Saturday, July 8, 2017

Oneness Does Not Equal Sameness

This is a rewrite of a previous blog post I wrote back in 2011.  What a joy to revisit and edit this important topic to share with you for such a time as this!

Often times our brains get busy trying to understand and make sense of Spiritual principles intellectually while the body is unknowingly re-tuning itself to the vibrational match of a newly (re)introduced eternal verity.  Something which was always known, but at some point became unknown or hidden, as the result of the conditioned experiences of one’s life.

What I have learned along my personal Spiritual path is that my body often gets it long before my brain does.  Then when the time is right, the spark occurs followed by a resonant mental understanding, followed by a heartfelt sense of grace and knowing.  Magic.

“Oneness does not equal sameness.” 

Consider the simple hindu greeting and salutation upon meeting or the valediction upon parting ways of “Namaste.”  Namaste literally translates as “I bow to you.”  It also has the deeper spiritual meaning that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all. “Namaste - the God in me honors the God in you.”

Honoring the God in another person is becoming aware that we are all made of the same stuff, yet we are not identical expressions of that stuff!  Wouldn’t that be boring if we were?  A bunch of me’s or a bunch of you’s walking the planet and nobody else?  Spooky thought.

I had an experience of embodying oneness at a 5 night silent retreat with one of my favorite enlightened guys, Adyashanti.  There were 400+ attendees on this retreat and we were four days deep into the container of silence.  In the second silent sitting of the afternoon I opened my eyes suddenly, looked around the room and noticed that everyone was together in the same silent container, observing the same things: passing thoughts, coughing, inner peace, still body, still mind - through different eyes, in different bodies.  Suddenly I was hovering above the crowd. Then I was looking through the eyes of the person next to me, then before me, then the person across the room to the right, and then across the room to the left.  

I shook my head quickly in an attempt to think something.  I have the subtle memory of attempting to get back into my body or brain but I couldn’t seem to locate that little me.  Another good head shaking was enough to wake up my thinking and all I could say was, “WOAH,” to myself silently in my head before closing my eyes again. 

While it may sound a bit strange or different, it was a profound mystical experience that transformed me.  I recognized that the magnitude of the realization for me at that time, in where I was spiritually, was a bit vast for me to reside in for more than a few seconds.  Gratefully it has gradually integrated within me over time.

The realization of this type of eternal verity - oneness - presents the same dilemma as many other realizations on this path.  It's the great paradox that we are, in fact, spiritual beings having a human experience. Not one or the other, but both at the same time.  God in form.  Individualized, unique expressions of the Divine.  I have discovered that as long as I am having this human experience I must honor both the Oneness, the Divinity in me that is the Divinity in you, and the uniqueness of me and of you.  I can't afford to forget nor undervalue the human experience expressed in so many different ways.  Nor to pretend that we are all the same.

I’m a 5’3”, 40 (something) year old, female, Hispanic, with brown hair, hazel eyes, and athletic.  You may be a 5’8”, 22 year old male, person of color, with brown hair, brown eyes, and not athletic.  Each of us with our own unique life experiences, conditioning, ancestry and heritage.  Privileged or burdened by circumstances that we were born into, beyond our control.

Living in this paradox makes life a thrilling adventure.  God is all there is and you are God in form in your own uniquely fabulous way.  Divine and human.  Just like the quarter has a heads side and a tails side.  Both are the quarter yet each side is uniquely different.  Yes we are one, but we are not the same. 

We are called to honor the Divinity within one another, and simultaneously honor the uniqueness of one another as the individualized expressions of the Divine that we are.  We cannot honor one without the other.  To do so is to bypass or dismiss the human experience and pretend that it is not happening.  This is like saying the quarter is only the heads side or only the tails side, or it is neither heads nor tails, it is just a quarter. That's the mistake or conundrum we may find ourselves in after embodying the verity of oneness.  It’s actually both and.  Many individualized expressions of the One.

I honor the Divinity within you that is you, and simultaneously honor the unique individual, expressions of the Divine AS you!  Now time to take that eternal verity and see the world through the eyes of the Beloved Presence, honoring all of it.

Today I invite you to look at the people around you with love and compassion, without judgment, noticing their unique beauty.  What do you think is their nationality or ethnicity? What kind of body shape do they have? What color is their hair and their eyes? What age are they? How tall, etc.?  Be curious.  What brought them to where they are today?  What was their ancestry like? What might their privilege or burden be? And then ask the same questions of yourself.  

Lastly ask yourself this: How might I help create a world of inclusion?  How may I contribute to creating a world that works for everyone? 


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