Mindset: Separation or Interbeing?

We’ve explored our mental map. Today, let’s see what a positive mindset entails. To clearly discern the positive mindset of possibilities, it is easy to contrast it with the conventional mental map. Even though that may be too dualistic it makes things clear.

The conventional mental map and its positive opposite go by many different names, depending on the author. We’ll look at some examples, starting with Charles Eisenstein.

Eisenstein: Separation or Interbeing

Here is the conventional mental map as described by author and Yale graduate in Philosophy and Mathematics, Charles Eisenstein in his book “The more beautiful world our hearts know is possible”. Eisenstein calls this mental map the story of Separation and its underlying beliefs are answers to fundamental questions.

Who am I?
– You are a separate individual in a universe that is separate from you.
Why do things happen?
– The impersonal forces of physics act upon a generic material substrate of fundamental particles.
What is the purpose of life?
– There is no purpose, only cause. (…) We must live, survive and reproduce.
What is human nature?
– To protect ourselves against the hostile universe of competing individuals and impersonal forces, we must exercise as much control as possible.
Who are we as a people?
– In our mechanical universe we alone possess consciousness.
Where did we come from and where are we going?
– We started out as animals. We conquered nature. Our destiny is to free ourselves from labor, disease, death if possible…

According to Eisenstein, “An obsolete 19th and 20th century science still generates our view of what is real, possible and practical.” Hence, many people feel separated and often powerless to change anything in the competitive and mechanistic universe described above.

An obsolete 19th and 20th century science still generates our view of what is real Click To Tweet

Eisenstein pleas for a new, hopeful “story of Interbeing” that acknowledges that everything and everyone is connected.

This proposed worldview of Interbeing holds different beliefs, partly based on the new (Chaos and Quantum) theories and discoveries in the sciences.

We are connected, beyond interdependency

We are connected, beyond interdependency. What we do unto another, we do to ourselves.
Each of us has a unique and necessary gift to the world.
The purpose of life is to express our gifts.
Inside and outside mirror each other.
Every act is significant and has an effect on the cosmos.
Purpose, consciousness, and intelligence are innate properties of matter and the universe.

Says Eisenstein: “The desire to serve something transcending the separate self and the pain we feel from the suffering of others are two sides of the same coin. We are interbeings. We are each other and we are the world.”

The Separation story corresponds with the linear, mechanistic, hierarchy-scarcity mindset I mentioned before:

“The world is too big to change. The bosses determine what happens. Money rules – deal with it. This is the way of the world: there’s power, there’s scarcity – and you have to survive. Who do you think you are? Just be a good citizen.”

Just take a moment to reflect on these two mindsets. If you truly believe the Separation story, what would you do in the situation below:

A colleague leaves your company and starts a successful software business. Then he asks you to introduce him to the CEO of a great technology company – who you know from way back. You haven’t seen this CEO in many years but you yourself were thinking of contacting him in a few months’ time because you have plans for a start-up…

What do you do? Will you make the connection immediately, procrastinate, or say you can’t reach the CEO…?

What if you embody the Interbeing story that aligns more with a positive mindset of possibilities? Are you afraid of competition or ready to share because there’s enough for everyone?

Are you afraid of competition or ready to share because there’s enough for everyone? Click To Tweet

Well, you get the picture, probably. I suspect some of you might have a dismissive inner response when reading this. To some, the Interbeing story and the positive mindset of possibilities sound too religious, or New Age wishful thinking without proof: simply too positive and hopeful. To others, it sounds true and resonates with what they know deep inside.
Whatever your response, please suspend judgment. We can have endless discussions about which worldview is true and real – and find evidence for both.

I think that they are both true and real, depending on where we focus our attention; what we choose to see. What matters now is to become aware and understand both views, and to hold them at the same time. Adding the positive mindset to our conventional mindset will extend our view of reality and our repertory of behaviors and responses – thus our potential!

This is book post #20 – ME

Here‘s the previous post
Here‘s the next post

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

I’m blogging my next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” Your feedback is appreciated!

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