skeleton flowers

 

By Sherrin Fitzer

A Buddhist walks up to a hot dog stand and says, “Make me one with everything.”

When I was 15 and working at Dunkin’ Donuts I remember a customer who had a Herman Hesse book with him; I believe it was The Glass Bead Game. I cannot say that I remember many, if any, of my customers. This man stood out because of the amazing ideas he shared with me.

He said he was a member of the Rainbow Tribe. This group began having Rainbow Gatherings in 1972 which were an alternative to mainstream popular culture. I have never been to a gathering, but have many friends who have. He talked a long time and during this conversation was my first exposure to the concept of all of us being one—of separation being an illusion.

I can remember wanting to feel this feeling so badly.  It was probably then that I bought my first meditation book, How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShawn, which I still have today. I tried meditating and like many people gave up, because I believed I could not do it as I could not stop my thoughts.

I do believe that may have been the beginning of my spiritual journey.

I became sidetracked for a while by alcohol and drugs and then the intellectualism of college and grad school.

I have come back to my spiritual path, and still I long for this experience of oneness. I believe in it intellectually, but rarely feel it in my gut.

The Canadian Spiritual Society describes it as “I am in you and you are in me. There is no separation when you transcend ego. How can you be different from others? Every human body is made of same atoms or molecules & non-physical part is soul or spirit or consciousness, which is same in others as well. Can I be different from others? Not at all.”

As I mull this over I realize that there may be a few times when I have gotten close to this experience and they usually happen in the dark.

I have felt connected and part of something bigger than me at film festivals, theatre performance and live concerts. In the dark, with a room full of people all listening, watching, and experiencing the same thing.

As I watched the film Departures at the Roger Ebert Film Festival, I looked to the right and left of me and saw tears streaming down the faces of my neighbors as tears also streamed down my face. When the film ended we were all simultaneously on our feet applauding and wiping our tears. Being an avid theatre-goer I have had this happen while watching plays as well.

At concerts is where I feel the oneness most viscerally. There is something about the live music and everyone in the audience’s delight and passion. The joy fills me and I look around and know that we are all the same; we are all experiencing that joy. I am filled with love for the people who surround me.

It is a beautiful feeling.

As with meditation I suspect that letting go of expectations would be prudent with this desire for feeling one with everything.

I will meditate; practice acceptance, and be grateful when the feeling of oneness shows up.

 

Photo: instillness/tumblr

Editor: Dana Gornall

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Sherrin Fitzer

Sherrin Fitzer works at a large women’s prison in the Midwest (a place she never would have expected to be, yet it is exactly where she is supposed to be). She has been involved in teaching incarcerated prisoners since 1991. In addition to helping incarcerated women with their children, she facilitates a theatre troupe and meditation classes. She believes in the importance of the arts in prisons and tries to implement this as much as possible. Sophia—seen in the picture—is often her editor and generally a quite harsh one.
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