E041 - Are We Separate or Connected?

vocal liberation Dec 07, 2020


Friends, in today’s episode, we cover the whole universe! It’s less ambitious than it might sound. As a Swiss patent clerk turned world renowned theoretical physicist once put it:

“A human being is part of a whole called by us universe ..”

Furthermore, the sense that we are separate is, and I quote again:

“a kind of optical delusion ..”

Me versus you. Him against her. Us as opposed to them.

To join me in a technique which brings us out of this delusion and into a state of deep connection and healing, watch this episode: 


Einstein's work led him to realise that 'reality’ as we see it is nothing but an optical delusion of consciousness. I love the idea that it’s scientifically-empirically-incontrovertibly true (like E = MC2 true) that we are all indistinguishable from an intrinsic universal whole. 

The trouble is that life mostly doesn’t feel that way, does it? Not even, I would hazard, for Albert Einstein whose point, at least in part, was that you can know something intellectually, yet live its opposite.


So, how can we realign with – be subsumed by – the universal energy flow, which is our ultimate identity? And why would we want to connect with others in the first place? After all, don’t we also live in an overly hyperconnected world? It’s a paradox.

But as we’ll see, not a true paradox: the path back to a sense of true connection is really about a kind of expansive wholeness. One that has room enough in our consciousness for all seven billion of us; the other 8.7 million earthling species and, what the poet Seamus Heaney called, “Those million tonnes of light”.

First I’d like to explore with you how we might have got to be so separate, and why the delusion persists. Then look at the damage separation consciousness is doing. And finally, the crucial and timely importance of true connection – both for our planet and our collective fundamental wellbeing.


In the West, we've tended to celebrate individuation as the height of the Western experience. Much of Western psychology is predicated on reconciling the wild energies of the unconscious. But while Eastern thought emphasises the collective, as Westerners we're encouraged to find ourselves. Whether through Freud’s sublimation or Jung’s self-actualisation, psychological health is implied to be located somewhere in the question:

“Where am I in all this?”

Interestingly though, Maslow, another highly influential Western psychologist – he of the famous hierarchy of needs – came to a different realisation at the end of his days: the ultimate goal of self-actualisation is to transcend the self! Tellingly though, this crowning insight of his philosophy is little known.


News flash: our separation mindset could be setting the earth, and all us organisms on it, on a collision course with extinction. Why? Because when we see ourselves as separate from this planet, we live in a state of disassociation from its suffering. This disassociation has some weird effects. Social phobia for one thing. We live in suburbs separated from each other.

I often hear people saying: “I hate people, or “I hate humans”, or “We should all die and leave the earth to animals”!

Alternatively, people become super ecological. Worthy sentiment, don’t get me wrong. But then these be the same folks who apparently don't give a s%#t about the hungry humans they walk past on a daily basis.

Separation consciousness. Watch out for it!


While caring about rhinos is a wonderful thing, when it excludes extending compassionate connectivity towards the actual people you encounter, it’s kind of crazy. This dehumanization – this loss of humanity – is very insidious. It leads to the politics of othering. And making enemies. The people on the left or the right of us become suddenly very frightening. Just consider for a moment how polarized the world has become. Jesus said “Love the enemy,” which I think really means have no enemy – love everyone; we are all in this together, we are all one organism. Or – after Einstein – we are part of a quantum field.


This cult of separation is actually a nervous system trauma response lodged at a cultural level in bodies. So it makes sense that the healing of the planet starts with taking care of our nervous systems. When we're separate, we're dysregulated – out of the vagus nerve. In other words, we're under the spell of fight, flight or paralysis. However, as I’ve discussed before, when we activate a baseline vagal response, our sense of connection (the true reality) kicks in.


It starts with the self (self-regulation). But, it expands to embrace all beings. The baseline vagal response's natural trajectory is towards social engagement.

Here I am, connected and at peace with my self. There you are. The same. Here we are together. There is no us. 

Universal energy flow. Delusion be gone. Personal scrambling for my survival and enrichment at your expense – be gone. Be gone the materialist, the individualist, the lead singer …

Here we are. In it together. Singing together. The highest form of voices. Healing together as we return to the universe.