For most people, when the group goes one way, they go that way; they believe what the group believes. When the group goes another way, they go that way. Why? Because they have surrendered to the group psychology, as their instincts around power and submission tell them to do for their survival. Human beings are not so strong; have compassion for them. Just as the wolf has an instinctual response within its society or the deer with its herd, or the horses, or the birds, so human beings are equally bound in their reactions. People, in general, have a profound mental pride that they do not see their responses to their own societies. They do not see how they are giving away their ability to make personal choices to the groups they identify with.

Instinctual survival and group behaviors are in the genes but for the true yogi who has a personal association with God, in the process of meditation, as the higher layers of mind open, these genes lose their influence. As one grows toward an enlightened state, the genes that create these instincts and the survival needs that drive behaviors of dominance become less and less active and eventually turn off. Then love for the Supreme dominates.

The yogi who wants to know truth must step apart from this biology, from the dominance of the body and the way the body structures the mind. To do this, begin to witness your own existence. As higher layers of the mind become accessible, the calm witness, knowledge, and detachment from animal instincts grow. Instincts are driven by fear and all that happens as a result of them is based in fear. The closer you are to the Divine, the more the instincts of survival turn off and the fear that drives them dissolves.

All those who teach about this problem give the same advice: Avoid group identification. Feel that the whole universe is your home; all living beings your children, your family. Stand apart from any side and take actions of loving kindness and compassion. Seeing the pain and the shortcomings of all people in this world, have compassion for humanity, the difficulty, the struggle, the pain. Bring healing to humanity; approach all with compassion and love.

If you want this change, follow Yama and Niyama, rather than the dynamics of power and look very closely at your own self. Find your own relationship with the eternal Self and with all beings. You can only do this as an individual.

The sangha (spiritual community) can help to a degree but it is important to have your eyes open when relating to a group to bring your internal locus of surrender where you give your power freely to the God within. The true spiritual seeker turns within to the Divine and seeks guidance from that one and not any external force. Standards of morality need to come from your relationship to the Divine. Then there is a certain detachment from all groups and all group-isms.

​To avoid group identity is much more difficult and involved than it appears but it is key to being able to follow Yama and Niyama. So have all the Masters taught. Essential morality does not lie within a group psychology.

It lies within you as an individual and within your relationship to the God Self. And that relationship is personal and singular. The true Sadvipra (developed spiritual person) is a part of all groups and a part of none. Being a person who stands for dharma, he or she lives by ethics, for the love of the Divine. Actions are governed by personal experience and by what has been revealed from the innermost being.

Author's Bio: 

In addition to being an author, Maetreyii Ma Nolan is a licensed psychologist with a doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology, a teacher of yogic philosophy and ancient wisdom, an ERYT 500 Yoga Teacher, and an ordained yogic minister, or Acharya.

She is currently the president of Ananda Guru Kula, a non-profit dedicated to spreading the wisdom teachings of Yoga and a transpersonal psychologist in private practice. Maetreyii Ma spends her time giving 'Baba Talks', teaching and making books of these beautiful discourses. She is a wife and mother and currently lives with her husband in their ashram community in the Northern San Francisco Bay area.