I carry my particular collection of thoughts, memories, reflections, doubts, intuitions, and existential suspicions. Plus, of course, the ailments of an octogenarian age while I wait for my number to be called, as Julia de Burgos, the Puerto Rican poet, would say.

This is a crowded world, which paradoxically is increasingly fragmented while simultaneously more connected than ever. A world that seems on the verge of a new great transition. The pangs of this new civilizational birth are already being announced, in the great disorder and hubbub of the human collective, in rumors of the end of the world, in the proliferation of conspiracy theories, in structures of collective organization that no longer work, in the empowerment of narcissistic leaders, who receive the cult of large masses of the population, in the prevalence of a mentality of every man for himself, and in an unbridled consumption and selfishness.

Yes, life always spills into a turbulence of dizzying contradictory currents, inside and outside oneself. Outside, in struggles of voices and interpretations, power struggles, and tribal and ideological alliances. Inside, in an alternation between selfishness and instincts of self-survival and compassion and love for others. Fluctuating internal tendencies, of fears and impulses, that come together with cultures, traditions, history, and rites, versus the intuitive inner call within each one, of the silence of being.

We observe and construct the universe from our consciousness of being, from this mind that distinguishes us from the other living species with whom we share this vast cosmos. We build the surroundings that confront us during each individual brief lapse between life and death from our respective points of view, based on our particular circumstances, beliefs, opinions, concepts, and experiences.

Life is varied and has many contrasting moments and kinds of feelings, plus an apparent inequality in the distribution of conditions. It is an intense passing by, so we dedicate ourselves to resolve its contrasts without delving too much into what is being, where are we journeying to, and what is the purpose of ourselves with our so many different disguises, egos, and circumstances? In other words, we live our lives and forget our existence.

Philosophers, mystics, sages, and everyone (albeit briefly) at some point ask the existential question: What is life? What is this particular identity of who I am that we consciously experience in thought, feeling, and personality, and in the relationship with the others, that define, contradict, affirm, or deny our perceptions?

Throughout time, there arises on the vast surface of this planet innumerable points of view codified in cultures, traditions, religions, habits, attachments, enlightenments, inspirations, conspiracies, science, theories, and prejudices. About which we argue and talk about constantly, seek consensus, and around which we congregate to exchange rites and opinions. Sometimes we recognize our viewpoints as having equal value, and sometimes we kill each other about them.

On a personal level, we live in impulse and reaction, remembrance and anticipation, in an articulated swarm between our points of view and those of others. We live driven by impressions of the past and our worries about the future. The past is laden with underlying tendencies, many of which we do not know exactly where they come from, that induce our actions and influence our fears, habits, and desires.

At the level of the human hive, these tendencies, contradictions, desires, preponderances, and opinions multiply. We create great chaos and immense beauty at the same time, generating masterpieces and genocides, science and conspiracy, tragedy and comedy, iniquity, and compassion. This turbulence, within each one and in the collective, constitutes our communal and personal history.

On the one hand, one is called upon to do something to save the hive from this mess, in which it apparently finds itself. And we seek, based on recent history and our views, the raison d'être of the last stream of inequality and iniquity—the causes.

So, for example, there is a perception in many conscious circles that the international coordination system is not working, that economic inequality is reaching unsustainable levels, and that the global climate system is being undermined, and this will lead to major disasters. Also, that international financial systems need control, that there is a systemic failure in the political and social organization of the world, to address the management of common natural resources. And that these failures are increasingly generating, wars, genocides, human rights abuses, etc.

Humanity, as a process resulting from billions of years of evolution of the universe and life, has undergone great transformations in its ability to relate to its environment and its own identity, both individually and collectively. Like a forest or a garden, there is a constant transformation in the stages of development of the whole, while regardless of the stage of the system, individual specimens do flourish and find their purpose and harmony with life, and their fragrance spreads to all.

About 8 to 12 thousand years ago, with the development of agriculture and cities, humanity began to develop its intellectual and cultural capacity. Through written language, it propagated its interpretations of traditions and the physical world. Today, we can connect all the inhabitants instantaneously, move in hours to any part of the planet, know and manipulate the sub-particles of which matter is made, and park astronomical telescopes two million kilometers from Earth, through which we can observe the beginnings of the universe and the history of the stars.

