Reflections on the oneness of God — and our interconnedtedness through love — as reflected in the Jewish prayer called the Shema

Oneness is not sameness. ― Lois Farfel Stark
 
… Be my Oneness. — Maren Tirabassi

… You the one in all, say who I am. Say I am You. — Rumi
 
I was in that state of oneness with creation and it was as if I didn’t exist except as a part of everything. — Alice Walker

This God lives in all and all live in God. We belong together; we belong to one another. —Sister Catherine Nerney

we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are. — Brother Thomas Merton

All being(earth and planets, waters, all growing things, animals, humans, angels, and God) can rightly be spoken of with “one voice,” as John Duns Scotus (1266–1308) put it. We Franciscans call it “the Univocity of Being.” What I am you also are, and so is the world. Creation is one giant symphony of mutual sympathy. — Father Richard Rohr

SONGS about ONENESS

Undivided(excerpt)— Tim McGraw, Tyler Hubbard   … I think it’s time to come together
You and I can make a change
Maybe we can make a difference
Make the world a better place
Look around and love somebody
We’ve been hateful long enough (hateful long enough)
Let the Good Lord reunite us
‘Til this country that we love’s
Undivided (come on)

You either go to church or you gonna go to Hell Get a job and work or you gonna go to jail
I just kinda wish we didn’t think like that
Why’s it gotta be all white or all black?
And when we gon’ learn to try on someone’s shoes sometimes? (That’s right)
When we gon’ start to see from someone else’s eyes?
… We’re all the same to God No matter what we get His love
I’m tired of lookin’ left or right
So I’m just lookin’ up …


Interrelationship Thich Nhat Hanh
You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.
I support you; you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Imago Divina Prayer ~ Praying with an art image (full article: http://www.unforcedrhythms.org/a-still-centre/resources-for-contemplative-prayer/imago-divina-prayer-praying-with-an-art-image/)

Imago divina is an extension of lectio divina or holy reading, a simple way of praying with an image or artwork instead of with Scripture. It leads us naturally from a rational consideration of how a painting might connect with our current life, to a personal response in prayer and a gentle resting in the love of God, the beginnings of contemplation. Lectio divina emerged as a practice in the early Church, finding its way into European monasticism through Cassian and St Benedict. Nowadays, along with other forms, Lectio, Imago, and Terra Divina (the holy reading of the natural world) are experienced by followers of the Way, as gifts of grace and growth in Christ.

The following suggestions may help you to befriend an image and allow it to speak to you …

Imago divina – Find an image that attracts your attention – one you like or don’t like, and find a place for the image within your space. Allow yourself to be invited into the mystery it might hold for you – at this time.

  • Lectio (reading) trusting that the Holy Spirit is there to help you, ‘read’ the image really SLOWLY. Some people find that systematically moving your eyes from left to right and top to bottom, helps to slow them down and notice detail. Let the image move deeply into your being, like nourishing rain into the soil. Allow it to touch you.
  • Meditatio (reflecting) – reflect on the art work (or part of it) that has touched you, exploring what it means to you here and now. Let the image resonate with your personal situation; believe that through this process God is communicating with you, perhaps giving an encouragement or a challenge, or calling you to a deeper awareness of God’s love for you.
  • Oratio (responding) ..now respond and talk to God about what you have been thinking and what you have noticed. You might pray your response or write in your journal, even sing or dance or paint your response …pray as the Spirit moves you.
  • Contemplatio (resting) ..in this final and most important stage, sit quietly with God, at rest in the presence of the One who loves you. Do not worry that you may appear to be doing ‘nothing’. Trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in the depths of your spirit, deepening your faith. Let the image and its message move from your head to your heart to dwell there in peace-full silence.

Resources:

Say I Am You ― Rumi
I am dust particles in sunlight.
I am the round sun.
To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
To the sun, Keep moving.
I am morning mist, and the breathing of evening.
I am wind in the top of a grove, and surf on the cliff.
Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on.
I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
Silence, thought, and voice.
The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark of a stone, a flickering in metal.
Both candle and the moth crazy around it.
Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.
I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
the evolutionary intelligence, the lift,
and the falling away. What is, and what isn’t.
You who know Jelaluddin, You the one in all,
say who I am. Say I am You.

