The global society in which we live, has always highly valued love and devotion to family and nation. These values have meaning, because they allow for the creation of harmonious family units, whose members contribute for the good of their society and their respective countries.
In our current world environment of globalisation, this also means, from a broader perspective, that these values also benefit humanity as a whole. From early childhood, we are brought up to respect and value a love for our country; our history lessons and our historical novels, whether real or fictional, all mention, support and espouse, to a large degree, the idea of love for one’s country.
Thus, the ever-strengthening bond with our homeland is anchored in our blood and our karma, whether we are conscious of this or not. And so, more and more people are not just ready, but willing, in the right circumstances, not only to shed blood for their country, but even to die for it.
However, one of the consequences of holding to such values, is that humanity experienced two world wars during the past century, where millions of people, incited by their leaders and governments through a militaristic propaganda, sacrificed their lives for these ideals. One unforeseen consequence however, was that because of the extent of the horrors personally experienced by so many, a certain sobering effect, an awakening was also experienced by them, as to how far such blind attachment to the love for one’s nation could go.
Even after these two great wars, there were still other conflicts, yet more contained, and one could see that the earlier experiences left a greater hesitancy, even reluctance, to allow nationalist feelings to rule the day. Of course, this was also partly due to the development by many world powers, of even more terrible weapons of mass destruction, which could potentially end our way of life as we know it. As yet, we have not seen any open use of such weapons, due in part to the global interdependence that exists now, and the fear of the severe consequences that would be felt even by the aggressors.
Let us now consider the state of being of modern-day ‘cosmopolitan’ person. Such a one does not necessarily identify with a particular nation, he is open up to the world and to a multitude of ideas, having grown up in the present-day multicultural environment. Nowadays, boundaries and borders are gradually disappearing. Cooperation between countries is now centred on political and economic alliances, such as we can see in the European Community, freeing the modern-day persons’ thinking from the confining limits of nationalism.
But how is such an ‘openness’ to the world made possible; how can this nationalist fervour and one’s ties to their homeland be overcome?
We have already mentioned the sobering effect the horrors of war can have on people, but are such experiences the only possibility of changing one’s world view? Of course not!
The Universal Language of all times, speaks of a different consciousness, a new freedom of thought, feeling, and desire, whose signature extends well beyond the limits of nationalism. A state of being based on the possession and activation of the spiritual principle found in the heart of the human being, that we see expressed in the Bible in Psalm 82:6:
‘I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.’
These brief words, can of course, be interpreted in various ways. The traditional religions teach their followers that after death, assuming they have lived a ‘good’ life according to the standards of their religion, they will enter the Kingdom of God. Others believe that a certain culture of their personality can achieve a refinement, a purification, so that they become ‘suitable’ to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Such striving for cultivation of our personality is a useful life experience, as it will quickly bring us to the limits of what such cultivation can achieve; a limit that cannot be transgressed by this practice. It will dawn on the consciousness that the earthly will remain earthly, and that our egocentric consciousness cannot be transformed into an omnipresent divine consciousness simply by means of exercises or meditative practices.
It merely extends the reach of the natural consciousness into the esoteric realms of our world, acquiring clairvoyance, clairaudience etc., but this will not change its intrinsic nature. But within this understanding, this growing insight, also lies the deeper realisation of what the words of Genesis 1:27 refer to: that another being is hidden within us!
‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he Him’.
If we are truly created in God’s image, yet are imperfect, can we conclude then that God is therefore imperfect? No! For the Creator of the All is perfect, and so are His creations. It is because we are tied to this world of transience, bound to its laws, that as individuals we are moving further and further away from the divine, the Kingdom of Heaven.
But in order to reconnect to the divine, to revivify the spiritual principle within us, we will have to put into reality the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who in a certain sense, symbolises this awakened spiritual being.
‘He that loves father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me. He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.’ (Matthew 10: 37-39)
If we can work inwardly in the spirit of these words, rather than just the ‘letter of the law’, that is, if we can place the growth of the spiritual being within us as the priority of our lives, rather than our earthly needs and commitments, then we will gradually lose our earthly life for His (the inner divine being) sake. Our natural thoughts, feelings and desires which represent our earthly ties, will diminish, dissolve and eventually disappear, and we will gradually become conscious of, and share in, the eternal life of the God within us.
‘So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.’ (1 Corinthians 15:54)
Then the natural shall be merged with the spiritual, and in this union, the new human being shall know true Love, Wisdom, Truth and Freedom. And being a true ‘cosmopolitan’ in the innermost sense of the word, he will then share these sublime values with all other human beings who long for them. For it is said: ‘all creation yearns for the coming of the Children of God who shall save the world’.