Healing conflict in ourselves and in the world is needed right now

These are undoubtedly very testing times for very many of us. Countries are beset by political conflict and division. People in the UK are about to be confronted by a very serious political crisis, but they are not alone. In other countries in Europe and America, there are also serious crises. So what does the concerned, consciously aware person do in such circumstances? Is there something that can be done around reducing or healing conflict? You might feel yourself getting caught up in the conflict, taking sides, feeling angry about what is happening and indignant about certain actions. Or you … Read more

We seem to be becoming a very divided society – or am I dreaming?

Am I imagining it, or are we becoming a very divided society and alienated from one another? And if this is true, then how do we respond to this, to our fellow humans’ tendency to differentiation, of seeing another as different and as a threat? One area that has been concerning me for some time has been the growth of a tendency in society to separate off from one another in terms of nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender, physical ability and welfare dependency, among other differentiations. At one level this may not seem new, one might think “T’was ever thus”, but … Read more

Feeling disconnected from others and life can be hard

When we don’t take satisfaction, don’t fully engage in the moment and derive pleasure from what has been accomplished, we can remain apart from what has happened. This can be an example of the “separation” experience, where what is occurring isn’t a part of us, we’re feeling disconnected from it. Instead we perhaps have a judgement about it, think it’s “not enough”, question it, are not happy with it, and want something different, more, or better. Instead of “At-Oneness” we have “aloneness”. For some this might seem an abstruse point, and yet it goes right to the core of who … Read more

Feeling separate from the one we seek

“Will I ever get there?” How many of us at different times wonder whether we’ll achieve what we set out to do in terms  of our core goals? They’re commonly used words, wanting, success, goals, achievement, accomplishment. It can seem like we’re forever seeking but never getting “there”. Perhaps if you get there, that can become another “here” and there’s another “there” to strive towards. Without wishing to get too far into the realm of human accomplishment in practical terms, because surely there’s lot’s who have achieved a lot. I’m thinking more of the inner driver, the inner wish, that … Read more

How feeling alone, separate and isolated causes us grief

One of our big human dilemmas or challenges is the extent to which we feel connected to another and the degree to which we feel separate. Feeling separate is a classic ego characteristic. When a couple fall out in a blazing row, they may both be angry but they are probably upset too, and one underlying sense is of the gulf between them and how alone each feels. It’s a classic example of the dance between being together and separate, in Gestalt terms between confluence and isolation. Each may have their positions and their points of view but both are … Read more

Desire is reminding us of our disconnection from the Whole

We’ve been exploring the function of desire as an interrupter to our enjoyment of life. It’s a curious one, since we probably frequently think that if only this issue was resolved or that event happened, or that person did something, or stopped doing something, all would be well. Except that life isn’t really any different. You might get a short-lived pleasure in the resolution, but after a while the old issues reappear. One classic example of this is when people win the Lottery. Studies have shown that people generally haven’t in the long term found their lives to be any … Read more

What have rioting young people to teach us about alienation?

Normally on Wednesdays I aim to write about ego characteristics, the self that we think we are. Yet as I write my country has seen a major outbreak of rioting in city centres, perhaps of the kind last witnessed in France in 2005. What has all this possibly got to do with ego? It is especially hard to write about people who have taken part when I know so little about them and what drives their behaviour. Already there’s masses to read about on this in any case. See for example this article on the psychology of riots . What … Read more

Being alone on a Friday evening

I remember a time when on a Friday evening I would look out of my window at uni at all those people walking busily up or down Oxford’s High Street, going somewhere or other. In my eyes, there was lots going on, and I wasn’t part of it. I don’t know whether you’ve had the experience that everybody seems to be having a good time except you. It’s like certain people always have the “desirable” people as their girl or boyfriends. There are those who always seem to be at the centre of attention, to be “popular”, to have lots … Read more

Ego, separation and being One

Feeling separate is an everyday experience that many of us have. At the extreme end of that, we may feel very alone and isolated. Unloved. An unhappy place to be. Many of us try hard to avoid this experience, but probably find ourselves there from time to time. What does this mean for those interested in reaching beyond our current limited, alienated, conflict-prone paradigm? Separation is a facet of the human experience at the ego consciousness level. “I” as I might identify myself is a way I might experience myself as a person, with a knowledge of a history of … Read more

Beware the trends towards separation

One of the sad things about these economically uncertain times is the rise of a “us-vs-them” mind-set. This is where one group of people develop a hostile attitude towards another group. This can be between different groups in society, or an attitude towards minority groups, or perceived intruders into a society such as immigrants, or between whole nations. What we get is polarisation and an increased inflexibility and refusal to compromise. Parallel to this has been the rise in right wing extremism. This also happened in the 1930’s depression, with the rise of power of racist and nationalist parties. Simplistic … Read more