Due to COVID-19, our brains and humankind have experienced an unprecedented shock. However, because of the “pause” of the human world, we’ve come to look back on many things. The existing systems of politics, economics, culture, and religion have collapsed and new paradigms have started to form. Standing before COVID-19, we’re able to realize that any class, hierarchy, or religion is equal. In the face of this levelling, it’s easier to see that there are three important values that unite us all and that should guide us moving forward. Those are the value of nature, human value, and the value of the brain.
It might seem like these three values are separate from each other, but ultimately, they are one. If you know the value of nature, you come to know human value and the value of the brain, and if you know the value of the brain, you come to know human value and the value of nature.
Humans are nature-made, not man-made. When we understand this, we’re connected with the life force within us, and we can discover our true nature. We get connected with nature, both externally and internally. These two kinds of nature are ultimately interconnected and continuous. You may have felt this when you were in a natural setting. Having a sense of being a part of that environment and knowing that our bodies came from the earth and will return to it when we die, can help us realize the value of all life, including our own. Being able to be conscious of that existential value is the value and unique capacity of the human brain. I believe this simple realization of the connection between nature, human lives, and the human brain is enlightenment.
It’s really important to experience this realization as a feeling, not a thought. All you have to do is feel the life within you. One of the easiest ways to do that is to feel the beat of your heart. Try to feel it once now. Close your eyes and place your hands over your heart. Do you feel your heart beating? Your heart has been beating without resting, even for a moment. Who makes your heart beat? Is your heart beating as a result of your thoughts, knowledge, or beliefs? No. The infinite life force of nature is making your heart beat and causing you to breathe. This is proof that nature is inside you, proof that nature within and without are connected.
Everyone Can Be Enlightened
Anyone can be enlightened if they perceive their own value with nature as the yardstick and if they are cognizant of the value of the brain. For each individual, if you break free from your ego, selfishness, religious views, and national perspective and go back to being a free soul and see as a free soul, you will gain a new vantage point from which to see human value and the value of the brain.
In reality, enlightenment is something simple and ordinary, something already sitting there in the brain of every man, woman, and child, waiting to be awakened. Our longing for it can be seen in every loving smile and felt in every selfless gesture, and it is written into our countless stories of lost paradises and futuristic utopias. Really, enlightenment is about information. Often people act as though obtaining the correct spiritual information were the key, but really it is as much about the ability to let go of information as the ability to take it in. Enlightened information is information that expands our awareness and breaks down the illusions of separation.
Feed Your Brain Enlightened Information
Certain fundamental beliefs about who you are and your role on this planet are the most influential programming that your brain contains. This programming can affect every other decision or action generated by the brain.
Thus far, we have primarily used our brains to divide rather than to unite. Through our rational, analytic minds, we look for differences and we also habitually use our brains to create ideologies and labels that divide humans from one another. We say, “We are Americans, and they are Koreans.” And we also create beliefs that separate and divide. “She is a Muslim, he is a Christian, and I am a Buddhist.” “He is a Republican. I am a Democrat.” We separate and divide, categorize and analyze until it seems like it is just us against the world.
Now the time has come to use our brains to unite with, rather than divide ourselves from, the rest of humanity. This new way to use the brain can begin with a new way to identify the self, an expanded way to understand who we are and where we come from. Looking at humans in terms of arbitrary borders is now passé. To accept or reject others based on ideology or religion is foolish and dangerous.
But how, then, can we identify ourselves given the values we have in common? We have been able to leave Earth’s protective atmosphere for short jaunts, but ultimately, for the foreseeable future, we are all dependent on the Earth for our sustenance, more than the weakest infant depends on his or her mother. Boundaries, rulers, and names of nations can change, but the Earth is always our home and our source of life. Earth is the only indelible identity we can have. If we set the Earth as the locus of our perspective, our values will become standardized, and the current divisions will transform into coalescence. That is why I’m suggesting that we expand our identities beyond the limits of nationality and culture to encompass the only identity that is definite and real by identifying ourselves, first and foremost, as Earth Citizens.
Human beings need to acknowledge that their greatest allegiance should belong not to a human-designed government but to the power on which their very existence depends. By identifying themselves as Earth Citizens before any other designation of identity, I believe we can make great changes in the world and its destiny.
Living as Earth Citizens
Too often, we limit our scope of compassion to ourselves and to our immediate family, only occasionally extending it to strangers in our community or nation. It may seem natural to live this way, but it’s not natural at all. In fact, it is antinatural, disconnecting us from the rest of nature and from one another. By identifying ourselves as Earth Citizens first and foremost, we will return to our natural selves and to our natural brain state.
There are no specific prerequisites for becoming an Earth Citizen. If you can acknowledge your dependence on the Earth and your connection to the rest of humanity, then you are an Earth Citizen.
That being said, it stands to reason that an Earth Citizen should care for and have stewardship over the Earth and all of its inhabitants. This means acting not only for the benefit of your immediate community or nation, but for all of humankind. It is Earth Citizens who sincerely worry when we develop planetary problems.
Because it is easy to fall back into the comfortable but limited scope of our immediate environment, I encourage you to do something that will take your activities one or two steps outside your usual sphere of influence. In other words, I recommend taking some action of deliberate global benefit.
“No one will change unless I do.” We need people who think this way and have this sense of ownership. We must have more Earth Citizens who, gladly and together, think hard and take action on the problems facing our society and the planet. Real answers will emerge when many Earth Citizens come together. Then real change can happen.
All cultural and technological developments were made to alleviate some unresolved need. As the old saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” When the brain needs to find a way, it finds a way. Today’s world provides a wonderful opportunity for us to find our true greatness. I often encourage people to tell themselves, “I am here because the twenty-first century wanted me desperately.” People line up to see superheroes save the day in the movies, but the time has come to start thinking of ourselves as superheroes. We are the ones who have to save the Earth, and our superpowers lie in our brains, waiting to be activated.