The Crisis of Governance and Your Role in Its Resolution

“The government is nothing but a reflection of the average state of consciousness of those whom they govern.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

We hear a lot about the problems of governance, whether it be government at the highest level, or the administrators of smaller bodies in society, schools, businesses, etc.

In this episode, Thom explains that the crisis of governance is not with the ‘government’ or whatever other body is ‘in charge’, but rather with our view that ‘they’ are the problem, and that there is little or nothing ‘we’ can do about it.

The Vedic worldview is that everything is structured in consciousness, including governments, and the only way to effect change is to effect consciousness.

Thom shares that governments reflect the consciousness of the people, even in a dictatorship, and so our own role is to take responsibility for our own consciousness, and to be an example, an exemplar, for others to do the same. This is the only way in which governance can improve and the crisis can be resolved.

Of course, Vedic Meditation, being the most efficient means to bring about a change in consciousness, has a role to play in this process.

Here are some highlights from the episode, which you can listen to via the player, or read via the transcript, below.

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Episode Highlights

01.

A Reflection of the Average State of Consciousness

(01:58)

02.

The Crisis of Identity – Self and ‘Other’

(04:00)

03.

Self Sufficiency Is the Seed of Revolution

(07:57)

04.

Dependence of the Individual Leads to Dependence On Government

(15:11)

05.

Spreading Self Sufficiency By Example

(17:38)

06.

The Ideal Individual Is the Basis of Ideal Government

(21:01)

07.

Vedic Meditation Produces Ideal Individuals

(21:41)

08.

The Spreader Effect – 1% of the Population Leading the Way Through Vedic Meditation

(27:06)

09.

Individual Peace is the Basis of World Peace

(48:29)

10.

Social Change is Not Going to Come From the Top Down

(33:14)

11.

The First Science – The Science of Self Discovery

(36:14)

12.

Challenge Your Assumptions About What is Possible

(40:32)

13.

Self Realization + Action = Self Actualization

(43:28)

14.

All Suffering is Based on Inaccurate Expectations

(48:29)

Jai Guru Deva

Transcript

The Crisis of Governance

I’m Thom Knoles. You’re listening to my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. Today, we’re going to talk about the crisis of governance. Governance means the way in which guidance is given by any form of government, committee, board, or other kinds of guidance group, to a group of interests, who have in their interests, the benefits and welfare of a collective. Very often we think of governance in terms of government, the government. And so often on that scale of things where we have city governments and state governments and federal governments, we might be in a mood of referring to it as “the government”. And in that sense, we very strongly have that sense of “other” in our awareness when we think of that. Something other than me, the government.

[01:58] A Reflection of the Average State of Consciousness 

The government, actually, as it is in governance on smaller scales, is nothing but a reflection of the average state of consciousness of those whom they govern. This is a very hard pill to swallow for most people. And I would say that, in the Vedic worldview, one of the most difficult and unpalatable ideas, and I’ll try to make it a little more palatable for you because it does have a call to action in it, a government is nothing but a reflection of the average collective consciousness of the people who are being governed. The idea that there is somebody who is in charge, and that person who is in charge is either a saint, or eminently forgettable, so that you get on with your daily life and don’t think about a thing, or something akin to a devil, someone who appears to be causing problems for everyone.

The fact is, though, that something we have to look at, and it may make us uncomfortable to look at it, is that when you have a forest, if the forest has brown trees, then you have a brown forest. If you want a green forest, you have to look at individual trees. Individual green trees can make up a brown forest. If you have 10% green trees and 90% brown trees, it’s going to be a pretty brownish forest. If you have 50% green trees and 50% brown trees, it’s still going to be a little unpleasantly brown. Like that, the idea that there is a collective that is made up of individuals is the idea that we need to examine today, thoroughly.

[04:00] The Crisis of Identity – Self and ‘Other’

What we see in countries all over the world today is a crisis of identity. What is it that identifies us? By what are we identified? This is a group question, a collective question. But this group question and collective question we’ve often, to try to find an answer to it, looked to newspapers, magazines, or to the government itself to answer our question about, who are we? 

