I just had to get outside into the orchard....
Cooperation is the Consciousness of Valuing every Living Being
Cooperation describes an action. The dictionary defines it as “an act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit.” In its highest expression, Cooperation is the consciousness of valuing every living being. It manifests from the internal worldview of “Oneness” and is a higher state of consciousness than competition. You either relate to life as a beautiful interdependence of unique differentiated living beings, including all of the various forms created from one source or you view yourself as separate, an onlooker. In your separateness, you do not see yourself as included in a prolific and abundant earth and you do not feel safe. You learn to compete as a survival response to life. Your connection or disconnection describes your relationship and experience of life. When you see life through the eyes of cooperation, you view interactions with others as enjoyable, fulfilling and a meaningful way to create. You know you are an integral part and that your thoughts, feelings, and actions have an effect on others as well as yourself and you desire your contributions to be beneficial. You have a sense of esteem that generates authentic power. Seeing from this perspective, you consciously are sensitive to how you respond to others and to life. You consider the well-being of the whole and how your energy will be received to contribute to life-giving ways.
Cooperation is not always an easy task for a human. It indicates emotional maturity and requires highly developed skills of care, reflection, consideration, compassion, responsibility, seeing another’s worldview and an ability to perceive from a wider perspective. It can mean setting aside your personal preferences and expectations. Simply put, it is a movement out of self-centeredness and disconnection. You have to feel safe in order to cooperate. You have to know that life is abundant, that you are one with the whole, that you have a unique expression to offer and that you belong here.
Safety and Belonging
Cooperative groups create safety and belonging through inclusion and a non-judgmental non-threatening atmosphere. Everyone is an equal with varying abilities and skills. Each person is recognized for his or her unique expression. When a person engages in cooperative groups they relax, they feel wanted, their self-confidence increases and they have a greater sense of self-worth and authentic personal power. People become more creative and flexible. They naturally are more in touch with their essence self. Cooperation begets more cooperation!
Competition is a natural part of life and is useful for the movement from the dependency of childhood into the independence of adulthood. It strengthens your individual ability to survive, to know your capabilities, and to form an identity. You come to know yourself as a unique differentiated person. The energy of competition is one of ‘I am separate’ and is inherently distancing. At this time, humanity is waking up to the greater stage of consciousness of interdependence. You become aware that you are integrally connected to the web of life. You know your presence has meaning and purpose; your actions have consequences.
Competition without Reverence for Life is Harmful
Our eyes are opening to the reality that competition without reverence for every life form is causing harm to the eco-system and to our survival. Humanity has taken self-interest to the extreme believing that it is a human right no matter the consequences. You can see this destructive belief manifesting as competition for money, territory, ideologies, power, and control in all cultures of the world. It comes from a sense of fear, lack, powerlessness, and disconnection. Believing you are separate, small or that you do not matter diminishes a sense of responsibility for your actions. You may think, "what effect could my life have in the world?" The question that needs to be asked is: what effect are self-centeredness and disconnection having on my own life? It is a lonely place.
Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed individual can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
In the garden, I see the interplay of competition and cooperation. Some plants live happily alongside their neighbors while others invasively take over the ground and crowd out other species. Every gardener knows about garden ‘thugs’, the bullies of the plant world. The roots of lemon balm choke out every plant around it and the seeds disperse long distances. Lemon balm has many beneficial health qualities as well as a lovely fragrance. I know that I am an integral part of this habitat and I make choices to increase the diversity rather than let one plant dominate. Every form of life deserves a place and so I do not wipe out the lemon balm, but responsibly manage it so that it thrives in harmony with others.
Awareness of Our Interdependence
Nature shows us how to cooperate and thrive. By recognizing your interdependent connection with all of life, you harmonize with the natural rhythm of cooperation, sharing, regeneration, abundance, and growth. You begin to open up aspects of yourself that have been hidden. You begin to feel safe contributing your unique gifts and letting your essence shine. No longer separate and alone, you feel the wonderful sense of belonging and of being One with the Family of Earth.