I am not always sure that my spirituality has practical application. It is kind of nice to think about oneness, for example, which is central to my belief in God. By oneness I mean that we are one together as expressions of the Divine. I see oneness all the time: in acts of kindness, when people are healed through the hands of a physician or through the activity of nature, moments of understanding between people, in forgiveness and reconciliation. I see oneness whenever I connect with someone who by all appearances is different than I am by race or culture. For example, seeing the love of a Syrian refugee parent for her child. I am mother. She is a mother. We are one in that.
This sense of oneness is a spiritual experience for me. But I am living in a world in which decisions are made every day that feel disconnected from the idea of oneness. So what good is it to feel it? Is oneness just about fluffy sentimentality as those expressed on plaques people like to hang around their house or stick in their gardens? Is it about a high one gets when praying? How is oneness relevant in the world of commerce and education and politics or in the mundane living of each day?
Neale Donald Walsch in his book Tomorrow’s God, says that oneness is an attribute of God. He predicts a new spirituality, now emerging, that will understand oneness more fully. He writes, “The unity of all things-including the unity of God and humanity-is the foundational principle of (this) New Spirituality. The idea will have enormous implications on a global basis.”
Hm! That makes me wonder:
How would we design and support our schools if we felt one with the teachers and all of the students, not just our own. What if this oneness carried over to all schools, all teachers of all children everywhere.
How would we do our shopping if we felt one with those who serve us in the stores and with the other shoppers, both those who can afford what we can and those who cannot?
How would we design our social services programs if we felt one with those who need help through them? How would we finance them? What about those who “slip through the cracks?” Would oneness demand that we notice them and want to scoop them up and bring them along?
What about health care? What about the parent dying of cancer but can’t afford treatment? Would I be able to comfortably accept the privilege of health care and at the same time accept that someone with whom I feel oneness cannot have it? Would I be able to accept the death of another’s child with the lack of consciousness that most of us have in the face of such suffering?
What about crime? Could a person harm another if they felt one with them? Could a nation declare war against another nation with which they felt one?
And how does oneness play out in the political world? Can a person feel oneness with those in political office and those who are going to benefit or fall victim from the legislation created all at the same time? I can barely imagine it.
Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” King is talking about oneness as a reality that we can’t escape. We don’t have to create it. God already did that. We just have to open our eyes to see it, like the Kingdom of God Jesus was always talking about. Calling people “them” and “us” is a form of denial but doesn’t really change anything. We are one with our other “usses” as well as with the “thems”. That is just the way it is. When we care for another we care for ourselves. When we harm another we harm ourselves as well.
Walsch thinks that more and more people are becoming aware of our oneness with each other. I hope he is right. I want desperately to see this oneness and I want to see more and more people seeing it as well.