"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order." ~ Carl Jung
A few days ago, I lost something kind of important. I searched and searched and searched for it. I recruited others to help me look. I couldn’t believe it was gone. I didn't understand how it could not be where I thought it was. Nonetheless, I looked everywhere. Finally, after hours of fruitless searching, I gave up, gave in, and stopped looking for it. The next day, I meditated on it, sure that somewhere in me the information was there and if I could just get out of the way, my brain, my heart, my soul, or whatever, would tell me. I meditated on it being safe, wherever it was. I meditated on it coming back to me. I felt gratitude for its return. Then I just let it go. The next day and night, a thought kept coming to me about a specific place where it might be. I was sure I had already looked there and so had other people who’d tried to help me. But the thought kept coming back, like an ocean wave, gently gliding into my mind; not pushing, not shouting, but just there, slipping in and out of my thoughts. On the third day, I looked in the exact spot that I had been thinking of, and there it was!
What did I take this to mean? How does it relate to the concept of oneness? One way to look at this event would be that I saw where it went when I lost it and my brain stored the info, but not in my conscious mind, and then meditating freed up my unconscious mind to move the info into my consciousness. Another view might be that the oneness of all energy -- in me, in the lost item, in everything -- brought me back together with the item, or that my meditative intention to get it back brought it to me, like a magnet. Think about this: have you ever thought about someone and suddenly, they called you or showed up where you were? Have you ever needed some kind of information and a book with the answer to your exact question appeared in your sphere without you even looking for it? Serendipity, coincidence, call them what you like, these kinds of experiences link us to other people, places, and things in ways that we do not expect. It almost seems as if we are truly connected to them in some unseen way.
The interconnectedness of everything is a tenet of science, spirituality, and philosophy. This is a concept we can grasp intellectually, and on occasion, experience or sense. It asserts that everything is energy, and there is only one energy, flowing through everything. So it follows that if we are in the flow of that energy, we can know what seems unknowable and do what seems impossible, because all that knowledge and ability is there, in the same energy. I know that may sound really far-fetched, and I don't want to imply that it's easy. It is not. It requires effort. It contradicts much of what we are taught and absorb culturally. It necessitates change, which can be quite difficult for us humans. And it also demands accepting some things as they are, because they cannot, and should not, be altered to please our individuals wishes. And yet, it has been my experience that when I let go and allow things to be and to unfold on their own, it all turns out better for me than I had anticipated. Which is not to say that we don't have to live on the day-to-day physical plane, dealing with all the things, events, processes, and decisions we need to make. What it does mean is that if we maintain an awareness of the interconnectedness, the oneness, of everything in the Universe -- people, nature, and literally, everything -- that perspective can make us better at dealing with all of those things.
It may help to understand this -- the energy that tells me where my lost items are or gives me exactly what I need when I need it -- if we organize our thinking based on the three viewpoints that agree on it: Science, Philosophy, and Religion.
“We are all connected; to each other, biologically.
To the earth, chemically.
To the rest of the universe atomically.
We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”
~ Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Various scientific theories point to the idea of the oneness of humanity, the Earth, and the Universe. The Big Bang Theory posits that the entire Universe was created by an originating explosion and therefore everything in it is made of the same stuff. Quantum mechanics and Quantum Entanglement theory explain that things and people can be connected on the level of molecules and atoms, even when separated by great distances. The Butterfly Effect illustrates that small events in one location can cause major events in another location. The Gaia Theory tells us that the planet and everything on it, in it, and of it is one single living organism. Everything in nature depends on everything else in nature. This interdependence reveals the oneness of the whole. While this is a super-simplification of these scientific theories, the point is that all of them illustrate the idea of separation as artificial, created by humans to view everything in the Universe in a way that has been easier for us to understand than the reality of total interconnectedness.
Philosophy (& Psychology)
“…we find in all philosophies- the proposition,— Everything is one!”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Philosophy grapples with matters of knowledge, reason, and wisdom, seeking to answer the ultimate question of how humans should live, organize themselves into communities, and establish ethics or moral principles and laws, based on truth and rationality. In order to determine these principles, philosophers throughout history have pondered the interconnectedness of all humans, and of humans with all other life forms and with all of Nature. The source and connectedness of all existence is a basic philosophical question, as its answer leads to the answers of how we know things and how we should live.
Carl Jung wrote about the "collective unconscious,"or knowledge, images, and concepts shared by all of humanity from birth (rather than learned culturally), including archetypes such as mother, self, hero, and trickster. While usually unconscious, this information often reveals itself in dreams, offering a universal language of the collective unconscious mind. It also shows up in repeated themes throughout mythologies and traditional stories from all places, cultures, and times on Earth. The idea that there exists one consciousness, of which each of us is part, can be seen in empathy, telepathy (think of a mother who suddenly senses -- from a distance -- that her child is in danger), and the uncanny feeling we sometimes experience that we are one with other people, with nature, and even with the entire universe.
