Like what? Bowl of cherries… the optimistic refrain from an early 20th-century song? A box of chocolates… as Forrest Gump proclaimed? What is life like to you?
Recently, we offered that many people currently believe that life is like a school – where you learn the lessons exactly like you’re supposed to and get judged at the end to see how well you did – or that life is like a game – we’re competing against one another to see who can get the most power and material wealth. These worldviews drive these peoples life choices. Both viewpoints contain the commonality that every person is separate and apart from every other person and that that belief drives many of the problems of the modern world.
If we saw everything as interconnected and interdependent – everything that appears to be separate is known to be part of a whole – and we truly lived our lives from that viewpoint, then there would be little place in this world for war, poverty and suffering. There is no “other” – there is only this one of which I have my experience of uniqueness and individuality.
So what we need is a new metaphor – a new shortcut for looking at life that supports a worldview of oneness and interconnectedness. We need to replace the bowl of cherries, the box of chocolate, the school and the game with a new catchphrase.
What’s it going to be for you? One common metaphor for our “multiplicity within the unity” – that is, our uniqueness within the oneness – is of the ocean. We often hear the description that we are like drops of water or waves within the ocean. The essence that is the ocean is embedded in us but we are not the entire ocean. As that drop of water or that wave, we express ourselves in our own unique way while still remaining connected to the whole. I’ve always liked this metaphor.
Here’s a strange one that came to me recently – consciousness, spirit, mind, the one – whatever name you wish to give to that underlying essence – is like a stretchy rubber blanket of which we are all a part. (Yes, I know, there’s a joke somewhere here about bedwetting or insane asylums. You can play with that analogy if you want.) The point is – we are connected to everything as a part of that stretchy fabric but that at certain points we all push up through it and take on a form that appears different from it. We look out and see others who have pushed up and out and taken on their own shape and appear to be separate from us. We are all part of the rubber blanket, but all we see and experience are the shapes that each of us have taken on in our unique expression of that underlying oneness. We’ve become so wrapped up in the fabric of the experience of life, that we have forgotten the fabric that binds us.
Play with that visual for a few minutes – imagine every person and object as poking up through a rubber blanket so far that there are all these shapes and forms moving about with a sense of being separate. When we transition from this life, we released our shape and return back level with the blanket. Can you picture it? This visual helps me grasp the concept that “consciousness is the ground of all being” a point frequently made by quantum physicist Amit Goswami and others. That is, consciousness is embedded in everything.
How does this metaphor works for you? Do you have one you use not mentioned here that you have found useful for reminding yourself of our underlying unity? If so, post a comment or send me an e-mail – I would love to hear what you use to remember our oneness.
Peace and blessings.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!