Yoga tells us “we are all one”. That sounds like New Age nonsense, right?
When people travel into space, they take a mini-world with them. The spacecraft has air, water, food, and a means of dealing with organic waste. Several people go together, and each generally keeps up contact with significant others at home.
I write this sitting on a polyurethane sofa, next to a wooden sideboard, with a wool carpet underfoot. My plastic and electronic TV is on. All of these – apart from metals – was once part of a living creature. When I eat here, I’m a living creature, eating recently living creatures/plants, surrounded by the (sometimes heavily processed) remains of other living creatures.
Looking at it this way, I am not really different from everything else in my sitting room, or from anything in any environment I live in. Even in a space, it’s not just some people that go – it’s a small deputation from the entire planet Earth.
You can’t separate a human being from the Earth environment. You can’t separate away any part of the Earth environment. It all comes as once package; we really are all one.
Of course, we are all separate as well. We have individual identities. All creatures have social patterns to integrate themselves when they need to. Plants have individual characteristics, and symbiotic relationships exist between animals and plants at every level – we call it a “food chain”, but it’s much richer and more dynamic than that. At the same time, all is one and all is separate.
Yoga embraces this paradox. My current understanding is that this is the heart of the practice, recognising that there is an object of meditation as well as a meditator (dharana and dhyana).
Yoga teaches that our senses have limitations. We can only see and hear a narrow band of light and sound frequencies. Touch, taste and smell can’t experience absolutely everything – eg water has no taste or smell. What we can experience is coloured by emotions; some sounds remind us of good times, some scenes remind us of bad times. We can’t experience the world as it really is; we conceptualise based on partial sense information and previous experiences.
This is where the paradox resolves. The practice leads to a realisation that the limitations of our viewpoint actually define the boundaries between oneself and the world at large. Yes, I am separate, but only because I always thought so. When the boundaries dissolve, a union emerges – this is literally the definition of Yoga. Dharana and dhyana resolve into samadhi.
It’s interesting to muse that Man never went into space; that Man in fact takes a whole mini-world up there. It seems crazy to “take the world” into space – because the world already is in space :-/ Maybe this is why there is no contact with extra-terrestrials. Perhaps they’ve realised that everything they need is right there, at their home, already.