Course Book Lesson 13: Moving Toward Oneness – Audio & Text

Lesson 13: Moving Toward Oneness

Last week, we took a concrete step by asking God to remove our weakness and grant us peace in the present moment. As we practice turning to Him over and over again, let’s take care to notice the miracles that unfold. Whether they happen inwardly or outwardly, let’s mindfully notice each time our minds and hearts magically shift toward healing. Some shifts will appear all at once and feel like a waterfall of Grace dumping on our heads. Some will emerge as a slow trickle carving new terrain over time. No matter how we witness this Grace, we can trust that as our hearts change, our behaviors will too. Let’s not take these moments of healing for granted. Instead, let’s acknowledge that something Higher is working in our lives and celebrate each tiny step we take in that direction.

This week we make a conscious shift toward unity and Oneness. This shift may meet up against significant programming, particularly if we have been raised in Western cultures that place high value on individual freedom and self-reliance. These values can foster many positives, including creativity, progress, and self-differentiation. However, they can also contribute to a misguided sense of separation, where comparison, polarization, and objectification can paint heavy filters on our subconscious glasses. This can keep us constantly looking sideways for validation, pitting ourselves against others, and climbing scarcity-laden ladders of success. This cultural dynamic can confuse our understanding of self-reliance, sitting opposite our inherent need for God.

Eastern philosophies embrace an entirely different way of being in the world. Both Buddhism and Hinduism emphasize non-duality, as highlighted by the Buddha’s statement, “In separateness lies the world’s greatest misery.” Lao Tzu’s ancient spiritual text, the Tao te Ching, emphasizes the interconnectedness of all life throughout its 81 verses, a concept symbolized in the popular yin yang mandala. Yoga literally means “union,” and evolves from an ancient, primarily meditative practice intended to bring union to mind, body, and spirit.

Interestingly, Jesus taught at the intersection of east and west. He also addressed unity and Oneness, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” At LBS, we close each daily practice with the traditional term Namaste, which points to this same Oneness. One suggested translation reads: “I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Truth, of Light, and of Peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, We are One.

The aim and intent of our daily practice is to find this place of Oneness in ourselves. This is another way to think about finding our center. As we move mindfully, we use our breath to release the emotions and unwind the busy thinking patterns that cloud our true essence. With an open and willing heart, paying attention to the subtle sensations that move through our bodies, we can learn to understand a new language. The spiritual language of embodied awareness communicates through sensations, images, colors, words, sounds, vibrations, and a deep and unshakable knowing. As we become more fluent in this language, we become more aware and aligned with the Light within us. There is no question. We simply know. We can find and feel that this Light connects us to all other beings on the planet.

We might feel this deep connection easily during our time together, but how do we find this Oneness outside of class? What habitually blocks us from this holy and home-like place? Over the course of our program, we have become acquainted with different parts of ourselves that can get in our way. So this week, let’s consider them together in the space of accepting and allowing, with our most loving awareness.

Earlier, we employed the lens of the ego as defined by Eckhart Tolle. This lens can be transformative and freeing, waking us up out of unconscious trance. Naming the ego can enable us to identify and separate ourselves from the small-minded, grasping, shadowy part of our self. When we recognize and detach from its fear-driven voice, we can find the presence to ground into a Higher Self with a Higher perspective.

This week, let’s explore a different lens for introspection, a lens that encourages union and Oneness, a place to allow and accept every single part of ourselves—including our ego. This lens is colored by the Internal Family Systems Model, developed by Dr. Richard Schwartz in the 1980s. Through this model, we are encouraged to explore and uncover every part of our personality and experience. We can honor and acknowledge each part of who we are and have been, trusting in the abundance of our Creator and our Higher Self. Each part of us can be welcomed, listened to, and befriended as part of a greater whole that is trying to serve us in some way.

Let’s make a conscious effort to invite all of our parts into our awareness this week, with a willingness to hear what each has to say. As we approach those parts of us that are speaking the loudest, we can employ curiosity and care. Perhaps that which is making noise simply needs to be listened to. Perhaps that which feels tight and suppressed simply needs space and acceptance. Perhaps what is hurting simply needs to be held. Grounded in an embodied sense of Namaste, we can learn more about who we are, what our life journey has meant to us, and what we need in order to move forward in healthy and healing ways. With God and with Grace, we can make room for all of ourselves and all of our experience.

Mindfulness Practice: Embracing All Parts of Ourselves

This week, we bring our mindful awareness to all aspects of ourselves. One way we will do this is by creating a map of sorts. Let’s use imagery and words to represent the different personalities and energies that coexist inside our whole. We need not worry if we are not artists; the picture is not the point. Rather, we want to identify all the different aspects of self that make up who we are.

Let’s pay attention as we move through our week and note the different energies that emerge in different situations. Let’s not judge or dismiss anything we find. We are looking for more than simple emotions. Instead, we are looking for whole systems of narratives, values, and emotional patterns. These systems might even feel like sub-personalities that can take over our whole persona. As we feel this happen, let’s try to keep an open mind and ground ourselves by trusting the basic goodness of our Higher Self. When we feel a strong part move in to protect us or take control, we can consider: “What is this part believing right now?” Let’s welcome each part we find with compassionate curiosity. We can also use meditation to invite hidden parts of ourselves into our conscious awareness.

