The excerpt below was taken from former Vice President and current Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign announcement speech given in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 18, 2019.
JOE BIDEN: Look, the reason we’re here is because, in a literal sense, this was the birthplace of our democracy. It was here, over — the fact is two of the most important documents not only in our history, but in the history of the world were written right here. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self- evident.” These words, these words are the basis for the American creed — equality, equity, fairness, decency.
Michael Richardson-Borne: The reason you were there is unknown in all ways except as a story that accepts the reality of “here and there” backed up by and connected to a story of personal “truth” – which is backed up by and connected to an assumption of separation. “Here and there” requires the position of an individual separated from the “here and there” around it, a story called “the outside world.” Truth is a separative story that defines an underlying narrative of autonomous individuality, the final stand of personal experience. This comprehensive bundle of identity stories is the experience of a Separate Self. You can know this by questioning the nature of separation, what I call the Path of Non-separation – a journey that can lead you to experience the Impersonal and to remember your non-separative existence, the totality of the known that lives in and as the vast field of the unknown.
The totality of the known is called history. The vast field of the unknown is called impersonal consciousness or impersonal experience. The history of impersonal experience is an impersonal existence. The impersonal existence of history that includes history is called Non-separation.
Being lived as Non-separation, it is understood that the mind can only know its own reflection. Though thought to be the collective outcomes of individuals divided from the totality taking personal action through personal choices that are also divided from the totality, history and the divisions it imposes as autonomous movements that create history are still not separate. All histories of the world are accepted as primary texts when they’re footnotes of Non-separation. This confusion of the Separate Self’s mind unknowingly denies that history is lived as an impersonal existence that animates both the impersonal and personal experiences that constitute history. The mind is a reflection of the mind – a split that is lived as Non-separation.
So the reason you are there in Philadelphia is an impersonal one that leaves the awareness of the personal intact – an awareness that understands the Separate Self happened to you and brought the potential for “reasons” with it. Before the conceptual birth of the individual, life happened and was naturally left as such – there was no need for “reasons” because life carried on exactly as it would. After the conceptual birth of the individual, it became possible to forget this “suchness” and to be sucked into a personal world where you gained control of something that was not yours to control. You turned yourself inside out, manifested division and fear, and learned how to live in your imagination in a way that denies the “suchness” living your new-found personal experience of separation. The truth of your being was left at the altar in exchange for a false sense of self-authorship. In this moment, life is still carrying on exactly as it will – but now there is a wall of concepts between a personal “you” and the impersonal space that makes room for this “you.”
This loss of “suchness” is not mandatory after the Separate Self comes into being. It is just the simple result of forgetting (or not noticing) who you were before you became isolated as who you are not.
After the remembrance of Non-separation, reasons for being are just pacifiers for the constant cry of the Separate Self – a concept that cannot accept “just being,” an open space where the thinking mind is but a faint echo that doesn’t require the 24/7 surveillance that you give it. You bless the mind with an importance that is uncalled for, constantly worrying about it “getting away” from you – so you keep it in a prison where the story you have about yourself is the security guard. This leaves your Separate Self locked in prison as well, hypervigilant, mentally exhausted, and separated whether you realize it or not. You can’t accept “just being,” the relaxation that frees you from the prison of the mind and brings the prisoner with it.
Also, when you can’t accept “just being,” it gives the security guard a ball and chain that is not able to accept “being just,” as the only “just action” is the questioning of the Separate Self – a questioning that becomes a conduit offering a life that is lived as an invitation to Non-separation. “Being just” is the lived existence where a Separate Self is just another object, another story. It’s the lived existence that has become the application of the realization of Non-separation. This is what I call Applied Awakening.
And the only way to get to real democracy is Applied Awakening. Democracy is not a system of government in which the whole population or their elected officials run a country as a Culture of Separation in the name of freedom. Democracy cannot be created or guided by a collection of Separate Selves as real democracy is an effortless arising when the total culture is lived as an invitation to Non-separation.
