In our a world that seems to be increasingly fragmented by the day, if not the hour, the notion of oneness may seem anachronistic and out of place. One may even question the relevance, the practical importance of the idea of oneness in today’s world. In addition, one may wonder – how are we to experience oneness with our fellow beings, or even with nature in our busy lives?
Let us try and first address the notion that oneness does not belong to our current time and space. What is oneness and what does it mean to us? If we can answer that question, we can then discern its location in time and space. Is it a senses of unity, of common ground with our fellow beings? Is it a desire to live in harmony with nature? Is it an acceptance of the principle that we all share certain unifying traits despite our widely varying differences? If so, what may some of these traits and principles be?
Let us now look at the relevance, the practical importance of oneness. Oneness is not to be construed as homogeneity of thought, word or action. Oneness that promotes unity of purpose, say on a team of diverse talents, is indeed relevant to the success of a team or community. In times of conflict, the ‘common-goal’ idea of oneness can be useful to quickly defuse egos and refocus our energies. Can you think of instances in your life where oneness served a practical purpose?
The third question is about experiencing oneness in our lives. Once we have had a personal experience of oneness with our fellow beings, with nature, or with divine energy, it is easier to integrate it into our lives. Personal experience turns oneness from an esoteric notion into something tangible. So, how may we have this personal experience? The Indian sage Patanjali offers us three practices that may help.
- To be happy in their happiness
- To be empathetic in their suffering
- To be friendly in response to their friendliness
If we can practice any or all of the above, we open ourselves to personal experiences of oneness. The three practices seem fairly straightforward and easy to practice. However, they may not be easy to integrate into our interactions with our ‘enemies’ or those whom we strongly disagree with. How can we experience oneness with them, or can we? How will our world of possibilities expand if we were to find a thread of oneness with our greatest opponents?
I invite you to consider the three broad themes of oneness and some of the practices suggested above. How different would our lives be if we were to have a daily persoanl experience with oneness? Imagine the possibilities!
Kumud (@AjmaniK on twitter)
P.S. Join us in #SpiritChat on twitter – Sunday October 1st at 9amET/1pmUTC. We will gather to talk about the “possibilites of oneness” and what makes oneness possbile. Namaste.