We must look to our roots to know who we are.
We are all on a journey to realizing our Oneness. The good news is, we are already One. The journey is in realizing this. We can take a quick look around and clearly see we are physically separate. In the world of science this would be referred to as empirical evidence. Everyone can psychically see that we are separate.
So, Oneness becomes a belief that either people believe in or they don’t. If there is so much empirical evidence everywhere we look, why would anyone believe they are one?
We need to look under the surface. We need to look at our roots. We need to explore what we can’t see with our eyes.
*Mildred lived remotely in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Wildfires ran rampant one year and completely burned her home and land to the ground. She returned to her home after the fires had cleared. The long dirt road to her home produced massive clouds of ash that billowed behind her old truck. When she rounded the bend and she could see where her home was, she saw nothing but black. Several of the broken trees around her home smoldered like candles on a blown our birthday cake. The small lake next to her home had turned from a turquoise blue to a deep coffee black.
She parked her old truck and stepped out onto the ground. Her foot sank 11 inches (.27 meters) down through a soft plume of fine ash. It billowed up from the ground like a small mushroom cloud. She walked to her home with a cloud of ash rising behind her. All she could find was a concrete foundation and ash everywhere. All was gone.
She turned to look at the lake and all she could hear was the deafening sound of silence; no birds or animals. They were gone. All that was left was ash, sun, and smoke.
Mildred felt compelled to walk around the lake as she often did. When she reached the other side, she found herself in an old Aspen grove she loved to sit in and listen to the wind whisper through the leaves. The wind was still and the leaves were gone. All she could smell was the constant and overwhelming scent of campfire. Her home smelled like a giant campfire. She brushed a rock of its ash and sat quietly in the deafening silence. She used her foot to push a small clearing in the ash for her feet. As she brushed, she saw the most brilliant green leaf protrude from the deep black ash.
Her eyes filled with water as she carefully brushed the ash from the plant. It was a young aspen tree shoot. An aspen tree grove can consist of one organism. The trees are connected by their roots. When we walk through an aspen grove, we see multitudes of trees. However, it is one.
If we go solely by the evidence of our eyes, we miss so much. There is something deeper going on in our lives than what we see. There is evidence of Oneness, we just need to know how to see our roots.
‘One’ explores the concept of Oneness and employs exercises to illustrate Oneness at work in our life.
We are already One regardless of our beliefs. We can believe that we are separate and this will impact how we interact with the world. The belief in our separateness opens the door for us to treat each other in inhumane ways.
*Linda worked for a local company that needed repair technicians that went directly to people’s homes. She was driving a company truck on the last day of work before a two-week long vacation. She wanted to make sure her duties were not only caught up but ahead of schedule. This way, the person covering for her wouldn’t be playing catch-up.
Linda was driving down a long driveway towards a home at the end of her day. She thought she would squeeze in a short repair before her day ended. Linda was ahead on her list of duties and didn’t really need to squeeze this repair in. But she was determined. As she drew near the home, she heard a lot of dogs barking in the distance. She knew that if she continued, she would have to deal with all the dogs and the job would take much longer than her shift permitted. She changed her mind about this job and decided she would quickly squeeze in a different job just down the street. She put it in reverse and backed down the driveway. As she hurried, she heard a peculiar sound along the side of the truck. Her heart sank, “what did I hit?”
Linda got out of the truck and walked to the other side where she heard the awful screeching sound. A skinny post that sat below her line of vision had drug along the entire side of the truck. It left a long grey streak on the side. This truck was assigned to her and any damage was always to be reported upon return to the office. She knew she would be reprimanded and have to fill a ton of paperwork out. She would have to stay late.
She became angry at herself for her haste. She didn’t need to rush but she was trying to be nice to the next person covering her work. Linda didn’t want to stay late before her vacation so, she decided not to say anything to her superiors.
She had all of two weeks to contemplate how she might proceed. Her company truck was brand new and any new scratches will assuredly be noticed. She knew she needed to say something or she would be in bigger trouble for not reporting it.
