In the first century, Judea was a dangerous place to live if you were going to go against the law enforced by the Roman Empire. One man did. He said that the Law of Love was greater than any law on earth. They called him the saviour of the world, ‘The Christ.’
In the 5th century BC, in India, one man went against religion to say that to achieve salvation one did not even need to acknowledge the presence of God, leave alone follow any scriptures.
They called him the enlightened one, ‘The Buddha.’ At about the same time in Mecca, one man went against many tribes and their pagan Gods, to proclaim that ‘God is one.’ He was Muhammed, the Prophet of Islam. Each one of the above had the courage to go against prevailing belief systems.
They were ablaze with the Spirit of Non-Conformism. They had the courage to face their truth and declare their allegiance to it. Each of them became the founder of one of the three largest religions which flourish on Planet Earth. While society encourages and rewards conformism in order to buttress the status quo, it is the fire of non-conformism which dispels darkness and lights the path ahead. A messiah is a man who has seen light within himself, who has watched his façade die, along with all his illusions, including the illusion of safety.
That is why a messiah cannot – conform. Before we try and understand non-conformism in depth, we need to understand why conformism is so deeply programmed into our psyche, and why rebellion stems from a wounded inner child. Conformism has its origin in a phenomenon known as herd behaviour.
Herd behaviour is a relic from our cave-man past. It is deeply programmed into our genes. Millions of years ago when man was still a part of the jungle, being alone meant death. Being part of a group ensured survival, because man on his own, was weak.
He did not have jaws that could kill. He did not have long sharp teeth. He did not have claws or talons that could injure, grasp and kill. Hence, safety lay in numbers. And then slowly, man moved out of the jungle. His life became more protected. He no longer needed the safety of numbers. Survival was no longer a function of being together. Yet the behaviour remained, even though it was no longer needed, as it was deeply ingrained.
But even amongst the teeming multitudes who still feel weak on their own and seek to conform to the groups who rule their consciousness, there are some who have felt their own power, who have heard the voice of their spirit, and do not hesitate to walk alone.
If you look at the animal kingdom, all the powerful ones walk alone. It is only the weaker, meeker animals who move around in herds and graze together. The lord of the jungle lives in his den alone, he does not rely on any herd to protect himself; he knows the power that throbs in his sinew. He knows that a single roar can bring pindrop silence in the jungle. The lion is known as the king, because he has the largest heart in the animal kingdom.
The eagle too circles the sky above the clouds alone because it is aware of its powerful wings. Safety in numbers is only sought by those who have yet to experience the grandness of human design. Herd behaviour does not allow revolutionary thinking to emerge. It does not allow your creativity to flow and because your mind is constantly engaged in what others are thinking or saying, you are never able explore the grandeur of your own thought process.
If you find yourself hanging on to people who you think are powerful, then you have denied your own power. If you are taking too much advice from other people, then you are destroying your own intelligence. If you are constantly seeking social attention, then you are completely bereaved of any kind of relationship with yourself.
Saying what others are saying, means that you have lost your own voice. Believing what others are believing without examining it on your own premise, is akin to leading a borrowed life. Following the herd, seeking to identify with people, destroys your identity. Anybody who has lived meaningfully or lived through achievement has separated from the herd and sought light within. All powerful writers have sought solitude. All poets spend more time with nature and themselves, instead of mindlessly following other people. All scientists have preferred absorption in their work rather than diffusion into society. All mystics have preferred the company of their own soul.
To come home to your inner self, you need to stop clinging to the herd. You need to move into an awareness of this unconscious need to identify and associate with the herd, which is programmed into your genes. You need to tell yourself that herd behaviour is a relic from the past. It is the symbol of man’s weakness in face of the mighty jungle. It stems from the fear of being alone in a hostile environment.