When we are born, we receive a name. That’s the first piece of information we get. Then we realize we are a certain race, a certain nationality, a certain ethnicity, and the information starts accumulating in our brains. As we grow up, we start to make our own choices of professions, beliefs, religions, political affiliations. We develop our character, our tendencies to be joyful or sad or upset or ambitious. We also create our likes and dislikes — this person, that music, this food. As time goes by, it becomes more difficult to remember our original nature, the state without preferences, without preconceived ideas of what’s right and wrong, good or bad, without particular beliefs, without a name.
When we calm our thoughts and emotions and refresh our brain from past experiences, we can recover that original state, a state we can call the zero point. At zero point, we naturally realize that beyond all our identity boundaries, we are all just human beings belonging to this earth; we are earth citizens. At that moment, our greedy impulses disappear. Since the root of our greed is competition and the root of competition is comparison with others based on our differences, at the zero point — where there are no differences — we are fulfilled simply as earth humans.
The human body itself reveals this reality. All human bodies are composed of the same elements, but each body shows a unique appearance. Also, one part of the body cannot function well without the other parts of the body. It functions as a whole. And there are laws and principles that govern the nature of the body. For example, one cannot bend an arm or a knee backward; or we cannot only inhale or only exhale, we have to do both. When such laws and principles are disrupted, our health gets affected. Like the human body and its different parts, human beings and all of existence are countless forms of the same essence, and they are parts of a whole which functions well when it connects to universal laws and principles.
So although people appear to be isolated entities, essentially they’re not. When we see this way, we can consider not only people but also the earth, the sun, the stars, and all of existence as some of those countless forms originating from the same essence. Centrifugal and centripetal forces make the earth go around itself and around the sun, and the magnetic force running through the north and south poles of the earth make the planet’s magnetic field flow in a certain direction. These are some of the universal laws that regulate life and existence, which, when disrupted, may also give rise to problems that affect our planet’s health — such as natural disasters.
Many intellectuals, spiritual leaders, and even scientists are talking about oneness. But the reality is that we keep drawing dividing lines between us, as we can see from the many problems of our world. In order to make the zero point physically manifest and come to life, understanding it conceptually or even through experience is not enough; we have to use it and develop it. We have to practice implementing it in our lives. As we do that, a culture of harmony among humans can be created, a culture that moves beyond our apparent differences, placing our essential commonalities at the center.
One effect of our sense of identity as separate from other beings is the limited scope of concern that we all start out with but tend to transcend. We start off being concerned primarily with our own immediate situation. Our prehistoric ancestors relied on hunting and gathering for survival. When under threat, the illusion of being an independent person increased the likelihood of survival. So it made sense to consider themselves as independent from each other. Later, as we developed our societal systems, communities, nations, we started to focus on our families, our friends — those physically close to us and close in relationship. But we can also see how such traditional systems are gradually weakening as we evolve. Today, families are breaking down, love for only a particular country has largely decreased, and belief in a religion is also in decline. So when we look at our history and evolution as humankind, this transcendence looks like a natural tendency of any human being. We go from the individual to the collective, gradually melting down our separations.
Because they are built around our differences, it is normal for us to question the usefulness of our current value systems for addressing the challenges faced by humankind—poverty, violence, inequality, mental illness … We can agree that although the problems of the world can be managed successfully by such worldly systems and knowledge, they cannot be truly solved by them. And this is because the systems created by human beings change. They are not absolute values. We don’t propose abandoning the systems; not at all. But as the boundaries of those systems weaken we have a great opportunity to awaken to the earth-citizen awareness, expanding our realm of concern to the well-being of the whole world and humanity. As that awareness comes to life, we can increase the value of our systems and use them to create happiness and well-being for everyone, not just a certain group of people belonging to a particular system.
We can say that we are reaching a tipping point in human history. Let’s imagine we delete nationality, religion, family, and ethnicity as elements of our core value system and start seeing them as tools rather than absolute values. What are we left with? It can be a scary thought. One can ask, what do I live for, then? Where do I center my mind and heart? We need values that keep us centered, that give us a ground for our actions.
A person with earth-citizen awareness has two values at the center: the earth and the human brain. The human family is the family that encompasses all human beings without exception, and this earth is our only home as humans. There is no bigger space that we all share in our physical reality. That’s why when we are centered on the earth and humanity, we are not separated by any individual identity boundary.