We spent many weeks being immersed in the phenomena of Covid-19 and journeyed through fear, confusion, surprise, and shock. We engaged in a collective process of inquiry and sensing, suspending judgment and deepening and expanding our inner and outer listening. Through this process we discovered a call to view the current situation through the lens of MISSION’s larger framework and worldview that tries to address what it means to be truly human. We recognize too that undertaking this journey requires the essential elements of reflection, openness and courage.
The Need for a Systems Perspective
MISSION embraces integral, whole systems perspectives—perspectives that include not just outer systems but inner systems (belief systems and inner conditions) as well. We recognize that these perspectives “construct” our reality and inform how we see and act in the world. The current Covid-19 challenge facing the world community is one such instance that necessitates a systems perspective and a process of deeper inquiry than is being provided through mainstream media.
Image of the Human Being and Nature
MISSION holds that a profound spiritual element lives and weaves in all of creation. We hold that there is a creative world process that has directionality, meaning and purpose. We hold that human beings and nature form an interconnected, living, conscious system embracing all life. This is in contrast to worldviews that see the human being as a complex biophysical machine where everything is reduced to material phenomena that exclude soul, spirit or a deeper meaning and purpose in the universe. This fragmented worldview shows up in how knowledge becomes compartmentalized—in education, agriculture, and health, for example.
Moving Beyond Materialism
New discoveries in varied scientific disciplines including quantum physics, the new biology, and neuroscience are beginning to recognize the spirit active in matter. Post-materialist science is one term that describes this emerging field of scientific inquiry across disciplines. There are many scientists and medical professionals around the world, for example, who are embracing a science that “re-members” the whole ecosystem of the earth and even the cosmos, and views smaller parts of this whole as holons or interconnected parts that presence the whole when seen in the larger context. Even the scientist is viewed as part of the larger whole and not a separate, objective bystander. Our intentions, beliefs, thoughts and mere presence as an observer affect the physical world.
Sustainable agriculture systems (including permaculture, organic, biodynamic and other practices) work out of an understanding of a larger whole where everything, including the farmer, is interconnected. The farm/farmer is part of a larger food ecosystem stretching from biosphere to farm to table. We are only “scratching the surface” in understanding nature’s depth, intricacies and interconnections in the biosphere. This is in contrast to conventional agriculture practices that view pests and plant diseases as enemies to be eliminated through chemicals rather than as indications of an imbalance in the ecosystem, resulting in untold “side-effects” including soil exhaustion, toxic runoff, pesticide residues, decimation of biodiversity—to name only a few—damaging both human and ecosystem health.
Holistic health practitioners, including many doctors who practice integrative medicine, work to treat the underlying imbalance and not just the symptoms. Their focus is on salutogenesis—how to restore, promote and maintain wellness. This is in contrast to Western medicine with its focus on pathology or illness. While this latter approach has achieved remarkable success in trauma care, emergency medicine and other areas of dealing with disease, it has failed to understand and appreciate the larger ecosystem of wellness.
The Human Immune System
A new, more modern view of the immune system reveals a whole-body ecosystem that not only includes the innate and adaptive components, but also includes the interferon component, the neural system component and the microbiome—all with multi-pathway feedback mechanisms to determine and address what is self and what is not self. The immune system thus emerges as a complex, intricately balanced and responsive system designed to maintain a healthy balance in the body. Discoveries about the neural system of the heart, the neural system of the gut and the new findings about how our thoughts and feelings like fear, for example, affect the immune system are all part of this larger ecosystem. This holistic view also recognizes the interconnection between the micro-biome and the macro-biome of the planet. The human body is home to trillions of viruses and bacteria—a virome/microbiome that is a self-balancing system (homeostasis) that always tends towards wellness in healthy individuals. We constantly exchange information with our environment and through this exchange, our immune system learns, grows, and develops. We can support immune system health through our conscious choices about diet, lifestyle, exercise, sleep, gratitude, right attitude, nature exposure, mindfulness and meditation/self-transformation among others.
This understanding is in contrast to the belief that germs and viruses are enemies to be feared and to be subdued through chemicals—antibiotics, antiseptics, anti-bacterial agents, germicidal agents and even vaccines, without appreciating the larger ecosystem wherein illness emerges as a sign of imbalance.
The Covid-19 pandemic can therefore be seen in a much larger context. What is it asking of us? What choices have to be made about what it means to be truly human? What kind of society do we choose to create? How do we choose to interact with Nature? and How do we choose to align our efforts with the unfolding direction of the universe? Covid-19 gives us the opportunity to pause and to reflect on these questions.
Illness indicates not only imbalance, but also a learning, growth and healing opportunity. Even our immune system learns and grows through exposure to germs and viruses. In the current instance, we are experiencing an epidemic of fear. This fear of the unknown and fear of the other, has profound implications for our immune systems, our social interactions and our relationship with the natural world and the spiritual world. We have lost our balance at all four levels: personal, social, ecological and spiritual.
The mainstream narrative of Covid-19 promotes fear, separation, and acquiescence. This is being reinforced by mainstream media and amplified by politicians and scientists. Belief systems are powerful and implicit. To be free, we must question our belief systems, develop courage and build connections.
“Many scientists, including doctors have come to the conclusion that Covid-19 is viral epidemic with an overall lethality in the range of a strong seasonal influenza. Up to 80% of all test-positive persons remain symptom-free and over 95% of all persons develop at most moderate symptoms. At no time was there a medical reason for the closure of schools, as children hardly ever transmit the virus or fall ill with it themselves. There is also no medical reason for small classes, masks or ‘social distancing’ rules in schools.” (swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/)
The above statements, gathered from referenced sources, contradict the mainstream narrative and challenge us to do our own research. Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to re-examine our beliefs, our worldviews, our habits and where we are heading as a collective humanity. There is imbalance. We need to look deeper, below the surface, to find the true causes so that we can restore balance at the personal, social, ecological and spiritual levels. The pandemic has vividly shown us that the whole world is interconnected. Extinction, pollution, auto-immune disorders, climate emergency and even viral outbreaks are all signs of imbalance—nay, calls to change—to change both our inner and outer ecology to manifest our highest and best selves in service to the greater call of service to the Source.
MISSION is called to awaken, nurture and defend what it means to be truly human and what it means to have a social structure where human beings can discover their deeper meaning and purpose and place these in service to the unfolding world direction, whether in civil society, government or business, all working in partnership for integral sustainable development.
This is MISSION’s perspective—a perspective we work to incarnate in our initiatives for sustainable development at the local and societal level. These initiatives include holistic education for children, sustainable agriculture, creation of healthy food ecosystems, sustainable governance, natural approaches to healing and medicine, adult education, self-transformation and many more!
The lemniscate journey at the heart of MISSION embraces a dying process—we must die to the old in order for the new to emerge. In becoming truly human, we find the courage to acknowledge and overcome our fears in the face of change—and in the process, we choose love.