Oneness is very simple: everything is included and allowed to live according to its true nature. This is part of life’s secret that is being revealed, an opportunity that is offered. How we make use of this opportunity depends upon the degree of our participation, how much we are prepared to free ourselves from the patterns of the past, our conditioned ways of thinking and acting, and allow ourselves to be a part of life recreating itself anew.
In these dying days of the present era we are being caught more and more in patterns of divisiveness, isolating ourselves in national, cultural, and social identities, witnessing racial inequality and injustice. And yet life is telling us another story, of an ecosystem being broken because we do not recognize its inherent wholeness, and how all our different races, customs, and creeds are a part of one living tapestry of humanity—a multi-racial global community.
To recognize the wholeness of life, and how each part belongs to this constantly evolving and changing unity, is a quality of perception we need to have in order to step into the future. This is a way of seeing we need for our journey to continue, as the inner world expressed to me years ago:
You do not see through separation but through togetherness. You do not see through something being different from you, but as an echo in you, resonating in you, being a part of you. Then you see the interrelationship of things, how they meet not how they are separate. You see the flow of life and not the isolated objects of life. You explore the similarities of things rather than their differences. For too long we have looked at the differences, at the separation, at the isolation, at the distances between things, and we have made that our world. If we see things in a different way we will see a different world. We will learn to see the closeness of things, the harmony of things, the dynamic patterns of interrelationship and how these connections all communicate with each other, how they sing together. How life flows into life and how it is all a part of a living whole.
If we remain within our conditioned way of seeing and thinking, in which we focus on the differences between things and people, life will fracture more and more, as we are already experiencing. As these fractures widen, this moment in time is so decisive, as the poet Yeats prophesized over a century ago:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
And yet nature is beginning to reveal to science some of her patterns of interconnection, as exhibited by the work of Suzanne Simard and her discovery of mycorrhizal fungi networks, networks in forests that connect the trees together and transfer water, carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients and minerals, as well as sending distress signals about drought and disease, for example, or insect attacks. Also how some trees are in protocooperation, interact with each other beneficially. Douglas Fir loves being around birch because it’s healthy. It doesn’t get infected. It’s enriched by the nutrients from the birch leaves. And birches harbor different bacteria that has antifungal properties, so they are antagonistic to the very diseases that are killing the Douglas Firs. Locally and globally nature is full of patterns of relationship that support its living wholeness, which we are only now beginning to rediscover. Indigenous Peoples lived in harmony with these patterns and helped to support them, for example, in their stories they already knew that these fungal networks were in the soil. They talked about the fungus in the soil and how it fed the trees and how the salmon fed the trees, and they would take the remains and the bones of the salmon from the rivers and put them beneath the trees to fertilize them with the nitrogen and nutrients from the salmon.
Unity is full of living patterns of cooperation and interdependence. Deep in rainforests of South America lives another fungus that consumes 50,000 leaves a day without ever coming to the surface. It relies on ants to bring it food in exchange for nutrients. The fungus is also directing and giving assignments to the ants somehow, using chemical communication. These are patterns inherent in all life, evolved over millions of years. It is time for us to step back into these evolving patterns, not in domination and control, but an interdependence that reaches deep into the inner worlds. On all levels there are many forms of communication, subtle signs known to our ancestors. There are also networks of sacred meaning linking the worlds, places where energy flows more easily and synchronicities happen. Places where songlines are born.
Sometimes dreams link the worlds, or visions show a different landscape to our outer eyes, places where the horses sing. Thinking only in terms of material well-being we miss these signs—our eyes are blind, our ears deaf, our hearts hard. Because we can no longer read the book of life we are stumbling into an unknown future, missing the signs of our belonging, of our homecoming. We have forgotten how the birth of consciousness was also the birth of soul awareness, of an inner world that spoke and sang, that gave us visions and meaning. The first artists who painted spirals on stone knew of this mystery, as did the storytellers and seers. Maybe it is time to recognize the land we have left, the magic abandoned, the wells that never ran dry.
Humanity has journeyed far from the Source, abandoned its Mother and learned to live in a world of machines. This was our choice or our destiny. Through our misuse of the gift of consciousness, in our journey of progress we became alienated from a world of sacred meaning. But now there is an opportunity to return, to learn again how to see and hear, to walk in a sacred manner. To feel the soul in all things. If we hold onto the old gods of materialism we will find ourself in an increasingly sterile land. We will think we are protecting ourselves when in fact we are starving in a land of plenty. And if we are to navigate the land of climate crisis we need to understand the shifts that are taking place, not just rising temperatures and rising seas, but the patterns within creation, how the Earth is evolving and responding.
