There have been many analogies and descriptions of the concept of oneness, or the many that make up the one.  A few that come to mind: the cells of the body, the water molecules of the ocean, the individuals of a species, the citizens of a society.

At our current cultural awareness level, it is easy for us as humans to sense our individual uniqueness; it makes us feel special, our self. It is less easy to sense and incorporate our “oneness,” those ways in which we– our very selves– are connected, in fact a part of a single unit. Not a fragmented bit, but an integral of the whole.

photo by Lisa Z. Lindahl

My mind wraps around this concept most easily when I’m standing on the beach and gazing at the ocean, as I am lucky enough to do often in my life. Perhaps the oneness/individuation paradox is as a wave is to the ocean – rising up, standing out, inexorably attracted toward those “others” of air and the land, flowing swiftly towards them, only to find one or both and then retreat back, back into the whole of the ocean’s waters. Ebb and flow; rise and fall; reach and withdraw – the very tides of the Universe.

The wave appears “separate,” individuated from the rest of the ocean for awhile as it rises, crests, roils forth.       It catches the light, sparkles, foams.     It bends, it roars, it curves.     A wave may gently lift aloft or crush with its great weight.        Each has its own form, its own character.

The wave is its own event, isn’t it? Yet if I were to scoop out a cupful of that wave water, does that cup now contain the wave?  The ocean? Has the ocean become damaged once the cupful is removed?
It is in this sense, clumsy though the analogy might be, that I get that the individual is wholly part of the whole. We rise, surge ahead and appear to stand apart for a period of time, then ebb and recede back into the whole. In harmony with the forces of creation and entropy the whole time, though we may not fully perceive it, and at times it certainly may not feel like it.


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