Knowing we are connected to others is not a radical idea; it is something that many people experience on a daily basis without realizing it. The idea of oneness has been talked about forever, but the experience of oneness seems to be fleeting or it happens without people knowing it.
Just for fun, imagine your mind is wide open to trying on a different perspective. Be open and curious at the same time, so you can place judgment aside and see what happens with this idea as it comes into your awareness. All I am asking is that you let go of everything you think you know and be wide open to another perspective, even if it is just while you are reading this.
The biggest block to new ideas is that we already think we know what we don’t know. What if everything we thought we knew wasn’t true?
What if the world we see is limited by the lens we are programmed to look through?
What if everything we think we see in front of us is just an illusion created and programmed by our minds?
What if it was only our own judgments that make us believe we are separate from everyone and everything?
When I was a child I had a very painful internal environment. My mind was often a thought storm of fear, worry, and anxiety. The only time I felt some peace of mind was when I was in nature. As a child I was fascinated with any and all things natural—forests, trees, leaves, stones, rocks, shells, sand, mud, flowers, plants, insects, animals, lakes, streams, rivers, frogs especially tadpoles—essentially any and all things in nature. Even when I felt disconnected from everything including my sense of self, I could enter a forest or sit by a lake and I would feel an instant connection with nature. My mind became still and I experienced a sense of peace.
My senses were so heightened when I was in nature that I could find the tiniest things and they would bring me joy. I remember finding a tiny frog the size of my thumbnail. When I showed others they asked, “How did you ever find something so small?” and my answer was, “How could you not see it?” It was as though I had magnified x-ray vision in nature. I could see and appreciate all the little details in everything I found. I would collect rocks and shells. I would even hold onto different pieces of driftwood that resembled shapes of animals; well, they did through my eyes.
Every summer we stayed with my grandparents at their cottage on a lake in Northern Ontario. I would ride my bike along the road to this one path through the forest that led to a huge rock at the edge of the lake. The only way to get there was by this path or by boat. As a child, it seemed like a massive rock. Everything was so quiet when I went there, including my monkey mind. It was as though life slowed down and all was well in the world. I felt peace within and all around me. The rest of the world and all its problems disappeared and I was fully present to every detail and at the same time, I felt deeply connected to everything.
Connecting to nature is a common way many people experience oneness. Perhaps you enjoy walking in nature or you are fascinated by the moon or the stars. Some people feel this connection when playing with a child or holding an infant. Others may experience oneness through physical intimacy or feeling the depth of love they have for someone in their life.
What creates a sense of peace within you?
Are there experiences that you are drawn to that bring you peace and calm?
What soothes your heart?
Do you know what calms your mind?
What gives you a sense of connection to nature or others?
We have all had experiences of oneness but most of us haven’t been aware of it. Let me remind you, we are having some fun here, trying on a different perspective. It will be easy for some and mind-bending for others. Remain open and curious.
On the surface, we judge that we all look different and seem separate, but if we go beyond our programmed mind and beyond what the naked eye can see, we all share a connection. From our limited human perspective, we are each separate human beings walking around this planet. There are trees, cars, mountains, oceans, and millions of other things that we see as separate from ourselves.
Let’s first begin with a change in perspective. Bring an image of a leaf from a particular tree into your awareness for a moment. Notice the veins, the patterns, and the texture of the leaf. That leaf is just a leaf on its own, separate from everything else. Now imagine the leaf on a branch and the branch holding other leaves that are similar and at the same time unique.
Now visualize the branch as connected to the trunk of a tree just like many other branches with many other leaves. Again all are similar and at the same time unique. Now, I invite you to change your perspective to see the whole tree with its branches, leaves, bark, and roots. Instead of seeing each part of it as separate, see the tree in all its beauty. Just by changing our perspective, we can change what we see. We can zoom in and see one leaf on the tree again, or zoom out and see the whole tree.
Energy makes up everything according to quantum physics. The denser its energy, the more solid an object appears. If you took an object and put it under one of the world’s most powerful microscopes you could zoom in and start to see the workings of that object. I used to work as a Registered Veterinary Technician and I loved looking under a microscope. It opened up a whole new perspective that fascinated me. Looking at blood cells under a microscope and even analyzing stool samples for parasites were intriguing and exciting activities for me.
What if we could replace the lens in our physical eye with a microscopic lens or zoom in on objects and start to see their inner workings? What if we could zoom out and see the bigger picture as we did with the tree, but do it with the world, our solar system, our galaxy? Where does one thing separate from another? At what perspective do we begin to see just the leaf and shift to seeing the whole tree?
Now that we can see the whole tree we can appreciate that all parts of the tree contribute to the health of the entire tree. For example, if one leaf became infected with a fungus, that fungus could spread and eventually impact the health of the entire tree and it might also spread to all the trees around it, impacting the entire forest.
In British Columbia, Canada, we have a mountain pine beetle that is a natural resident in the Rocky Mountains. Mountain pine beetles cause damage to pine trees throughout the province, by laying eggs under the bark and introducing a fungus that interferes with water and nutrient absorption. The pine needles on the branches dry up and turn brown as the tree dies. Our cold winters control the numbers of this insect. In the late 1990s, several warm winters allowed the population of pine beetles to skyrocket, which resulted in a loss of millions of hectares of pine trees over a period of about fifteen years. If we zoom out from one tree to a forest of trees to a province of trees we can get an idea of how the sum of the parts affects the whole.
It was the philosopher Aristotle who first coined the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, everything we do individually contributes to the whole of humanity. In every moment our actions and nonactions are either helping humanity or harming humanity. Intentionally or unintentionally, we are constantly contributing to the whole of humanity Therefore, if we hold the vision of working together and we are willing to play our part, we can positively impact the world as a whole and at the same time uplift humanity.
The questions are “Can we put aside our differences and can we begin to see we are much more alike than we have been taught?” If we ask “How are we the same?” we can clearly see that we are all human and that we are all part of this world. In other words, we are a sum of all the unique parts that make up the whole of humanity and, if we zoom out, we see the whole planet, and then if we zoom out further the whole galaxy and then the whole universe. So what part do you want to play? Do you wish to contribute to the problems, to be the pine beetle? Or do you wish to be part of the solution? If we each play our part, together, we can affect the change that leads to unifying us in love through connection, cooperation, and collaboration.
Stay tuned next week for chapter 3 ~ Born Innocent, Programmed Guilty
***This is an excerpt from Sue Dumais’ book “Stand UP Stand OUT Stand STRONG ~ A 30 Day Guide to Navigate Life When the SHIFT Hits the Fan”
Published on atfortyfive.com with permission from © Sue Dumais
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