The essence of the human dilemma is our concept of separation. As physical beings, we view the world from the inside out, seeing us over here and everything else as over there somewhere. What happens to me over here is very important. What happens over there is not so important; and, the further over there is away from over here, the less significant it generally seems. Under this context, I can easily experience joy and peace here while those over there experience just the opposite, without affecting me in the slightest. In this mental scenario, it becomes important to manage conditions where I am with little or no regard for conditions elsewhere. A fear of lack coupled with the assumption that I succeed without regard to the state of others is the very essence of most negative human interaction.
Wherever did mankind come up with the idea of separation? Consider the Bible account of the Garden of Eden. Man initially walked with God, but then he decided it would be good to know good and evil, so he could be a judge. After he took on that role, he decided to separate (hide) himself from God. God allowed mankind to go its separate way, judging and dividing ever since. As an observer and critic of all that existed outside themselves, man became more and more self centered and less and less aware of the essential connection between God, the Creator, and all of humanity. The resulting sense of isolation and self interest has dictated the evolution of human history.
As has been noted many times, the assumption that we are truly separate from each other and the rest of creation is an illusion. God and all that He made are really intimately connected in an inseparable way. The work of Jesus, contrary to what is taught by the Church, was aimed at eliminating the appearance of separation, first from God and then from our fellowmen. The relinquishing of that latter aspect of separation, man to fellowman, was expressed by the metaphor of one body or community as an outgrowth of the teachings of Christ. It was the reason why Jesus taught that everyone is our neighbor and deserving of our best love and support.
Undoubtedly, some will ask why Jesus also talked about sheep and goats and why Paul encouraged separation in II Corinthians 6, for example. Well, the separation enjoined in the NT was related to the special situation of the closing days of Judaism and was preparatory to the revelation of Jesus Christ which accompanied the closeout of that religious system. The separation of the few in order to escape impending judgment was the prelude to the available all inclusive newness to be found in embracing the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ did involve a form of separation, that being the separation from the conventional wisdom which promoted the idea of a divided and unconnected humanity.
Needless to say, the institutional church has had it entirely wrong all these years. Their doctrine states that Jesus came to establish a new even stricter form of separation between men. They preach an ostensibly inclusive message which polarizes mankind by reinforcing man’s decision in the Garden. The spiritual journey is not like travelling on the face of the earth. You can’t go in the exact opposite direction and eventually end up where you need to be.