Good morning, everyone. Yesterday, there was a program that we have had going at Ananda Seva for some time, but it took a fresh approach. The topic was neohumanism, and neohumanism in everyday life. At the end of the program, a community member asked a very provocative question: how do you talk about neohumanism with someone who has not had a deep experience of the unitary consciousness that underlies it all?

We probably could have spent an hour and a half on that question by itself, but I thought I would take a few minutes to bring this question into further understanding for myself and others.

My mind brought me back to my junior high school and high school where things, academically, seemed to sort things out. You were either a math and science person, a history or English person, and then there were some gifted people who were equally wonderful at both [areas of study]. Most of us mere mortals went along one path or another. For those who know me, of course I went in the math and science direction. And I continued on that path through college, until I saw myself staring down the barrel of organic chemistry. I had to choose between sit-in’s and free love, and organic chemistry. Organic chemistry lost. 


Be that as it may, that was only one nail in the coffin. It wasn’t the final nail. When I was a senior in college, my brother went off and became a freshman. Now, my brother was a very social guy, he had a great high school career (probably unlike myself!) He continues on to college, and now he is [feeling] like ‘mister nothing.’ He had bouts of depression, uncertainty, anxiety as well, and it turned out that every time he went through these moments, I called him. I knew that something was up with my brother, and that he needed someone to reach out to him, and so I would call him.


That happened throughout most of the year, until I realized that there was something that connected us that was not observable. Here is this science person that now must face the reality that there is an unobservable truth, or that there are some truths that are knowable and not observable.


What to do? Well, now it seems to me that the real questions that needed to be answered had to do with the non-material world, and it was only the eastern mystics that were speaking to that reality. I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since. I am going on 50 years now with the same question, though I’ve picked up a few things along the way that may be useful.


First, we must forgive ourselves. We have spent our formative years, from birth to our 20s, in growth and change of our emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental well-beings, along with learning to be with the dualities of it all. For example, ‘you can cross the street now because there are no cars coming, and you cannot cross the street now because there are cars coming’ or ‘this food is poison, this food is good…’ all of the realities that are in duality have to be learned in order for us to learn our way. At the end of it all, we find out that it is not the whole picture.


But, there are glimpses, and we have the opportunity to spend the rest of our lives trying to find the unitary consciousness that, I would say, lives in the world of glimpses. Where a glimpse is a sliver of understanding. I suggest that the way you get around this problem of duality requiring so much of our attention that the unitary consciousness being where we need to be spending our attention, you can use these glimpses as a jumping off point.


I am sure that most of you can actually give me some of the ways in which you glimpse the unitary consciousness. The experience of empathy with my brother was probably my first glimpse, where I came to understand not only that I had an empathic reaction to my brother that was not observable, but if you multiplied that empathetic reaction with all the people and living beings in the world, that eventually gets you to the unitary consciousness. It is a little bit like a couple degrees of freedom away from where you would know everyone in the world, like you are a “couple degrees away from the unitary consciousness.” That “when you experience this empathy, whether the person is in front of you or not, you are connecting to that unitary consciousness.” What I not suggest is that you take that moment, and you live in it, take a deep dive and stay with it, because now you get to know and [acquaint] yourself with that Cosmic Force.


There are other ways, too. Gratitutde is the biggest and easiest kind of training route. Recently, I’ve been laid up with a painful surgery, and Madhuliika created a meal train Many of the people in Dharmachakra have, in their selfless service, provided me with some help, such as making meals, taking my dog for a walk, or driving me places. During this time, I had an experience with a medication that prohibited me from this gratitude, and instead made me have aggressive thoughts. I thought “I’m not going to take that medication again! It’s going to prevent me from getting to a gratitude space!” One we combine the selfless service of these people who help and my gratitude, we have a nice platform for us to really get to know that unitary space. Gratitude is a big one, and must living within this one. Even when you are just glimpsing it, spend some time with is.


Another one is relief. Relief is one where, maybe you have had a great struggle trying to figure something out, and when you get it, you go “ahhhh, yeah,, right, now I see!” That sense of relief where you’ve struggled hard with something and then you get it, you probably called in the support of the universe, and you’ve now tapped into the unitary consciousness that brought you to the unitary relief.


Another that has gotten a lot of purchase recently is curiosity. I see people using this one a lot because we have spent time being with the benefit of a non-judgmental space. When you are listening, or being with someone in a nonjudgmental space and really listening, your attitude is that of curiosity. You have now emptied yourself out, you no longer have your own ego in the way, and you’re just focusing your attention on what it is that you might be able to learn, or contribute. You are [essentially] getting yourself out of the way, with curiosity.


A cousin to curiosity is humility. This one is very tricky, because it is easy to go with humility and have that be connected to ego. Remember the suitcase full of reasons that you’re “not okay” that you sometimes take out of the closet? The one you hope to keep in the closet? That suitcase can be easy to get mixed up with humility. “Oh yeah, I can be humble, because I am not a good person to begin with.” No, no… that is going down a rabbit hole that we don’t need to go down. Humility is the stance that we take when we are in curiosity, because we are in the place of not knowing. You are truly open and you don’t know. And being in that place where you are open has the possibility to connect you to the Unitary Consciousness.


Also, in that place of being so open, wonder lives there. And that is where you find yourself just overwhelmed by the beauty of the universe, by the order of the universe, by the help you have received. “How did that ever happen?” Those things are in the bucket of wonder, and you want to spend some time there when you happen on to that.


Teamwork, you can get there. Remember, when you are part of a team, you are now part of something greater than yourself. You are no longer by yourself, you are a part of the greater whole. And that is what you come to know when you connect to the Consciousness.


And the biggest one, of course, is love.


This one can crop up all the time, whether it is love for your family, love for your children, love for your friends, love for the team that you have accomplished some great triumph, love that just shows up for no reason as you walk on [this] beautiful planet… this one does not require so much explanation.


And I would really like, if anyone has other ways that you glimpse the universe, to hear about your experiences.


This article was transcribed from a talk by Acharya Ammadevi given in March 2021. Transcription by Rene Tricou, editing by Michele Renee.


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