One of the fundamental mistakes that is cited in the Vedic worldview is the mistake of attempting to find your identity by looking to outside sources. Looking to outside actions, forms, phenomena, ideas, looking to the outside, looking in the direction of “other”. So let’s look at the individual first, and then we can see how this plays out collectively.

An individual, as they grow, has over a lifetime, quite a number of shifting identities; “I’m a little baby, I have a sense of self, mommy is over there. If I’m safe, I can run around and be adventurous. If mommy’s not over there, or daddy, I can’t be adventurous. I’m conservative. Why? Because my capability is limited. Other people have a greater capability than me. I am dependent upon the greater capability of others and I have my own sense.” 

It’s a very interesting question to ask psychologists, and paediatric psychologists will very often tell us that a child only realizes round about, and of course, there are exceptions, round about the age of five, that they are thinking that they have thought forms going on in their mind that are independent thoughts that nobody else can hear. The idea that “I am having thoughts” is also an idea that has to do with self identity, who is the thinker? What is the quality of the thinker? Who am I? What am I that is thinking? I notice a pattern in my thinking.

The pattern in my thinking has to do with my sense of self; “What do I want? How do I get what I want into my life? How do I make a distinction between what I want and what I need? What about the needs of others? To what extent am I going to bring myself a greater basket of goods and services by attending to the needs of others? To what extent is there value, intrinsic value, simply in being charitable? That is to say, let somebody else play with my toys, or make sure somebody else is fed before I’m fed.” 

These kinds of ideas, these kinds of questions that grow inside of our consciousness, as we’re growing up individually, play out in the collective that we see when we have collectives of children. Small children in a kindergarten setting or a play school setting, it’s an entire world of activities, of hopes, desires, of needs and wants, the ideas of what’s fair, what isn’t fair, what is playing out in that collective has to be governed by somebody. And so you have the school teacher or the caregiver who turns out to be “the governance”.

[07:57] Self Sufficiency Is the Seed of Revolution

What is it that causes stricter governance and less strict governance? Well, it is the individuals in that collective. As the individuals in a collective begin to demonstrate greater self sufficiency, greater capability, they’re also going to demonstrate greater capability to be a little more giving, and perhaps more considerate of the needs of others. And then governance is less dictatorial. 

Dictatorial governance, even if it’s kindly asserted, might be needed more in a kindergarten room than in, say, a room of children who are a little bit older. With respect for a system, as respect grows and grows, I was walking my children the other day, and we stood outside of a dojo, where some Aikido was being taught, a Japanese form of self defense was being taught, and there were people there from, it looked like about the age of 12, going all the way up into their 60s and 70s. It was very fascinating to see the degree of respect that was shown for the sensei.

It was not fear-based respect. It was a desire to be respectful, a kind of willing surrender collectively, a willing surrender to a singular consciousness in the room that was trying to teach them something, and with very specific rules of play at work. And so you could see everyone taking a very respectful approach. Let’s contrast that with the average eighth grade classroom. Eighth grade in American terms, that’s around the age of 13 in whatever country you’re in when you’re listening.

Let’s look at a roomful of 13 year olds, in America we call that the eighth grade or so, and their collective capability to demonstrate respect for the environment in which they find themselves, a teaching environment. Part of it is based on the skills of the teacher, but, any teacher will tell you, that most of it relies upon the individual states of consciousness of the students. A roomful of ideal students is going to be an absolute breeze to govern. A room full of rowdy students who don’t really want to be there is going to be very difficult to govern. 

The governance in a classroom is going to be partly, the style of it, is going to be partly brought about by the degree of respect that the children have for the process in which they’re engaged. And that process is a process of learning, and learning, not just for oneself, but as a group drawing upon each other for the learning and moving forward experience.