This incredible intellectual development, which grew out of that recent moment in our history, called the Neolithic, makes us capable today to know, that the universe is a totally interconnected system, that life is a continuum, that as Loren Eiseley said: "You cannot pluck a flower without disturbing a star."

On the other hand, within ourselves, in our behavior, individual actions, and vision of the world, we continue to operate as me versus the others. This ego fragmentation is rooted beyond the scientific and intellectual conceptualizations that we have made as a collective. Intellectual conviction per se cannot change our selfish and fragmentary behavior. Most people do not yet incorporate the scientific perspective, they just benefit from the technology that emerges from it. Or we think that everything is connected, but do not feel responsible for what we do or not, which can harm that whole, in the same way that we feel responsible for behaviors, which may affect our close loved ones.

We cannot separate the individual from society. Whether we believe it or not, each one of us is responsible for what is happening in the world. I think this is the background of the next transition of civilization, a fundamental leap in consciousness—the realization that the other is also me.

For this leap of consciousness to occur, the existential question has to come into play: who are we? What is all this of which we are aware, including our own consciousness? Why do we exist? Why do we live and die? The posing of these questions is what will lead us to the realization that we are something more than individual rational units, moving in a moment of the universe, and will give us the possibility of realizing the oneness of being.

This worldview, which is called spirituality, is what allows compassion and love to emerge, separatist prejudices and superficial preferences to be abandoned, the integrity of life to be recognized, and the acquisition of an awareness that life is not fragmented; that it is not divided into spiritual and material, individual and collective, and that we cannot create compartments in life: political, economic, social, environmental. Whatever we do or don't do affects and touches the whole, because all is intimately related. We are a system, and we move as a system.

What arises out of this unitary perception is love, beauty, a delicate mystery, the soul of life, a radiant purity that brings about compassion, spontaneous joy, songs of ecstasy, poems, paintings, dances, and dramas to celebrate being.

Could we create a human society where love is taken to markets, homes, schools, places of business and completely transform them? You may call it a utopian challenge, but it is the only thing that will make a meaningful difference and lead us to realize the potential we have as full human beings.

Here we are talking about something that is accessible to everyone. The basis of this oneness that makes you feel compassion and love for others is within each one. It manifests itself, in those moments without time where we realize being, and know ourselves as being conscious, without feeling associated with a particular identity, that is, beyond form and personality. Like we feel when embracing a loved one, or in awe during a sunrise, regardless of intellectuality, wealth, or power. In those moments beyond thought, we become aware of being, we know that it transcends our personality, identity of name, gender, culture, and nationality.

These are moments of interphase, where one detaches from the definitions with which one lives, and a tidal wave of consciousness drags us, in the direction of just being, to a realization without thoughts aligned in words, where one feels an individuality without separate identity. The force that emanates when we become aware of this state of being, if recognized and cultivated, is transformative, -love, compassion. It arises spontaneously, when we connect in this essence of being, just existing, not from intellectual conviction or emotionalism. It arises when somehow the oneness of life becomes a fact that is truly felt.

When this perception becomes the dynamic of human relationships, then humanity will evolve and the vast intelligence that orders the cosmos will be available to all. The beauty of life, the wonder of living is when we share creativity, intelligence, and unlimited potential with the rest.

In this twilight of my life, benefiting from the thinking and feeling, of so many others who have reflected on this theme of the hive and the individual, I have come to strongly suspect that the entire universe is a process for evolving consciousness, and that life, through evolution, is the instrument through which the fullness of this consciousness develops.

Life reaches its peak in the human expression, at the moment that it becomes aware that it is conscious, and one with all.

Love is essentially expansive; Those who do not have it receive it from those who have it. And those who absorb love from others cannot receive it without a reaction, which in itself, is the nature of love. True love is unconquerable and irresistible. It continues to accumulate power and spread until it finally transforms everyone it touches. Humanity will attain a new way of being and life through the free and unrestricted exchange of pure heart-to-heart love.

(Meher Baba)