897th Week: Orienting to the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number
I’ve mentioned often that I believe that each of us is a participant in a dynamic collective human consciousness (as well as a collective planetary consciousness) and, because of this, that we are both contributing to and receiving from this collective all the time. When we develop new skills, discover new understandings, master something that was a challenge before, my belief is that we contribute what we experience to our human collective. Then, people who are on the verge of similar accomplishments can spontaneously draw on what we have contributed to the collective through our experience. In the same way, I believe that we also draw from the collective to support our individual journeys.
One of the powerful realities of our collective being is that we are affected by both positive and negative events and responses happening within our human family. As a trauma resolution specialist, I’m keenly aware that groups of people can generate what is called a “trauma vortex” that affects people who aren’t directly involved. Deep suffering can touch all of us even if we aren’t consciously aware of it. We resonate with one another simply because of our participation in collective consciousness. It can be the same on the positive side of things, as well, as was demonstrated in research a number of years ago where people in large groups in a city doing transcendental meditation seemingly affected the statistics on lowered crime in that city during the time of these meditations. We affect one another whether we mean to or not and whether we are conscious of it or not.
During the years that I taught Somatic Experiencing®, and whenever I have done workshops for the public or professionals over many years, one of the thoughts/wishes/intentions I have held was that the workshop or training would offer whatever amounted to the greatest good for the greatest number of those present. I would also hold the intention that the workshop or training would offer healing support in whatever ways was needed for each person present.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to add to whatever practice you already have the intention that what you do will serve the greatest good for the greatest number. One of the reasons I like this particular intention is that it invites me to get out of the way, in terms of thinking I know what is best for people. There are obviously things I give my energy to because I think they are important for people’s well-being, but I also realize that I don’t necessarily know what constitutes the greatest good for the greatest number within a group collective.
Because of this, I have had a practice of wishing the greatest good for the greatest number when I think about local or global problems. I may have specific ideas and things I can act on that I think will help, but I also always leave room for the very real probability that I have no idea what constitutes the “greatest good” for everyone involved in a specific context. I’m keenly aware of cultural conditioning and of the fact that my worldview is a Western, specifically American one, that is very different from other cultures, even those right here in America. So, whether you pray, participate in subtle activism, offer blessings, or do some other kind of practice that nourishes you spiritually or in another way, notice what happens when you add in the intention that whatever you are doing will serve the greatest good for the greatest number.
As with all these practices, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion, as curiosity opens us to new discoveries and experiences. And remember, as well, to pat any judgments gently on the head, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything about them. The same for any mixed feelings that may arise. They are an inevitable aspect of your wholeness, so please treat them gently.
Here’s an audio version of this practice, if you prefer to listen to it.