We might find that these personalities interplay with one another, bouncing back and forth in healthy or unhealthy ways. For example, one part of us may feel fun, light-hearted and playful. But another part of us may feel bossy and responsible. We might witness this responsible part come and squash our playful nature with guilt or “shoulds.” As we observe dynamics like these, we might draw arrows between our different parts or find other ways to illustrate how we see our different parts working together. Let’s remember to observe with open and loving awareness, not labeling any part as good or bad. Let’s rely on the abundance of our Creator and trust that every part of us has a purpose and a place.

As we create our map through the week, let’s take note of how we feel adding each part onto the page. Let’s bring particular mindfulness to feelings of aversion, shame, fear, disgust, or defensiveness. As we face these feelings, let’s consider how our seemingly difficult parts might be trying to serve or protect us, and even thank them for their efforts. Let’s take time in meditation to invite them forward, and listen to what they have to say.

Then, let’s use our mindfulness tools to find our center and connect with our Higher Self: our Namaste. Let’s feel in our mind, body, and spirit that when we are here, connected to the Divinity within us in the present moment, we do not need protection. There is room for all of ourselves and all of our life experience. Let’s use this part of ourselves to welcome and befriend all the parts of us that want to be heard.

Building on last week’s practice of total surrender, we can also ask God to help us view ourselves through His Light and perspective. When we offer our whole selves to Him, He can help us work with our unique personalities and attributes to manifest our fullest potential. The 3rd Step Prayer from AA offers a beautiful way to make this request:

God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that my victory over them would bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always. Amen.

This prayer can be a pathway to peace. It can help us put our Higher Power, rather than our own perspective, personality, and prestige at our center. As we begin to recognize how our different parts step in to protect us or meet fear-driven demands, we can learn to understand ourselves with new-found compassion. We can begin to see the wholeness of our Sacred Self, and realize our journey is much more than a means to an end. We can feel that the present moment matters above all else, because it is all we ever have. This moment, right here, right now, experiencing life precisely as it is, is where we wake up. This moment is where we find the meaning of our journey: to awaken to who we are, and who God is.

As we find and feel a greater union with ourselves, we can also begin to understand and accept how parts function in those around us. When we recognize a familiar part in someone else, we can feel less inclined to judge. Instead of criticizing and condemning, we might say, “Oh, I see. This part is their protector. They want to be loved and recognized. Just like me.

From this place of compassionate empathy, we are less likely to mistake unconscious behavior for who people truly are. So this week, let’s use our mindful awareness to help us accept and understand all parts of ourselves and those around us. With this perspective, we are more capable of enjoying union in all of our relationships.

Let’s also use our mindfulness practice to notice the way our parts interact with our body. This relationship with our body often carries a high degree of comparison and objectification, culturally and otherwise. This week, let’s observe our self-talk when we look in the mirror. Let’s notice if we find ourselves looking at and comparing our body to others. Let’s pay attention if we catch ourselves leveraging our appearance, food habits, or exercise regimens to make ourselves more worthy of love. Alternatively, some of us may find a rebellious part that uses the body to reject and rebel against other people’s judgment or control. This week, let’s bring compassionate curiosity to all these parts. Simply pausing and repeating this mantra with a hand on our heart can bring us back to center: “This body is the sacred vehicle through which I experience this life. When did I last say thank you?

Finally, let’s bring mindfulness to the parts we play in relationship to others. How does our energy or personality shift and change in our relationships? We might explore the idea of the Drama Triangle, a behavioral model that depicts typical relational dynamics. Do we gravitate toward habitual roles such as persecutor, victim, or rescuer? How often do we find ourselves in drama and dysfunction? Or maybe we lose the present moment and act from an unconscious intention to play a part? Is there a part that wants to control other people’s perception of us, clinging to rigid ideas about what a “good mom,” “good sister,” “good neighbor,” “good wife,” or “good daughter” should or shouldn’t do? When we bring these parts and beliefs to a Higher Power, He can help us sort through the rules and expectations we unconsciously bring to our relationships. By shining His light on all parts, we can honor our positive intentions and gently re-align our sometimes misguided methods to show and secure love in relationship.

Let’s embrace the idea that there is no one right way to be a mother, a wife, a woman, a human. There is no fool-proof prescription for how any one of us should act in any given situation. Who we are is not found in the roles we play. So let’s let go of roles and expectations, turning instead to our divine intuition in the present moment. We can trust our next right action to unfold naturally and with ease when we are open and aligned with God.

When we touch home regularly, we can come to know through our own experience that we truly are equally precious Beings on a uniquely personal, yet universal journey. The Light within each one of us is the same. Each individual pathway of awakening is beautiful, unique, and infinitely important. As we accept this revolutionary idea of unquestionable belonging, we can embrace all of our divinely crafted parts and honor their place in us in the healthiest ways. We can awaken to what it actually means, within and without, to be One.

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