This Week's Sunday Message

Practicing Oneness to Live Fully

Reverend Arlyn Macdonald Picture

We've been talking about Oneness this month. We've learned that the foundational teachings of all indigenous tribes, including the First Nations of the Americas, are based on the concept of Oneness, symbolized by the Circle. As our ancestors noted, everything in Nature is a circle, including light and dark. When we recognize that Oneness, we realize it contains everything - Love, Peace, Harmony.

Somehow in today's modern times, we have forgotten how-to live-in Oneness. We separate ourselves from everyone and everything. This is mine and that is yours. It is a world of duality. We live in our own world within and everything else is in the outside world. According to our ancestors, the within and the without are the same. The outer world is but a reflection of the inner world. We are One.

The Native American, or First Nations, teachings of the Medicine Wheel say the same thing. We stand in the middle of the circle or wheel with our Creator. Everything else stands in relationship to us, all within the Circle. It is the Circle of Oneness.

How do we transform our modern lives back to Oneness? The teachings of the Hindu religion, which is considered the oldest religion after the indigenous beliefs gives us some practices to remind ourselves of Oneness.

First, we need to see our own Oneness. One Hindu practice suggests this way to see ourselves as the Oneness. Stand in front of a mirror, pause for a moment, and look directly into your own eyes. Say silently or out loud, AHUM BRAHMASMI (a hum brah mass me). This means "I am the Universe, or I am the Oneness." You can say it in English as well. Look deeply into your eyes as you affirm who you really are. This is your Soul reminding itself of its Oneness. Practice this every day.

Secondly, we can see the Oneness in everything in the world. How can we do this? By reminding ourselves that we are all part of the same Oneness. Wherever we go, whatever we experience through our senses, whomever we come into contact with, we are all part of the same Oneness. It is a mindfulness practice. We are all part of the Oneness of Life. When we make a judgment, we have pulled ourselves out of Oneness into duality. Be mindful when you are making a judgment and immediately release that judgment and return to Oneness. "I am One with everything in the Universe."

Next, be mindful that the Oneness is reflected in all people. It doesn't matter whether we like them or not, or even if we know them. The Oneness is there. A nice way to remember this is to greet each person with "Namaste." Namaste means that "I recognize the Divinity in you which is also the Divinity in me." Or "We are the same Oneness." I am surprised at all the people who are saying "Namaste" these days. You can recognize what they are doing when they put their hands together in prayer position and bow their heads slightly. Say "Namaste" with them silently.

Did you know that the first sound that emerges from the silence of Oneness is OM? The concept of OM comes from the Hindu understandings. The vibration of OM expands into all the other sounds and vibrations of the Universe. The practice of chanting OM draws our awareness back to the dawn of creation, and into Oneness. We are energy, we are vibrations. The OM vibration harmonizes our energy back into Oneness.

Meditation is another good Oneness practice. It gives us direct experience of Oneness deep within. This Oneness is found between the inflow and the outflow of the breath with no thoughts or feelings. It is in that pause between the two. The practice is to learn to experience the Oneness and then take that experience into daily living. It is integrating Oneness into our life and raising our consciousness.

Living in a spiritual community offers many opportunities to practice Oneness. It supports us on our journey to Oneness, and to dissolve the barriers that separate us. We become one with our brothers and sisters in Spirit. We also learn to take conscious action to brings ourselves and others into the Oneness. We learn to be mindful or conscious of our thoughts, words, and deeds. We become mindful of our choices. Which choice nurtures Oneness?

One of the Hindu scriptures, the Vedanta, says, "The ignorant man (engrossed in duality) desires material things; the intelligent man (seeker on the path) desires enlightenment; but the wise man (knower of Oneness) just loves and receives everything."

Love helps us realize Oneness. When we are in love, we become one with the person we love. We experience Oneness. Sometimes when we are with the one we love, all boundaries disappear and we feel something that can only be described as Oneness.

The Sufis yearn to be at One with the Divine, in that state where there is no boundary between the individual and God. They call God, "the Beloved." This is true Oneness. This is the purpose of every Soul – becoming one with God, living in the Oneness.

Ram Dass, who studied Hinduism, said, "Oneness is the source of love." Love is the most powerful and unifying force in creation. It is the Love in the Oneness that calls us. It is the one force that all of Creation responds to. Love changes everything. Love is magnetic. Love is overwhelming and deeply fulfilling. Love is Oneness. Perhaps, Love is the easiest path to Oneness and Oneness the easiest path to Love. Not superficial feeling, not lust, not like, not impartial feelings. The deep, give up everything to, all I want in the world desire for Love – that is what will get us into the Oneness.

I invite you to think about Love and how many times in your life Love has led you to the feeling of Oneness. Think about returning to the Love in the Oneness and then bringing that feeling and experience back to the world. Life your life from Oneness and recognize that you are the Universe, you are the Oneness. Your life will be changed forever. Namaste.