The oneness of everything
November 7, 2010 by Bill
There is a belief held by many that I have always found to be especially ludicrous. It is the idea that only man (Homo sapiens) is spiritual, sacred and made in the image of God. Many want to differentiate between the supernatural and the natural, the sacred and the profane. But if the creation is the work of an omnipotent Mystery, then the entire cosmos is its revelation and everything, sum total, is natural, sacred and spiritual and reflects the image of that same Mystery.
“How we delude ourselves,” wrote Albert Schweitzer, “if we think otherwise. When we consider the immensity of the universe, we must confess that man is insignificant. Man’s life can hardly be considered the goal of the universe. Its margin of existence is always so precarious. A man is ethical only when he considers every living cell, whether plant or animal, sacred and divine.”
Dr. Lewis Thomas, head of New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Research Center, said, “Every living thing is alive thanks to the living of everything else. Every form of life is connected. The planet Earth is like a single cell. Homo sapiens is really a very immature and ignorant species in the horrible way it has treated all other living organisms.”
“The Earth and myself are of one mind,” declared Chief Joseph, recognizing the sacredness of all things, every rock, animal and plant. We are all made from the same elements. We are all manifestations of the Mystery. From the common fund came Homo sapiens. From that same fund, and the same material came every other living organism. The little chipmunk is of the same dust as we, and he breathes the same wind and drinks of the same waters. His days are warmed by the same sun and his little heart pulses just like ours. And he was created by the same First Fountain.
This view of reality, of the oneness of everything, long held by native peoples and Eastern sages, is today being confirmed by physicists and astronomers. “The universe is everything: both living and inanimate things, both atoms and galaxies, and if the spiritual exists, the spiritual and material are one, for the universe is the totality of all things,” writes Fred Hoyle in Frontiers of Astronomy.
Einstein once remarked that, among all peoples, a 12-year-old Hopi child was the best prepared to grasp his “Theory of Relativity.” The Hopi have no expression for time, either past or future. Time for them is only circulating space where past, present and future are always together as one. Behind and beyond our senses lies a plane of consciousness in which all is related and all is one, and all is now. Everything is united in the Mystery, as one, the energy of the sun dancing in a wood-burning fire; a cucumber cucumbering; a flight of geese honking in to a north wind; a rising tide crashing and breaking against a resisting beach; or a wild stallion, with nostrils bugling the pride of the free, racing to his mare; mist, with affection, covering hemlock and pine; a cougar stalking and fresh spore on a mountain trail; it is all one and natural and all sacred and all divine…and all reveal images of the “great Mystery” behind it all.
“We are the children of this beautiful planet that we have lately seen photographed from the moon,” wrote Joseph Campbell. “We were not delivered into it by some god, but have come forth from it. And the Earth, together with the sun, this light around which it flies like a moth, came forth from a nebula; and that nebula, in turn, from space. So that we are the mind, ultimately, of space, each in his own way at one with all, and with no horizons.”
Even life and death are one. Life is only a short episode between two mysteries which are yet one. Spring begins with winter, and death begins with birth. We all share the same breath together in this short episode, the trees, the birds, the animals and the human. We dance to a common rhythm.
The interval of life is a Mystery between two greater Mysteries which are yet one in a universe where all is natural, sacred, an image of the Mystery, that we call God.
“The greatest beauty is organic wholeness.
The wholeness of life and things,
The divine beauty of the universe,
Love that…not man apart from that…”
- Robinson Jeffers