“What do you mean ‘we’re all one’, and how does that help me deal with my suffering?”Oct 22, 2019
(By Eldad Ben-Moshe ✨ Reading Time: 7 minutes)
Loved ones ❤
“What do you mean ‘we’re all one’”?
“What does ‘oneness’ and ‘separation from oneness’ really mean anyway?”
“Why does the Course in Miracles say we are all one, and that separation never happened?
And how does that help me deal with my suffering?”
These were some of the questions that came up from my previous post about Love’s forgiveness vs. the ego’s forgiveness.
If you're wondering how can it be that we’re all one when it seems that
we are very separate individuals, you are not alone.
In fact, it's safe to assume that at least 99.9% of the people on the planet
do not experience reality as ‘it’s all one.’
So let’s tackle that, and see how this helps you live a happier, better life.
As always, we want to keep it useful and practical.
1. Relative Oneness - Even as separate, unique individuals.
There’s a story about Zen Master Seung Sahn Soen-Sa.
It is said that he once replied to a young girl’s question with these words:
Imagine that you’re in a big cookie factory.
The factory makes many cookies in different shapes and forms -
cookies that look like cars, cats, dogs, clouds, houses and even humans.
The cookies have different names and forms, and they look different,
but all of them are made from the same dough.
So they look different, but they are really the same.
‘Do you understand?’, asked the zen master.
‘Yes’, said the girl, and added -
‘We are all the same cookie.’
All the forms we see, even if they look different and have different names -
mountains, rivers, man, woman, dog, cat - they are all made of the same
substance; they share the same essence.
Their essence is beyond forms and names.
It has no form or name.
It just is.
This world is a world of duality and differences:
day and night, good and bad, alive and dead, right and wrong.
But that’s only in the level of form, of appearance.
On the level of essence, the more profound level, we are one and the same.
We are all the same cookie.
"Nothing so blinding as perception of form"
The names and the attachment to forms are in your mind.
The cat doesn’t say or think ‘I’m a cat.’
Your mind does.
If you go beyond your mind, beyond everything you’ve learned,
into the ‘I don’t know,’ your entire experience will change radically.
That, according to spiritual traditions, will lead to the end of suffering.
I cannot testify about the end of all suffering, as I’m not ‘there’ yet.
But having studied the causes of suffering since 2003 I can say that
it does make sense, as suffering is also a result of your mind.
Specifically, suffering a result of your beliefs and your attachment to them.
I can also say that being in the state of ‘I don’t know’ did and does help me
reduce the amount of suffering i experience in my life dramatically.
Remembering that I do not know completely changed my life.
It is a ray of light in the dark, the rope that helps me climb out of the
dark holes of suffering, anger, frustration, sadness, despair, etc.
✨ Let's make it practical: A wonderful surprise from life
Just as I finished writing the last paragraph, life gave me an
excellent opportunity to practice what I wrote:
Matan (our 6 months angel of a boy) started crying.
My wife Erica wanted me to take him, thinking that if I put him in
the carrier, he will relax after a few minutes, and then I could go
on working with him in the carrier.
I was frustrated.
I won’t get into the whole dynamics and stories of our relationship,
but the story in my mind was ‘she should have him now, it’s my time to work.’
As he was crying and she was insisting, I put him in the carrier.
But my mind was going ‘this is not right, this is not fair, I should speak up.’
But then I remembered what I just wrote:
“Remembering that I do not know completely changed my life.
It is a ray of light in the dark, the rope that helps me climb out of the
dark holes of suffering, anger, frustration, sadness, despair, etc.”
So I put that into practice.
I remembered I don’t know what’s ‘right’ and even more so,
I don’t know what's the best thing to do, what’s the best
thing that could happen, in any situation.
My mind became quiet, my frustration subsided.
Peace was coming back to my mind.
But my ego fought back.
With another lash of ‘i need to work’ and ‘i’m right, she’s wrong,’
frustration came back with a storm.
‘I should speak my truth’ came as well and made things even worse,
like pouring oil over a fire.
I breathed, calmed down, and chose ‘i do not know’ again.
Peace returned, and with it - the ability to hear.
I heard the thought ‘go with Matan outside.’
