Unity. The myth of the cave and Paul Fleischman, M.D. on diversity as a unifying force.

I was listening to a Ted Talk this weekend and the speaker, an animal activist and a photographer of wildlife told a story. The amazing thing for me was that I knew this story from when I was a  Campfire Girl, maybe 9 years old. I wondered, as I listened to him, if this story was where my lifelong commitment to oneness, to making space for all creatures began ?

It goes like this: It is said that in the days past, all the animals would come together in the great cave and remove their skin. The elephants, tree frogs, lions, and monkeys all gathered deep in the earth. They would remove their fur, their scales, their hides and come together to become the same. When they saw their oneness the dance would begin. They would dance with much joy and happiness.

 It is said that one day a human made it to the cave, when he saw what the animals were doing he laughed at their foolishness.

 The animals became very embarrassed, felt great shame and ran away, never to return to the cave of unity again.

Beneath our skin all creatures are one, perhaps this is be why the first moral precepts of any spiritual tradition is ahimsa non-harming. Our human tendency to laugh at what we don’t understand, at what we fear, to scorn and dismiss relationships that which appears to threaten our ability to be more than, to dominate, or to pursue our personal dreams.

In reality though, Our community thrives because of its diversity and our planet does the same. Our individuality thrives when we can embrace our oneness.

Mysore, 2016

Mysore, 2016

 

Let’s take time to remember our sameness so we can make space for diversity.

Fertility happens in the realm of diversity. We all know about the shortsightedness of monocultures. Fields flourish when there is complexity of varied plant life, the same is true of the earth with its species and our communities as well.

One of My favorite books on Vipassana meditation is call Karma and Chaos by Paul R. Fleischman, M.D. he reminds us:

"If there is too much of one thing there is rigidity, dogma, and an imposed order that lies in the realm of dictators and religion. Too much chaos is the place of hurricanes and floods. But at the meeting place where these two worlds meet lies fertility, thriving life, possibility, like young children studying new subjects full of wonder and possibility."

 

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