ONENESS

oneness: the quality or state or fact of being one: such as
a : singleness
b : integrity, wholeness
c : harmony
d : sameness, identity
e : unity, union
— Merriam-Webster

Synchronicity is when two physically unrelated events express a deeper common oneness. — Elizabeth Bernstein, Wall Street Journal

… the grace of God can come in and fill the holes left by our community’s failure, and that’s just too beautiful and too real to miss. Welcome… — Nadia Bolz-Weber

I want to know what God knows. I want to see the world through God’s eyes. I want to lose myself in the divine all. That’s how I want to experience God. That’s how I want to make sense out of religion. — Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. — Erwin Schrodinger

Oneness is less a goal toward which life is pressing, as it is a return to the truth in which we have always been held. —Catherine T. Nerne, link to full article: https://cac.org/oneness-weekly-summary-2019-09-28/

If I go into the place in myself that is love, and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That’s the entrance to Oneness. — Ram Dass

In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love. — Eckhart Tolle

The noblest men of all ages, Christian saints of the most transcendent spirituality have attained their wonderful development through the spiritual rays of this planet because of the intense feeling of Oneness with the divine and with all that lives and breathes in the universe. — Max Heindel

The cosmic self reminds us that oneness with God is not intended to be a private experience. Because all people live and move and have their being in God (Acts 17:28), it is not just me and God that are one. Even beyond this, because everything that exists is held in the unity that is Christ (Colossians 1:15-17), everything that exists is one in Christ. — Richard Rohr, link to article: https://cac.org/oneness-2019-03-29/

A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed. ― Desmond Tutu

All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything. ― Swami Vivekananda

I am one with the source insofar as I too act as a source by making everything I have received flow again. — Raimon Panikkar

Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things that exist; observe, too, the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web. ― Marcus Aurelius

A spiritual journey is becoming what one has always meant to be-come and always was. One with God’s Spirit. ― Jazz Feylynn

Holistic, unconditional love, agape, is the unity in which duality disappears. It is as if a certain internal boundary has vanished. With agape what we love is ourselves, the way a mother loves her child as herself. This is the meaning of loving another as yourself – transcending our phenomenal borders and experiencing ourselves in another and the other in, not apart from, us. Eventually, if love is comprehensive, it unites us with everything and allows us to know that we are everything. Therefore, how can we support the illusion of this isolated, separate self that is threatened by and defends itself from everything outside? Love returns us to the unity that is actually Reality. Reality is not the isolation, suspicion, envy, selfishness, and fear of loss that we have come to accept as normal; it is that we are all part of one Life. The same Spirit moves in us all. You come to know this better when you realize that we all have the same kinds of feelings, the same wish to be known and respected, to share ourselves and let down our defenses. We are continually faced with a choice between personal achievement, personal security, and comfort on the one hand, and working for the whole and helping everyone and everything toward perfection on the other. We are faced with a choice between looking out for ourselves and contributing wholeheartedly to a common good. We are faced with focusing on self-love or increasing our love of all Life. ― Kabir Edmund Helminski

Just as sure as each knot on a fisherman’s net does not physically connect so far as each knot forms continuous connection to make the whole -which works perfectly; know that in the broader picture of life, all things are connected, including you. Even when you feel otherwise disconnected from another – the whole always works perfectly. ― Gillian Duce

We have each had a taste of nondual consciousness: the face of our beloved, a child at play, the sound of running water, the intimacy of darkness in the middle of a sleepless night. Our lives move in and out of nondual consciousness. In these moments, we intuitively use the word God for the infinity of the primordial preciousness with Whom we realize ourselves to be one. — James Finlay

To be one with everything is to have overcome the fundamental optical illusion of our separateness. We establish boundaries to try to reinforce individuality, but what we get is isolation and alienation. We think we have bodies instead of being our bodies, and the result is alienation from our bodies. We distinguish between our self and the natural world, and we end up exploiting the environment from which we feel estranged. We think we are separate from other people, and the result is a breach in our knowing of our underlying shared humanity. Boundaries disrupt the flow of participative energy between elements of creation that can be distinguished but that are intimately interrelated. — Richard Rohr, link to article: https://cac.org/oneness-2019-03-29/

SHEMA PRAYER’s STATEMENT of GOD’s ONENESS

Each of us, no matter how seemingly different we are from one another, are created by God. The Shema calls on us not merely to listen, but to remember that despite our differences, there is one force of connection and transformation in the universe that animates and unites us all… The force that we call Adonai, others call by other names. Each of us has our own particular path, but ultimately they lead to the same place. Beginning with listening and ending with oneness, the Shema invites us to deepen our capacity to listen — to ourselves, to the Divine, and to those around us, to develop an I-thou relationship with the rest of humanity. Its daily recitation reminds us to build bridges rather than barriers so that we may touch upon — even if only for brief moments at a time — that place in which we all are one. — Rabbi Adina Allen

Hebrew: YHWH ‘elohenu YHWH ekhad / English: Lord our god Lord one  — Tim Mackie, The Bible Project

As you can see, we’ve got four words. Depending on where you place the word “is,” you can end up with different sentences.

