It is the worst of human behavior, it is the best of the human drama, it is the mixing pot of humanity, it is the cauldron of human stain, it is a catalyst for great invention, it is the cause of most human suffering; it is the human battle we’ve long known as independence, that has created grand luxury for the few and gross suffering for the masses. A world where everyone wins? Surely this would be but dreaming the impossible dream and the quest for the unreachable sky. Or is it?
Perhaps the ugliest part of sports is seen in the intensity around winning. This is not more graphically seen than in the faces and gestures of the average college basketball coach on the sidelines. There, every expression and its inherent intensity sometimes seems to be about not losing more than it is about winning. For what is wining; other than the experience of not losing? In the world of sports, to end the battle with a tie has been dubbed the “kiss your sister” effect. No one wants a tie because that is not winning! The tie was the old adage of “at least we didn’t lose.” But a tie in sports left everyone without the ego’s prize–“we beat them!” With the emptiness of neither a win or a loss after the battle, the human ego invented the Over Time, the Sudden Death experience (why not Sudden Life?) the Shoot Out, or whatever else would ensure a winner and a loser. Yet most would rather risk a loss in the fight for a win than to not know either. Why? What does a win really mean? What does a loss really mean? What does the label “winner” really identify in a person or a team? Is not “winner” a mask that pushes compassion aside? Does a winner’s self focus replace empathy? Does the winner project their inner “loser” onto others?
Are we not all winners and losers repeatedly? Can losing yield a valuable insight or teach an important lesson? In that case, if I celebrate a loss, is it really losing? Can anyone really win all the time? Yes! We can–we must–create a world where everyone wins! The beauty of this kind of world is far more than a tie game! In the distortions of competition, whatever its form, no one wins: not the “winner,” not the “loser,” not those who embrace the tie scenario. We must understand that a battle never can yield a winner–only losers all–as seen when anyone is beaten or dubbed the loser. If I beat someone, does that act make me a winner? What have I lost in that process?
In our competitive society we have created a world where everyone who competes with others is automatically a “loser”. Even those who appear to be winners when we see their homes, cars, portfolios, positions in life, and their apparent success–whatever that word means. By one definition they are winners, but by another they are only losers. We’ve been encapsulated in a world of competitive behavior in which nations, religions, tribes, classes, and political parties are in fierce competition. But for what, really? What does winning mean as we compete for jobs, driving space on the road, selling, buying, sexual partners, and even food itself? What is included in the fear of losing? As Yoda said, “it is the fear of losing that is the path to the dark side.” Does that make “winning” into that “dark side?” Yes! If winning (really the fear of losing) is our only goal, then winning is the greatest blindness that we can experience. We are blind because in that place we fail to “see” our brothers and sisters” and their needs.
What are the benefits of everyone winning? What would that look like? Since most of us have never experienced this at a deep level, what have we been missing? We all long for winning and we work hard to avoid what feels like losing. What is it that we are looking for? What would it be like to have others truly value who we are? What would be the experience of the human spirit being recognized as Divine–all humans honored in the “namaste” of “the god/goddess in me honors the god/goddess in you?” Would we, do we, risk losing this experience by focusing on our “need” to win at all cost? To create a world in which everyone wins is to build community in our midst–a community that includes everyone at the table. Community is diversity rather than exclusion. Community is cooperation rather than competition. It is where love replaces fear, compassion replaces false pride, and where service replaces battle. It is easy to write about this. It is much more difficult to create it and maintain it.
In the present world, battles and strife are rampant: from Capitol Hill, to Afghanistan, Libya, China, the inner city and the suburbs. Every battle of the human drama is about getting our needs met! To win is to get certain needs met. To lose is to be frustrated and fall short of that experience. We battle, love, criticize, share, create, destroy, work, play, avenge, laugh, cry, hope, plan, celebrate and more–all as the means to get our inner needs met.
