Compassion? Or Oneness?
Bear with me on this: I don’t think compassion is the feeling that arises from an understanding of the universal, connected, shared spiritual energy of all humanity. One of the most profound passages in Sydney Banks’ The Missing Link is:
“All human psyches are rooted in universal truth
and no person’s psyche is better than any other’s. Only
to the degree of the individual’s psychological and
spiritual understanding does it appear to vary.”
Another way to say this is that, fundamentally, all human beings are the same. We look different on the outside because of evolutionary events around the world. We appear to be different behaviorally because of variability in psychological and spiritual understanding — meaning how insecure or lost in personal thinking we are, without knowing about our true nature as thinkers. This is clarified a few pages later by:
“Everyone in this world shares the same innate source
of wisdom, but it is hidden by the tangle of our own
misguided personal thoughts.”
Compassion, to me, while it is a lovely sentiment and certainly far preferable to scorn or judgment, still is rooted in the assumption that some people are better than others. There’s a “poor things — I feel for them” quality to compassion that stands in the way of seeing that all —all— others are perfectly healthy and whole, deep-down. Compassion causes us to try to “help” the “less fortunate” from our presumed higher stance, rather than to see that any one of us, at any moment, could be in the same boat, and all of us, at all times, are one thought away from being able to row it on our own. Compassion does not acknowledge that we are all equals at the core.
It seems to me the world could use less compassion and a huge infusion of understanding the spiritual nature of humanity right now. Around the world, we are bombarded with language about those who should be either pitied or censured, with fewer and fewer visible leaders calling for love and understanding and respect for all people as the driving forces of public policy and behavior.
Religious scholars will tell us that at the core of every major religion, there is an understanding that we are all the same, that unconditional love is the basis of goodness and mercy for all. But while that is evident across religious doctrine, it is not necessarily evident in practice. And those of us who look to find the source of both philosophy and practice across the world in the depth of universal Principles that explain all life also fall into the same personal reinterpretation of universal truth. We hear each other saying, “If THOSE people would just apply the Principles,” rather than realizing that ALL people and everything in the universe are the Principles in action. We all live in the illusion that there is a fixed creation about which we can make judgments, rather than the understanding that creation is formless energy, not form.
It is often shocking to medical students to discover, the first time they open a cadaver, that the internal workings of every human being are the same, regardless of race, culture, or ethnicity. It is often shocking to students of human psychology to realize that the flow of energy into forms of thoughts that become, through consciousness, our fleeting perceived experience, is the same no matter who you are, where you are, what you’re doing, or what you know or don’t know about yourself.
When we do recognize that deep life energy connection to each other, we cannot help but see that the same formless energy informs all of the ever-changing universe of form. We can step quietly into a deeper humility that we are in and of the universe, a part of the dynamic process that is the movement of formlessness to and from form that is all of creation. It is a profoundly spiritual journey, away from all the thoughts of the uniqueness of self into appreciation for the impersonal cosmic joy of just being.
As that appears more and more real and the importance of worldly ideas fades, we are filled with unconditional love. The idea of doing harm to any iota of the universe is unthinkable. The impetus to appreciate all and every thing we encounter on our brief journey through creation leads to peace, love, understanding and gratitude for the perfection in the way the universe works.
Differences between people are invented, stories of separateness we have made up because we can think anything, and when we are insecure, we tend to think our particular way of seeing life is special and better than others’. The common ground all people share is spiritual, before invention, because it is formless energy, enlivening us to use our powers.
Compassion is the high end of human connection in the world of form. The best we can do once we have seen ourselves as separate and unique and gotten attached to our own thoughts is to open our hearts to others in a loving way.
Oneness is the recognition that in the spiritual realm, we are indistinguishable. It is the understanding that we bring our individual lives into form the same way, transforming pure energy into ideas and images that become our personal experience of this life. In that moment of energy, before we give it form, we are unlimited potential, all of us. Unconditionally.
That moment is always. It is the unformed thought that might be next. It is the unrealized opportunity for whatever we can imagine. It is possible change. It is love.