Now, it may appear to some who are listening to this, that Thom is trivializing the larger format of something like a country. When we start moving up into the hundreds of thousands or millions and we start appointing people to be our governors, that is in a so-called democratic system, or even in a system where a dictatorial form of government is in place, people will sometimes say to me, “Are you telling me that even in a dictatorship, that the dictatorship itself is a reflection of the state of consciousness of the people who are being governed in that way?” And my answer is, “Yes, I am saying that.” Would a dictatorship work, an absolute dictatorship, in certain countries that you know of where we’re not at all accustomed to dictatorship. Well, it wouldn’t work. And why is that? Well, because the people would rise up and put down any trend in the direction of dictatorship. Why is it and how is it that a dictatorship appears in a country where you have dictatorial rule, a rule perhaps that appears to be only in the self interests of the few who are leading the many or dictating to the many? It happens because of the state of consciousness of the many.

The state of consciousness of the many changes, and what happens is, either gentle or radical revolution takes place. And when that takes place, there is a movement towards a style of governance that reflects back adequately to those who are being governed, what it is that they find at least more tolerable, if not that which is preferable inside their preference. And so then, when we look at government, and when you look at what happened, you say, well, “Government is falling apart, leadership is falling apart.” What we’re really looking at is individuals, and I want to come back to this point, to have a green forest every tree has to be green is the analogy that is used in the Upanishads, one of the ancient texts of the ancient Indian tradition.

If I, as an individual, am absolutely uncertain about who I am and what I am, because I had an identity 10 years ago, and then that changed. I had certain likes and dislikes, and they changed. And then five years later, I had a different sense of identity, a different sense of style, a different group of friends and people around me that I preferred to be with, and that changed. Then now five years later, let’s call it the present moment, I now have my sense of identity, and it’s this. My degree of self sufficiency is this. My degree of reliance upon others is whatever this quantity is. And so then my individuality is radiating itself into the environment around me. To what extent am I able and capable of being self sufficient and self reliant? To what extent am I in need of the capabilities of others? To what extent do I have sufficient adaptation energy, individually, to deal with unexpected crises, difficulties, challenges, demands, change? To what extent am I reliant upon the adaptation energy of others?

[15:11] Dependence of the Individual Leads to Dependence on Government

When we have a society in which quite a large number, perhaps even the majority of people, are not in themselves self reliant, are not in themselves harnessing their full creative intelligence and potential, when we have a society in which people have lost contact with their own capability to keep themselves healthy, when we have lost contact with the ability to generate sufficient means whereby we can support ourselves and support our family, then we start to become more and more reliant on the adaptation energies, the creative intelligence, the energy, the stability and capability of others. And in an environment like that, we’re going to see government reflecting back onto the people an increasing level of dictatorial mentality. We’re going to start finding that it looks as though the government is behaving in ways that we don’t like. And this is partly because the individuals and that social setting have not been given or do not possess, whether they’ve been given or they’ve discovered it within themselves, do not possess the capability to maximize their creative intelligence.

The individuals do not possess, whether they’ve been given or whether they’ve cognized it within themselves, the capacity to maximize their creative intelligence, to maximize their capacity to increase their well being, to maintain good health, and to meet demands individually successfully. As we become a more and more dependent individual, we end up creating a social setting, which is very, very dependent on government. And so then the “other” that we have created, the “other” being the governance of the individuals, is really a reflection of what it is that we individually, on average, radiate.

[17:38] Spreading Self Sufficiency By Example

Now, there may be listeners who say, “Yes, but I’m self sufficient. I’m self reliant. I have my maximum creativity. And I still think that government is terrible.” Well, all right, we need to look at whether we are in any large and effective measure, sharing our capacity of self sufficiency, our maximized creative intelligence, our maximized sense of well being. Are we sharing how we got that state with sufficient numbers of others? It is sort of like when we discover for ourselves that we’re okay. 

Like children who have gone up into a tree house, “We’re okay up here. And all of those who aren’t okay, too bad, I’m pulling up the ladder. Nobody can get up here.” It’s very much incumbent on all of us, that to whatever extent we have discovered some of the means whereby we can be more and more self sufficient, self reliant, where we can be comfortable, where we can be healthy. 

To whatever extent we found any of this, our next most immediate responsibility is also defined ways and means of sharing that with the collective around us. And we don’t have to be big celebrity sharers, either. We can do a lot of quiet work. And indeed we are. Our individuality continuously, whatever its quality is, is radiating itself into the environment, into the world around us.

