In the fifth edition of The Origin published in 1869, Charles Darwin suggested that evolution depends on the survival of the fittest, as offered by Herbert Spencer in his refining of the term, natural selection. In 1988 John Cairns demonstrated what was further clarified by Timothy Lenton in 1998: that evolution is based on the ability to adapt to changing environments. Through adaptation nature is able to maintain harmony and balance in an ever-changing world.

Peer reviewed science now supports this new understanding, that it is not competition which drives us to expand and survive. It is in fact, our ability to adapt and cooperate, or bring about “harmony”, that sustains us on this planet. Nature’s model, and Darwin’s theory revised is that evolution is based on the survival of the most cooperative. Many of us are not surprised by this finding, but having the scientific backing is important because so many of our governments’ big decisions are based on what science tells us.

So, now what?

Much of our infrastructure is built around the idea that competition, separation, and conflict is our natural make-up and means to survive; that evolution is driven by struggle. Scientist Bruce Lipton and author of the book, The Biology of Belief,  tells us that this is a fear-based belief. He says, a fear of losing the competition is what causes violence and war; misdirected economies, health-care and social systems; as well as beliefs that are driving us toward extinction.

Gregg Braden expands on the subject by saying that while competition still happens in nature, (and is often fun!) the fundamental laws of our world are based on what scientists call, mutual aid. Braden won a 2016 Nautilus Award in the category of Social Change for his book, Resilience From The Heart: The Power To Thrive In Life’s Extremes. He is an internationally renowned pioneer bridging science, spirituality and the human potential. He says there is no longer a question as to whether or not we are connected to other people and all things; Quantum physics has long since proved this to be true.

Just as The Yew Leaf Program promotes self leadership, (a shift from circumstantial success to unconditional success through focusing inward, setting a deliberate intent, and taking responsibility) science is now telling us that we can influence our world from within. We must reconnect with our innate ability to adapt, live in harmony, and ultimately cooperate. We are not powerless when it comes to healing or changing the world we live in, and we don’t have to be royalty, country leaders, or corporate CEOs to make a difference. Individually, all we have to do is choose to reconnect with our inner being, and allow the natural process of cooperation to bring about harmony and balance in our lives.

As a collective, all we have to do is redesign our economic structure, rewrite our curriculum, and change our societal approaches…. Shifting the direction of our civilized world may sound like a big job but extreme times call for extreme measures. Together we can meet the challenge of positive change with the same kind of cooperation that operates the cells in our bodies and the nature that we depend upon. When we commit to self leadership, we learn to tune into this natural, innate ability.

As we strive to create positive change through self leadership, it is important to remember Braden’s message: the more competition we practice, the farther away we are from ourselves; whilst the more cooperation we practice, the more successful we become. ♥

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