The Smelting Pot
Why is it that so many people have such a deep-seated fear of oneness?
Honestly, you say the word and you can feel people cringe; that is when they are not jumping all over you for promoting ‘New Age claptrap’ or un-American sentiments.
Un-American? Really? Last I heard America was the ‘Great Melting Pot’ where Peoples of different races and religions came together and became something more together than they were individually; a place where thoughts and concepts and ideas could mix freely and homogenize into something altogether different; something stronger and more unique. Well, that’s how we billed ourselves, Once Upon a Time.
Times, it seems, have changed.
Once upon time the concept of the Great Melting Pot actually made sense. It didn’t matter who you were, or where you were from. You could come and add your own uniqueness to the mix; you could learn new ways of thinking and doing and being and, out of them, create a life for yourself that was richer and stronger than would have been possible if you had continued to go it alone; like taking a plate of Iron, melting it down to its most basic, fundamental levels, removing the impurities, oxidizing it, and ending up with steel; something far stronger and more durable.
The problem is that over the years the concept Great Melting Pot has turned into the great Homogenizing Plant, and homogenization isn’t about increasing strength and stability of any one person or group of Peoples. Homogenization is where substances are brought together and emulsified until what made them “them” is distributed evenly throughout the mixture and there is no uniqueness or individuality left.
Steel is still Iron; just iron that has been purified and strengthened. When you homogenize milk, on the other hand, while it loses its impurities, it also looses much of the richness and flavor that made it so enjoyable to begin with. If you don’t believe me, stop by a farm sometime and take a drink of milk fresh from a cow, there really is no comparison.
Believe it or not, this is the same problem that people run into when they think of the concept of spiritual unity and oneness. Instead of seeing oneness as a smelting pot; a process that enriches the individual; a process that not only removes your impurities but strengthens you with concepts and ideas that you might never otherwise have encountered, they see it as homogenization; as a loss of everything that made them an individual.
They have somehow got it into their heads that when you subscribe to “oneness” you give up all of your individuality; all of your flavor; everything that made you “you.” Actually, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Oneness isn’t about becoming the same as everyone else. It isn’t about losing your distinctness or merging into some sort of protean soup where you give up your ability to think for yourself. In fact, as long as we live in this physical universe and subscribe to physical duality that is patently impossible. Our very existence as human beings here on this planet indicates that we are here to live as individuals and to thrive, each of us in our unique and distinct physical package.
What oneness is about is acknowledging that at our most fundamental core, each and every one of us is made up of the same substance. Oneness is not something that we strive for; it is something that we remember because it is something that already happened.
We all come from that great smelting pot where the iron was crafted into steel. Through the process of living, each of us takes on different strengths and weaknesses. We’ve had different alloys added into our mix to make new and unique metals. We’ve been cast into beams to hold up sky scrapers and into fence posts and belt buckles and kitchen kettles. We find our place as cookware or flatware or decorative objects that have to be highly polished.
But underneath it all; underneath all of the polishing and decorative coats of paint; underneath all of the plaster and plumbing that have been built up over us; underneath of the circuits and computer chips and plastic casings; we’re all the same.
No matter how we may fight the knowing, we ARE all one.
There is no getting around it.
Acknowledging the fact that we are all, at our core, spiritual beings and that we are made up of the same stuff does not mean that we will stop being who and what we are, that we will have to melt down the sky scrapers and the flatware and the belt buckles and the jewelry and give up our individuality for some sort of homogenized boredom.
All it means is that by acknowledging that we are all made up of the same stuff we will go about our lives with a fresh perspective; the knowledge that no matter how different we may seem, at heart we ARE one.
And that, my friends, can make all the difference in the world.