Monday, December 29, 2014

We Are All One: The Law of Interconnection

The spiritual path takes us unequivocally towards several important truths. One of which is that we are all one.

This is not a new saying. I'm sure many of you have heard it before. I'm sure many of you have used this phrase, but to really know this from nose to toes is a whole other thing.

In a spiritual awakening, someone is thrust into this truth and feels the profoundness of it. However, people rarely abide there completely. So there tends to be a lot of bouncing in and out of that state of awareness. In a spiritual awakening glimpse or opening, someone many briefly experience this truth, and then that moment passes. As such the individual in this scenario tends to think of the associated feelings and experiences as the only way to feel oneness. But it isn't. Because oneness embraces all states of awareness, all experiences, and all feelings.

However, the glimpse or the yo-yoing of awakening are powerful. A glimpse can suddenly cause someone to start their journey to understand life and to begin to question things. Of course, the awakening more or less thrusts the individual into a process of deep healing and growth that seem to arise of their own accord. It is a powerful thing to touch this space of oneness and begin to appreciate the truth: that we are all interconnected.

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The Truth and Illusion of Connection

The truth of interconnection is that we've always been connected to one another and to all of the universe. The lie is that we need to do something to get connected again. In all the ways that we feel cut off, that cutting off is caused by us. It is our thoughts, fears, assumptions, karmic pain, unacknoweldged physical pain, and so much more. Pain, itself, is not separate from our life. We are as much interconnected to pain as we are to pleasure. The Divine never comes along and says there is no pain in this world. The Divine never says that if we are feeling pain that we have failed on the spiritual path. The Divine embraces all. That is the nature of oneness. Nothing is left out. No one is going to a separate place called Hell for being bad. No one is placed above anyone else. The ocean of consciousness embraces all of us equally.

That is precisely its power.

That deep encompassing embrace naturally dissolves away our illusions. Again and again, when we try to cling to an illusion (especially in awakening), the pain of that holding on is felt, and the pain of resisting our own interconnection and oneness is felt. Anywhere that we resist what life is, we are doing so from the illusion of the individual. While we have this lovely ability to play in a seemingly "independent" life as a human, we are deeply and ultimately connected to all things. Our choices are much smaller (and bigger) than we understand.

Dropping More Deeply Into Oneness

Most people don't know how to navigate the truth of oneness. As such, some people are overwhelmed by touching the truth. It seems like too much of a fairy tale. The major issues of security and fear of death are illuminated in countless people on the spiritual path. And most people would rather cling to their fears than have faith in the grandness of oneness. To be sure, it's not a certain place. Oneness doesn't bring human certainty. There is no certainty in the realm of duality, because in duality (the world we actively live and believe in where we are all separate beings), there is constant change. Connecting to oneness does not stop that constant change. Instead, it helps us to clarify the currents of duality we are in and how we chose to be in them. It gives us the awareness and perspective to get a sense of where we are going.

For instance, connecting to the profound love and joy of oneness shows us all the love that we have inside of us. The striving for external relationships and events to make us feel good gets illuminated as not only illusory, but counter-productive. If you already feel good, you don't need anything or anyone else to feel good. From this perspective, someone with a sugar addiction can see that they've only been eating the candy, ice cream, sugar-filled coffee, cake, cookies, and so forth to feel good--to feel loved. This person has the opportunity to stop this unhealthy behavior because they have the perspective to see that they've never been cut off from love. That's part of the gift of dropping more deeply into oneness.

If someone drops deep enough into that space, then sometimes that type of change happens over night. They just stop eating those things. However, it is much more common for someone to go back and forth between old unhealthy habits and the truth. Typically if the person is sincere on the spiritual path, it gets harder and harder to backslide (See more on this topic here: The Spiritual Backslide). As awareness comes forth in the body, the body will start to feel less good about eating these things. It may start to feel physically sick, which is how the body often speaks with awareness about food. It was always speaking in this way, by the way. But the body tries to adapt to whatever situation or nourishment we offer to it.

Connecting More Easily to Others

Because we are all connected, I am you, and you are me. That means if I am living from love, there's a general pull to help you live more from love because you are me. If I am living more from unconsciousness and pain, there's a pull to bring you into more unconsciousness and pain. It's why us spiritual teachers talk so much about taking care of oneself to help the world. The unconscious and self-avoiding ego wants to SAVE THE WORLD! This type of individual, however, needs to save him or herself. By dealing with their issues, this person changes the energy and the kind of "spiritual gravity" around them. It kind of is a force of nature (hence why I'm calling this a "law" of interconnection) to drop more deeply into true love. This space of oneness naturally moves us in certain ways, and we move the ocean of consciousness in certain ways. If enough droplets get together, they form a wave. And you don't have to try that hard. You just be you.

But how many of you really know who you are?

It's why I sometimes ask my students the unenviable difficult but oh-so important question: Who are you?

Who Are You Revealed

In oneness, you cannot hide. Connecting to all of life naturally wants to pull you into a certain alignment. It's like being a piece of puzzle finally fitting snuggly where you belong. Sometimes the ego understands. Sometimes it doesn't understand. There are so many cultural lies we believe in on top of our experiences, family karma, and so forth that many people don't understand how perfectly suited they are to where they are. They don't understand how life is moving towards wherever they need to grow. But it does do this when we stop fighting the ocean (Just imagine trying to bail out the ocean to change its tides by using a child's plastic bucket).

In oneness, you accept your talents and faults. All is illuminated. Because much of the unconscious ego likes to hide in the shadows, this tends to be really intense for people. The more a person is aligned with unconsciousness, the more upsetting connecting to the truth can be. They get to see their errors brightly lit in Divine neon lights. For some people, this kind of spiritual awakening leads to intense sickness and pain because that is what is there. And that is what must be detoxed.

All the while, oneness embraces this detox. That's why I like using ice metaphors. The ice may separate itself from the ocean. But it is still fundamentally water. No matter how much you separated yourself from the truth of oneness, your essence is still the same as all of the universe. You can and ultimately will be transformed back into that purest form just as the ice melts back into the water. Along the way, you are fully revealed in who you are and--in the human sense--what really matters to you in this life.

Not a Phrase for Silly Spiritual Slogans

We are all one is not a phrase for making us feel good. More often than not, when people use it in that way, it is to avoid the bad feelings, the sense of separation, and whatever else someone is hiding from. As I said, oneness takes us directly back to the source. This takes us through all of our pain and troubles that have been cutting us off from the Divine. Going through pain is not going around it. We generally have to re-experience it to let it go (although not always). In facing our internal darkness, we are also embracing it. Because much like oneness, we have to embrace all of ourselves. Nothing is left out. When we have left out nothing and no experience or trait within us is resisted, we become truly free.

From that freedom, life as a human being opens up to its fullest. We see the depths of terror, pleasure, delight, and torment here, and we embrace it all as it is. This is a profound space, but the more of us who move from this space, the more naturally the whole of us will move from this space. And if you want to change the world away from terror and torment, then the first and only place to truly change is to go that changeless space of oneness within you.
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