Is he ascetic and dressed like a monk, disassociated from the world of suffering the rest of us live in? Is she the super zen healer who practically floats through life and seems to have good fortune and followers wherever she goes? Does he meditate for 10 hours a day, eat just enough to survive, and swear off technology or social media? Does she boast never needing anything from anyone and being entirely “in control” of herself and her emotions?
Well, I’m coming to recognize our culture's representation of some Bullshit Buddhas.
For the past 5 weeks I’ve been part of a chakra intensive with Brittany Policastro and an incredible group of women from various walks of [Philly area] life. We’ve dug super deep and every session inevitably included tears, laughs, and some dancing. I’ll be walking from it with many new insights, but one fundamental piece of clarity I’ve gained is this: We are all living our unique human experience, but we truly are all One. Our fears, self-critics, joys, needs…at their deepest level they are all made of the same stuff and run through every one of us, allowing us to share our human experience.
My suffering is not unique – the causes of my suffering may be individualized (deaths breakups, work, family), but the raw emotions run through every being in time and space. When we embrace that understanding, we all become infinitely stronger. We are never in it alone. We are the entire universe, and that’s really fucking powerful. Compounded, our awareness of this truth brings more strength into the universe as a whole and allows us to support all things. Soham - I am That.
We are all are the Buddha nature. We are all already One.
“When you realize that we are all one there is no need to separate yourself from anyone, to “guard” yourself from anyone. You start to love and heal that space within you and that in turn makes you tune into their pain through unconditional love, instead of just feel the intensity of their pain and pushing them away. What you push away in others you push away in yourself..” – article by Jocelyn Daher on The Spirit Science
Now if all this “you are me and I am you and we are all [God]” stuff is too new-agey or space cadet for you, I hear ya. Try this: when you feel separate, find one aspect of any “other” that you can relate with. Imagine anyone else in the universe feeling the way you do at your deepest level, because someone does. Be it joy, pain, hunger… allow that one thread to connect the You with Them. Meditate on it with the intention of feeling it until you really can just become awareness of One. Just the intention is enough. I am That. I am One. I am the Universe. You have all the universe supporting you.
We are all living our own human experiences and those truly do involve unique situations. Believing you are separate only makes you separate. It tampers your ability to connect with the power of the universe. It is avidya, the ignorance or delusion of the finite self, the seperation that creates a finite Self from the One/God/Light/Universe. Avidya is a cause of suffering.
Tara Brach talks about this more clearly in Radical Acceptance. This passage is from a section about our patterns of reaction with others and truly connecting with others by awakening from the “trance of separation” (p 286-291):
“While periods of solitude are precious and vital…they may reinforce the misguided notion that we are on a grim and lonely path and that our spiritual goals can only be realized in a vacuum…We are missing how critical daily relationships are to our awakening. We are avoiding the disturbing, exciting, and confusing emotions that are whipped up in relationships.
To cover up the strong wants and fears we might feel in close relationships, we often hide behind our person. We react to one another out of habit, instantaneously, lost in our patterns of defending, pretending, judging, and distancing. “
Our best chance of truly becoming aware of our Divinity and Oneness with all things is by connecting with the pieces of ourselves that lie within other people, animals, and things surrounding our human experience. Remove the “you and me” and allow awareness of all things as One to ease the individual suffering you identify with. Be the power of the Universe.
Soham. I am That.