Beyond “Us” and “Them”
In its essence, the Neohumanist philosophy is about continually expanding the radius of our circle of love to include the entire universe. Human love is nurtured from birth by forming attachments to those closest to us, but often, beginning in early childhood, those outside of our circle of love, are part of an unknown “Other”. We then begin to experience the duality of “us” and “them” – those that are part of our world and thus familiar, safe and approachable, while those that are not, and are unfamiliar, alien and often thus perceived as threatening on some level due to our basic fear of the unknown.
Neohumanism: Expanding the Heart
My understanding of Neohumanism, is that it is essentially an expansion of the heart to become truly inclusive and loving towards all entities, based not just on an intellectual “nice idea” of unity, but rather on an inner realization of the common spiritual essence that unites us all. This realization naturally gives rise to an intuitive and authentic form of empathy. To truly cultivate Neohumanist consciousness takes active efforts at transforming our own thought patterns and conditioning into a wide and inclusive awareness through contact with the pure, unconditional love springing from the Divine. This is achieved through introspective processes such as meditation, which help to deeply align our mind with the core of unconditional love in our soul.
Deliberate Efforts Needed
However, meditation alone is often not enough to undo the effects of conditioning. Unfortunately,even experienced meditators may continue to harbour prejudices and other divisive sentiments as these are often programmed so early into our unconscious attitudes that we are not even aware of their existence. Just as a swimmer does not feel the wet when immersed in water, but only can experience wetness when exposed to air – so we are often not aware of our own cultural conditioning until we step outside of it, either through intercultural contact, or through deliberate efforts to use rational enquiry to consciously question and challenge the barriers of mistrust, fear, entitlement etc we still hold on to and that separate us from others. This implies continually cultivating self-awareness from the humbling realization that even though we are all wonderful, well-intentioned people, we grew up in a biased world and we were inevitably influenced through no personal fault of our own. A baby, with a delicate immune system, will easily contract the endemic diseases of its society. In our formative years, our own ability to utilize reason to rationally question illogical belief systems was very limited, and thus we internalized certain faulty attitudes and patterned ways of thinking. However, once we are able to perceive Divine Love and allow it to flow through us, it helps us to liberate our minds from any constricting or narrow belief systems so that our rationality as well as intuition can operate more clearly and fully.
Love reveals its secrets
Ultimately this process helps us to connect empathetically and extend ourselves not only towards other human beings belonging to different ethnicities, classes, religions, nationalities, etc but also towards the rest of the created world: the natural elements, animals, plants. There is a saying that when you love something, it will reveal its secrets to you – so a person that has truly achieved a Neohumanist consciousness will be able to be sensitive enough to intuitively understand the inner language of plants and animals and natural phenomenon. Many great saints, mystics, and healers such as Francis of Assisi had such abilities.
However, even experienced meditators may continue to harbour prejudices and other divisive sentiments as these are often programmed so early into our unconscious attitudes that we are not even aware of their existence. Just as a swimmer does not feel the wet when immersed in water, but only can experience wetness when exposed to air – so we are often not aware of our own cultural conditioning until we step outside of it, either through intercultural contact, or through introspective efforts.
This song expresses that idea beautifully. The lyrics were originally written by Arun from Long Island, though I have slightly adapted them to fit the music, which performed by the Norwegian guitarist Sukhadeva.