We aim for connectedness – which is perhaps a better way of saying love – not the I love you, but the ‘we are connected’ however there are a lot of different types of connections, and ways of being disconnected. It is easy to see people who are lacking in connection to others – they are course, insensitive, rude. But what about people who are lacking in connection to themselves? They can be self sacrificing, and sometimes surprisingly needy, as they are not able to satisfy their own needs, or to really acknowledge them, but those needs still exist. It is also reasonably easy to see people who are disconnected from the universal, positive flow – this creates depression, unhappiness, meaninglessness. And so you see the three main directions of connection that we all need: to self, to others, and to the infinite.
Again you will find this theme throughout all spiritual traditions – the recognition of the 3 ways in which we need to connect. Some people would call it 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person – as in I, you and It – which you should be able to see is just another way of describing Self, Other and the Infinite. You might call it Authenticity, Sensitivity and Positivity, but whatever words you use these three kinds of connection are essential to the harmonious balanced experience of life. Oneness and universal harmony implies the connection to all three at the same time. I do not serve you and forget myself, I do not serve myself and forget you, and I never forget the infinite loving connection. Sometimes this may seem difficult to balance, but in the end it is where joy and ease is found – once you discover it, it is really quite simple.
Let’s look at some of the possible imbalances:
the most unpleasant and difficult of all the states of consciousness is that when we are disconnected from all – from ourselves, from the infinite and from others. Life becomes completely meaningless, and the purpose of our very existence is questioned. The answer to this question of ‘why am I here’ that existential crisis comes only in finding some kind of connection that brings some joy and meaning into our lives.
When we connect to ourselves, but not to anyone else then we become selfish. We can be narcissistic and self absorbed, or cruel, selfish and greedy. It does not in the end lead us to happiness, but certainly is less depressing than absolute meaninglessness.
If you choose instead to tune into the other person instead of yourself you make yourself into a martyr, always serving others to the detriment of yourself, never making yourself happy, and the happiness you give to others is never real or lasting, or sufficient. Perhaps you are less destructive to the world around you, but hardly effective in creating a good life for yourself or for others. You simply do not have enough emotional resources to be giving of yourself all the time.
Focusing only on the infinite but not on self and others leads you to religious fanatacism or fundamentalism. There is a joy that is found in the divine, but the insensitivity and lack of understanding of yourself and others leads you to unwise, forceful, and sometimes downright hurtful actions. This is what leads to bible bashing religiousness. The spiritual connection that these people have is real, but it is not balanced enough to be a truly positive force in the world.
Activism is a good thing, but if it is led by a connection to self and other, but lacking in the infinite positivity it becomes a kind of humanism that while caring for others is at the same time, aggressive, angry, and lacking in a positive vision. This is not fun for the individual living in that way, nor for those around, and that angry aggressive approach can also lead to conflicts that actually get in the way of solving the very things that they are trying to improve.
Being at peace and having compassion for all certainly seems like a good way to live, and it does appear to not cause much harm, but when lacking in a connection to the self – when it is only the understanding of others and the divine love that leads to deep compassion and peace at the same time is missing the inner passion and spirit of self knowledge that leads to powerful action in the world. Yes this experience may lead to a good life of meditation, but it does not lead to really making a difference.
Dancing in ecstacy feeling the love of the infinite divine as it flows through me the devotee is drunk on the nectar of spirit, but they are still lacking in awareness of others and sensitivity – this also leads to an inner spiritual journey that lacks the outer practicality. Again the devotees tend to be good people and don’t do much harm, but it is often surprising how much resistance they create in others less open, and how that resistance can actually lead to the opposite of what they want.
The ordinary, happy, effective person is one who connects to all. They have an inner joy of spirit, a warm smile, and a sense of human connection, they know themselves and what they need, and the devote themselves to something that is meaningful to them, when not working they know how to have fun, and overall they seem like very normal person, but one with a deeper strand of peace and joy that runs through them. This is the life of Oneness that I think is worth pursuing.