Disguised as You
Retooled from January 29, 2017
I am one and you are one and we are all together, one.
This line from a song by Chaula Hopefisher speaks the perspective that a multitude of wisdom traditions espouse, that of unity consciousness. I played this song during the Inner Quest Intensive, a profound self-discovery program that I was blessed to lead for several decades. It helped me to set the tone for the entire program, which was one of sharing and receiving, of creating intentional community.
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 or truisms 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 moment in time? As we live into the unknown of this new cultural and political era, we’re told that people from “other places” don’t necessarily belong “here”. How can we live in this split between universal truth and this political moment? How can we practice unity consciousness to disrupt (in the most positive and passive sense of the word) the illusion of separation, as spiritual activism requests of us?
First, 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 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.
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.