The US of A (or, welcome to the grand illusion)

 

It’s no longer breaking news that the tension in our country (and arguably, our world) is reaching a boiling point. In fact, many folks believe “the powers that be” are intentionally trying to create a Civil War in the US. Divide and conquer. Just today, I was reading a Facebook post about this possibility, when something jumped out at me in a new way, something I’m surprised I didn’t notice before.

The United States

There is no mystery behind that name. United we stand; divided, we fall. Once upon a time, we joined together in solidarity…behind a common cause and for a common purpose.

But today, I saw the US from a different perspective. Do you see it?

US! As in, WE!

To me, in that moment, it was more of a spiritual lesson than a history lesson. Because in reality, there is only US – we are all ONE. We all exist in an extraordinarily divine web of interconnectedness. Every human being is an individuation of Divinity – an expression of God on Earth! This is why Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31). When we harm others, we harm ourselves.

Separateness is an illusion. It’s a necessary illusion but an illusion nonetheless. Without the illusion of separateness, we would be unable to experience ourselves as the loving beings that we are. Within this duality, relationships are formed – relationships between individuals, as well as the relationship between us and our planet. It is within these relationships that we come to know ourselves.

That being said, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, reminds us:

We are all on this journey together, at this perfect moment in history, to overcome our divisiveness, our conflict, the “us versus them” mentality that is the very essence of our struggle. It has never been US versus THEM, because there is no them! There is only US.

Zen teacher, David Loy, in Awakening from the Illusion of Our Separateness, writes:

 “[We] simply need to “wake up” and see through the illusion of separation: [We are] not inside, peering out at an external world. Rather, [“we” are] what the whole world is doing, right here and now. This realization frees [us] to live as [we] choose, but that will naturally be in a way that contributes to the well-being of the whole, because [we] don’t feel apart from that whole.”

In other words, the human race is a collective – we are all a part of the whole. To damage one piece is to damage the whole. To damage one person is to damage ourselves.

We must understand and then act on the knowledge that WE are the solution. Instead of expecting our “opponent” to straighten up and fly right, we need to look inward. As I have written previously, peace begins with US. Inside each one of us. Because, really, there is only us. And, we are one.