Indeed, he loves being outside (like his father….).
I was liking the idea as I was releasing more and more of my stories
through the understanding that I really do not know what will be
the best thing to do.
But these inner battles between love and ego are rarely won in a knock-out.
It’s more like a victory over time, done gradually.
And so the ego came back for another round.
But this time it’s grip on my mind was weaker.
Love was winning the fight.
And then I was able to release my stories, beliefs, and resistance fully.
Within an instant, relief came.
A weight was lifted off my mind and heart, and I was happy.
I took Matan for a walk, and I was so lucky that I did.
What was supposed to be a 5 minutes walk with him in the carrier
trying to sooth him, evolved into a beautiful 30 minutes walk
under the sunset skies with its beautiful colors.
We saw the colorful yellow, green, and orange leaves of the trees in the autumn.
We listened to the frogs and crickets singing their songs, having a wonderful
time in the swing in our backyard, and walked to the park.
Most importantly, we were both happy and peaceful.
Such is the power of remembering we do not know.
I must emphasize that there is no right and wrong in this story.
In reality, Erica wasn't wrong, nor was I.
There was just a conflict of stories, desires, and fears.
2. True and complete oneness.
All major spiritual traditions tell us that we are not our bodies or our personality.
They speak of our true identity as something that is beyond words.
Just like essence, our true nature has no form and no name.
It just is.
We just are.
And what we all really are is one.
Neither separate bodies (or even souls), nor united ones.
What we think of as reality (our bodies, this world, etc.) was given different
names and metaphors in various traditions:
Illusion, dream, movie, etc.
You can think of it like this:
If you were to close your eyes and imagine a beautiful tropical island in Thailand,
you could ‘see’ the beautiful turquoise water, the perfect white sand, the coconut trees…
In your mind, that thought of an island in Thailand becomes more vivid.
Take the same idea, multiply it to be a million times stronger, and that’s
an analogy to what we call ‘reality’: a thought, sort of day-dreaming,
of what it would be like if instead of oneness, there was separation and multiplicity.
Galaxies, planets, stars, humans, animals, mountains, deserts, you and me -
are all a projection of that thought.
Still in the mind that thinks it, just like the beach in Thailand was a thought in your mind.
But because the projection that creates this ‘reality’ is so much stronger
than your mind’s daydreaming, it feels much more real.
Just like some dreams feel very real and vivid, while some don’t.
To sum it up:
✨ From the perspective in which this world is real, and separation is real,
and we are different in name, shape, and form, we are one in the sense that
we're all of the same essence, we are all the same cookie.
✨ From the spiritual point of view, there is no separation, no multiplicity of
things and beings and forms, and as the song says,
“(row your boat gently down the stream), Life is but a dream.”
In reality, there is only one, which is beyond name, definition, or form,
and our minds cannot really grasp it.
✨ On the practical side -
As I wrote in the post about forgiveness, we do not want to create a
‘spiritual bypass’ and ignore our real emotions.
Therefore I do not encourage ignoring your experience and pretending
all is well because ‘I am not this body, and we are all one.’
Denial and unhealthy suppression are not what it’s all about.
We want to learn to deal with our suffering in a mindful, healthy way.
But you can go beyond your mind, beyond your stories, beliefs,
thoughts, and everything you’ve learned.
You can acknowledge and remember that you don’t know,
and give room for the unknown - including the possibility that
you are not your body and we're all one.
Doing that, your entire experience will change radically.
The more you practice ‘I do not know’ when suffering occurs in your life,
the happier and better your life will become.
Small transformations, like the one I shared in my story
about walking with my boy, accumulate.
Every such little transformation of the mind is miraculous, and they all
add up to a complete transformation of your mind, beliefs, and reality.
They add up and create a happier, better life, in which you can handle
the painful parts of life in a mindful, healthy way.
“Throw away all opinions, all likes and dislikes, and only keep
the mind that doesn’t know”
- Seung Sahn Soen-Sa
Final note: You can do this!
Choose the thing(s) that inspire you the most.
Don’t over-do it, keep it simple and joyful.
Take one baby step at a time.
- Baby steps.
To your better life,
with tons of 💖
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center