In our current sovereign state of so-called democracy, you are governed by the authoritarian power of the Separate Self. You are governed by a collection of people or representatives who are still attached to the primary assumption of humanity – which is the belief in a Separate Self. A democracy of Applied Awakening sees through the fiction of the Separate Self and arrives at the impersonal governing principles aligned with Non-separation – principles that keep the system and culture alive rather than choking it off with personal and bureaucratic nooses of separation. In a world where the Separate Self is unreal, a pre-existing unity is lived into being as a natural, spontaneous movement. When relationships are no longer viewed as two separate autonomous entities agreeing or conflicting, when it is remembered that all parties of all relationships are being lived as the effortless movement of Non-separation, then these relationships are free to align with Non-separation in every moment naturally – and the “outcomes” reveal a self-rightening pattern that disarms partisan warfare.
When all governmental decisions are “hands-off” rather than deliberately manipulated toward the specific ends desired by a Separate Self, the truth of Non-separation is revealed as that which is beyond personal consciousness, an impersonal existence of being that includes the personal.
So the documents to which you refer are mere translations of separation. The founding fathers who wrote these documents were not aligned expressions of Non-separation. They believed in the freedom, unity, and common purpose of a collection of separated individuals congealed by a common story of separation called America (most of whom were wealthy and white.)
Despite their “good intentions,” as a collective body, they had no choice but to create documents just as separative as any other historical document – the Separate Self, or a collection of Separate Selves, can only give birth to more separation. And the history of the United States proves this. The only way past all of the divisions within domestic and foreign policy is first, questioning the Separate Self and second, remembering Non-separation – which is the self-rightening movement that exposes the fictional stories that currently organize local and global culture.
So in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was the declaration of a new story of separation. The proclaimed self-evident truths were evident to the Separate Self. As Non-separation, these same truths are evident as separative constructs constructed by and as that which is not evident to you.
JOE BIDEN CONT’D: America didn’t live up to the promise for most of the people at the time, for people of color, for women. But we were born of an idea that every single solitary person, given half a chance, no matter where they’re from, given half a chance, there is not a single thing they cannot do if they work at it. Nothing is beyond their capacity.
Michael Richardson-Borne: How quickly you gloss over the separative treatment of women and people of color. Rather than immediately jumping to the celebration of opportunity, why don’t we pause and ask why these original separations occurred in the first place? What was it within “the founders” that left people of color and women out of the equation? What was it that brought this separation into being? Why is working toward “inclusion” not the same as remembering Non-separation?
Racism and sexism are separative identifications with a story of advantage over “others.” On the flip side, Non-separation is the removal of fear of losing advantage because advantage only exists in a world where “others” exist. Applied Awakening holds gender and race as the stories they are – there are no “others,” there are only stories of “others” that are all expressions of Non-separation, knowingly or not.
The application of the remembrance of Non-separation is “under” these stories of gender and race, so to speak. And “seeing under” these stories empowers actions and behaviors that are not possible by people who remain embedded in a Separate Self. Living as a Separate Self is to live in a world where sexism and racism are always implicit. Being lived as an invitation to Non-separation, race and gender become conceptual aspects of a pre-existing unity that “meets people” in a contextless context.
Again, the primary assumption of humanity is the belief in a Separate Self. When this assumption lives at the foundation of cultural and systemic unfolding, the flux of separation is the guiding principle of the human world. Even in a pluralistic society, without the remembrance of Non-separation, the movement of the system is one generated by the misaligned nature of the Separate Self.
Ask yourself why you celebrate the value of hard work in the external world rather than value the hard work of questioning the Separate Self in your internal world. Ask yourself where this lack of questioning continues to lead the United States and the world. Without this questioning, is it truly possible to get out of the current global condition or circumstance? Will changes in policy steeped in the Separate Self make a difference?
JOE BIDEN CONT’D: That’s who we are. And in 1887 — 1787, the United States Constitution, “We,” “We the people.” These words changed everything. Power rested in the people, not the government. Freedom to think, to speak, to act, to criticize your government, all protected. We, we became the model for the world. In both documents, there is a singular word, “We.” “We hold these truths self-evident.” “We the people.” Both.
Michael Richardson-Borne: Who you claim we are is exactly who we are not. We are not separative stories unified around a common story of personal beingness that has forgotten the Non-separative nature of the mind. We are not individuals with the freedom to criticize, speak, and act – this kind of thinking is to build a damn in front of freedom. Who we are is the impersonal existence of being that includes the story of freedom – which is Non-separation.
