As we enter fall and the following holiday season, it is an important inquiry to explore how we can live in this state of Oneness. We have been conditioned since the time of Adam and Eve to live in a world of duality: night and day, up and down, yang and yin, right and wrong, male and female and many other opposite phenomena. However, we innately know that we are all connected and come from the same ONE source.
That one source existed before the Universe was born when at its genesis all was ONE. Today we have splintered into many tribes based on race, religion, nationalities, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic differentials, and other isms. We are also hardwired in our capitalistic society to focus on “Numero Uno”; the me-me-me culture. In this divided and often intolerant world, how do we develop a sense of Oneness and live a more connected, evolved, happier and more meaningful life?
I too suffered from this perspective until much later in my life. It happened in an unexpected and unplanned encounter. Five years after the tragedy that took my son Tariq’s life in a random senseless gang initiation ritual, I went to visit Tony who shot and killed my son. I had from the onset saw that there were victims at both ends of the gun and the enemy was not the 14-year-old who killed my son but the societal peer pressure that forces many young men and women to fall through the crack and choose lives of crime, gangs, drugs, alcohol, and weapons. 9 months after Tariq died, I founded the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (www.tkf.org
) to essentially teach nonviolence, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and peacebuilding. I forgave my son’s killer and invited his grandfather and guardian to join me. TKF is in its 25th
year and successfully keeping young souls from a life of violence, crime, hatred, and division.
I recognized that for me to complete my journey of forgiveness that I eventually had to come eyeball-to-eyeball with Tony. That took me 5 years and many hours of meditation to foster enough courage to do so. What happened in that 1st hour and a half meeting 20 years ago is that – Tony and I locked eyes for what seemed like a long time. I was looking in his eyes for a murderer and I did not find one. Instead, I was able to climb through his eyes and touch his humanity and received the insight that at the soulular level he and I were ONE. I was not expecting this profound life-changing wisdom to see that Tony and I were indeed ONE.
This major insight and wisdom was a gift that I had not anticipated receiving in meeting my son’s murderer and yet I saw in him a changed person as the result of my forgiveness – an articulate, remorseful, well-mannered, likable young man (who after 24 years has finally been released and will join his grandfather and me, when he is ready, in the work of TKF). This feeling of Oneness was deep, palpable and transforming in how I have since looked at the world and the people I encounter and interact with.
One of my favorite Rumi quotes:
“The children of Adam and Eve are like the fingers of one hand. When you cause harm to one finger and do not see that you are harming the other fingers you do not deserve to be called human.”
Seeing that Tony and I were One has made me a very different person in how I view life since that profound wisdom. I was born in Africa, educated in England, come from Eastern roots and have lived more than half of my life in America. I have close friends of all races, religions, nationalities, genders, and different sexual and other orientations. I do not now look and interact with them with these distinctions. Rather I see them at the soul level where we are indeed ONE.
In my book “The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit – how to bounce back from life’s hardest hits”
there is a chapter titled “Realize with Real Eyes” which I wrote inspired by my meeting with Tony. Sometimes there is way too much judgment in our eyes as colored by the conditioning of our ancestry and history. However, our “real eyes” are buried deep within us that can see that innately we are all interconnected and come from the ONE source.
So, the real impediment to living in Oneness is our well-developed habit of judging. We regularly judge based on the “isms” we discussed earlier. Habits are hard to change for all of us, including yours truly, but what transformed me was that first meeting with Tony where I distinctly saw the Oneness in both of us. I love Henry David Thoreau’s wisdom “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Here is some inspiration for your journey towards Oneness: Once you do get the perspective that all life is interconnected, that our destiny is tied, and when we can see that the other person’s welfare and safety guarantees ours, we can develop a Oneness perspective.
Albert Einstein says it a lot better:
“A person experiences life as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion, to find the reality of Oneness.”
This understanding of Oneness is a habit and attribute worth developing. When you can live as One with the world it will truly transform your experience and maybe the experience of all those you love and care for. Finally, a passion close to my heart to create peace in the world through the practice of forgiveness let me end with the wisdom of His Holiness:
“If there is a greater sense of Oneness in the world then violence and killing will end.” – Dalai Lama
Peace and many blessings,