A spiritual truth often repeated is that “we are all one.” We are connected, intertwined, one body.
The feeling of separateness persists, however, and human choices the world over show that the belief in oneness is not a majority belief. We destroy forests, we murder, we steal, we act as if we have dominion over other species and over entire ecosystems. We do not act as if we are one. We do not believe we are one.
Yet here is a simple thought: we consume life in order to stay alive. What stronger argument – and what stranger argument – could be found to prove the theory of oneness. The simple fact that we must consume living beings in order to stay alive is quite strange when you think about it. Why not live in a world where organisms were self sufficient? Each could have its own little job, happily puttering along and working. Why would a world be designed where the whale eats the plankton, the tiny fish get eaten by the big fish, the cat eats the mouse, the people eat the blueberries, the fox eats the chicken, the plants drink water and sunlight, the worms eat microscopic matter in the soil…
Why in the world? Because this world is one being! All of life is transforming all of the time – with every death the matter of a life form is changed into something else, some other part of the one being. With every dinner, every predator’s catch, every consumption, a life form is changed into some other being.
You cannot say you are separate or independent from the rest of life when, with some bad luck or bad choices, you can fairly quickly become a bear, a shark, a tiger, a lion, etc. You are just matter, like the trees, the daffodils, the mice. We are not separate.
And, as far as killing each other because of differences and our feelings about “others” — we breathe the same air, we pump the same blood. How telling that in every single human body, beneath skin color, nationalities, and religions, the same hearts beat, the same blood circulates, the same cells work their hardest to keep that particular body healthy. And if that body becomes weak or wounded, the blood of another (an other) could be the one thing that “saves” its life.
Today, “The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, appealed for blood donors” (article) because of the horrific violence surrounding the Gaza Strip. What incongruity underlies the conflict when you think about the biological facts: the body of an Israeli soldier pumps the same blood that Palestinians need. The body of a Palestinian soldier pumps the same blood being lost by Israelis. We are not separate.
When we come out of the womb, when the umbilical cord is severed, when we nurse for the first time, oneness is obvious. When the woods shelter us from the sun’s rays, when all of life sustains us – in fact, becomes us as we consume life forms – oneness should remain obvious. But it doesn’t, not for the majority, it seems.
We crave oneness, yet in our false sense of isolation and independence, our fears get the better of us and anger comes forth, causing actions harmful to the one body we all share.
Oneness is obvious, but I am sad as I write these words, for I know not how to convince an angry human mind of this simple loving truth. Each individual life form is wonderfully, beautifully loved and cherished, and each is needed to fulfill its role and purpose on the planet. May we continue to try, step by slow and painful step, to do the right thing according to this truth.