On her first day back to work, she had a plan. She went to the office as she always did before going to the garage to get her truck. She went to the garage and saw the long streak down the side still there. Secretly, she hoped it would magically go away. She unlocked her truck and got the information she needed to go ahead with her lie. Someone had driven her truck while she was on vacation because things had been moved around.
She turned around and headed back to the office to tell her supervisor of the new scratch she found on the side of her truck. Her supervisor asked if it was there before and she said, “no.” A blatant lie that got her out of trouble. However, Linda did not feel good inside. She knew she could be potentially getting a fellow employee in trouble. She didn’t even know who it would be. It could be one of her good friends.
That feeling sat in her stomach like a giant bowling ball and she began to feel nauseous. Her supervisor complained and cursed under their breath as they knew they had to go through who was assigned to the truck while Linda was gone. They didn’t want to confront each person that drove Linda's truck in her absence.
But then something saved them both from this discomforting situation. Linda’s supervisor asked if the scratch could be buffed out. Linda hadn’t thought of that and said she would go see. She walked back out to the garage still with the ugly feeling in her gut. She licked her thumb and rubbed the mark off easily.
Linda was relieved but annoyed with her dishonesty. Linda rarely lied and was surprised that she had gone this far. She began to think of her good friend getting a reprimand and being potentially accused of lying.
There was a three strikes policy that could actually get someone fired. This incident could get someone fired. Someone could be looking for work, unable to pay bills, and unable to provide for their kids...all because Linda wanted to enjoy her vacation and didn’t want to get in trouble.
Linda realized she was making herself more important than her friend’s kids. The chaos that could have ensued after this lie could’ve been disastrous.
Lying is easier to do when we see ourselves as separate. The chaotic ramifications of one lie could’ve been massive and irreparable. Taking advantage of others is easier when we see ourselves as separate. After Linda lied, she began to realize the potential disastrous outcome of her actions. When she began to put herself in her co-worker’s shoes, particularly her friends, the small lie suddenly felt monstrously big, hurtful, and uncontrollable.
When Linda put herself in someone else’s shoes she saw herself from their perspective. She didn’t like what she saw, in fact she hated herself for it. The lie may have saved herself from the company reprimand but it changed how she looked at herself.
Linda’s story is reflecting the concept of Oneness perfectly. We harm someone else, we harm ourself. We lie to others, we are lying to ourself. We take advantage of others, we take advantage of ourself. Linda had just thought of the mass of people that could’ve driven her truck when she was gone and didn’t see them as important or worthy of respect. It wasn’t until she imagined her co-worker friend being accused of the scratch, did she empathize with the rest of her fellow employees.
Empathy is the act of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Seeing things from their perspective. When we see life from more of a perspective of Oneness: we become considerate, thoughtful, kind, empowering of others, and so on.
Linda learned a massive lesson about Oneness but didn’t know it at the time. She saw the potential of a “small” lie and vowed to tell the truth even when it meant catastrophe for her. It was Linda’s haste that got her in that predicament, not someone else’s.
Oneness breeds kindness and peace. The belief in our separateness opens the door to chaos, hurt, and sometimes violence. One small exaggeration could dismantle our life and bring forth our worst fears.
This may sound like an innocent children’s cautionary tale of lying but our beliefs of separateness are abundant in the world. As a result, we are seeing mass chaos all around us. This is our own doing. Linda learned an important lesson and narrowly missed disaster. Kindness and honesty are her mottos now. As a result, she has experienced more kindness and honesty in her life.
Our life experience reflects who we are and who we are not. The belief in our separateness establishes who we are not in our life experience. It is a painful path littered with chaos and hurt.
A belief in Oneness affirms who we are and promotes a path littered with kindness, acceptance, and empowerment. It doesn’t take long on this path before our belief in Oneness shifts to a certainty.
*Names, places, and gender have been altered to respect, protect identity, and confidentiality.