“Are We Separate From Each Other – Truly??”

The duck-rabbit, made famous by Wittgenstein

(The duck-rabbit, made famous by Wittgenstein – Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I get jealous when I come across people who live or seem to live life with full of enthusiasm and excitement.  I am sure there are people who feel similarly of  me and the way I live my life.

We live a life of comparisons most of the time.  Why do we feel this way? Why do we always think that somebody else has it all together?  The proverbial ‘Grass is greener on the other side’ – we tend to live that at one time or another, some more than others.

And yet the highest spiritual truth is as Thich Nhat Hanh says – “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness”.  Illusion is called “Maya” in Sanskrit and that is what we all are immersed in and are journeying to get out of, some more advanced on the path and others at the very beginning of the trail, nevertheless, all on the same path.

The root cause for the feelings of desire, anger, greed, attachment, envy and jealousy – the 6 inner enemies,  is the feeling of separateness that rises through comparisons of ‘better than’, ‘more than’, ‘happier than’, etc. etc.,

If I recognise the ‘Oneness’ then the enthusiasm in one or the beauty in the other should not be the causes for disturbances in me.  I should be able to recognise those qualities in others as an extension of mine.

But it is not easy to do that -why?  Why do I forget the ‘Oneness’ and repeatedly strengthen the ‘illusion of separateness’?

When I operate from the realm of the 5 senses that constantly reiterate and reinforce good and bad, beauty and ugly, when those senses remind me of my physical boundaries, that is when I get rooted in the separateness as boundaries become solid.

Is it possible to blur the boundaries so the spectrum of colors are seen in the distinct edges?  Is it possible to train the vision to see the Oneness?

If I soften my eyes and perhaps even squint a little as if I am trying to see a hidden picutre in an optical illusion, an image within the image, then the edges soften and get blurry and before I know I can hold both pictures in my vision – the visible and the hidden, both clear at the same time.

Softening the vision is one way of seeing past the solid edges and recognising the inner core.      That can only happen when I soften the vision on myself and not hold my edges solidly – meaning when I blur my vision towards myself so the hidden and the outer coexist without judgment, when I love myself for who I am, when I soften towards myself, only then can I fully and completely soften towards the others and those soft edges in me and the other happily come together in a dance of celebration and I am awake from my illusion of separateness.

Just softening the vision will not be enough to do the trick completely.  Vision should be softened accompanied by a word or a phrase that triggers images of Love.  That can be any word or phrase – from “beauty” to “love” to “compassion” to “kind” or even specific names and images of Holy Beings who walked this earth or are walking now – like “Jesus”, “Buddha”, “Allah”, “Rama” etc.,  This is a concept recommended as a spiritual practice in all faiths.  Hinduism calls it “Nama Smarana”, Islam calls it “Zikr” and Christianity recommends the practice of Rosary.  The reasoning behind this spiritual practice is that the  word and/or image evokes the same qualities within us.

When we take time to soften the vision and evoke an image through the word whilst interacting with each others, it will be impossible to treat the others with contempt, or unkindness.  Judgments drop like autumn leaves.  The image evoked through the word will be powerful enough to help us ignore the hard outer edges and concentrate on the soft glimmering inner image that tantalizes us initally but fully becomes visible through practice – like the ‘optical illusion’ once the hidden is visible, we cannot seem to see the original image.

For me the practice of saying “Swami” (the name of a Form that is beloved to me) every time I come across somebody works.  Even the minor random judgments that pass through the mind stop as the mind questions me ‘would I be thinking that if it was really Swami in front of me’ and the judgment stops as mind surrenders to the rising silence filled with love.

It works beautifully, but I have to remember to do it.

Yes, we forget to do the practice.  But the only way to continue is to pick up where we left off every time we remember, without judgment, guilt or blame.  Those feelings are the liquid nitrogen that freeze the solid edges of separateness and it takes a lot of warm waters of love to thaw.  AS soon as the cold vapors of negativity are sensed and felt, we need to remember to blow the warm breeze of positive soothing words and images. Only that kindness has the capacity to thaw the solidity of separateness.

Awakening from the illusion of separateness comes with practice and unless we are willing to do that we will continue to live in the world of ‘me & you’, ‘us & them’, separate and suffering.

So, what would work for you if you were to decide to awaken from the illusion of separateness?

Leave your comments as I am interested to know.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari


About Padma Ayyagari

I am a Human Values Activist, passionate about and trying to live steeped in Spirituality. I live with the knowledge that Love is the undercurrent of all human life. I believe in Unity of Faiths, Unity in diversity and try and live my life with unity in thought, word and deed. Helping others to lead a life of practical spirituality that will give peace of mind is my passion and life purpose.
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5 Responses to “Are We Separate From Each Other – Truly??”

  1. hali says:

    Padma – this touches my heart deeply. I feel… a kindred spirit with you – and in that feeling can’t help but smile at the beauty that your words about the difficulty of illusory separation are what have made me feel more unified with you on this spiritual journey, in this spiritual work.


  2. Srinivasan Iyer says:

    Sai Ram Padma
    It is a well worded write up and very nice to implement it in our daily living.
    To make the practice effective will it be good if we have a end-of-day review to check if we did follow and if not then make a note for the next day .


  3. Reblogged this on areyouchanging and commented:

    21st March is celebrated as a National Harmony Day in Australia and the theme of this day is “Everyone Belongs.” In honoring that principle and extending it one step further, to recognise that we are not really separate from each other – here is a blog post of mine that was first published in September 2012. What do you think? Are we truly separate from each other? Are the boundaries that we observe as solid as we think they are? Would love to have your comments – Padma


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