Imagine one living Spirit eternally creating, sustaining, and enfolding the whole universe, from the most distant star to the tiniest grain of sand on Planet Earth. Imagine that all beings, animate and inanimate, all creatures—insects, birds, fish, mammals, and humans—are part of this One Spirit, surrounded by it, imbued with it. Imagine that the essence of this Spirit is Love.
What happens when we acknowledge this Oneness, this Love, as being our source?
In 1972, I took a three-month-long, spiritual training in San Francisco. One afternoon, our teacher sent us out to walk the streets of the city. We were directed to look deeply at each person we met as we inwardly chanted the mantra, “I am humanity.” It was an unforgettable experience. Recently, while sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, forty-four years after my experience in San Francisco, I found myself making superficial judgements of the others waiting with me. (No wonder he has knee problems, he’s so overweight. She’d look a lot better with less makeup, etc.) Then the mantra came back to me. “I am humanity.” Such a shift! Judgements evaporated. I felt I could see into the heart of each person and was pierced with the realization of our oneness, washed with Love.
I believe our wars would end if we could only remember that we are one.
Out of this Wholeness, each creature emerges unique, holding its own vibration, its own blend of colors in the infinite rainbow of Oneness. It is a paradox. We are one and also unique.
Cynthia Bourgeault, in her beautiful little book, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, uses the metaphor that we are like instruments in an orchestra. She writes, “I am sounded through by the music, and in that sounding, in harmonic resonance with all the other instruments, is revealed both my irreplaceable uniqueness and my inescapable belonging.”
During a difficult time in my life, I was on retreat, longing for death to end my distress. A woman in my support group at the retreat put a poem in my mailbox that called me back:
“You may think the world does not need you,
But it does.
For you are unique like no one who has ever been before or will come again.
No one can say your piece, speak your voice
Or smile your smile, or shine your light.
No one can take your place, for it is yours alone to fill.
And if you are not there to shine your light,
Who knows how many travelers will lose their way
As they pass by your empty place in the darkness.”
We may not know who depends on our light. We may even forget that we have a light to shine. I have come to believe that we are all called to a life purpose, an ulada as the Elirians call it, and that all our uladas are part of the Oneness, entwined in ways we may not realize.
Showing up to shine our light can sometimes be difficult, but if we can remember our oneness with all that is, we will be nourished and sustained by the Love that is the essence of the One Spirit.