Happiness comes from sameness – the balance between oneness and otherness
Oneness is a buzzword among spiritual seekers – they often want to feel one with the universe, with nature, with existence. As our lives are frequently agitated and fragmented, oneness sounds promisingly peaceful.
Yet oneness doesn’t provide lasting fulfillment because fulfillment comes not merely through the elimination of the negative (agitation and fragmentation), but primarily through the experience and expression of the positive. And the most positive reality is love – to love and to be loved. Love, of course, requires an other, someone other than ourselves whom we can love.
While love requires the other, it also requires a commonality that can link the two. If the other is utterly different, then love becomes impossible – although the two needed for love exist, nothing exists to bring the two together. Thus love requires a balance of otherness and oneness.
If the other is utterly different, then love becomes impossible – although the two needed for love exist, nothing exists to bring the two together.
Gita wisdom indicates that this balance is found in sameness (saamya). Sameness conveys the reality that all living beings including the Supreme Being share the same spiritual nature – we all are eternal and we all share an eternal longing for love. Sameness doesn’t imply oneness because though we all are similar, we are not identical – each of us is a distinct, discrete individual. And this sameness principle applies to the human-divine relationship too. Though we are infinitesimal and God is infinite, still we can link with him for we share a similar heart that delights in love.
By the vision of sameness, the Gita indicates that not only can we see beyond externals such as caste, color or even species (05.18) but can also become liberated even while in this world of bondage (05.19). In its most evolved sense, the vision of sameness focuses our heart’s love on our supremely compatible Lord, thereby insulating it from the illusions that bind us to this world.
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