Humanity was always a mediator between the worlds, between the inner world of the soul and the outer physical world of the senses. Until we forgot we walked in both worlds, expressed in ritual, prayer, and simple daily acts. We were together with the Earth. But when the Church Fathers decided that the Divine was only to be found in heaven, and banished earth magic and earth wisdom, we starved ourselves and the Earth Herself of a certain essential nourishment and meaning. Now we have to reconnect with both Her body and Her soul. We can no longer afford to be exiles from the land under our feet, blocked from the energy that comes from within. Life is dying and needs to be reconnected to the Source. Consciousness gives us the choice to make this connection and return to what is sacred, or to walk further and further into a dying land.
These patterns of interconnection are alive. Just as nutrients flow from the trees’ mycorrhizal networks, so does energy flow through the patterns of oneness that support life. They are not static but part of life’s constant change. And we are a part of them, linked in the inner and outer worlds. Love can flow through these connections, and also understanding, the knowing of how the Earth functions as a living system, and how She is changing. Also, at this time, between stories, there is more flexibility in these patterns than at other times. Our rational consciousness sees things as fixed rather than fluid, but this is just the limitation of our present thinking.
If we are able to step outside the experience of the world as a purely physical entity, separate and distinct from ourselves, and relate to it as a flow of energy that by its nature includes us, we will see life differently. Nature knows how life flows through so many forms, while particle physics asserts an image of matter as a dynamic energy field, a dancing flow of energy patterns that coalesce into physical form. If we can accept this image of matter we may be freed from a static, defined world in which only material objects have substance, and be drawn into a more fluid, dynamic, and inclusive relationship with life. This will allow us to participate more fully, free from the constrictions of past patterns.
These are all just hints, suggestions of how to be with the Earth in this time of change. I am trying to describe a different way to relate to the world around us that could enable us to be a part of the primal shift that belongs to this time. All that is certain is that we are entering a time of radical uncertainty that belongs to the end of an era, and that the Earth is changing in ways that our rational perception cannot recognize. We can see the destruction of the biosphere more easily than the new patterns that are forming. But “If we see in a different way we will see a different world.”
As the future becomes more uncertain and more fluid, authoritarian regimes and right-wing ideologies become more rigid and controlling. This can be seen as a reaction to the primal insecurity of the present, a world where “things fall apart.” Sadly it is often the loudest voice, creating repression and reaction, demanding stability through power and oppression. But just as the climate crisis cannot be halted through denial, these forces of control run counter to the deeper changes taking place. In the coming decades we will watch and suffer as these forces interact, see how accelerating change affects increasing rigidity and fixed ideas. The danger, as Yeats prophesized, is “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Societal collapse is a real possibility.
And yet another story is already present, mirrored in our dawning awareness of nature’s patterns of protocooperation, its supportive networks. This shift in consciousness is dawning around us, even if we appear to have missed the opportunity to bring it into our collective awareness. Stepping into this larger dimension of consciousness, which at the same time recognizes and values the unique significance of each part within the whole, brings us into a very different reality. We are present, interconnected with the whole at each moment. We know in our own individual story how our life changes when we are brought back into a sense of harmony within our self and our environment. The music in our life changes as we feel that we are in the right place, in the center of our life. Within this harmony healing can be given and the possibilities of life expand as we find our individual self more “in tune” with life. The same possibility is present, if hidden, within all of life. While the old “center cannot hold,” there is a new center present all around us, in the most ordinary things, in the patterns of connection, the love and care that support us, in the intimacy that is one of life’s most precious gifts. As I mentioned in a previous podcast, what is being born is not so much a form as a space in which everything can be true to its own nature and evolve together. This is the possibility being offered to us.
I am fortunate to live surrounded by nature where I can see these patterns every day—in the family of river otters tumbling over each other, the fruit trees whose spring beauty brings pollination and then bounty. A murmuration of starlings or a flight of wild geese high in the sky shows patterns forming and reforming, a living harmony. But we can also notice these in our simple human interactions, especially when love and care are present. We can see intimacy and laughter in parents and young children, the closeness that nurtures them, how friends support each other, or refugees being given a new home. This may appear to be the most ancient human story, present when we were small groups of hunter-gatherers needing the support of each other to survive. But if we look closely we can see a magic is present, a new ingredient being woven into the fabric of life. This magic tells another story than the troubles around us, one other than discord and divisiveness. It is a story we need to hear, to help to come alive.
 “Finding the Mother Tree, An Interview with Suzanne Simard,” Emergence Magazine.