Oneness

Kishore Subramanian
4 min readJun 5, 2020
Photo by Patrick McManaman on Unsplash

The last few days have been unlike any other. We have seen raw human emotions play out in the public arena — fear, prejudice, delusion (of superiority), anger, greed, mindless rage. And we have seen pain, compassion, love, and solidarity. Let’s acknowledge that racial inequality and injustice exist. The pain and fear are real.

This is a lot to take in. How do we reconcile all these feelings?

We, as a nation, will eventually move on to the next phase of healing. Systemic changes have to be made. But these changes have to come from a deeper state of equality and compassion. Each one of us can make a difference. Whether or not you join the protests, we can all make some fundamental changes at the level of our minds.

Unconscious bias is real

Let’s face it — we all have prejudices and biases that are buried deep in our subconscious. This is unavoidable. The type of bias depends on our past experiences. Depending on the strength of these prejudices, they may affect us at the level of mind, speech, or action. For instance, we may judge someone who is different from us. If it is stronger, we may say or do something inappropriate.

Can we do something about it? These emotions are at the level of our minds buried deep in our subconscious. Hence, the solution is also at the level of the mind.

I would like you to take a few minutes of your time to join me in a mental exercise. Call it meditation or just a thought exercise.

  1. Sit comfortably and slowly close your eyes.
  2. Draw your attention to everything around you. Observe that they are different from you. These are the things you experience.
  3. Bring your attention to your body. Even with eyes closed, you can feel your body. Picture your hands and legs in your mind. Feel your torso in your mind. Simply observe your entire body. Observe that the body is constantly changing.
  4. Now, let’s go inward. Draw your attention to your breath. Sense the in-and out-breath. How do we know how to breathe? What energy causes breathing? Is your breath shallow? Is there any resistance when you breathe? Are you heaving? Observe that the breath changes.
  5. Move your attention to your sense organs. Your eyes are closed and there are no visual signals. How about the ears? The ears hear the sounds (of a bird chirping or sounds of an automobile) but you see the mental image of a bird or a car in your mind. Your mind perceives the signals from the sense organs and builds images for you to observe.
  6. Observe your feelings. What emotions do you notice? Observe that your feelings and emotions change constantly.
  7. As you go deeper, observe intelligence and knowledge.
  8. Can you go still deeper inward? What do you see?

Slowly, open your eyes and reflect upon your observation.

Ask yourself the following questions:

We cut through different layers — from the external world to body to mind and intellect and beyond. Which layer are you? What do you identify with the most? Do you think you are closer to the “real you” as you go more inward?

What color is the innermost layer? Is It black, brown or white?

What race is the innermost layer? Does It belong to any race?

What religion is the innermost layer? Does It belong to any religion?

Is the innermost layer rich or poor?

Is my innermost layer superior to others?

Do you see that at the core, we, humans, are all one? At the core, there is no difference, isn’t it? Does the color of one thin physical layer of the outermost layer (body) even matter? What superiority or inferiority are we talking about?

Let’s internalize this oneness as we move to the healing phase. Let’s make decisions that are rooted in this oneness. The next time we see someone on the street who is different from us, let’s be aware of our thoughts — are we judging them unconsciously or worse, getting angry, or becoming fearful? Let’s consciously replace those thoughts with thoughts of oneness.

As we practice this regularly and internalize this oneness, the fear goes away. Hatred and prejudice fall by the side. When there is no fear and hatred, there is no anger, no rage. No one is superior or inferior. At our core, we are all one.

References

Drk Drsya Viveka (Observer-Observed Discrimination) — an introductory text on Vedanta

Introduction to Vedanta by Swami Sarvapriyananda

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Kishore Subramanian

Spiritual seeker, student, and practitioner of Yoga and Vedanta. Vice-President, Engineering at Propel. Ex-Googler.