One of the most common mystical insights shared among spiritual people of all times and traditions, and increasingly among physicists, is that our notion of separateness is an illusion, and that we are all one. This post offers related quotes for our reflection. More importantly, it poses some questions to ponder deeply. Readers are welcome to share responses below.
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! … As you have done unto the least of these, so have you done to me. … As you have not done to them, so have you not done to me. Jesus of Nazareth
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. … ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Paul the Apostle
Our soul is so fully united to God of His own Goodness that absolutely nothing comes between God and our soul. … It is more worshipful to behold God in all than in any special thing. Julian of Norwich
The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. Black Elk
The God who existed before any religion counts on you to make the oneness of the human family known and celebrated. Desmond Tutu
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. Thomas Merton
A human being is a part of the whole called by us “the universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert Einstein
We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness. … Human beings are not separate from each other or Nature. We are totally interrelated and our actions have consequences to all. What we do to others we do to ourselves. What we do to the Earth we do to ourselves. Thich Nhat Hanh
The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there. Yasutani Roshi
Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgments, and definitions that blocks all true relationship. It comes between you and yourself, between you and your fellow man and woman, between you and nature, between you and God. It is this screen of thought that creates the illusion of separateness, the illusion that there is you and a totally separate “other.” You then forget the essential fact that, underneath the level of physical appearances and separate forms, you are one with all that is. Eckhart Tolle
All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything. Swami Vivekananda
Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life. Herman Hesse
- In what ways does the idea that separateness is an illusion appeal to you or make sense to you?
- In what ways does this idea seem unbelievable or make you uncomfortable?
- If you somehow came to a compelling belief in the truth of this idea, or perhaps even a direct realization or revelation of oneness, how might it change you, your relationships, your theology and ideas about sin and salvation, your politics, and other aspects of your life?