Several months ago we added the following quotation to the OneJourney Living Book:
There is only one great life. I can enter into the experience only if I have first come to unity in myself, only if I have come to be a whole.
— Jeanne De Salzmann (1889)
What a beautiful and helpful truth it conveys — that we are all part of a greater whole, and we can experience that wholeness, but first we must become unified within ourselves.
As many traditions teach us, we each have many “selves” within us that have developed over time: the caring self, the angry self, the ambitious self, the lazy self, and so on. As circumstances call out each self (we find a lost puppy; a coworker undermines us at work) we begin to act from that self and completely forget the other parts of us. So perhaps we’re overtaken by anger at our coworker, and do something cruel that doesn’t at all agree with the caring self. Later we see what we’ve done and blame our coworker for “making us” do what we did, and never realize that self was always lurking within us, waiting to come out. We acted as we did because when it did come out, we believed that was all we were, and forgot there were other parts of us that would not act that way.
Now, as Jeanne De Salzmann tells us, we can observe ourselves instead of identifying fully with each passing character as it is called up and thinking that’s all we are. That enables us to come in touch with a more unified self that lies beyond all those temporary states. We take a pause, we come to a more whole place within ourselves, and we can choose to take an action based on our deeper understanding rather than our initial angry response. This is the beginning of a more peaceful life. And as more individuals come into greater wholeness, they raise the level of the entire world.
I decided to see if I could find more quotations, from different traditions, that expressed this same idea, and this is what I found…
Whoever sees all beings in the soul and the soul in all beings…
What delusion or sorrow is there for one who sees unity?
It has filled all. It is radiant, incorporeal, invulnerable…
Wise, intelligent, encompassing, self-existent,
It organizes objects throughout eternity.
— Upanishads (800 B.C.E.)
Do not sit at home, do not go to the forest,
But recognize mind wherever you are.
When one abides in complete and perfect enlightenment,
Where is Samsara and where is Nirvana?
— Buddha (560 B.C.E.)
If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
— New Testament
That man by retiring from all externals and withdrawing into himself in the center of his own unity becometh most like unto God.
— Gregory Nazianzen (328)
Nothing is hidden from him who overcomes himself. Into the cause of causes shalt thou penetrate, and lifting, one after another, every veil of illusion, shalt reach at last the inmost Heart of Being. Thus becoming one with Life, thou shalt know all life, and, seeing into causes, and knowing realities, thou shalt be no more anxious about thyself, and others, and the world, but shalt see that all things that are, are engines of the Great Law.
— James Allen (1864)
More and more our sincere seeker realizes his need to do nothing except to be an aware person from moment to moment. In one flash of insight he banishes the awful compulsion to scheme, protect, avoid, revise, attack, grab, cling, retreat, resist, regret, worry, expect, struggle, insist, demand, crave, battle, blame, apologize, persuade, believe. The whole terrible burden is cleared away. In its place he has quiet awareness.
— Vernon Howard (1918)
More About Wholeness
For over thirty years, OneJourney founder Guy Finley has been teaching people how to find the wholeness we all seek. Read this inspirational poem:
Coming Into the Undivided Life
If you know the content of your own heart …
If you can be consciously aware of this condition …
Then you not only know the secret contents
Of the heart of everyone else you meet,
But you also know that there is no difference
Between you and all of these “others”
In the realization of this undivided life
You are given the Grace of knowing
That God is one … And that each one of us
Is a secret measure of His divine life.
Do you have a favorite quote from your own tradition that also speaks of becoming a more compassionate individual by becoming more whole within yourself? If so, please click here to submit it to the OneJourney Living Book so we can all learn from the wisdom you share.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project