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In the last week of July of 2011, when I started the twitter chat with the hashtag #SpiritChat with the encouragement of a few good friends, the objective was to have a discussion of spirituality – beyond religion. The response of folks on twitter over the past year has been humbling, and ample proof that spirituality does go beyond religion. One reason for the response from the community is that, in fact, spirituality is based on oneness, and unity of our fundamental core values.

We may all look different and have varied backgrounds, follow different vocations and avocations and so on – but there is a thread of oneness, of unity, that binds us all together. In India (the country of my birth and where a grew up), one of the motto’s is – Unity in Diversity. I think the leaders came up with that motto to keep the fabric of the country, which has tremendous diversity (twenty-two official languages recognized in the constitution!), together in Unity.

I learnt a tremendous lesson about unity in diversity from my maternal grandmother when I was in fifth or sixth grade. I was visiting her and she must have gotten wind that I was having trouble getting along with a few folks at school. She invited me into her private kitchen (where you could only enter by invitation), sat me down and fed me one of my favorite parathas (flaky flat bread made on a griddle) stuffed with brown sugar and drizzled with ghee (clarified butter). Then, she raised up her hand, showed me her five sinewy fingers and asked – “do you see these five fingers? Do any of them look alike to you?”. I said, “no beejio” (term of respect for grandmother in India). She continued – “so which of these fingers, although they are all different, is not important? which one would of your fingers would you be willing to lose? You see, people are like that too. They may be different, but they are all important, have something in common”.

Needless to say, I still remember that “lesson” in unity, in oneness. I was reminded of this lesson recently due to the #leadfromwithin chat on “diversity”. And it brought questions with it. Is oneness really possible (the Higgs-Boson discovery notwithstanding) in the diverse world of today? If so, how? In what areas is oneness desirable? Does oneness have any disadvantages?

Joy is the realization of oneness, the oneness of our soul with the world and of the world-soul with the supreme love. – Rabindranath Tagore in The Soul: An Archeology

I am sure you have some views on oneness, on unity that you would like to share with the #SpiritChat community on twitter. So, I invite you to join us at our regular hour of 9am ET on Sunday July 22nd and share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you…


Update: Transcript link: http://bit.ly/sc-tr-0722 and questions asked during the live twitter chat –

Q1. What does the phrase "Spirit of Oneness" mean to you? Is it just an idea? Or more...  #SpiritChat 

Q2. What are some factors that disrupt Oneness - in our mind and spirit? How do we work with them? #SpiritChat 

Q3. What we can we learn from (internal and/or external) nature about Oneness? #SpiritChat 

Q4. With so much diversity in the world, is Oneness even possible or desirable? How? #SpiritChat

Q5. What is the connection between Oneness and inner peace? #SpiritChat 

Q6. How does the idea of Oneness of spirit get transformed into action/practice in the "real" world? #SpiritChat 

Takeaway. Q7. What are some ways that we can create more Oneness, harmony, unity online and offline? #SpiritChat