Disguised as You
Do all wisdom traditions hold unity consciousness as a core of their philosophy and practice? Or is it that simply that the traditions to which I am drawn are ones that espouse unity as a core belief? Surely the connection to self and to others has to be the mindfully tended as the foundation of our human experience.
I remember a song by Chaula Hopefisher, which I used to play in the Inner Quest Intensive, a profound self-discovery program that I was blessed to lead for several decades. This song touched me and set the tone for the program, which was one of sharing and receiving, of allowing and creating intentional community:
I am one and you are one and we are all together, one.
Of course, the tradition of yoga, the union with self, with others and with all, has an ocean of references to this oneness to which we, all life, belong. From the Ulpaladeva’s Shiva-Stotra, which are sutras devoted to Lord Shiva, we hear this powerful perspective:
There is no other happiness here in this moment
Than to be free of the thought
That I am different from you.
The Bhavgata Gita, ancient yogic text, (purists amongst you, forgive my gender adjustment here) proclaims the following:
She who is rooted in oneness
realizes that I am
in every being, wherever
she goes, she remains in me.
When she sees all beings as equal
in suffering or in joy
because they are like herself,
that being has grown perfect in yoga.
Not terribly differently, we Jews, bless us, proclaim in the Shema, the cornerstone of Jewish prayer, that all of creation is formed by that which is Greater than ourselves. Therefore there is no literal separation between us and all other life, since the Grace of Creation (whatever you want to call it—energy, prana, God, Grace, Nothing) lives in everything. We are all literally made of the same stuff. Way cool, no?
And now quantum physics tells us that there exists a unified energetic field, underlying and connecting everything in creation. Science catches up with the wisdom traditions? Super-way-cool.
But/and, what might this have to do with you, with me, with us, in this particular moment in time? As we live into the unknown of this new cultural and political era, with the status quo seemingly up for random and questionable grabs, we’re told that people from “other places” don’t necessarily belong “here”. How can we live in this split between universal truth and the shifting political messages we are receiving? How can we practice unity consciousness as a way to disrupt (in the most positive and passive sense of the word) the illusion of separation, as spiritual activism calls us into unity?
First, perhaps let’s simply consider. Here are some questions to ponder, to chew upon, maybe to journal—or not. Just consider:
Today, just for today, do I make myself different and separate from the people around me? How?
What do I gain, what’s the payoff, from this behavior?
What is one thing I can do today, just for today, to connect with another?
And as a practice, for today, for this week, for this moment:
Notice without judgment someone around you, someone you do or do not know. Notice any fear or separation you put between yourselves. Imagine yourself softening, relaxing, and opening to this person. Nothing to do externally—allow this internal practice to remind you of the capacity you have to change your brain, your body, and your behavior.
I know I pull away from others when I’m scared. My internal dialogue sounds like, “I’ll just figure this out and get back to you”. My practice this week will be to take my ambivalence, my fear, my not knowing, unfiltered and unprocessed, to another. I don’t want to do this. And I will. I’ll let you know how it unfolds.
Dear folks, I hope there was something tangible in this blog for you this week. As always, please keep in touch. Hearing from you is a gift of gifts.