for-HumanityBy Jennifer Deisher

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Here we are on our beautiful blue green planet, travelling through time and space, hurtling toward infinity. Whether we realize it or not, we are united by our humanity.

As we each begin to flow into our spiritual journey, we become aware of a consciousness beyond our rational 3D comprehension. We begin to question everything we think we know about life and reality. We de-construct the illusions around us, and come to a new understanding of our place in the universe and beyond. And this new awareness is both liberating and extremely confronting, all at the same time.

Perhaps things are not quite what they seem.

The Hierarchy of Needs

We can understand our most basic human needs, and also our higher spiritual needs, through the psychological tool known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs [i]. The bottom of the triangle represents our most basic physiological needs and the top represents our own Self-actualization or Self-awareness (which, not surprisingly, is represented by the “all-seeing eye” at the top of the proverbial pyramid.

A common belief is that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and that our full potential is realized through the practices of love and empathy, and the Ubuntu philosophy. And that’s true! But we can’t ever forget that we are also human too. We have simple biological and emotional needs – such as food, water, and a sense of safety – that must be met in order for our very survival, and although there are a handful of spiritual ‘leaders’ in history who were synonymous with fasting and poverty, for most of us, we can’t even begin to understand our potential for Self-actualization or Ascension until those basic needs are met.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

So as messengers of a new paradigm, our challenge is not just to focus on the development of ‘higher’ personal aspects such as creativity, self-esteem and self-love, but to embrace and support those whose basic (and therefore spiritual) needs are not fulfilled, and help them create the sense of security and belonging they need as stepping stones to self-actualization.

Rainbow Day of Love

My friend, Deb Augenbaugh, decided to do just that when she recently started the non-profit organization Rainbow Day of Love to help feed the homeless population in her home town of Denver, Colorado. My husband, Aaron, and I had the honor of volunteering with her start-up organization this summer, and what we learned was a real lesson on our spiritual journey.

We came out on a Sunday morning to serve breakfast and as soon as breakfast was finished the group immediately formed another line for the next meal. Lesson #1: The sense of insecurity associated with unfulfilled physiological needs is ever-present, and does not go away with just one full belly. The tragedy of this situation is that these peoples’ lives are being spent trying to provide for their most basic physiological needs – quite symbolically, at the very bottom of the pyramid. In other words, they spend the whole day meeting the physiological needs of food, water, and shelter, while the rest of us take such necessities for granted and, as a society, waste the very resources these people so desperately need access to.

That Sunday morning, we struck up a chat with some people after breakfast and heard so many personal stories – war veterans, parents, college graduates – all who have experienced great hardship but are still living to tell their stories. Lesson #2: Survival instincts are hard-wired into our biology, including own need for safety. We each share the same primal instinct to live, and it’s a most natural response to do what we need to do in challenging circumstances in order to meet our most basic physiological needs. And although we may at one time be surrounded by friendship, safety and self-confidence in our lives, our physiological and safety needs that begin to go unfulfilled (whatever the circumstances) directly impact our sense of self and belonging.

Lesson #3: When we let people know that they are valued with something as simple as as smile or a hug or a question, the uplifting affect that loving connection has on their life-force (and yours) is both visible and immediate, sending ripples out into conscious universe.

A Collective Problem

As spiritual messengers and spiritual beings, we cannot speak of empathy if we are seemingly at a level of Self-actualization looking “down” at the reality of others, and dismissing their difficult experience as “creating their own reality”. But in truth, this limited perception is not based on reason or actual experience. We are ALL creating our own reality – and that creation includes a social hierarchy which is competitive by design, and therefore exclusive (to some) by result. If we – humanity – are to ascend to a new way of living, the only way to do that is TOGETHER. And yet our collective tendency is ignore their situation, and in big cities, even step over them in the street. We look to governments to “solve the unemployment problem”, which is an inherent part of our economic structure, and moan about the takers from the “welfare state”.

Not exactly conducive to a sense of safety and belonging, is it?

In reality, the majority of people living in poverty are – like the rest of us – incredibly intelligent, talented, creative and often educated people who have contributed to society, and who today are forced to use their talents and creativity just to sustain life; to survive. And that’s part of the “tragedy” – with basic needs met, their intelligence and creativity could be an amazing asset to our society! But while our society’s focus remains competitive not communal, a sense of belonging and self-realization takes a back-seat to the necessities of life for many people, and our spiritual life-force continues to vibrate on “survival” mode. While people are held by poverty at this base level of awareness, there is little room in their reality for other forms of safety, love, esteem, or self-actualization.