You step out to buy a loaf of bread, and in the process of moving from A to B, and acquiring what is needed and going back home, you’ve already radiated into that environment, a quality, which is either helpful and hopeful to others, or which hasn’t been all that helpful or hasn’t created all that much hope for others. 

And so it is incumbent on us, not just to grow into self reliance and self sufficiency ourselves, but to find ways, either through example, that’s what being an exemplar means, it means being somebody who teaches by precept, by example, either by example or through some formalized method of teaching, finding a way to raise those around you into ever-greater self sufficiency, and to decrease the amount of neediness. 

Therefore, we have to look at the way in which individual fulfillment, individual development of full capability 100% potential; the development of greater self sufficiency and self reliance individually as a project is in fact, the baseline, the source, the means whereby we create ideal governance, ideal government, and the larger size.

[21:01] The Ideal Individual is the Basis of Ideal Government 

The ideal individual is the basis of ideal government, and it cannot be done from the top down. No one should ever suffer from the illusion that a government on its own is capable of making people individually self reliant and self sufficient. Individuals have the capability to awaken to their fullest potential if they have learned sufficient methodology to awaken that natural-born full capability of their brain. 

[21:41] Vedic Meditation Produces Ideal Individuals

Of course, we advocate Vedic Meditation as the primary means of doing this. It is a trigger, it is not the totality. Learning Vedic Meditation means you learn how to systematically close your eyes twice a day, and for 20 minutes, settle down into your own least-excited consciousness state. In that least-excited consciousness state, our awareness broadens to its fullest potential. Consciousness itself is experienced as something that though it’s the source of thought, is something other than thought. Thought is, in fact, the undulations or waveforms that occur in the ocean of consciousness.

And so consciousness, on its own, isolated, can be experienced through the natural process of Vedic Meditation. And Vedic Meditation, as the mind settles down to that least-excited state, naturally, the body begins to follow into its own least-excited state. The body in its own least-excited state turns out to be a state of unprecedented restfulness. That unprecedented restfulness is something akin to five times more restful than the deepest rest that can be attained to at any point in a night sleep. This deep and profound restfulness allows the body to release and relieve deep-rooted stresses, which have accumulated through overloads of experience in the past. 

Stress, which is the product of the accumulation of overloads of perception, emotion, and the like in the past, has the most deleterious effect on us because it forces us into behaviors that are not relevant to the actual demand of the present moment. Stress forces us individually to behave as if some kind of emergency is going on, when in fact, the emergency passed a long time ago, and our body is simply continuing to react irrelevantly as if that emergency is still here. This is the basis of the very now-famous Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disease, or Disorder.

So as we practice our meditation twice a day as a regular morning and evening program, layer after layer of accumulated stress is dissolved. And this dissolution of stress, this removal of the impediment to having behavior that is relevant to the present moment, is an enormous advantage to us. 

When we come out of our meditation, a few minutes of meditation morning and evening, we have liberated our capacity to use full creative intelligence in the face of any situation or any demand. Our staying power is greater. Our creativity improves. Our capacity to make an intellectual distinction between one thing and another thing that might look like that thing, but is not that thing, that is to say, intellectual discrimination, increases dramatically as a result of practicing Vedic Meditation. And done on a regular basis, a state begins to stabilize, where our fullest potential is available to us 24 hours a day.

Vedic Meditation is, as I said, a trigger for individual self sufficiency. It gives you the capacity to awaken to doing the things that you need to do, the other things that you need to do, that will bring complete fulfilment to life. We can’t gain fulfillment simply by meditating. Meditating gives us the baseline for being able to get out into the world and to meet the demands of the world interactively, to meet those demands successfully, with an abundance of energy, intelligence, and creativity, and stamina. 

And so it is incumbent on us, if we don’t practice Vedic Meditation, that we practice something like it, something, at least, that gives us the ability to develop our fullest potential at the earliest possible time. By doing so, we will begin to radiate into the environment, that lack of neediness rather than someone seeing you coming to buy the loaf of bread, and they think, “Here comes a needy one.” They’ll see you coming and they’ll think, “Here’s somebody who I’d like to talk to, and find out what their secret is.” Because even the look on the face of someone who practices Vedic Meditation is a different look to the look on the face of someone who’s just been in the business of accumulating stress year after year.

