I have a confession to make! I have become relatively hooked on a couple of reality shows where amazingly talented young individuals vie for the title of “America’s Best.” Each week, as the tension builds and two more contestants are voted off, I am conscious of the traps of competitiveness and comparison, and of the importance of striving for personal excellence instead. What I find beautiful to witness in these shows is the bonding that happens in the entire process where, despite the fact it is a competition, beautiful, supportive friendships are built and, to a large degree it does become a unified experience.
I believe that any contestant would agree that it is far more empowering to enter into competition with the goal of personal best, rather than out-performing their opponent. For in the old paradigm sense of competition we essentially proclaim that “I’m better than you,” or “I have to be the best and crush my competitor, so I can rule this kingdom.” These antiquated ideals and ego-trips are so ingrained in our cultural behavioral patterns, we frequently don’t even realize that we are acting them out. A new paradigm consciousness might say, “I aim for my personal best and hope to inspire others to do the same. In this way, I may take a step closer to being all that I am meant to be. Should I fall short of what I feel is my personal best, I commit to focusing more deeply within, and I release my self-judgment and joyfully move into the experience of learning and of releasing my limitations.”
(An interesting note: I looked up “competition” in my Compact Oxford English dictionary. You know, the one where you have to use a magnifying glass to read the teeny tiny print. One definition I found is, “A match to determine relative excellence.”)
I am reminded of the beautiful story of a young man who was competing in a race in the Special Olympics. The starting gun went off and he and his other special friends began moving away from the gate and towards the finish line. After a few moments however, our young man looked back to discover that one of his friends had tripped and fallen. So, he turned around and went back to help him up. As he did so, one by one, the others also turned around and went back to help their friend. They all passed through the finish line together, unified. I get teary-eyed just thinking of this story and of the example of these special souls who have so much to teach us about caring, compassion, service and unity.
The behavior exemplified by these amazing souls is synonymous with the New Paradigm. Are we not all being challenged more and more, in some way, to adopt different approaches within many aspects in our lives, to stretch beyond our boundaries and comfort zones, to put aside petty thinking, judgment and discrimination (about ourselves and others), of any kind? Each person has their unique destiny, whoever they are, and it is not for us to judge that, rather it is for us to be discerning in our choices and to keep our hearts open at all cost. In judgment we separate, simply stated. In choosing to not separate, we contribute to raising the planetary vibration and the unification of our species. Hurray!