My first yoga guru, Jen E. Smith, sent me a CD with music to listen to when I practice yoga at home. I decided to paint to it. It contained a beautiful, haunting acoustic version by the Cowboy Junkies of the U2 song, “One.” I listened to it over and over again. I have always been captivated by the line in that song, “We’re one, but we’re not the same.”
On one level this song is talking about a relationship, but on a deeper level it seems really to be talking about the duality of our human existence. Science, religion and mysticism have all described the notion that while we experience our reality in this life as individuals, in truth, we are actually all connected. At the subatomic level, there does not appear to be a boundary or separation between me and the chair on which I am sitting. Everything is really one. Indeed, when people have strokes, near death experiences, meditate or use certain mind-altering substances, they sometimes report that the sense of self or separateness disappears and they feel at one with the Universe.
We’re one (everything is connected), but we’re not the same (we perceive ourselves as distinct individuals).
I believe, at least while we are here, alive on this planet, we are meant to learn certain lessons as individuals. But how much more peacefully and lovingly could those lessons be learned if we all truly incorporated the knowledge that we are all connected–that whatever happens to anyone truly happens to everyone.
I love the quote by Ram Dass, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Or as the lyricists of “One” said, “We get to carry each other.”
Because it seems to me, at some point along the journey of our individual lessons, we are intended to unite in a shared consciousness to transcend to another level. Can we do that if we don’t absorb into the canvas that is our reality that we are all in this together, that we’re all walking each other home, that we’re all carrying each other, that we may be different, but we are all one?
Listening to “One” and meditating on that lyric and on the archetypal meaning of the circle, I painted “Portal Fission.” As Carl Jung sets forth in “Man and His Symbols,” the circle is:
…the symbol of the Self. It expresses the totality of the psyche in all its aspects, including the relationship between man and the whole of nature…it always points to the single most vital aspect of life–its ultimate wholeness.
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Carl Jung, Man and his Symbols, p. 240 (citing Dr. M.L. von Franz).
To me, this painting represents the energetic explosion required to form a portal to another realm or another realm of consciousness. How can we as a people create the energetic vibrations necessary to open up that portal to the next level, to a kinder existence where we are at peace with our true nature as one?
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