Week Six: Virtue of Unity
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”
Thich Nhat Hanh16
The Virtue of Balance prepares the conditions of the human mind and heart to work respectfully with the opposite poles of reality and everything in between. Experiencing this state of respect allows you to recognize that our participation in the co-creation of a unified realm of reality is manifested in diversity. This means everything and everyone that is part of this reality which shapes your life experience (perception) is also involved in its manifestation in various ways. Some might contribute toward what appears to be negative, some may enhance what appears to be positive.
“The yin-yang principle is not, therefore, what we would ordinarily call a dualism, but rather an explicit duality expressing an implicit unity.”
The Virtue of Unity allows you to transcend your ordinary need of belongingness to assume the extraordinary experience of living in harmony with all. In this practice of unity, you learn to connect with other systems and appreciate their state of existence as well. Through the Virtue of Unity, you free yourself from the illusion of separation.
“Our separation from each other is an optical illusion.”
Einstein called entanglement "spooky action at a distance," because the contemporary understanding was of local actions. It was spooky to think distant objects could have a direct influence on one another, because an object was seen as only being directly influenced by its immediate surroundings. The concept of entanglement in quantum theories was later supported by Nonlocality Theory of John Bell (Bell's Theorem), which suggested that objects could influence one another from distance and communicate on a non-local level according to entanglement principles.
When the fabric of reality is examined very closely, nothing resembling clockworks can be found. Instead, the reality is woven from strange, "holistic" threads that aren't located precisely in space or time. Tug on a dangling loose end from this fabric of reality, and the whole cloth twitches, instantly, throughout all space and time. Science is at the very earliest stages of understanding entanglement, and much is yet to learn. But what we've seen so far provides a new way of thinking about psi [psychic phenomena]. No longer are psi experiences regarded as rare human talents, divine gifts, or "powers" that magically transcend ordinary physical boundaries. Instead, psi becomes an unavoidable consequence of living in an interconnected, entangled physical reality. Psi is reframed from a bizarre anomaly that doesn't fit into the normal world - and hence labeled paranormal - into a natural phenomenon of physics.
From Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality by Dean Radin18
In many ancient spiritual practices, such as Buddhism and Sufism, practitioners are encouraged to independently investigate their reality and true-self. From the investigation of truth, ego (in Buddhism) and Nafs (in Sufism) are known to be the source of sorrow and all suffering of humankind if left in the absence of self-awareness and self-control. Most modern religions describe the ego as an instrument or a tool to transcend the human experience from the temporary illusion of separation and ignorance to the permanent reality of oneness.
What is non-self, Anatta? It means impermanence. If things are impermanent, they don’t remain the same things forever. You of this moment are no longer you of a minute ago. There is no permanent entity within us, there is only a stream of being. There is always a lot of input and output. The input and the output happen in every second, and we should learn how to look at life as streams of being, and not as separate entities. For instance, looking into a flower, you can see that the flower is made of many elements that we can call non-flower elements. When you touch the flower, you touch the cloud. You cannot remove the cloud from the flower, because if you could remove the cloud from the flower, the flower would collapse right away. You don’t have to be a poet in order to see a cloud floating in the flower, but you know very well that without the clouds there would be no rain and no water for the flower to grow. So cloud is part of the flower, and if you send the element cloud back to the sky, there will be no flower. Cloud is a non-flower element. And the sunshine…you can touch the sunshine here. If you send back the element sunshine, the flower will vanish. And sunshine is another non-flower element. And earth, and gardener… if you continue, you will see a multitude of non-flower elements in the flower. In fact, a flower is made only with non-flower elements. It does not have a separate self.
So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, and can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos. It’s the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos. You are as wonderful as the cosmos, you are a manifestation of the cosmos.
From The Island of Self by Thich Nhat Hanh16
Looking back at our previous chapters and activities clarifies the theme of unity:
In Chapter One: You dedicated time and energy to comprehend your physical body systems to improve your health because you belong to them and they belong to you.
In Chapter Two: You explored the layers of human mind and re-connected to your conscious, subconscious, and unconscious mind to obtain mental clarity and a cohesive state of mind. You gathered your mind and thoughts, because they contribute to the platform of the structure of this reality and the experience of life. You belong to your worldview and your perception belongs to you.
In Chapter Three: You became aware of the power of your heart and its important relation to human body and mind. You recognized the ability of the human heart to cultivate (generate) and accept (receive) the consciousness flow (super-consciousness) through your intention and actions. You belong to your heart, and your heart being in the right place belongs to you.
In Chapter Four: You are in the process of identifying the human heart virtues, reuniting your mind, body, and heart (spirit, soul) to elevate your perception of the relation between you and other systems (mankind, society, other living beings, environment, and the whole universe). The practice of the human heart virtues illuminates the connection pathways between you and everything else. You belong to this realm of reality and this reality belongs to you.
Observation and Action:
This week, dedicate your daily practice to using your conscious self and ego as an instrument to expand your sensitivity to the Virtue of Unity.
During this exercise, try to differentiate the sources of your actions by investigating the actual motive of your intentions. First, make a list of your egocentric intentions and actions versus altruistic. Then contemplate how you could create a balance between the two lists through comprehending the Virtue of Unity.
Duration and Frequency:
Focus on the Virtue of Unity throughout all your activities over the course of one week.
Record your 20 to 40 minutes of contemplation in your Development Log at the end of each day.