Radical Inclusiveness is Oneness truly lived.
I have been a voice for unity, cooperation, and oneness for many decades, today I call it radical inclusiveness. The feeling of oneness inspired me to create the Breathe for Peace album in which 220 people contributed the sound of their breathing. I reached out to each one of them, recorded them one by one, and mixed together with music which I call “The Sound of Oneness“. Listening to the sound of people breathing together is a direct way to have an experience of feeling wholeness… Doubts? Please try it and let me know what you experience. You can find the album on all major streaming platforms.
Oneness is controversial.
Over the 20+ years that it took for me to produce this I had a lot of conversations around the topic of oneness. Many people agree with the general idea but pushed back when I try to talk about the practical implications. On a spiritual level, most people like to embrace the idea that we are one. But that changes once we talk about the state of our world.
Here are some of the arguments I get: “it’s never going to happen, you have your head in the sky, you’re not realistic”, “I don’t want to be one with these a**whole(s) over there” or “oneness as a concept is too static and therefore useless”. One thing I got in various different ways is: “while I like this idea and I essentially embrace it but humanity is not ready for it. We first have to sufficiently educate people before they are ready to take that step”. Another is: the realization of oneness is an individual realization and has to be done one person at a time.
How do we know what’s going on?
The base for many of these arguments is that people think they are able to know what’s going on. They claim to know what “most people” are thinking, and that they are able to assess the state of the world through the information they have available to them. There are many people who make it their job to know and we could turn to their expertise but how would I know who to trust in this increasingly polarized human culture? How many of us have trust in our official sources? I try to make sense of our world by looking at as many sources of information I am able to including sources that are questionable to me.
But even with a readiness to consider all sources, IMHO it is impossible to know what’s truly going on, where everything is going and what people will engage in and support. I challenge our ability to know that wholeheartedly. I don’t think that any of us can, including me. It is particularly troubling to me when that assessment comes in one breath with a distrust of all mainstream media or rejection of anything “public”.
So who do you want to be in all of this?
Once we accept that we cannot know what is truly going on and where “most people” are at we can bring up the real question: why do I think the way I do? What are we supporting with that way of thiking? And what are we protecting?
We all have to make up our mind and decide how we want to relate to each other and the world. Once we are humble enough to admit that we don’t know we have the opportunity to decide what we want to bring to the conversation. Are we willing to engage in a sincere philosophical and spiritual exploration of what we want to argue for.
Oneness makes sense to me.
I am starting from oneness and I mean all-inclusive. That was always clear to me, even while knowing that I don’t fully know what that means. I reject a form of oneness that I have been accused of that is tribal and only include those who align with their thinking, their spirituality, or political convictions.
True oneness is radical inclusiveness and yes, I include all the a**wholes of the world as well as the saints. I mean that not as a spiritual practice alone – like the practice of Tonglen in Tibetan Buddhism – I mean it in my day-to-day encounter with the world, my family, my friends, my job… It’s easy to project in your mind that we are going toward a form of oneness that will allow the “chosen people” to ascend to the next level (whatever that means).
Radical inclusiveness is not easy, oneness is challenging to no end. For example, when we experience challenges in our mental or physical health are we leaning into them or exclude them from what we experience as our Self? What about people or groups of people who say that they don’t want to be one with us because of the history we share with them. Are we open to working through the pain that separates us?
Oneness is a dynamic unfolding.
I made a bunch of mistakes along the way, got lost in romantic versions of oneness several times and I’m sure I will make more mistakes. That’s the only way I know how to truly learn because I don’t want to come from a fixed position, I want to come from the truth.
Here are few wonderful things I learned and while they are now obvious to me it took me a while to see them. Today when people ask me with that skeptical, almost dismissive look on their face what I mean with oneness I say: “Oh it’s simple to understand… it’s like nature… do you see two natures? Two airs? Two waters? Oneness for too long has been the conversation of the non-dual, Advaita, spiritual crowd. We have to bring it down into our lives and do the work associated with it.
Another way to create access to it is by seeing that all humans are mostly the same and do the same things every day. Here is how the Dalai Lama puts it in a recent video:
Let me end by using one of my favorite lines: let’s make oneness personal.