The Myth of Separateness

By Anthony Gold

Pop quiz: what’s the largest living organism in the world?

The blue whale comes to mind, which is a very large animal indeed. But the largest living organism is the Pando tree colony in Utah. It weighs over 13 million pounds and is approximately 80,000 years old.

Within the Pando tree colony about 50,000 trees occupy over one hundred acres of land. While each tree seemingly stands alone, the entire sprawl sprouted from – and shares – one massive root system.

It is easy to believe that each tree stands alone as its own independent structure – each soaking up the sun, synthesizing sugars, and sprouting leaves. Yet just beneath the surface is the tie that binds each of the seemingly 50,000 unique trees into a unified whole. It is one massive entity.

Likewise, it is equally easy to believe that all 7.1 billion people on the planet are unique individuals living their distinctive lives while striving to survive. What we often fail to recognize is the shared purpose and interconnectedness that unites us all in a state of brotherhood or oneness.

And by seeing everyone as separate from ourselves – or, more accurately, seeing ourselves separate from everyone else – we set up a state of conflict and judgment. We are essentially proclaiming: we are different from one another, and those differences matter.

If you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognizing him as he is. (T-13.IV.5)

You and your brother are the same. (T-25.II.11)

Offer him thorns and you are crucified. Offer him lilies and it is yourself you free. (T-20.II.3)

Yet like the Pando tree colony, individual bodies (trees) are merely an illusion. It is one brotherhood (organism), so intimately joined and intertwined that a divided purpose or independent “reality” makes no sense. And as we learn to see the underlying foundation that unites everyone and everything as one, our individual concerns melt away.

Join us in Monday’s class where we’ll explore this concept of oneness and how we can practice experiencing the joy that comes from sensing our shared purpose. I look forward to seeing you then.

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