Through spiritual practice we dismantle, brick by brick, the walls that separate us from each other and from all life. We discover who we really are, who we always have been, and the dancing strength of this ‘new’ identity. Little by little we begin to live out this oneness, this deep connectedness, with other people and all life.
As we discover our oneness, our deep connectedness, with everything, a deep sense of wonder, gratitude and love are born. Mountains, flowers, the sea, birds, dogs and cats – we feel a new relationship with everything, a relationship we can celebrate in many different ways, from simple moment by moment appreciation, to poetry, music and art. However, this connectedness also inspires a sense of responsibility and care, a new alertness to issues such as global warming, the trade in exotic species, and the island of plastic we have created in the Pacific Ocean. As we reflect on the impact of our choices, our awareness of our oneness with everything impels us to change how we live.
As we discover our oneness, our deep connectedness, with the people around us, we begin to care in new ways, to grow in our openness to others, in our willingness to welcome and to share, and to feel a new sense of relationship with others. We become alert to how others are living, locally and around the world, alert to issues such as poverty and lack of opportunity, the impact of war and decisions about world trade, and here too we feel a new sense of responsibility that affects how we live.
As we discover through spiritual practice who we really are, our love for ourselves changes – the barriers to loving ourselves dissolve, and we find ourselves caring for ourselves in new ways, with a dancing simplicity and groundedness. But our sense of self has expanded to include all life, and we care for other people, for plants, animals, trees and seas as for ourselves. Our spiritual practice acquires a global dimension. ‘Acquire inner peace and thousands around you will find their salvation’ as St Seraphim of Sarov said.
Our attitudes to ourselves, to the planet, to other people, and to how best to care for ourselves, all interrelate and affect each other constantly. We are each part of a web of life and interrelating relationships. As we change and grow, the world changes round us, our understanding grows and with it our sense of responsibility to all life, to others, and to ourselves. The equation isn’t static!
Our different skills and circumstances mean that we can act in many different ways. It doesn’t matter what we do: provided we are playing our part with discernment and openness, life will use us. But the more we are grounded in this deep connectedness, life will use us!
Written by Michael Gunton, Shinpiden Level III student of the International House of Reiki