"If the deepest ground of my being is love, then in that very love itself and nowhere else will I find myself, and the world, and my brother... and Christ. It is not a question of either / or but of all-in-one. It is a matter of wholeness, wholeheartedness, and unity."
-- Thomas Merton
The path to wholeness, to Oneness, is the path of remembering the truth: we have forgotten who we are (and then project our emptiness upon any / every other who does anything at all to disrupt our comfortable un-comfortableness). To be an "other" is to be unwanted by someone / anyone. That nearly every single group of people has, at one time or another, experienced "otherness" is always forgotten when that group is "accepted": which usually just means that still another group has become the new focal point of social attention. In the United States, to be black, Mexican, undocumented immigrant, Muslim, or feminist, and now in a slightly diminishing way, LGBT, is to face the brutal set-jaw of prejudice, ridicule, and oppression. Every country has their "others" who are likewise marginalized and despised...
And yet our deepest human reality is the hunger for love, for acceptance, for our "place", and for the bliss of finding our "home": this reality is universal. Every Muslim wants it. Every Jew wants it. Every Christian wants it. Every Hindu wants it. Every atheist wants it. Every gay wants it. Every single one wants it! You want it! I want it! No one escapes this deep, true, wanting... The One Divine Spirit or Consciousness -- called by the many peoples of the Earth by different Holy Names -- the One who should be worshipped by the practice of Mercy, Justice, Compassion, and Beauty by All of the Faithful (believers and unbelievers alike) is EXACTLY like us (we are, after all, made in Her Divine Image): the One hungers for love, for acceptance, for Her "place" in our reality, and for the bliss of finding Her "home" in our reflective consciousness... And so the Circle of Life is meant to be...
Since there is no "they", why are we wallowing in the crud of injustice, oppression, greed, and violence? Since there is no "they", how can any of us pull a trigger and watch OUR VERY SELF DIE? Now that is a question to ask of everyone, isn't it? Since there is no "they", how can any of us consider the so-called "free market" free when it so obviously profits from OUR PAIN? Since there is no "they", how can any suffer hunger, homelessness, abandonment or marginalization: since WE ARE HUNGRY, HOMELESS, and MARGINALIZED too? Since there is no "they", we always have the option of loving ourselves enough to love everyone else: and so practice our deepest humanity, beauty, and religion, too... Since there is no "they", we can, finally, build the Earth to offer safe Shelter to a lonely, hungry and hurting, God: waiting, waiting, waiting for our hardened hearts to break open enough to let the selfishness residing there to leak out: and then to be replaced by an endlessly expansive graciousness and kindness: gratitude and beauty without end: Only One is but the beginning...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.