Indonesia: the West’s response

"The world is one world, and its sufferings are one, humanity is in truth a unit ... The sins of humanity are also one, its goal is one, and it is as one great human family that we must emerge into the future." ~ The Destiny of Nations, Lucis Trust.

Westerners view spiritual development as a largely personal matter. We make individual decisions to work consciously on spiritual development, and our relationship to the product is proprietary: it is 'my' path and 'my' development.

This separatist perspective belongs to the three planes of personality, and it serves its purpose. The personality is a separatist structure and its functional value resides in this.

From a higher level, however, humanity is one unit, one energy-transforming unit, and from a higher level the gains of the individual are the gain of the collectivity and, ultimately, the gain of the planet.

We have a need now to borrow that perspective as, in our millions, we Westerners watch the suffering across the world: the Balkans, Turkey, East Timor, Taiwan, and now Indonesia, experiencing horror, despair, relief and- probably in equal measure - guilt that we still have our comforts whilst they have nothing.

How does this backdrop of appalling human suffering off-set our personal spiritual quests? How do they appear now? Insubstantial, inadequate, self- indulgent?

Does our understanding of what we can do for those left homeless, stateless and destitute end with the supplying of aid and the sending of our prayers? Or can we rise above our separatist perspective far enough to see the redemptive possibilities in the state of inter-connectedness? If we can, we will better comprehend our responsibilities.

Can we understand that if we, motivated by their suffering, resolve to make our lives more purposeful we can redeem their suffering? We have to come to this understanding.

We face now eight years of turmoil on our planet, the product of natural disasters and their economic consequences, eight years in which the East will offer us its suffering so that we Westerners may raise awareness, not to benefit the West, not for the personal spiritual gain of the relatively affluent and well-educated, but to benefit the collectivity.

It is, if you like, a division of labour, but there is only the one planet, one humanity and one job to be done, and that is the transformation of energy for our planet.

Will what we see on our television screens awaken us to our responsibilities and create within us the determination to live more purposeful, spiritually useful lives, or will it make us sink into inertia, despondency and escapism?

If we allow that then we betray those who suffer, ourselves and our planet. We cannot turn back the clock; we may not be able to arrest what karmic law demands be worked out, but we can work in our lifetimes, through 'our' personal development, to transform and redeem.

This is the responsibility, which has fallen to those of us in the West.

Suzanne Rough


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