As a child attending synagogue during the Jewish High Holidays, I’d yearly contemplate what to atone for; repenting my so-called transgressions, asking God for forgiveness so I could again be in its good graces. Looking back, those things weren’t overly serious, like hostility towards the people controlling my life, stealing from the candy store, lying to elders. As I matured, life became too serious, too hard to regularly reflect, especially not wanting to face the infinite number of acts and thoughts needing atonement.
Now in the prime of life, I visualize atonement more conceptually – as “at-one-ment.” To be at one with all that is, like the full moon, glittering from the awareness that humans and animals and earth are all at one with each other. And if you don’t believe me, look closely at the moon – it’s smiling.
Even oranges are at-one; at one with the sun: bright, circular, the same color of course. And the rays of the sun are like the spritz from an orange when you cut and peel it the wrong way. Oranges make me squint when I bite into them, like my eyes squint at the sun.
The earth orbits the sun, the moon orbits the earth, in cooperation with something greater than all three, with each other’s movement blending in and out of our lives so smoothly that we take them for granted. They have nothing to atone for; they know they are at-one.
Problem is us humans – we forget our at-one-ness. We detach from each other and ourselves, the scientific mind telling us that mind and body are not one. My mind is better than yours. For me to be special, you can’t be special. Us and them. Separation.
It seems only crisis wakes us to what is real, like people who have near death experiences returning with the knowledge that love is all that matters. Mind and body are separate, but not like science tell us. Mind and body hold our essence, an essence that continues beyond the body – learning, growing, still discovering at-one-ness, just somewhere else. Free to fly and dance and play and laugh, while the body returns to its roots in the earth. All to happen again sometime, somewhere. No memory lost; just changing in colors and experience and flowing with the moon and oranges in trust of the next step.
Now Covid-19, and the election cycle, remind us that our lives cross the borders of countries, the borders of color, the borders of hate. Crisis can bring us together, or not. An imperative time to reflect on “at-one-ment.” To accept that we are not alone, not different.
We are gifted another challenging human opportunity to experience being at one with all that is. To reflect, and to brave the oneness of all that is.
As Queen Amidala says in the movie “Star Wars,” May the force be with you!
© 2020 Roberta S. Kuriloff