"As separate individuals, we live in separate cultures haunted by the vague memory of an intimacy that we all share. Let us, all together, chase the very horizon of existence, the edge of understanding, the point at which new sensations, emotions, thoughts and ideas begin to emerge… and let us bring this intimacy alive." ~Alex Mero
Can you explain what the essence of man is, and what limits him from reflecting all that it represents?
Every human being is above all, a soul, a pure expression of the universe. Once incarnated on earth, he is imbued with a zest for life that represents both his divine essence and that of his individuality, particular to that incarnation. During the course of his life, he uses his unique qualities to expand and to create, for that is his true nature. He is, however, faced with multiple influences, such as his karma, genetic heritage, conditioned environment, and many more factors. When he identifies himself with these influences, he limits himself by fleeing from his fears, by satisfying other superficial desires, which prevents him from fully expressing what he truly is. It’s by learning to perceive each of our limitations as an opportunity for better self-discovery that we develop our true creative potential, and that we draw closer to the divine essence we represent.
Is love natural? If so, why does it seem there is so much lack of love in the world?
Love is most definitely natural, but our hearts are influenced, and therefore ‘contaminated’ by negative emotions, keeping them closed, and obscuring the truth of love. These negative emotions come about by false needs that are consistently unmet, unrealistic expectations of life that lead to frustrations, and ideals indoctrinated into us by our social environment, ideals which basically go along the line of competition rather than sharing with one another. True love is absent in false needs and meaningless expectations, and most definitely, in conflicting relationships with one another. Love is unconditional and develops naturally and effortlessly in the total surrender of our true being, in accepting and valuing all that is, just as it is…
Violence in the world is the result of the tendency we have to form groups, whether they’re national, religious, racial or otherwise. These groups are founded on imaginary differences, designed to allow more restraint groups to appropriate themselves of power. Defending these differences is the main cause of violence, since each group defines itself according to its accentuated differences.
What are your views on fear, and does fear stall our spiritual growth?
Growing spiritually also implies that we encounter, and learn from, the darker side of our nature. Dealing with the darker side, as is the case with fear, can be seen as a “struggle” with the forces that impede our reunification with the great creative force of the universe. As we progress on our spiritual path, we will inevitably come across fear and other negative energies, but these inhibitory, and sometimes, destructive forces, have a major role within the universal order. Once we learn to conquer them, we become more aware of our specific gifts and talents. Everything is energy, and what we perceive as destructive forces, are also a form of energy, and as with all energies, they can be used both in a constructive and destructive manner. If we allow ourselves to observe with a quiet and curious mind, rather than allowing ourselves to be over-taken with the negative emotions these darker forces can bring out, then these forces become useful and a learning tool for our spiritual growth.
“Is it the first time that you have travelled so far?” Adnan asked him.
“I’ve been to Asia, but it was different it seems…” Nathan answered, still taking in all the sights.
What astounded Nathan the most was that just a few kilometres from the European coast, a completely different world existed.
“At this moment, it’s the differences that you are noticing,” Adnan told him, “But later, it will be the similarities.”
Nathan recognized immediately the typical tone of wisdom, the same as his father’s, Simon’s, and Pablo’s. ‘Was Adnan going to be just as important to him as the others?’ he asked himself. Adnan continued: “In origin, we are all similar. Then we take on habits according to the environment we grow up in. It is these that create the differences that we perceive between one another.”
No need to add anything more; the last sentences say it all.
I’m worried about the increasing level of violence amongst our youth. What is your opinion, and are there any solutions?
I’m not so sure violence is increasing amongst our youth. It takes new forms, certainly, but I think it has always existed. Much of this violence stems from their frustration in planning for their future, since many of them believe they are powerless in positively changing it. To counteract this attitude, it’s imperative that we aid these young adults with planning effectively for their futures, and provide them with ways of creating new values that will help them adapt to the current socio-economic culture. Regardless of age, from the moment a person realizes that they have bounteous opportunities to ensure a better future, they get a sense of peace and serenity in their present.
Do you believe we will ever be free of all forms of racial discrimination?
Racism is an ideology that is conceived to promote a political or cultural concept. Just the acceptance of the term “race” plays an important role in upholding existent dominant structures. It is an ideology that leads to social inequality, exclusion and rivalry, and prevents seeing the real social factors that are at the basis of the differences. As a result, when social inequality and oppression are given political and cultural legitimacy, groups are then identified by their undesired racial characteristics, and are blamed for social and economic crisis’. They are the scapegoats and become the object of social antipathy, thus diverting from the real cause of conflicts. Racism will disappear when people realize that “race” is an invented term and that we are all part of the human family, equal in every way.
Is racism caused by the fact that people know only their own culture and believe it to be superior to others?
That reason can certainly be considered one of the major causes of racism. A person who demonstrates racist behavior has little consideration of the world around him. He seeks refuge in his culture and stays closed off to others. His knowledge of other cultures is often very limited therefore he is incapable of any deep understanding of other cultural differences. As a traveler I’ve met numerous people of all ethnicity who were truly interested in my cultural background, and so I’ve never noticed any racist attitudes. Exploring a foreign culture is always a rich adventure for everyone, especially when one succeeds in breaking through purely rational rules and protocols and appreciates the emotional experience of those cultures’ values. The more we permeate into the heart of a foreign culture, the less strange it seems to us, and the more we understand that their culture gives them a sense of security and a meaning to life. Above all, we realize that our intellectual enrichment is dependent upon our ability to have dignified respect for other cultures.
Many people are raised with the conviction that “sin” is an act of disobedience towards a god, who not only is a separate entity from them, but can also inflict punishment. Based on this perception of “God”, certain deeds are condemned as not being in accordance with His Laws. These people consider themselves, and others, as sinners, and consequently, are overburdened with feelings of guilt. This leads to a life of fear and self-contempt because they are afraid of not being forgiven by this God. When people realize that “God”, “Consciousness”, “Love” and “Reality”, refer to the same thing, with only minor conceptual differences, then they’ll realize that God has always been with them. This is when they’ll feel liberated and experience life with more joy.
A person or a group’s identity is usually determined by their racial or cultural characteristics. How can we avoid racial prejudices because of these characteristics?
It’s rarely appropriate to judge anyone based on their race, culture or nationality. Rather, it is much more interesting to focus on their individual values. The only fundamental difference between human beings lies in their ambitions and the values used to bring these ambitions about. Everyone should be recognized solely for their unique Being, and not because of external factors.