It seems there’s so much fear, contraction, negativity, hatred, and suspicion in our world at present. How do we stay in expansion, positivity, and joy when surrounded by those opposing energies? And…why do we want to?
In this blog post, I intend to make the case for why it’s important to stay in a good frame of mind regardless of what’s going on around us, including the seemingly predominant push for “ us vs. them” thinking currently being advocated by some.
How many of you are sensitive to energy? By that I mean, can you walk into a room where nobody is talking and pick up the vibe that a disagreement just took place? Can you sense the heaviness of someone who is grieving or the lightness of a child at play? If so, think about the ramifications of this in our current world. Even when the fears, doubts, suspiciousness aren’t being talked about, that energy still infects the populace. And, when it IS being talked about, hashed over, thrust in our faces all day, every day on screens, that infection spreads even more quickly.
To keep an air of positivity in the face of all that negativity is a challenge, but very worth it! Now, I’m not talking Pollyanna on steroids here. We certainly don’t want to bury our heads in the sand about what’s going on. However, to jump in lamenting how terrible things are just adds fuel to that fire we don’t want to have continue burning.
Rather, to be mindful of the current situation, yet staying in an energy of gratitude and joy helps each of us be one of the beings who begin to create the movement in the other direction. Let’s revisit the seminal words of Ken Keyes, Jr. who wrote The 100th Monkey: A Story of Social Change:
The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.
In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkey liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.
An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.
This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable. Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.
Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known. Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.
THEN IT HAPPENED!
By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!
But notice: A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea…Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.
Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.
Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.
But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!
Now let’s apply this phenomenon to our current situation. Many people are buying into the contractive belief that “us vs. them” is a viable reality to foster. Now let’s suppose many of us are modeling the belief that “we are all one and hatred and divisiveness don’t serve us”. As we spread that belief energetically through meditation, prayer, community gatherings, Facebook posts and more, eventually we should hit that 100th Monkey point where that belief spreads virally from mind to mind rather than by the spoken or written word.
In sum, the more of us who maintain the belief that we are more alike than different, that everyone deserves respect and due process, that the world has more right with it than wrong with it, the more that belief will spread across families, across towns and cities, and across nations. Begin now with a single thought of unity, love, and social justice and let’s see how long it takes us to hit the hundredth monkey.