Oneness is a tough concept for humans to grasp because we normally "know" things (including people, plants, animals, planets, mountains, oceans, clouds, stars... ) as separate, individual objects. There are, however, concepts that philosophers sometimes call a priori knowledge, or knowledge that does not depend on our own personal experience in the physical world. For example, when children are starting to learn about numbers and arithmetic, teachers often use "manipulatives," or physical objects, to illustrate mathematical concepts. But the concepts do not depend on the physical objects; they are just as true without them. Philosophers may see oneness as the will to live in all living things, the collective unconscious mind, the connection between humans and nature, or ways of knowing the unknowable, but it all comes down to the concept of something -- an energy -- that connects everything to everything else.
Religion / Spirituality
“The Eastern mystics see the universe as an inseparable web,
whose interconnections are dynamic and not static.
The cosmic web is alive; it moves and grows and changes continually.”
~ Fritjof Capra
When we experience a sense of interconnectedness or oneness -- such as knowing when a loved one is in trouble, feeling emotional pain because of a catastrophe on the other side of the world, or being overcome by a sense of planetary interconnectedness at the sight of a mountain, ocean, insect, or grain of sand -- we may perceive it as weird or "spooky," even though we know that people perceive such things all the time. From a more positive (less fear-based) view, we may use words like transcendent to describe these experiences. They defy logic, reason, and science-based evidence, yet we know them as real. Religions have explained these experiences as visions or visitations from beings (God, angels, saints) outside of ourselves, or as a door opening into another world, beyond this one. But they also often reference the concept of humanity's interconnectedness with all of life, the Earth, and the cosmos.
Although there are differences between them, all major religions agree on some beliefs, tenets, ethical guidelines, or precepts. "The Perennial Philosophy" is based on the idea that all of these religions are various expressions of One Truth -- a timeless, universal basis for understanding human existence. This theory finds that the values pervading all varieties of religion or spirituality include The Golden Rule, the value of truth and truth-telling, of kindness and generosity toward others, of forgiveness, and that there is one God, and that everything is encompassed in God's mind or spirit or essence. First Nations called this the Sacred Circle of life, animated by the one and only Great Spirit. Their phrase "All My Relations" includes everyone (including past and future generations) and everything in the Universe.
So, what does this oneness, this single energy moving to us and through us, and through everyone and everything around us, all the time, mean for our everyday lives? If we humans and everything in our world and our lives is somehow connected, an intricate web of energy, then how does our knowing this, seeing it and believing it, matter? What difference does it make? The answer is that it gives us the key to unlock stuck energy and flow with it in a more harmonious way. It allows us to more easily align ourselves and everything around us with the natural flow of creative energy. How we see everything in our minds always matters, because it influences how we act and interact in the world. If we see the interconnectedness of all things and people, we can understand how harming others truly harms ourselves, instead of just hearing that as a platitude. And we understand that people being harmed anywhere affects us, here and now. We grow in compassion and responsibility.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
If we know that we not only live on the earth, but are part of it, we can feel the harm our way of life has caused the environment and use our human intellect and imagination to design ways to heal the planet. If we accept the reality of total interconnectedness, we can no longer fool ourselves into imagining that what we do does not matter. It matters. We cause ripple effects all the time. We can choose to do it consciously, carefully, constructively, creatively, and compassionately.
Feng Shui is not magic. If you're trying to sell your home, it can help you to clear out stuck energy, making potential buyers feel good when they view the property, and thereby helping you get a quick sale. If you are feeling stuck in a specific area of your life, it can shake free the positive energy needed to improve that part of your life. It will not, by itself, make you happy, successful, prosperous, loving, respected, and surrounded by good people who love you or can assist you in some way. Feng Shui can help you open up an energetic pathway in your home, garden, or business, but this is not a golden trail for you to walk on, because you are part of it, you are one with the energy. That's why applying Feng Shui principles to your home is very personal. It is not a one-size-fits-all way of arranging colors and items in a space. All of our homes are not exactly identical, just as we are not all exactly identical. Feng Shui is not simple minimalism. It's about the creative energy that pervades everything, including you, and working to remove impediments that can block the ceaseless inflowing and outflowing of that energy -- in spaces, objects, human bodies, and lives.
One energy flows through everything and everyone, all the time.
Becoming conscious of the interconnected nature of all things and all people
can revolutionize your thinking and your approach to life.
• Clear your mind (like you clear your home). Sit with this for a few minutes. Let it settle. Now, create a picture in your mind of you being connected to all other people in the world. Imagine a delicate web joining your heart to that of all people. Feel love running throughout this interconnection. Sit with this image and feeling for as long as you can and then just let it gently fade. Now, create an image of yourself connected to all of nature -- animals, plants, oceans, mountains, clouds, flowers, butterflies, etc. Again, sit with the image for as long as you can. Do the same, imagining a connection to the cosmos -- planets, stars, moons, suns, etc.
• Create an image -- a drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, or whatever you like -- to represent the concept of universal connectivity. Keep this image someplace where you will see it every day. Look at it often to remind yourself of your oneness with all.
• Write about a time when you sensed something that you couldn't know in an ordinary way -- when you felt someone you know was in trouble or you suddenly thought of them and they called you or you ran into them somewhere. Write about a time when you felt empathy for someone, feeling what they were feeling in some important way, whether happy or sad, joyful or despairing. Consider how you share consciousness with others.