What needs? That is the question that we must be able to answer. Have you ever made a list of your needs, in order to understand what you’re quest in this life is about? All human needs are universal–we are one in our humanity and in our divinity. Our needs are exactly the same needs of our fellow pilgrims on this journey we call life. While the needs of humanity are the same for each of us, they are not the same in any given moment. Every choice we make, every decision we make, and every action we take, are all about getting our needs met! Nothing we do is unrelated to this quest. And, while listing our needs, we must be aware that the “wants” of the ego are always in the mix. We all have needs related to our own self. Those needs include expression, challenge, love, creativity, integrity, purpose, touch, accomplishment, sexual connection, sustenance, self-worth, choice and many more. Needs around relationships include appreciation, respect, community, forgiveness, inclusion, contributing to others’ lives, empathy, love, mutual trust, sexuality, celebration, connection, sharing in grief, birthing a new self, presence, and more. We also have needs in the spiritual (not religious) arena, like harmony, tangible connection, intuition, knowing, celebrating love, expressing beauty, experiencing beauty, knowing peace within and without, order, tranquility, communion, creativity, and many more. Love is always a spiritual experience.
We all vibrate with the full list of human needs and we live in order to meet them in whatever way we can. Some people have done some incredibly horrendous acts to get their needs met. Yet in our humanity, we are all living to get our needs satisfied. We must come to understand this as deeply as possible and recognize the priorities that we and others have in any given moment as we experience this process. Community, as the world where everyone wins, will only be created as we assist each other in meeting our human needs. What I see in you must first be resolved in me and/or celebrated in me for our hearts to be one. Community is created by choosing empathy and compassionate service to others in this context, by cooperating with one another, by working to see others get their needs met, by focusing on loving others, by asking what they need, by intuiting those needs when possible, and with permission, assisting others in getting their needs met in healthy and constructive ways. In this process we become spiritual mid-wives for each other in the birthing of a new self continuously.
The greatest service on the planet today is seen by measurably supporting and loving all those who have been disenfranchised by our society whether because of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, view of the world, or any other factor that has resulted in separation. The voice of ancient Wisdom can be heard resounding in the words of Hokhmah (The Feminine Face of The Divine) in Thunder Speaks. The following includes parts of that passage as taken from Desert Wisdom by Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz.
I appear in the minds of the restless,
I am found within by those who look for me.
For I am first and last, honored and dishonored, prostitute and saint, experienced and virginal.
I am the verdict: guilty and innocent. I make no mistakes, but all errors have their root in me.
I am easy to hear, difficult to grasp. I am mute and verbose together.
I am the one who cries out and gets a bad reputation.
I am the Hokhmah of my name; earth-wisdom, breath of the mother, source of all living in form.
I am silent with those who are silent, I stand up with those who speak out.
I have been scattered and gathered.
Your outer appearance is created by the same one who dresses you inside.
You create your inner life in visible forms all around you.
Our greatest magnificence is hiding just behind our fear of bringing it forth. We’ve learned to deny our best self far too often, to fear our greatest strength too many times, to mistrust what we truly know, and to hide what the world needs in order to heal–the best possible me and the best possible you. We need each other’s support to make it happen. This is where applause replaces criticism and celebration replaces condemnation. When others see our magnificence and support us in calling forth that light out of the shadows, we will become a new self. You help me grow! I help you grow! Yes! If I truly love you, I will call forth the best in you and replace ignorance with celebration. And, I will trust you to call forth the best in me too.
Beyond our needs, how then shall we live? “I see you!” was the great insight from the movie, Avatar. We cannot see each other until we join together on the great adventure of community–getting our needs met in the aura of love and connection. Community happens when we shift from Me to We! As we pass through this world of illusions, may it become “we, we, we” all the way home. Your spiritual path is unique, yet your needs along the way are not. We have the power to change our inner landscape from sinner to winner just by changing one letter. That change involves doing the inner transformational work and birthing a new self continuously. The old religious label just doesn’t serve anyone. See my book, Liberating Jesus From Christianity, (available on Amazon.com) for more details.
–Jim Stacey, all rights reserved