"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."
(John Donne, Meditation XVII).
This famous quote from 17th author and poet John Donne is beloved by many. I agree entirely with Donne’s concept that we are each interconnected. However, I have been thinking about the island metaphor in a different way, which actually made me think of Donne’s quotation and ponder its relation to my thoughts. Here is how I’ve re-stated the island metaphor: We are each like an island in the ocean, appearing to be separate and self-contained. The ego perceives us to be separate, "entire of itself". Like this:
If you can’t see beneath the water, the islands appear to be separate.
But if you pulled the plug on the gigantic bathtub that is the ocean and drained the water out, you would see that each island is actually just a mountaintop, rising up from and connected by the ocean floor. Like this:
Without the water, we see that the islands are connected via the ocean floor.
The ocean disguises the fact that we are interconnected, just as everyday life fools us into thinking we are separate and alone.
In a meditation this week, another image came to mind, and that is the inversion of this image. OK, I know this image is based on an archaic notion that the spirit world (heaven) is above us, but I sometimes still cling to that image. Deal with it! I sometimes appeal to the angels or spirit guides of someone I am praying for or concerned about in my meditation, and I always think of going up to the spirit world to connect with the angels, and then down again to that human being’s soul. And it came to me that in this instance, the island image is inverted.
Whatever image works for you, the concept is the same: We are all connected.
Last Sunday, we discussed this concept at the Metaphysical Mystics Sunday School class at my church. Everyone there agreed that they have felt the connection at one point or another in their life. For some, it is in nature that we feel the interconnectedness of all life. For others, such as me, I comprehend it in meditation or prayer. We had a lively discussion that I’d like to re-create on The Everyday Mystic.
I invite you to comment on the idea of interconnectedness that I’ve proposed in this post. You might answer the following questions in your comments:
What is it that connects us? What do you call that - God, consciousness or the Zero Point Field?
How can we be more aware of our interconnectedness?
How does our awareness of interconnectedness affect our thoughts and actions?
Is God or Source the ocean floor for you, or is it the medium through which God communicates?