Author: Larry Dansky
Enlightenment is when the wave realizes it is the ocean. – Thich Nhat Hanh
There is a story about a young couple who brought home their newborn from the hospital. They already had a two-year-old son, and as soon as the newborn was home, the two-year-old son asked to hold the smaller child. But when the infant was put into his arms, the boy specified that he wanted to be ALONE with the baby. Understandably, the parents were unsettled and didn’t think this was a good idea. Anyway, a few months went by and still the two-year-old insisted that he wanted to be alone with the baby. The parents put it off as long as they could, hoping that the older child would forget, but his demands just got more and more persistent. Finally, they agreed to leave the two very young children in a room alone for a few minutes. Standing just outside the room, as they listened through the door, they heard the two-year-old say to the newborn: “Tell me what God is like, cause I’m starting to forget.”
I believe that we are born in oneness with God and with the universe. There is no “other” in a newborn world, everything is one. Oneness has been described as unity between the two energies of self and the divine. It is a process where the two merge into one, and the perception of separation between self and the other is erased. In my mind, this is the state of being newborn. As we grow and age, we move away from God, and develop a sense of self, a self that is separate from the divine and from other beings. The two energies no longer merge into one but separate into two. It’s not that this in itself is bad, it’s part of our human existence and normal human development. At some point though, we hopefully awaken to the idea that we are never separated from the divine, and like the wave realizing it is the ocean, our divine and human energies can again merge into one. We can bend what is referred to as the “arc of oneness” back toward the divine.
I am fascinated with the analogy of a wave-ocean relationship and our human-divine relationship. Each wave is different from other waves, each wave has an influence on other waves, and no waves can be separated from the ocean. Sounds much like the interconnection between all persons, and the oneness each of us has with the divine. We can realize that our humanity cannot be separated from our divinity.
My experience has been more like a roller coaster than an arc. Sometimes I find myself moving toward the divine, and sometimes falling rapidly away. I have faith though that this ride will eventually bring me back to where I began. Like the newborn, I will again be in “oneness” with the divine. Maybe my last breath will look much like my first.
Holy one, help me to awaken to the divinity of all that is within and around me. Like the two-year-old in the story, I too want to remember what God is like.