[27:06] The Spreader Effect – 1% of the Population Leading the Way Through Vedic Meditation

Therefore, it turns out that in order to systematically bring about greater and greater self sufficiency in a collective of people, the widespread teaching of Vedic Meditation is a must. It really answers the great need of the time. Now, I’m a practical person and I know the likelihood of the vast majority of a large collective learning Vedic Meditation in my lifetime is very small. It’s a small likelihood. But we are very comforted by another idea. 

You see, if you have about 1% of neurons, brain cells, they begin firing in a particular way to cause a particular cognition or thought or action to occur. Within seconds, the other 99% of all the neurons begin to fire in the same way and begin to move in that direction. It turns out that about 1% is something like a critical mass turning point that you get 1% of a population moving in a particular direction, and the effect, the spreader effect that that 1% has on the other 99% is palpable and measurable.

I think it really doesn’t matter if 100% of the people in the world or even 50% of the people in the world learn to meditate. I would like to see something akin to 1% of the people in the world practicing meditation twice a day. Because of the spreader effect, they will affect the other 99%. And so we have the vision of teaching just a sufficient mass of people, Vedic Meditation, to watch the spreader effect have its impact on individual increase of self sufficiency. And as we see self sufficiency rise in the individuals, we’re going to begin seeing more and more ideal government, because governments, frankly, are not equipped with the ability to make people self sufficient. 

This is something that has to happen at a grassroots level. Just as we can’t wait for governments to deliver to us world peace, governments do not know how to create world peace. And if we wait for governments to deliver it, and we’re impatient and we’re thinking, “When are they going to deliver world peace to us?”

[29:59] Individual Peace is the Basis of World Peace

Individual peace is the basis of world peace. That’s the fact of it. Individuals themselves personally are in command of being that component of world peace. The problem of world peace is a problem of world population magnitude. 7.8 billion people as it stands today, I’m sure that in future when people are listening to this ancient podcast, they’ll be saying, “Wow, there were only 7.8 billion back then. Now there are 20 billion.” Quite all right. Hopefully, by the time it gets to 20 billion, we will have really learned how to have individual peace as the basis of world peace. 

Again, I come back to the Upanishadic analogy, in order for a forest to be green, each individual tree has to be green. So we are in charge of ourselves, to the extent that we are in charge of ourselves actually, we’re going to be able to create a better social setting in which government is forced to change. Government is forced to change by virtue of an improvement of individual status. And it’s for families, for individuals and for families, and groups of families, society, to begin looking at ways of creating more ideal individuals within that setting.

My advice is, don’t wait for government to do it for you. When we wait for government to do it for us, then all we get is great impatience. And then we get very belligerent and we get out and start shouting at the government, “Why don’t you make this better?” And the government actually, is incapable of making very many things better. 

All a government really can do is reflect back to us, our own identity crises, our own individual identity crises, our own individual capabilities, or incapabilities. That’s what governments end up doing, and you change the government, and governments do change regularly, and when you change the government, watch to see if in fact, there is massive social change. It doesn’t work that way. 

The Vedic worldview is, you create massive social change, and then governments change. Governments are really a product, they’re not the cause. The source of social change is the individuals in society. And this message is a message that seems to have been lost. We’ve made ourselves far too dependent on who is in power. Usually, it comes down to one person at the top of a huge administration.

[33:14] Social Change is Not Going to Come From the Top Down

There’s one person at the top of the huge administration and they’re either the cause of all the woes and miseries of millions, or they’re the source of the happiness of millions. Anytime that you have watched a change of government, and you watched it change to the government that you preferred, did you see, and I’m asking you to examine this question critically, did you see that suddenly, waves of happiness came through all the people in the country, and that everybody was just completely celebratory, because finally, we had a leader who made everybody happy? Well, of course, it never happens. And the reason it has never happened, is the same reason why it will never happen. And that’s because governments cannot be the source of your happiness. Governments cannot be the source of your power. Governments cannot be the source of your organising power, your intelligence or your creativity, or your well being or your health. These matters are matters for individuals together unto themselves and to the extent that we actually get ourselves into that mentality and start that process. Then, to that extent, we’re going to see government changing.

