I wonder if the terrible twos are because that’s when kids start thinking and acting in terms of “my” and “mine”? What’s more, I’d ask if as a society we live stuck in our terrible twos? Seriously! The more I think and speak in terms of “my”/”mine”, the smaller, more selfish, anxious, angry, and closed I become. Yet, when my perspective is “our”/”ours”, an ever-greater flow of connection, joy, peace, wholeness, and Love results. Something my friend Ashley said in a recent group conversation got me thinking about the slavery of a “my”/“mine” mindset in comparison to the freedom of a “our”/“ours” mentality, so that’s what today’s chat is about!
I’m assisting Ashley in a Yoga Teacher Training, so we were talking with the students about the yogic practice of Aparigraha, which means non-attachment, non-possessiveness, and non-greediness. As I recall, she shared how a she’d been in a circle of friends that worked at refraining from thinking and speaking in terms of “mine”, because they realized, in my words: Everything is a gift. Our bodies, possessions, breath, food, relationships, jobs, and residences are all fleeting presents we get to enjoy for a time, but don’t truly own in any permanent way. What is more, we’re all interconnected and interdependent, influencing and impacting one another and the world in an infinite spiderweb of cause-and-effect for generations.
Wow! I thought, that shift from “mine” to “ours” thinking and being is powerful step toward greater unity, wellness, and Love that had never occurred to me. Especially exciting, to me, was this connected with a journey I’ve been on for the last 10+ years. First in my mind, but increasingly in my heart, body, and spirit I’ve been realizing and experiencing oneness, the intimate links between people, nature, God, and everything. Truthfully, I wonder if a primary goal of life is to increasingly not know where I end and others, nature, and Spirit begins!
In the Bible Jesus repeatedly talks about how he and “the Father” (whom I’d briefly describe as our experience of the Divine in/from the heavenly realms) are one. In John 5.19, 8.28, and 12.49, for instance, the Christ says something akin to: “I do nothing on my own, but speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” (John 8.28b-29) In other words, interrelatedness and connectedness is the very nature of God and everything the Creator crafts.
Jesus’ longest recorded prayer continues this theme by applying the togetherness within the Divine to humanity and beyond:
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us … The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one. I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17.20-23)
Part of what I believe Jesus is getting at when he refers to “the Father” is the parentally intimate, yet cosmically infinite, Divine Source of us all Who adores us and birthed us to enjoy oneness, togetherness, unity, and connection with all humanity, nature, and our Creator. Now, whether you believe in God, don’t, or don’t know I really hope you’re picking up what I’m putting down. Living “my” and “mine” centric lives is so hard-wired into our culture that it’s easy to fall victim to it … yet, it leads to insecurity, fear, anxiety, a feeling of scarcity, mistrust, division, injustice, and so on. It’s small!
My experience of living this kind of life has been like a building with a terrible foundation and support system. When I selfishly turn inward it leads to contracting and collapsing. Looking back, I can see this is part of what happened when I had two grand mal seizures at the beginning of 2011, as I was overreaching for my goals, under sleeping, putting work over family, and partying too hard. Reversing those trends has helped me remain seizure-free since, while also becoming more Loving toward those near and dear to me.
That said, when I live in a “our” and “ours” centered manner, life gets big, beautiful, and blissful for everyone involved … and I don’t think I’m alone in this experience. It puts me in a communal and divine force field of togetherness, unity, and Love that makes every aspect of life brighter and lighter. And if that’s not part of enlightenment, heaven, or salvation, I don’t know what is. Shifting from the former to the latter makes everything better, it’s a shift from collapsing to expanding, and I invite you to join me in trying it out!
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MUCH Love and Many Hugs,