As a general practice, I spend time each morning looking at videos, interviews, and professional talks that support a positive sense of connection and wholeness. Beginning each day orients me to a perspective and sense of being that colors my day with a quality that nourishes my body and soul. During one of these forays into cyberspace, I ran across an article, which touched me with its emphasis on a more mystical sense of our world.
The author, Michael Edwards, says the following: “…spirituality can give us an actual experience of the unity of all things. This experience, when nurtured as a constant practice, roots quality-consciousness, non-discrimination, non-violence and reverence for all people and the earth deep into our core.” In this regard, he quotes Thomas Merton as saying, “In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the centre of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation…”
Edwards further said that living with “wide open eyes” allows the sense of connection to color our everyday experience, that living as a mystic, living with a sense of connection to everything, offers a powerful kind of nourishment and depth to our everyday life experience.
My grandmother taught me about “unity in diversity”, that we are interconnected in a world of oneness even as we each are unique expressions that display an astonishing array of diversity. This perspective has stayed with me all my life and was perhaps part of what prompted my interest not only in psychology but also anthropology and ecology. It also taught me that acknowledging oneness and interconnection doesn’t detract in the least from the richness and creativity of diversity arising from that oneness.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to notice what you experience when you live with “wide open eyes”, oriented on your sense of connection to all that you encounter around you. It’s important to remember that acknowledging your connection to your world doesn’t mean that you agree with everything or everyone. Rather, it’s an opportunity to remind yourself that, even when you disagree, a connection is still there because that connection is the most basic, underlying reality.
Pay attention to the quality of your inner experience when you acknowledge your fundamental relationship of interconnection and interdependence with people, other life forms, the environment—our planet, as you move through your everyday activities. Does it nourish you to remember that you are related to everything around you? Does it create mixed feelings? There’s nothing to do here but notice and become more aware of how you move through the world and how you perceive your place in it.
As with all these practices, there are no right answers with this one. Instead, it offers yet another opportunity to notice how your quality of inner life is affected by where you place your awareness and attention. Remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat on the head any judgments that arise, allowing them to move through and move on.