Government may be a means whereby, if there’s a demand from the public, it can start spreading and help to spread through education, the ideals of individual, the self sufficiency of the individual being the basis of ideal society, but a government cannot deliver this to you. So this rather sobering idea that a government that you like is a government that is reflecting back to you the kinds of things that you consider ideal, but I’ll put it to you that there may be millions who don’t like it, they don’t possess the same ideals that you have. 

A government that you don’t like is the government that is reflecting back to you the ideals of others who are not quite like you. Governments on their own are a product of a collective. They’re the product of a collective, what else could they possibly be? They don’t come into existence on their own. They come into existence because of a collective, because of the average state of consciousness of the people who have given them power. And so it’s up to us as individuals to create social change. Social change is not going to come from the top down.

[36:14] The First Science – The Science of Self Discovery

There’s no model in nature where the superstructure completely creates the behavior of the masses. It is the masses who end up creating the superstructure. And so it is for us as individuals to become enlightened on this topic, and really start developing a plan. Each one of us needs to have a plan. “What is my plan to rise up out of my suffering? Is my plan, I’m going to wait for the government to come and make my suffering go away? Or is it my plan that I am going to develop my fullest potential as soon as possible, awaken my birthright to have balanced health and awaken my birthright to living a life where I interact effectively with change and with demands? Or am I waiting for somebody else to do it for me? If I’m waiting for someone to teach me, that’s a good starting point.” Let’s make that an active thing. Start looking for a teacher, start looking for someone who can adequately teach you. If you find someone who looks like a good teacher, but it turns out that they had limitations, transcend that teacher and move beyond that.

Every teacher is a teacher of a stage of your life. If you’re going for a PhD, just because you had a fabulous kindergarten teacher doesn’t mean that kindergarten teacher is going to assist you in having doctoral knowledge of a topic. And so you may need to move from teacher to teacher until you find a teacher that matches your need, and who is able continuously to deliver to you knowledge at each level of your development. And so the seeking of a teacher is a very, very important thing, the seeking of an adequate teacher. 

For a moment, I’m driven back into the history of what is referred to as the Aristotelian demand. The Aristotelian demand was a demand made by Aristotle, that the first science needs to be the science of self knowledge, the first science, his demand for the first science. He called it the first science. The first science should be, and needs to be, the science of self discovery. “What is the extent of this thing that we call self? Not just who am I, but what am I? What am I made up of? What am I the knower, the consciousness field that’s having these thoughts. What am I made up of?”

Once I know what I am, then I can take the next step and say, “Well, I have an idea of what my consciousness is. And maybe that will expand, but for the moment, I know what it is. Now I can look at, what do I stand for? What is the quality of the thoughts and the ethics for which I stand?” The next thing might be, “What are the opportunities that I see where I can take this sense of self into action and achievements?” And then finally, the fourth question, which is, “What am I doing about it? What’s my plan? What’s my action plan?” So first of all, the first science, self knowledge, the Aristotelian demand from Aristotle. Then, knowledge of ethics. Followed by viewing the world to see, “Where are the opportunities where I’ll be able to make myself relevant to the need of the time”. And fourth, “What am I doing about it right now?” This is our Vedic approach.

[40:32] Challenge Your Assumptions About What is Possible

I think at this juncture, it would be good for me to summarize a few of the points that I’ve made in the last 40 or 50 minutes. 

Let’s start with the basic idea here, that individuals and individual consciousness is the basis of a collective and group consciousness. Governments that are in position are reflecting back to the individuals, the average state of consciousness of the individuals. If we look at a government and we don’t like it, it’s because that government for us individually is reflecting back the average of the collective consciousness state. It may not be reflecting back to us our own. 

If we want to expand and increase the capability of a government, the responsibility rests with us individually to begin two approaches. One is, go within. Develop your fullest potential as fast as you can. I recommend regular practice of Vedic Meditation. Once you have developed that full potential, watch for all of the cues that you receive from inside, about what other activities you need to be engaging in. Challenge the assumptions you’re making about life, about what is possible.