  1. The Lord our God is one Lord.
  2. The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.
  3. The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

At the end of the day, the meaning between these options isn’t drastically different, but each one has a different emphasis. Is the point that the Lord God is one and not many (#1 or 3), or is the emphasis on the fact that only the Lord is our God (#2)? Does the Shema claim that Israel’s God is one being, or is it highlighting that the Lord alone is Israel’s God and not any other? This last meaning seems to fit the overall context of Deuteronomy much better. In other words, the Shema isn’t trying to make a philosophical statement about God’s essence or being (that God is “one”). Rather, the Shema is a pledge of allegiance to the Lord God of Israel that excludes allegiance to any other gods.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
― TS Elliott

COMMENTARY on ONENESS in HEBREW SCRIPTURE & GOSPELS

… all being is rooted in the ein sof, the holy oneness of creation. — Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

… it’s often the case that our diversity and differences evoke division and misunderstanding when really, our differences as the body of Christ should stir unity – they should be celebrated as unique expressions of His love. — Dean Ussher

Unity is not the same as uniformity. Unity, in fact, is the reconciliation of differences, and those differences must be maintained. We must actually distinguish things and separate them, usually at a cost to ourselves, before we can spiritually unite them (Ephesians 2:14‒16). Perhaps if we had made that simple distinction between uniformity and true unity, many of our problems, especially those of overemphasized, separate identities, could have been overcome. The great wisdom of Pentecost is the recognition through the Spirit of an underlying unity amidst the many differences! — Richard Rohr (full article: https://cac.org/we-turn-around-one-thing-2021-05-23/)
 
That causes me to wonder, how many of our differences could be transcended if we allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to reign in our lives? It is not new news to say we live in a divided country and world. Are those divisions beyond the reach of the Holy Spirit? … And, so, I want to end today with two questions. First, how many hearts and minds could the Holy Spirit transform if we prayed for the Holy Spirit to have its way in our community? And here’s the second question, which informs the first: what if, in terms of that which divides us, we applied … the 20/80 principle – that each person can be 20 percent certain about what he or she believes is true but commits to be 80 percent curious, inquisitive open-minded? That would lead to the dangerous reality, for some, of being more able to hear the Holy Spirit speaking – in ways each can understand – and being one. — Jean Hansen

Our hunger to belong is the longing to find a bridge across the distance from isolation to intimacy. Every one longs for intimacy and dreams of a nest of belonging in which one is embraced, seen, and loved. Something within each of us cries out for belonging. We can have all the world has to offer in terms of status, achievement, and possessions. Yet without a sense of belonging it all seems empty and pointless… There is some strange sense in which distance and closeness are sisters, the two sides of the one experience. ― John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes

Slowly we begin to see that both the one and the many are held together in the One—the Eternal Godhead. And as we come to know our self within this One, we also come to know our oneness with all that is held by the One… — Richard Rohr, link to article: https://cac.org/oneness-2019-03-29/

Jesus is a divine guest inside of you all the time – one who loves, understands, sees and hears you. He wants to live in oneness with you… to be the centerpiece of everything you do. — Joyce Meyer
The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me: my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, and one love. —Meister Eckhart, link to article: https://cac.org/oneness-2019-03-29/

Oneness Center for Action and Contemplation): Week’s Summary of Posts

When we carry our small suffering in solidarity with humanity’s one universal longing for deep union, it helps keep us from self-pity or self-preoccupation. We know that we are all in this together. (Sunday)

God is the force that is binding, moving, sustaining, and transforming all of humanity and all of creation with every breath and every evolutionary shift on our planet. (Monday)

The whole thing is one, just at different stages, all of it loved corporately by God (and, one hopes, by us). Within this worldview, we are saved not by being privately perfect, but by being “part of the body,” humble links in the great chain of history. (Tuesday)

The freeing, good news of the Gospel is that God is saving and redeeming the Whole first and foremost, and we are all caught up in this Cosmic Sweep of Divine Love. (Wednesday)

Oneness is less a goal toward which life is pressing, as it is a return to the truth in which we have always been held. —Catherine T. Nerney (Thursday)

A heart transformed by this realization of oneness knows that only love “in here,” in me, can spot and enjoy love “out there.” (Friday)

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