How do you describe yourself? Male or female? Married or single? An accountant or architect? With each label you place on yourself, you create distance between you and everyone else on the planet. Here is a way to understand who you are and retain the connection of your true self with others.

The Separation Myth

Much has been written about the feeling that we have that we are somehow separate and distinct from each other, when we all came from the same stardust. The more attributes we take on, the more we feel unique from one another. This is a difficult cycle to break.

As we take on more attributes, we tend to limit our circle of people to those with the same attributes:

  • If you’re female, you may feel drawn to women’s groups and organizations.
  • If you’re Irish, you may prefer to hang out with your fellow Irishmen.
  • If you’re a doctor, all of your tennis partners may be physicians.

One challenge in your path to enlightenment is to see yourself as a distinct individual, yet connected with everyone else on the same level.

Describing Versions of the Oneness

One explanation of your existence is that you are an extension of the Oneness which incorporates all that is. You are a special extension of that Oneness with attributes that make you a unique expression of stardust. When you adopt this mindset you can walk through a crowded mall with a different perspective as you watch people:

  • There is a version of the Oneness with red hair.
  • There is a version of the Oneness that is tall, thin and female.
  • There is a version of the Oneness with a disease that keeps them in a wheelchair.
  • Here I am, a version of the Oneness with [fill in the blank].

Like wearing a vest, sweater, jacket, scarf, cap and gloves on a cold day, the attributes of the Oneness are layers of unique traits to create an individual. Underneath all of those layers, we are all the same.

Detach From Your Attributes and Reconnect With People

Like removing those layers of clothing when back inside of your warm house, you can detach yourself from those attributes that contribute to your sense of separation. Repeat the following exercise in a quiet meditation place until it becomes natural for you to do. Then you can try it while walking through a crowded mall for a refreshing feeling of connection with others.

  1. Sit in your meditation place and take a few deep breathes to relax.
  2. Visualize an image of yourself as you look right now. If that is difficult, use a mirror during this meditation.
  3. Start at the top of your head and work down to your feet, taking off each attribute like piece of clothing.
  4. At each point, think or say the following as appropriate for the part of you from which you are detaching:
    • “My [fill in the blank] is my current expression of the Oneness. It is part of me but is not me.”
    • For example:
    • “My red hair is my current expression of the Oneness. It is part of me but is not me.”
    • “My femaleness is my current expression of the Oneness. It is part of me but is not me.”
    • “My role as an elementary school teacher is my current expression of the Oneness. It is part of me but is not me.”
  5. When you get to the end and have no more attributes from which to detach, say or think:
    • “I am stardust just like everyone else on the planet.”

The first few times you do this exercise will take awhile as you remind yourself of all the attributes you use to think of yourself as separate from others. As you develop an awareness of all of your layers, you can abbreviate the exercise when stuck in traffic or shoulder to shoulder in a mall by saying:

“All of my physical and acquired attributes are my current expression of the Oneness. They are part of me but do not define me for I am stardust like everyone else.”