We don’t want to admit it, but we’re all connected.
We’re raised to believe we’re different, for better or for worse, and separate.
Some of us have more money, a better education, speak a different language, or are blessed with good looks, and somehow feel this elevates us above others.
We feel we are different due to language, ethnic origin, the country we live in, even what we call the God we believe in. And somehow, people who believe different things, or look or sound different than us, are less human, less deserving.
We all have the same basic needs: air, water, food, love. We grieve, we cry, we bleed red. We feel the sun on our faces. We are blessed with different talents, unique personalities, but the blueprint is the same. Heart, lungs, eyes, ears.
We all came from the same source, and we’re going back to it. It doesn’t matter what you call it. That’s right, we all have a date of birth, and we all die. And death is the ultimate equalizer.
But that leaves the time between birth and death to live with one another, and this is where we forget where we came from and where we’re going.
And we’re going there for a long time. It’s called an afterlife.
I’m not talking about a heaven or hell. Is there a place our energy, us without a body, goes when we die? I don’t know. But suffice to say it goes somewhere, probably a plane, a spirit world of sorts.
Science is on my side with this one. According to Albert Einstein in the first law of thermodynamics, aka the Law of Conservation of Energy, “energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transferred or changed.”
This law makes us infinite.
What’s in a name?
And the separation continues in the name of God, or however you choose to refer to a God. Religious institutions and even our families teach us that what we call God makes not only people different but God different. They attribute characteristics, things that please or displease and incur wrath.
My God is better than your God.
The term I like and use is Infinite Spirit. It is more generic or “New Agey,” BUT inclusive. The feeling of the word “infinite” means just that, and it includes everyone and everything.
It’s kind of a you and me together feeling.
Infinite has no boundaries. It is defined as having no beginning and no end, limitless, endless or incalculable. It is not only timeless but expansive, with no barriers.
It is difficult to envision, but in our quest for knowledge, humankind has attempted to represent it physically.
Enter the infinity symbol.
The concept of infinity was first represented mathematically as a sideways eight. Leave it to a mathematician to try and explain creation. Then again, scientists have done a lot to explain the nature of the universe. John Wallis (1655), an English clergyman and mathematician, was partially credited for “infinitesimal calculus.”
But its origins go even further back.
The Egyptians called this symbol the Ouroboros (Euro-borus), a snake twisted into a figure eight biting its tail. From there, the symbol entered the western world by way of Greek magical tradition. The Gnostics, an early Christian sect labeled heretical, then adopted it, followed by the Hermetics, another Gnostic tradition.
The Ouroboros (Euro-borus) is also used in Kundalini Yoga. It roughly means “eat tail.” According to the medieval Yoga-kundalini Upanishad:
“The divine power, Kundalini, shines like the stem of a young lotus; like a snake, coiled round upon herself she holds her tail in her mouth and lies resting half asleep at the base of the body.”
She is “a snake who sheds her skin through sloughing as a symbol of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.” The snake biting its tail has the ability to shed its skin and emerge as the same creature in a newer and better form.
Rebirth, transformation. Here we come closer to an understanding of the meaning of “Infinite” as it applies to us: newer/better but still us! And in the afterlife, a completely different form, or lack of as we are pure energy.
The Aitareya Brahmana,(Ay tear ee a’ Brahmana) is an ancient Indian collection of sacred hymns written in the early first millennium BCE composed in Vedic (Vee-dic) Sanskrit. The nature of the Vedic rituals is also compared to “a snake biting its tail.”
Finally, the snake refers to “samsara,” the cycle of continuous change and birth and rebirth, something without beginning or end.
And is our birth the birth into the physical and our rebirth a return to the afterlife? The joining of the two ends of a figure eight or the snake biting its tail? After all, the symbol is not infinite until it is complete. Our birth is the beginning and our physical death the end, the two ends tied together at the end of a cycle.
This explanation comes closest to my understanding of infinity.
Infinity is a continuous cycle where our form changes, but the energy (personality of a person) does not. Rather than one long, unbroken, unchanging, timeline, our form changes throughout its existence. It is infinite encompassing change. Our physical bodies die, we go to the afterlife, and we live again as spirit.
The only difference is between the living and the dead, as George Harrison put it is, “the dead don’t breathe.” The dead don’t take up physical space.
Death is like shedding the skin and reemerging in a different form.
What’s the Point?
The point is, we can’t just believe or say we are equal, we’ve got to walk the talk. Speak up when someone discriminates or acts hatefully.
It’s easy to speak the words, but words themselves don’t count for much.
It takes bravery and courage.
It means working through vulnerability and taking action. It’s frightening, and being vulnerable is often seen as weakness, but it’s not. Being vulnerable means letting go of judgment and preconceived ideas and opening ourselves up to possibility. It’s allowing the unknown to unfold. It’s putting yourself out there, maybe shaking like a leaf, but doing it anyway.
It takes courage not to bow to the majority, not to go along with the crowd, to be unpopular. It can be downright scary in a social situation to say, “Hey, don’t talk like that or don’t treat people that way.”
A kid who stands up to a bully at school is brave and risks getting a beating. Or worse.
A parent who turns in their child when they discover guns in his or her possession is brave.
You can be an ordinary person and still be brave.
Miep Gies (The Diary of Anne Frank) hid Anne and her family from the Nazis during World War II. She is an excellent example of an ordinary person who displayed great courage.
“I was no one in particular,” she said, “just an ordinary housewife. But even an ordinary housewife can be brave.”
In 1987, Gies published a memoir. She said:
“I am not a hero. I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did and more–much more–during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bore witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then.”
Brene Brown talks about vulnerability and courage in “The Call to Courage.” To paraphrase she says, “Being courageous is hard, scary and dangerous, but not as hard, scary and dangerous as getting to the end of our lives and asking, “What if I had shown up?”
In closing, take the opportunity to be brave, so that in the future, you are not left wondering what if.
And yes, I need to do the same.
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