Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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The Joy of Being: The Bond

                                                 The Joy of Being: The Bond

 

Do we want to live in collective joy or competition and social unrest? The choices are ours. Are we going to live our lives in peace, love, altruism and cooperation with others or are we going to continue the haves vs have-not struggle?  A fascinating new book gives us pause for thought. "The Bond" is Lynne McTaggart's latest foray into investigative journalism (Free Press, 2011). McTaggart has been a science writer for many years increasingly exploring the bonds between groundbreaking scientific investigation and spiritualism. McTaggart's thesis is that the human condition is based upon the need for association with others and that we obtain the most positive benefits and happiness when we follow our natural drive for connection. McTaggart's thorough research investigates the human condition from the tiniest quantum particle of our being to our relationship with the solar system.

 

While thinking about the occupy wall street protests, I was fascinated to read about the epidemiological research of Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett who spent more than 30 years carefully evaluating social conditions. The title of their book, "The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger" (Bloomsbury, 2011) presents their basic finding. Great income disparity exacerbates virtually every social problem including ill health, crime, mental illness, violence and environmental problems. Although they found that the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world with half the world's billionaires, we have the highest level of all these problems of 20 countries surveyed. Interestingly, these problems are shared equally among all social classes. Inequality turns out to be a problem for all of us as we pursue lives of competition and class struggle.

 

McTaggart points out the need to look at our universe with a fresh pair of eyes. Instead of seeing a world of scarcity with separate beings in competition for survival with the "fittest" being the victors, we need to understand that we are all interconnected in a holistic manner. We have been told that we are all separate beings with no intrinsic tie to others.  Of course we have families and friends but we believe that we are self-contained beings living individual lives. McTaggart challenges this perspective and explores the rationale for a bond between all living things. The book is research-based, which some find tedious, but she explores her thesis from a fascinating variety of perspectives. Beginning with quantum physics, she showed that scientists have not been able to find separate basic building block of nature. Once thought to be the atom, then the quark, now physicists are finding skyrmions and goldstinos, dyons, pomerons and luxons with no end in sight. She discusses the interactions between quantum particles to demonstrate that they are basically interactions between energy packets without separate identities. From the smallest elements of life McTaggart then turns her attention to the global context. She discussed the influences of solar magnetic fields on our biology, for example describing solar geomagnetic influences on our blood pressure.  Chizhevsky examined records of all battles and social upheavals occurring for nearly 2000 years in 71 countries comparing them with sunspot activity.  Amazingly, more than three quarters of these events had occurred during a solar maximum, the period of the highest number of sunspots in any solar cycle. McTaggart's database included information from epigenetics, biology, sociology and psychology. Her discussion of the Public Conversation Project provides an example of the kind of social cooperation so scarce in our increasingly angry and conflict ridden society. Women on both sides of the abortion issue were recruited to try to deepen their understanding of each other even on this contentious issue. After meeting together for six years, the women proclaimed to the world how they had found the bond between them, announcing "Now, you see, we party together. We watch each other's children. We love each other."

 

What is our take away message from this research? Visionaries, spiritual leaders, survivors of near-death experiences, many diverse sources, have been telling us we are all one consciousness, all participating together in the physical and spiritual worlds. Many spiritual leaders call this the divine plan. When we really understand our bond with others within the natural and spiritual worlds, feeling the interconnection within our hearts and souls, the message is that we will share unlimited joy and happiness. Feelings and actions of compassion, cooperation, altruism and gratitude provide the intrinsic happiness not found in the pleasures of the material world. These principles have been expressed within our culture for many years in different sayings such as "like attracts like" or "what goes around, comes around." We are asked to love our neighbor as ourselves, often without leadership in helping us understand how to live the social bond. Think about the stress, anxiety, anger and conflict being expressed every day in our world. McTaggart's book shows us how we have gone astray and led ourselves into this problem centered world away from the natural joy of being we can experience in a world where we truly love our neighbors as ourselves.