As enlightened beings, we have to be willing to see through the rationalizations of “the homeless problem” and our fears and misconceptions of “the homeless”, and begin to see that they too are spiritual beings who are desperately in need of our love, understanding and support.

The Empathy Card

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Science is finally beginning to understand what many of us have always known; that we humans are soft wired with empathy [ii]. It’s in our genetics. When we say “soft wired” it means that it isn’t a reflex like a knee jerk or a flight-fight response, rather it’s up to us to consciously exercise and utilize our empathy ‘muscle’ so we can gain a better understanding of our collective journey.

The second of the Seven Universal Laws, the immutable Law of Correspondence, tells us “As above, so below; as below, so above”. [iii] This means that we have an individual journey and a collective journey, and they are interconnected and correspond with one another in infinite synchronicity; that our outer world reflects to us our inner world; that what we choose within, we choose without.

Will you choose empathy and compassion? Or judgment and inaction?

We cannot consider ourselves a compassionate, intelligent, creative race of people until we change our relationship with homelessness and poverty in our society, and on our planet. There is certainly plenty to go around. According to http://www.worldhunger.org [iv]

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day  according to the most recent estimate that we could find (FAO 2002, p.9). The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.

Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger… Essentially control over resources and income is based on military, political and economic power that typically ends up in the hands of a minority, who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive, if they do.

As we confront the reality of increasingly harmful economic systems and government priorities, the social and spiritual inequity embedded in our social systems can seem near-impossible to overcome.

But it isn’t.

Real, lasting social change begins as an impossible creative spark in our hearts and minds, and manifests in our society from the ground up.

not-yet

Don’t Believe It’s Possible?

For those who believe homelessness is an unsolvable inevitability, take note. Since 2005, Utah has reduced homelessness by 74 percent and is on-track to end homelessness by 2015. [v]

How did they do this? Simple. They gave homeless people homes.

Why? Because it makes good sense, even in our competitive economy-driven society.

The obvious benefit is that, by satisfying the physiological and safety needs of marginalized people, they can begin to focus on ‘higher’ needs and rebuild their sense of esteem and belonging. But from a purely economic standpoint, providing permanent housing for the homeless is not only more humane than our system of competition and criminalization – it’s cheaper. [vi]

Utah policy makers realized that the annual cost of hospital and prison stays for homeless people was around $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 annually to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So the state of Utah addressed the basis of homelessness by giving away apartments, and assigning case-workers, as part of the state’s new Housing First program. As a result, Utah is saving money overall, while allowing all residence access to shelter and safety, a place from which other needs can begin to be met.

So far, the program has proven so successful that other states are modelling future programs on Utah’s success… and all it took was some clear, creative and compassionate thinking.

The Essence of Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a philosophy originating in Southern African that means literally “human-ness” or “humanity”. The term is used to represent a humanist philosophy or ideology, known as Ubuntuism, which is based on the universal bond of sharing that connects all of humanity. In our society, which institutionalizes competition instead of co-operation, this idea can seem like quite a paradigm shift. But Ubuntu is more than just a lovely idea, it is the communal foundation on which many cultures are built, ensuring the base needs of all individuals are met and freeing them up to pursue ‘higher’ needs of creativity, problem solving and self-realization.

As consciously evolving beings, we understand that we lift ourselves by lifting others, and that we can’t begin to uplift our world and our planet if we are personally unwilling to empathize with and empower the people who are most marginalized, and whose connection to Self and Source is most hampered by circumstance. When we add the Ubuntu philosophy into the mix, along with our pyramid of needs, we see the much bigger picture. It is about more than just empathy from afar. Instead of just looking at our reality from our individual, albeit empathetic perspective, we must acknowledge our connectedness – that “I am because we are” – and be guided by that knowledge into actions that reflect it back to us. “As above, so below”.

I came across this quote from Shakespeare the other day which says it perfectly: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”.

We have been riding this wave of ascension for some time now, shining light into the shadows… and many of us are tired. But now isn’t the time to rest. Our collective awareness is expanding, and momentum is gathering.

When you feel that fatigue, look for motivation to those living lives of poverty and uncertainty, whose entire being revolves around providing their most basic needs for survival – and consider the kind of fatigue that comes with that. When you feel that tired feeling that all “conscious warriors” feel at one time or another, remember that “I am because we are”… remember the power you have to generate positive ripples of change, starting with your immediate world… remember that the spiritual ascension of humanity is a collective process… and remember that we don’t just begin to heal others through altruism, we begin to heal our society as well as those pieces of our Self that are asking to be seen through our mirror of experience.