The problem is that we, collectively, just aren’t in touch with our true being. We are a people who aren’t brave enough to question separation at its core or to pierce the lie that drives the world of fantasy reflected back to us every day. We are a people who fail to understand the “we” you speak of is an illusion that further divides us, not brings us together.
Two separate autonomous individuals misaligned with Non-separation can never be a “we.” So, “we the people” is an illusion because “we” is an illusion. How can a mirage of “we” govern anything except a collective mirage of “we?” “We the people” of separation with our separative voices are no different than an autocrat claiming separative rule with a single separative voice that attempts to stifle the voices of the masses committed to the Separate Self. Either form of government is an expression of the Culture of Separation. This must be understood before global governance can make any sort of change. And the only change begins with the questioning of the Separate Self and “ends” with the remembrance of Non-separation.
JOE BIDEN CONT’D: We have got to remember this, both were statements of a common purpose, a common purpose of one people, one nation. Our Constitution doesn’t begin with the phrase, “We the Democrats” or “We the Republicans.” And it certainly doesn’t begin with the phrase, “We the Donors.”
Michael Richardson-Borne: The only remembrance that is needed is Non-separation. From here, it is realized that “common purpose,” “one people,” and “one nation” are all activities of the Culture of Separation.
Remembering Non-separation is the only way to truly see through the mechanism whereby people attach to labels like Democrat and Republican and Donor. Understanding how stories like political party define your original sense of individual beingness leads you to shift your identity from secondary stories of attachment to the primary story of beingness that happened to you. From here, you can remember that personal beingness is an impersonal experience and that this impersonal experience is actually an underlying impersonal existence that I call Non-separation.
This may seem like pie in the sky drivel – but have the fortitude to take a look for yourself and discover if you come to the same lived experience, the same realization.
JOE BIDEN CONT’D: Look, it began with the phrase that stands for we are all in this together. We need to remember that today I think more than any time in my career. Our politics has become so mean, so petty, so negative, so partisan, so angry, and so unproductive. So unproductive. Instead of debating our opponents, we demonize them. Instead of questioning judgments, we question their motives. Instead of listening, we shout. Instead of looking for solutions, we look to score political points.
Michael Richardson-Borne : We are not “all in this together.” We are all utterly alone, stuck in our separation. The pain of not clearly seeing this creates a world where we have to strive and make an effort to come together in order to solve external problems that do not exist outside of us. “Togetherness” only brings separation in contact with separation – so all solutions offered to the problems within politics remain products of the Separate Self. They’re solutions that kick the can of separation down the road a bit just to be kicked again at a later date.
What you are defining here is the Culture of Separation, the culture that believes and protects the Separate Self. If you move beyond the Separate Self, your referenced behaviors would not be something for individuals to change so much as something that’s fully expected when people do not accurately question the foundation of who they think they are.
JOE BIDEN CONT’D: This politics is pulling us apart. It’s ripping this country apart at the seams. Our politicians, our politics today, traffics in division, and our president is the divider in chief.
Michael Richardson-Borne : Politics is a symptom – the stories that make it up are already pulled apart before the pulling apart you mention takes effect. Politics is a further division of the first division, a division that happened to you, one that caused blindness to the pre-existing unity living all of us. Politics is a myth that’s given a reality that isn’t its own. Politics can never be owned by the stories that believe in it. The Separate Self cannot own anything, not even the separation that bends possibility away from who you truly are. The Separate Self is the divider in chief – no matter if it’s believed in by a president, a presidential candidate or the governed, the division enacted is all from the same source, a source whose true being has been forgotten.
JOE BIDEN CONT’D: It comes at a gigantic cost. I mean this from the bottom of my heart, it comes at a gigantic cost. It weakens us. It distracts us. It divides us. It causes us to lose credibility around the world. It picks at the wound, and it solves nothing. This is not who we are. This is not who we are.
Michael Richardson-Borne : Forgetting the impersonal nature of Non-separation that lives the personal experience of who we think we are comes at a gigantic cost – the perpetuation of the Culture of Separation.
So you are correct. This is not who we are. But changing who we are has nothing to do with changing behaviors. It has everything to do with turning your Separate Self over to that which will change your behaviors for you. This change brings to life a lived invitation to Non-separation.