I race sailboats. Can you believe it? A Midwest bookworm with hardly a competitive bone in her body goes out on Lake Michigan in rain, sun, wind, and no wind to tack and jibe around a few inflatable buoys practically every Saturday in the summer. Why (aside from the fact that it’s generally a lot cooler on the lake)?
There’s a feeling you get when the sails are trimmed right for the wind—that the boat and you are in harmony. The boat practically sails herself. She just “feels good” (which when you’re racing means that she feels fast). I like to trim the spinnaker downwind (that’s me on the right), because there’s another kind of “being one with” that happens then. After you learn all the signs to look for when trimming the “spinny” (e.g., Is the luff curling? Is the pole at the right height? Are the clews even? etc), you just feel what needs to be done and do it without having to think about it. You let your consciousness merge with the sail, and you don’t even have to analyze all those signs, your body just responds to what the sail needs. You become one with the spinnaker.
Why is it so easy, relatively speaking, to become one with inanimate objects like spinnakers and so difficult to become one with fellow human beings? Spinnakers don’t argue back, for one thing. The spinny doesn’t yell at me for pulling too hard on the sheet (the boat just goes slower). Kidding aside, we’ve been hearing for decades (centuries, if you read ancient spiritual texts) that we are all one. Why, then, is it so hard to be one with fellow humans?
Is it more difficult to let my consciousness fade away into another person’s consciousness than to let it fade into the spinnaker’s? Is it more threatening to my ego to merge with another person? What is the barrier? What fear must I conquer?
Is it that other people provide a challenge, even when not being intentionally challenging? When others challenge our views, their otherness becomes heightened. We are less able to stay present to our oneness (which is not sameness) when differences are emphasized. Indeed that is happening in the United States right now. The media insists on exaggerating differences, and that is causing our unitedness to weaken. (But I digress…)
If the unitedness of my body were to weaken, then my nervous system might stop speaking to my muscles, and consequently I would lose the ability to walk, talk, and (horrors) dance. That is what we are doing to the “human body” by focusing on our separateness rather than our oneness.
I envision a day when we (humans and nonhumans alike) are so present to our oneness, in the way that my own body is indeed one, that when there’s an itch the hand will scratch it. My body is so connected that when an itch happens, there’s an immediate response. When we as humans are in a state of separateness from one another, if the foot itches (i.e., when there’s turmoil somewhere in the world) the rest of us don’t know it. We don’t just “know” it the way my body “knows” when an itch or a pain happens.
Of course, that might be protective! It might be overwhelming to feel all the discomfort of all people, plants, animals, and minerals throughout the world. With all the wars, mining, drilling, underground nuclear testing, and so on, there’s a lot of itching going on! And we wouldn’t be able to ignore it as we currently do.
So how do we do it? How do we feel what needs to be done and just do it on a global level? How do we become one with each other in such a way that we know our connectedness the way my body and your body each knows its own connectedness? How do we become “a global body-mind-spirit”?