Then, from this compassionate and open place, we can begin to find new ways to fulfill, uplift, and inspire one another – to “enlighten” each other in the truest sense. We can begin to hear each other and meet each other’s gaze, get to know what makes each other tick. We can begin to fulfill each other’s most basic, fundamental, physiological needs, and ultimately overcome the unnecessary suffering of poverty and homelessness – without waiting for our failing, unprincipled governments to do it for us.

So, next time your paths cross with a brother or sister in need, it may be time to see if you can get to know them a little better, and see what makes them tick. Homeless people don’t need our advice on how to get a job; they need food and safety, and a connection to others – the very first steps toward self-realization. But more importantly, they (and we) need a new social system; one that reflects our human oneness and better serves and reflects our commUnity. And in creating that new social model, the perspective of those homeless and disenfranchised people who live on the edges of our current system is invaluable.

We all have a very significant role to play in the conscious evolution of our planet. We have the capacity to break the pattern of our “reality” as we know it, and leave a legacy of love and inclusion for our children, and their children. But first, we must change the way humanity feels about itself, and to do that, we must be able to look ourselves in the mirror and see our shared humanity reflected back at us.

References:

[i] ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ is a theory proposed by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation“.

[ii] Ted Talks: “Jeremy Rifkin on the Empathic Civilization

[iii] Tania Kotsos: “The Seven Universal Laws Explained

[iv] http://www.worldhunger.org: “World Hunger Facts

[v] http://www.nationswell.com: “Utah Is on Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea

[vi] “Homes Not Handcuffs: The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities” – a Report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless

 

This article adapted for Wake Up World by Andy Whiteley.

The Trauma Drama

black-heart

We have entered a delicate emotional and spiritual space in our “evolution” and I’ve heard from many recently in regards to feeling like the deeper emotional issues are coming up AGAIN to be processed.  From here, many are re-Creating their own emotional “traumas” in an inadvertent way both individually and in the bigger societal picture.  The definition of trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience and when this happens we usually find an emotional “snapshot” which may leave our perceptions of this moment at great odds with the “reality” that we may still be living and re-living this detrimental emotional experience.  Exhaustively enough, it is “here” that we will find a great Key of transcendence if we allow ourselves to look a little further withIN to release some of the deeper social, psychological, and spiritual “programming” from separation and judgement.  This is especially important when we feel separated from Self because we are in judgment of our own underlying emotions that stem from the trauma or the not so conspicuous PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress “disorder”) that comes later which is actually a very NATURAL emotional response. When we find ourselves feeling discontent with others or societal influence due to underlying trauma or PTSD it is withIN that we find all the answers we need and, as a matter of fact, our answers are coded right into our DNA so we never need to look any further than right Here where YOU are.

We’ve all experienced something “negative” in our Lives whether it be in a physical, psychological (mental), emotional, or spiritual aspect.  One of the most common experiences is the perception of abandonment because we are ALL experiencing a newer awareness including that of separation as spiritual beings having a human experience. We learn, for the most part, the “God” resides somewhere outside of ourselves dictating our Lives in some way, shape, or form but the Truth is that we are the “God” of our own individual Universe which is shaped by our physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual bodies.  Our preconceived ideals of what that means have been literally turned upside-down by our societal beliefs and familial expectations. The bottom line is this – if we haven’t made it ALL the way through our PAIN and found a Loving space for Self on the other side then we will most likely continue to re-Create our struggle in order to completely Overcome it.  This results in finding Love for Self and a more complete Healing by going through what we may be used to going around.  Over and over and round and round we go until we find Acceptance and Resolution leading to the KNOWING that we can never be any less than Whole or Complete even as we are experiencing “separation” and the feeling of abandonment that comes with it.

For this exercise we must think of “God” as our Higher Self who only has our best interests at Heart and wants to see YOU succeed in all areas of Life on Earth.  In other words, we have to KNOW that Self wants what’s best for Self and be able to put our Trust and Faith into this realization.  From here, we can see that the drama of our trauma doesn’t have to be so dramatic after all as it’s leading us to the ultimate prize of release, letting go, or Acceptance (however you chose to look at it).  The most important thing to remember about the stress that comes with trauma and PTSD is that we are searching for a way to have our Emotional needs met in order to move on.  We are ultimately trying to find a Safe emotional space where we are comfortable with expressing the emotions the event brought on in the first place.  It’s a very typical thing to project these emotional needs onto others and expect them to fulfill us which is, unfortunately, quite impossible.  The problem with this is that the person we are expecting to meet these emotional needs is unable because they can’t possibly know what Self needs more than Self which sets us (and them) up for “failure” in almost every situation.  Ultimately, Self is the only one who is experiencing Self’s emotions and in order to Heal we must meet our OWN emotional needs but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a Loving support system around us when we work through it.

