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Individuality and Healing the Collective

Individuality is a key to the collective healing of a people. WE do not heal unless WE ALL heal, right? There is no respect of persons when it comes to divine judgment or divine grace. Or is there?

This will not be a review of religious beliefs or the doctrines we find in the scripture. Instead, we’ll note with satisfaction that individuality is a unique imprint of your personal knowingness. It is how your ego demonstrates itself.

There is nothing wrong with the ego and how it grabs affection, yearns for material things, and seems intent on magnifying its existence.

You’ve heard it before — we’re all different, special, possess gifts we are to give the world, have to find our niche, and live our truth and purpose. These reflect the well-directed, healthy ego.

Together we rise?

Then we see people who proclaim these features as the life we want intentionally stay clear of political and socio-economic issues and movements. These are not subjects for those intent on becoming millionaires.

Thus the ego seeks its visible fulfillment alongside the collective’s struggles for fair treatment and justice.

Alignment with one’s ego purpose can mean healing or hurting people of the collective. Every culture has its bogeyman — that outsider who is not liked by the culture’s keepers and is taboo for their tradition.

In my clients infused with Western culture, I’m seeing the constant challenge of the ego/collective dichotomy. People want to contribute their best and do their best for family and community. But individuality and purpose abruptly bumps up against the collective and its group aim.

Ancestors, not Past Lives

Let’s look at the dilemma another way. Many teachers talk about one’s current life versus one’s past life or lives. In the African descendants’ community, however, people are more inclined to reference their revered ancestors rather than their past lives informing the current life.

Could it be that some are ashamed of the values and cultural norms of recent generations? Slaving others and being enslaved. It’s understandable that there would be avoidance of their authentic, spiritual, and collective ancestral memory.

This is about healing the past and the present. Because society is so “me” oriented, I want us to revisit individuality and its role in helping the collective to heal en masse. The  spirit-mind-body and heart of the people is at stake.

The Energy of Individuality

So I asked myself, As a person dedicated to energetic healing, what can I do to help individuals AND the collective struggling with this me/us challenge, to feel whole, complete and able to win?

The first thing is to recognize that humans are not whole, not always complete, and yet emerge as ever capable. They are blessed with being able to meet and rise above whatever challenges them.

I’m calling out the “whole and complete” notion* because it is one of the trickier and transcendent concepts of this century. “Individuality rules” within it and answers these questions:

Can I do it?  (live my vision; reach my goal, etc.)

Am I enough? (do I have everything I need to realize vision/reach goal, etc.)

The answer is always YES, because you are always “whole and complete.”

The Divine and Collective Cycle

The reality is more complex. I find I must continually revisit my wholeness and completeness, my holiness and completion around who I was just five minutes ago. This cycling is upward, spiraling work. Expending energy this way benefits my individual growth.

For its part, my tradition declares I AM because WE ARE (ubuntu).

Because We Are, I am Able and supported by pillars like myself. Being ABLE to maintain high energy helps me to feel whole and complete, moment to moment.

And though I know it isn’t true on some hold-out level, such as the project is unfinished, I know there are two things that are truly whole and complete.

They are the Divine and my collective. The latter includes my past lives and ancestors, recent and way far back. The former covers them and everything else, as far, deep and wide as I know.

I may not overstand or innerstand how the Divine or my collective works, but I am able to trust, mirror, love and honor their existence. This ability allows me to choose certainty and knowingness, which in turn expresses my individuality within the collective as best I can.

–Rev. Niamo Nancy

This post was written over two days while diffusing red lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) into the air. Also called Xiang mao, this essential oil from the Far East is known by villagers as “the herb of rapid enlightenment.”