I don’t experience the oneness and inter-connectivity of all things, should I just believe in it to begin with?

A Student writes:

I do not experience the oneness and inter-connectivity of all things or if I do I am not aware of it. In this case is it helpful to believe in the oneness and act from that?

Lama Shenpen responds:

If you can. It’s not easy if you don’t realise it, but somehow I think there is an inkling of it in all of us. We know that the worst thing in life is to feel it’s lost its meaning, and loss of meaning is always associated with feeling cut off and alone.

We need to mean something to others and others need to mean something to us. Sometimes we might get obsessively involved with things as a kind of substitute for that feeling of connection with others but that is born of despair.

People are difficult and hard to relate to, things seem more predictable, even a pet is more predictable than people, so yes it is hard to feel that sense of oneness with others when relationships get difficult.

There is nothing like a good laugh then is there? Everyone lightening up and not taking themselves so seriously somehow opens up more space, less judgmental space where there is lots of blame being kicked around.

Yes, it’s hard to feel the oneness that we long for and that we believe in deep down in our heart of hearts. Oneness would give our life meaning but we are a long way from realising it.

I think that just thinking to oneself that it’s all one even though I don’t realize it can be an isolating process in itself. I have been on the receiving end of people telling me it’s all one and it’s left me feeling quite lonely. It is as if the other person doesn’t want to see me at all. They just want to obliterate me in their oneness. So a belief in oneness can actually be an egocentric and aggressive act.

Having said that, there is a way of believing in oneness and of thinking about oneness even though one doesn’t feel it. So the message here is subtle.

To take up oneness as one’s view or opinion is grasping at views. To use a concept of oneness to somehow open up and let go of divisive thinking can only be good, it’s a way to stop grasping at views.

So by all means use oneness to let go of views of separation, but letting go of views is not to be confused with substituting one view for another. We have to hold our views lightly and make sure they lead to the giving up of views in the ordinary sense and that is resting in right ‘view’.

Lama Shenpen Hookham

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