Taking Off Your Heavy Boots
It is common to hear the phrase, “We are all One” in spiritual communities. It is heard so often, in fact, that it has become something of a catch- phrase. When such a phrase reaches that level of usage in our language it tends to lose its meaning.
It is too vague to say, “We are all One.” A more accurate statement on this question of Oneness would be, “All sentient beings, and even non-sentient inanimate objects, are manifestations of one source that exists behind all forms and that source is Brahma — all that is, all that ever has been, and all that ever will be.”
Admittedly that statement is a mouthful. You will rarely hear anyone say such a thing. And when they do your eyes may glaze over. As a matter of fact, this may be the point at which you stop reading this. It is much easier to regard yourself as a separate “I”, marching forward in life to acquire as much as you can in order to satisfy this illusion of a detached ego. However, the more accurate statement above gets to the truth of your existence, the truth of who and what you really are; the truth of what exists beyond the idea of what everything else appears to be.
You are manifesting in the form of a human being. The tree outside your window is manifesting in the form of a tree. You are not exactly like the tree so how could you be One? You are One in the sense that you emerge from the same source and that source is one and the same as a force, or energy, that flows through all things and also constitutes the form of all things–the One. That force (what Vedantic Yoga calls Brahma) is moving through both you and the tree, right now, as you read this. It is animating you and giving you this life. It allows you to have the human experience and allows the tree to have the tree experience. It is the source of the dog running through the park. It is the source of the rain. It is the source of the wind. It is the source of your thoughts.
Humans have brains that like to categorize things and give them names. In the Vedantic Yogic tradition, we simply call this force, Brahma. You can call it whatever you want. You can call it the Tao. You can call it God. You can call it Ultimate Reality. But anything that you call a something, is just a word. It’s not what you name something or what category you put it in that is important. What is important is the realization of the presence of this mysterious and ineffable unified force.
You have the opportunity of opening up to the realization of who and what you are. You have the opportunity of opening up to the realization of what everything really is. It is not enough to arrive at some conceptual, intellectual understanding in the context of the popular view that experience is exclusively materialistic. It is the experience of letting go of theories, categorizations, conventional logic, and the constraints of culture. It is stepping outside the realm of societal beliefs and the influences of your childhood — traumatic or otherwise — that gives you the freedom to see what truly IS.
When you move past those barriers you will have a completely new realization of Self. You will feel the truth of this force of Brahma within you. You will begin to see the commonality of that which moves through everything. Even more importantly, you will move beyond recognizing (which is the intellectual/cognitive experience) to the more intuitive experience of realizing. Realizing is seeing what is real. Self and other are really the aspects of One.
There are many ways of moving into realization. The great Indian sage, Ramakrishna said, “Truth is one. Paths are many.” Yoga and Meditation are simply paths. However, they are the most direct and easeful way to come home to the Brahmic force beyond your individual life into the force, or energy. of all life, all being.
You have a choice in this life. You can continue in a fog of negative patterns, confusion, and ego satisfaction or you can take off your heavy boots of misery and petty concerns and walk directly into actual liberation from habits of thought and behaviors that you know have been causing you mental anguish and actual harm. The path awaits you.