Sunday, December 18, 2011

We Are One - But Cannot Find the Words to Talk about It

We are all one. We hear it often from Eastern religions or philosophies. We hear it, as well, in New Thought congregations or groups. We hear it from students in the Course in Miracles. We hear it in explanations of the intertwined fabric of Native American tribal life, thoughts, and spiritual concepts. We hear it in various 12-Step groups – each group united by the great leveler of its common addiction. We are all one.

In a recent issue of Miller-McCune magazine (September/October 2011 – MILLER-MCCUNE.com) there is an article entitled "Moral Injury" by Diane Silver. She writes:
  • Since Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was added to the diagnosis manual in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association "… the diagnosis has most often focused on trauma associated with threats to a soldier's life…. [Since then respected therapists have argued that the definition is too limited.] What sometimes happens in war may be more accurately called a moral injury – a deep soul wound that pierces a person's identity, sense of morality, and relationship to society. In short, a threat in a soldier's life." (p. 26, bold/italics are mine) The author goes on to quote Vietnam veteran John Fisher who vividly remembered the first time he shot an enemy soldier. "'I realized I had taken his soul away from him,’ Fisher says. 'In the process, my soul was gone.'" (p.28)
  • Fisher eventually went to Greece with Edward Tick, Director of Soldier's Heart, to visit the Kerameikos cemetery.  "Fisher sat on a knoll as Tick read an oration for the war dead that had been delivered on the same spot 2,500 years before. Fisher says he felt like he was floating, and he realized that his soul, his sense of self, had fled his body while he was in Vietnam. 'My heart felt like it was dark inside before. Now, it felt like someone had turned on the light.'" (p. 29).
Humankind is, in essence, one Spirit of which we are all little "parts" similar to the concept of a hologram. Each piece or "part" of a hologram contains the whole. We will truly understand that our spirits are all conjoined, when we develop the faculties to see with vision, rather than with anatomical eyes. It is the difference between defining ourselves as a spirit having a human experience, rather than a human being who – somewhere inside – has a spirit or soul.

Fisher’s is a description of the very visceral and experiential transformation that also happened to me, to others, and to those who had known Jesus 2,000 years ago. Although my personal experiences were entirely different from Fisher's and those earliest Christians, the reality of that experiential transformation is overwhelming. All of us had our lives changed. How can I explain that? How can I describe that kind of experience? The Course in Miracles simply says that kind of "Holy Instant" is beyond words and will transform your perception of life.

As an example, the cut and dried formulae for success in AA consists of working the Steps, getting a sponsor, honestly sharing in meetings, and praying. Some seem to “get it” pretty quickly and some don’t. Why? There is no definitive answer, but there are some pretty compelling observations. One is the difference between “comparing in” and “comparing out.” When members of the fellowship are comparing in, regardless of the specific details of someone’s story, they identify. They spot all the similarities between the speaker and themselves. When comparing out, listeners maintain their separateness and spot all the dissimilarities between the speaker and themselves. Sounds trivial. But it is a HUGE distinction. It is the difference between a developing abstinance with serenity, compassion, a sense of oneness, and understanding – called sobriety – and an abstinance without the development of an honest sense of oneness or spirituality – called being dry.

Why do some “get it” and some don’t? There is no answer to that. It simply occurs. I believe that those that seem to “get it” have had some form of spiritual transformation in the form of the removal of their sense of uniqueness. This allows them to truly be Honest, Open, and Willing – HOW. No one can really explain why person A readily compares in and person B does not. It is a miracle, itself, to be blessed with the ability to see yourself in virtually all stories. True sobriety does not happen without this kind of spiritual experience, which, when pressed for an explanation, will be met with a shrug, or a story, or an anecdote. In short, it is a sense of oneness beyond words. AA’s Big Book simply states, in Chapter 6, that if you are diligent in working the Steps, by the time you get to Steps Eight and Nine you will discover you have had a spiritual experience.

The authors of much of the New Testament were folks just like me and you who were trying their damnedest to explain the reality of this “oneness beyond words.” In Chapter Nine of my book – reiterated in my audio CD, The Gospel of Transformation – I tell the story of how a young man in an AA Eleventh Step meeting stormed out because we didn’t refer to our Higher Power as Jesus Christ. We had each told our stories of the reality of God, as we understood God, being the key to our sobriety. The spirit of the Almighty was looking the young man right in the face through the stories each of us told. He simpy refused to see because we were defining God as HP, Divine Love, or Ultimate Reality. The young man desperately wanted us to define our Higher Power as Jesus Christ as he had. The young man’s words, which made perfect sense to his Ego, absolutley blocked his ability to sense the presence of the Almighty.

So I try not to get too hung up on words. When I hear or read someone’s description of being transformed, I remember they are desperately trying to find a voice – albeit beyond words – to explain a reality that has transformed them.

I try not to get get too hung up on words. My words are of my Ego, which is warped, self-serving, and holds on to its perception of reality as Ultimate Truth. It disallows me to recognize someone else’s Truth. It keeps me believing I am separate or unique.

This whole discussion also reminds me of the adage: “I don’t have to believe everything I think.”

Thanks for listening and, as always, it's okay to forward or share this, if you choose.

Don, http://www.donodell.com

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