“We are all one.”
This is one of the most used yoga or even “new age” slogans these days. I hear this many times in yoga studios, by yoga teachers, or even just in random chats on the street.
Isn’t it true? Yes, it is true—but only on a certain level. (I suspect many of those that use this phrase have not actually experienced the oneness of it all.) It is not an easy practice, and for most humans, it requires a great deal of meditation and awareness practices before the mind can actually drop away to allow the oneness of it all to be known.
When I say we are all one, who is it speaking? If it is I speaking, then there is already a separation.
When people randomly say this phrase I like to ask them for their car keys.
What difference does it make? It is not as if you gave your car to me. Since there is no you and no I, there is no separation between us—we are all one!
On a certain conscious level, this is very true. Energetically, for example, this is very true. It is important to know this, and even better to understand this beyond the brain or mind. This helps us take our actions with a healthy perspective. Knowing that ultimately everything under or over the sun is connected and part of the same whole, helps me be more conscious and loving about every word I say and every action I take.
Still, I lock my home door and I lock my car. I even have a bank account that is different than yours. I am not suggesting that communism helps the phrase come true. What I am saying is that on a physical level (also known as prakrti in the yoga world) there is an illusion of separation, and we live in it, obeying its rules. It is similar to Neo, living in The Matrix (the movie.)
Once we know our true self—our Purusha, or soul—then we know oneness.
It is helpful to talk about this and first touch upon it on an intellectual level. Eventually, we need to do the work, or the practice—abhyassa—to know this oneness as real.
One practice that may help simulate this experience, at least partially, is the peripheral vision gaze.
Stare blankly at something. I like to stare at trees. While you maintain a steady gaze at one point, allow your eyes to soften, and see if you can expand your view. It is like you are seeing through the sides of the eye. The longer you can hold this, the more you may find yourself dropping away and experience “just seeing.” Since it hard to maintain an active mind at this state, it allows a similar sense of oneness. The moment you focus on a specific thing and start to name it, or use adjectives for it, you have probably lost your peripheral vision. Thoughts have taken over.
Keep practicing this as well as seated meditation so you can actually get to know oneness as truth—your truth.
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Assist Ed: Jade Belzberg/Ed: Brianna Bemel