Years ago I went hiking through the rainforests of Costa Rica. I had never before experienced the magnificent energy of a rainforest. I remember my sense of wonder, walking under a fern frond and looking up to see that fern was nearly twice as tall as me. I brushed plants that recoiled at my touch and then opened again once I passed. I met a lizard braced on a towering tree who looked me straight in the eyes as if to have a conversation with me. Like Alice in Wonderland, I was in awe.
Likely because of that sense of awe, I had my first formative experience of Oneness. In my wonder, something in me shifted just enough for me to grasp an overwhelming sense of interdependence with everything around me. I was me, but I was also the giant fern, grasping plants, towering tree, and talkative lizard. They were also me. I was solid in form, but I also could permeate everything around me, just as everything around me could permeate me.
It’s strange to “language” the experience. Mystics talk about “non-dual actualization.” The best I can say is that in that moment, and many since, I have understood at a deep, expansive level that we are all One. We are all stardust, energy flows, Love’s greatest expressions.
This capacity for non-dual expansion of consciousness is not necessarily unique. It’s something that happens to and for many of us sometimes spontaneously and often through practice. Meditation and prayer have become profound teachers for me for this reason. They are the pathways by which I re-member who I AM.
As I think about the world we are creating together on the other side of COVID, I have a growing sense of urgency that our only sustainable future begins with our willingness to ground ourselves (literally) in our awareness of interdependence (Oneness), and then to create our businesses, institutions, politics, and rituals from that fertile soil. Nothing else will hold together the global future that awaits us.
During Advent, we travel through the four themes of hope, peace, joy, and love. We are waiting for God to “breakthrough” to us today. We are waiting to see what has been true all along – our longing to experience hope, peace, joy, and love is actually some wiser part of us calling us to break out of the delusion of dualism. We are not separate from each other or the planet. We are more connected than we ever dreamed.
Perhaps I sound crazy to you. If you are willing to risk it, here is my invitation: During this season of Advent, get up earlier in the morning than usual. In a quiet space, perhaps after lighting a candle and taking a few deep breaths, repeat this prayer as a mantra, a guide to ease you into openness. When you are there, let it go, and simply…be.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
I am praying for you and inspired by who you are becoming. Indeed, the whole future of the world depends on it.
We are in this together,
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