Sunday, February 01, 2015

We Are One

The Olympic Range from Victoria BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2012

"We are one." We've all heard the expression, but what does it mean? Who are "we" and what is the "one" to which we all belong? 

I think about this frequently because I often feel on the outside of a group - whatever group happens to be "grouping" at a particular moment. As I grew up, I hid myself away as much as possible through the days and nights in the interest of personal safety. I had things taken from me that should never be taken from anyone - ever. So, in the beginning, as it were, in my beginning, I learned to separate myself in the interest of my own well-being. I isolated myself for self-protection. Maybe that is one of the reasons I feel on the outs at times, but I don't think it is the only factor.

Let's talk about "difference" for a minute and how we, as a society, feel about it. I believe that there is a shift to greater acceptance of difference, that the inter-connectivity of the world through technology, new media and social media is bringing us together. A similar occurrence happened in the nineteen-sixties through music. Those who want peace, love, understanding and respect are finding one another and holding hands around the world. Unfortunately, it appears that those who are seeped in fear and violence are finding one another and joining leagues as well. I suppose, as I have said before, we all want to see a reflection of ourselves in others and it is this that gives us a sense of belonging.

So how does diversity, the actual celebration of difference, beyond mere acceptance, come into play if all we are looking for is the reflection of ourselves in others? Do we believe that we have it all figured out and if we find others who think as we do, that the world will be a better place ...for us? I laugh at myself when I think of how many times I feel joy when my opinions are reflected back at me by another.

Perhaps, if we can learn to celebrate difference, to see difference as the key to the excellence of life (not just human, but ALL life), then the planet may thrive after all. 

If we can get past worrying about difference: "less than me / more than me / different than me" and rejoice in the wonder of difference, then we will be able to truly say, "we are one" and understand it and mean it. 

I believe that all things are one - we are all integral in our essential energy to this "one", the one we cannot actually see, describe or pin down, the "one" that is beyond our imagination. I believe I am one with the ocean, the rivers and the streams, the rocks and the trees, the air and the ants and the stars and fire. I believe I am one with you. When you hurt, I hurt. When you cry, I feel it. When you rejoice, I rejoice. Each one of my cells knows this and functions on this very premise, but it is the conscious mind, the capacity to reason, that can fail to be reasonable. It is this thinking capacity that, at times, takes away our ability to remember, on a cellular level that, above all, we are one. 

Having just come out of a two day diversity research forum at my place of work, I am full of thoughts and ideas around diversity and inclusion. Many great minds came together on campus: professors, students, staff and community. I learned from everyone, from the prayers of the elders and the words of my fellow attendees. One might expect a stodgy, pedagogical approach to this type of event in an institution of higher learning; however, all minds spoke, respect was shared and people listened to one another. What saddens me, is that there were not more people present for this free event. Some do not see it as integral to the success of the school and the excellence toward which we strive. People believe that they are too busy, but it is an opportunity such as this that expands one's time, teaches greatest lessons and teaches that we are not alone in our process. These discussions are as important as the files on our desks. On the upside, we had a great in-person attendance and had people participating through social media and live feed, tweeting into the conference from as far away as Australia. Hands around the world! 

Thank you to everyone who comes here to read and think about how we can all do better in the Art of Life, how we can all retain our uniqueness within our oneness and how we can find excellence through love.

The quotation we used for the forum speaks to me, as it has to many over the centuries:
"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all."
Aristotle

-Gillian Cornwall, c. February 1, 2015.

 The Yellow Rose - Maple Bay, BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2012

The Lavender Field - Maple Bay, BC
Gillian Cornwall, c. 2012

2 comments:

Thomas Teuwen said...

We are all stardust and our oneness is imbedded in our common origin and our common destiny. Sharing a finite ecosystem that is floating through a hostile space just underscores that fact. The tribal/national/cultural differences we invent are synthetic and do nothing to safeguard us from our common mistakes. Our mother is the earth and we are all dependent on her for our wealth and indeed our very existence.

Gillian said...

I love this, Thomas. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughtful and true comments.

I very much appreciate you sharing your precious time by reading my blog and engaging with me here!