Cooperation (Video Script)
The universe is an expression of magnificent organization. Heavenly bodies move about in orderly obedience to the hidden laws of nature. On planet Earth, the attunement of life to the cycle of seasons is a further testament to the intricate harmony of natural processes.
At the personal level of the body’s physiology, the moment-to-moment coordination of numerous organ systems that maintain life and health, attest to the biology of cooperation in flesh and blood, muscle and bone.
Cooperative human social interaction has made possible tremendous gains in science and technology, medicine and art. And yet, sometimes cooperation breaks down, especially at the human level.
Illness results from physiological systems that are out of balance. Ecological disasters indicate lack of cooperation with the rest of the planet as humans are sometimes wasteful and abusive of the Earth’s resources and other creatures that share this global home. At the social level, crimes of every nature occur as people take advantage of others who are weak or vulnerable. The news media spews forth reports of fighting and social unrest around the world.
In seeking to make sense of the lack of cooperation sometimes displayed by humans, evolutionary theorists speak of survival of the fittest – of the absolute necessity of competition to ensure optimal biology. Philosophers expound on the virtue of selfishness. Economists and politicians remind us that greed is good and encourage everyone to work and spend to keep the economy growing. At almost every corner we are reminded that it is a dog eat dog world, and that first and foremost, we must always look out for number 1.
Individuals with a spiritual inclination are sometimes left to wonder – where is God in all of this?
As astounding as it may seem given the present condition of the world, each human being – no matter how strange the facade, bizarre the activity, or repugnant the expression, is a manifestation of the divine. There is God within each of us.
But obviously, there is a problem. From the standpoint of the Edgar Cayce material – the lack of cooperation in the human condition is a simple matter of rebelliousness at the level of the soul. We will be dealing with this problem from multiple perspectives as we move through the various lessons that follow.
But for now – at the beginning of this spiritual quest – it boils down to this: How we treat others – how we treat the world – is how we treat God.
Finding God Through Cooperation
It is significant that the first lesson provided by Edgar Cayce to the initial study group seeking to bring truth and light into the world, focuses on cooperation. There is no expansive theological treatise or doctrine – no attempt at proving the existence of God. There is no statement of belief or commitment to a creed or ideology. Just cooperation.
A simple dictionary definition of cooperation will usually describe some type of interaction or association for the common good or benefit. However, TRUE cooperation is not just getting along with others for the sake of avoiding conflict. It is not simply being tolerant of differences in others for political correctness. At the highest levels, cooperation involves more than merely working together for a common goal.
After all, a gang of criminals can work together quite effectively while robbing a bank. Powerful corporations can collaborate harmoniously in price fixing schemes motivated purely by greed. Even well-intentioned attempts at cooperation can fall short of ideal outcomes due to human short-sightedness or failure to take into account all the relevant factors in any complex interaction.
Ultimately, TRUE cooperation is based on a spiritual premise. If the first step in searching for God is cooperation, we need to be open to the spiritual dimension in our interactions with others and our attunement to the divine within ourselves.
The Practice of Cooperation
Cooperation is a matter of practice – of putting into action simple spiritual principles. To be sure, attunement through prayer and meditation is essential for the highest level of cooperation. Attuning to the spirit of God increases unity and harmony in all of our dealings – at home, at work, at play – wherever we are and in whatever activity we are engaged.
And yet, for anyone just beginning a search for God, and especially for that individual who may have little or no conscious awareness of the presence of God, the regular practice of prayer and meditation can be a challenge. If you find yourself in this position, mindfulness as a form of meditation may be a useful tool to help get you started.
As you take stock of your thoughts, feelings, and actions during interactions with others, is there a sense of cooperation? Or do you find yourself arguing, confronting, or being resentful of others? Do you speak unkindly or even have unkind thoughts toward others? If so, this is where your search for God will begin.
Cooperation provides a practical first step in the direction of developing an awareness of the divine at work in the world. Most often, it’s the little things that provide the best opportunity for cooperation – a kind word, a little patience and long-suffering, a small act of generosity… In the Christian tradition these little things are called fruits of the spirit. The fruits of the spirit are the hallmark of cooperation.
A cooperative attitude looks for the common ground that unites, rather than differences that divide.
As a first step in the conscious process of spiritual awakening, cooperation means letting go of selfish desires, personal agendas, and egotistical motives – and becoming a channel through which spirit can flow for the good of all.
Thus it is – in the midst of daily life – in the little acts of cooperation, that we find God – if we are paying attention.