Lessons From the Garden #79: “All One!” ~ Lytingale – March, 2004
With a spring-time dose of ambition, I’m going to tackle a confusing teaching.
One of the core Unity teachings/affirmations is: “There is only one Presence and one Power in my life and in the universe: God, the good, omnipotent.”
Sounds pretty simple, but the ramifications are awesome. I think it explains a major difference from what fundamentalists believe. They always seem to be talking about “evil” or “Satan” or “wrong,” passing judgment on everything in the world… dividing “self” from “other.”
In contrast, Unity seeks to find the common ground, to emphasize the oneness instead of the different-ness.
If God is the “only presence and power,” then how can we blame things on Satan? If “God, the good,” is the only game in the universe, then how can there be “evil”? When we say something is “wrong,” aren’t we just saying “You messed up on that one, God!” ?
In God’s garden, there are no “weeds.” There are just many different kinds of “plants,” some of which we have labeled desirable (for their food, flowers, shade, etc), and some of which we have labeled undesirable (usually because they grow too well and take over!) God lets the warm sun and the nurturing rain fall on all of it, and on all of us, “the just and the unjust,” because it all has a place in God’s universe… whether or not we understand it.
There’s a wonderful bumpersticker seen around town: “All One.” This simple phrase reminds me on a lot of different levels:
- Environment: We are one with Mother Earth, and we’d better take care of her and all types of her inhabitants, because we’re all interconnected.
- Emotions: We are all one people, and we are all doing the best we can, so I need to cleanse my own heart of the hardness and judgment I find there toward people who don’t think, look, drive, speak, believe, etc.… like I do.
- Politics: In an election year, it helps to remember that most Americans want the same basic ideals; we just differ radically on how we think we can attain them!
- Compassion: We are all one world, and we all suffer when any one being on the planet suffers.
- Identity: I am a special and unique part of a greater whole… and so is everyone else. At some level, there is no “self” and “other,” just “oneness.” Separation is not our only option. I have an identity beyond that defined by my differences.
- Mental Health: We all want the same things, when you get down to the roots and essence of it: love, acceptance, freedom, peace, joy, meaning. All the other stuff is just a substitute; all the other behaviors are misguided, usually fear-based attempts to get what we think we need to be happy.
- Philosophy: The pieces all make up one whole. The yin & yang, the up & down, the fronts & backs, the highs & lows, the good & evil – all these apparent dualities stem from our insistence on dividing up the world. If we keep sight of the Whole, we won’t be so distracted by the parts.
- Theology: God, the god, is the One presence and power; therefore, all things are a manifestation of God, even the stuff we don’t want.
The confusion comes when we see things that are so painful, so hard to understand, so inharmonious in our world. I don’t pretend to understand why someone like Saddam Hussein thinks and acts the way he did (or any other mass murderer), and it sure is tempting to label it “evil,” and file it away from my mind and heart. In the short term, righteous vengeance may feel good… but in the long run, I don’t think it helps to change the consciousness of the planet, or to further my own personal growth, to stay in that “eye for an eye” mentality. At some point, humanity must transcend and evolve, pulling along the Neanderthals of the world. It ain’t over till it’s over… for every single person on the planet. It’s got to start somewhere. If not me, then who? If not now, then when?
At the same time, we don’t have to condone, assist, or excuse behaviors that hurt others. We are the hands of God on earth, and we each have important work to do… as long as we remember to stay connected with divine love. Work for peace, but only if you stay at peace.
It’s OK to pull weeds from your garden… as long as you are careful how you do it. If you pull a weed next to a young shoot, you may hurt the emerging plant. If you’re not careful how you cut briars, you’re gonna hurt yourself. Protect the tenderness of your own heart; value your own emergent spiritual journey. Do all things with care and love, seeking understanding.
If you merely cut the top off a weed, it will grow back, usually stronger. It’s important to get at the root to make permanent change. In your life, look a little deeper for the root causes. See beyond the judgment, the duality, and the “weed”-ness, and you can tap into the roots of beauty and power.
When you see with God’s eyes, we are All One.
–Lytingale © 2004 Lois J. Henrickson (Lytingale)