As we put our Trust and Faith in our Higher Self we can begin to work with the damage and confusion on a more Spiritual level which brings significantly more accessible results.  We can begin to be Honest with ourselves about what our emotional needs really are and how these “needs” are effecting our Lives in the bigger picture.  We must be willing to establish how and with whom we are going about having these emotional needs met.  While we are in this process we MUST keep in mind that our emotional needs aren’t necessarily “unhealthy” rather we may be going about meeting them in an “unhealthy” way by doing harm to Self or others.  This is a very common theme, especially of late, and what we call emotional projection meaning that we are projecting our emotions onto others in order to have them meet an emotional need they cannot possibly meet setting us/them up to disappoint which causes us to be “traumatized” all over again.  This is also where we feel as if we take 2 steps forward and one step back or consistently end up back at “square one” which, as we’ve learned, is the TRUE definition of “insanity” – doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

Every person and situation in our Lives is a mirror to the bigger picture of what we are trying to Learn about Self.  As we project our emotions and judgement onto others what we are really doing is asking Self to find Acceptance for the things we perceive as pissing us off or being “wrong” with the world or our relationships.  That’s certainly not to say there’s not some really negative energies out there but in order to transcend from the negativity we perceive “out there” we have to Love it into submission right “Here”.  This means what we “hate” or fear out there or in another is what we really hate or fear from withIN.  There’s nowhere to hide from this perception because we wouldn’t know hate and/or fear if we didn’t have it in our possession withIN.  These seemingly “negative” emotions are ALLERGIC to the energy of Love and in order to rid ourselves of them we must LOVE them from withIN.  From there, we begin to forget the negativity surrounding our trauma and can approach it from either a Loving standpoint or, even better, get to a place where we no longer put energy into it at ALL which is when it all but disappears as we (finally) move forward.

These epiphanies are uncomfortable and sometimes make us feel shame, guilt, or even “stupid” although it takes great commitment and courage to face what one truly hates and/or fears withIN.  It’s from this place of great vulnerability that we find our greatest Strength.  After all, this is when we Truly reach the rainbow bridge of emotionally imaginative Creation because we are in a Safe space where we aren’t doing “harm” onto others by way of our emotional projections.  Heaven on Earth is a mindset and a way of BEing rather than a place or an emotion that can be met by another from a projection because this IS part of the “illusion”.  The illusion tells us that we are incomplete, fragmented, or broken but the Truth is that we can never be these things in Spirit.  It’s only our judgment that tells us our emotions are “wrong” and our projection that tells us we need someone else to validate that the emotions are normal and healthy.  The safety comes when we no longer need this validation from others and find Love from withIN, even the parts of Self we think are “ugly”.  As most everything we Learned is upside-down, those who are reading this and embracing this process of Healing are opening up to a much deeper emotional vastness that covers all ends of the emotional and spiritual spectrum.  This means that by studying and making correction with our spiritual and emotional body we are able to Connect with Self and others in the most profound and expansive way.  From this end of the spectrum of pain, trauma, and PTSD to the other end of the spectrum of Love, Acceptance, and a Wholeness that comes from withIN.  This Loving Acceptance of Self is where we find our own personal brand of Heaven on Earth that comes from withIN and then begins to transform our reality (without).

If the writing inspires healing, please contact us for a private session or consider a donation as a healthy healing exchange.

Jennifer Deisher is a Wounded Healer and Spiritual Transformation Artist. She is the writer of the Moon Hippie Mystic blog and co-founder of  Blueprints For Butterflies with her husband, Aaron. She & Aaron founded Blueprints For Butterflies as a safe, loving space to assist others who are Awakening and Healing.  To book a private healing session or reading; please visit BlueprintsForButterflies.com or contact us at Blueprintsforbutterflies@gmail.com.  References available upon request.

 

Copyright © The Moon Hippie Mystic.  All rights reserved.  You may copy and distribute this material as long as you do not alter it in any way, the content remains complete and you include this copyright notice.