When you start to challenge the assumptions, as you release stress on a daily basis and your mind opens up, and you become less and less daunted by the possibility of change, then as you become more courageous, move upward and outward into your greater capability. Seek to interact with change and demands rather than simply to react to them. Lose the idea that waiting for a government to come and solve your problems is going to be your approach, the “Messiah” of government. It’s an idea that has been hoped for and has failed for thousands of years. 

So pay attention to the already existing research on that done by collectives of millions of people. Waiting for governments to solve individual problems doesn’t work. As you rise into your collective potential and you start to find greater and greater satisfaction in your life, begin thinking of how you can become a means whereby others receive the same capability and gift of knowledge that you have.

[43:28] Self Realization + Action = Self Actualization 

You have to have a plan to live a life as an exemplar. Whether you are simply teaching by example, as a preceptor, or you are actively teaching, you need to have some kind of a plan whereby what you are, if it’s pleasant, what you are, is expanding and growing into the collective around you. And in this way, if each of us takes on the individual burden of moving from a less ideal society to a more ideal society, then not only will we have benefited ourselves and all those who surround us who are concerned with our daily life, we will have benefited the whole of society and made the best of our life. This is the solution to the crisis of governance. The crisis of governance is a crisis of individuality. Individuals make up collectives. 

This is something that, as I said at the very beginning, is sometimes not very palatable. It’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow, that to whatever extent I am individually part of the problem, the problem being the problem of social dissonance, the problem of groups in society having completely different ideas about what the society is, collective identity crisis starts in individual identity crisis.

So ask yourself the question, to what extent do you have an individual identity crisis? Do you really know not just who you are, like where your body was born and who your parents genetically were, and what happened when you were 10, what happened when you were 15, what happened when you were 20, and all of those things? That’s the who. What are you? There is an experiencer inside. What is the nature of that experiencer? What are you, you minus all the thoughts, What is the character of the Knower, capital K, Knower? 

When you can answer all of those questions on a level of complete confidence, based on direct experience, not just based on theory but based on direct experience, then you are making your way towards being a realized individual. Realized means self realized. 

The next step beyond self realized is self actualized. We take that realisation and we turn it into actualization. We take it into action. And then our individuality becomes a means whereby that quality of cosmic intelligence, which is the nature of our own individual, least-excited state, our own least-excited state is contained within it. The nature of cosmic intelligence, it’s permeating everything.

As it expresses itself through us and through our individuality with greater and greater clarity, we become a means whereby others can also answer all of these most important and critical questions. When I say critical, I really mean by that, a better word probably is pivotal, pivotal questions. The answers to the pivotal questions, pivotal meaning that a turning point occurs. When you have the answer to that, so your fullest potential. 

In neuroscience, we’re confident that on average, people use something like 2% of their brain’s available computing power. 2%. And so when we have a collective that is using on average 2% of its brain’s available computing power, we shouldn’t be so surprised when we look at the so-called leadership and we see them also reflecting that back to us, and then we’re expecting something different to that. But on the basis of that inaccurate expectation, we’re going simply to suffer.

[48:29] All Suffering is Based on Inaccurate Expectations

One of the principles of Vedic science is that all suffering is based in inaccurate expectations. When you have foggy perception, when you have incomplete thinking, then you develop inaccurate expectations. And when you have inaccurate expectations and accuracy, which is, the other word for that is reality, arrives, then you get disappointed. My master used to say, in order to have a disappointment, you have to have an appointment. You make an appointment by having an inaccurate expectation, and then you start looking for blame, “Who is to blame for what I’m experiencing? It can’t be me, who’s to blame for it?” And we begin pointing our finger at whoever is to blame. People who should be organizing the removal of my suffering are not organizing the removal of my suffering. And we need to challenge the assumption of that kind of mentality. We need to learn how individually to rise above this.

You want to create an ideal society, become an ideal person. And then take that to the world and teach it, both through your example and through an act of teaching. I think that will summarize this topic. And we can revisit this again at a later date. Perhaps we’ll have a Part Two. 

Jai Guru Deva.

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