I wrote last week about the how the spiritual needs of a person are not the needs of any one part of a person, but those that concern ‘I myself’.

This sense of enlargement of being and connection are perhaps best captured by the piece I wrote when I joined St James some six years ago that is on display in the school entrance hall and which many visitors remark upon. I repeat it here:

We begin by seeing the unity of life. Even though this great force of life manifests itself in millions of forms and that diversity of manifestation is glorious, beyond these manifestations we need to realise that life is One.

One body has many parts and limbs: legs, head, hair and so on, but beyond all these parts there is one whole human body. In the same way we have blacks, whites, browns, Indians, Chinese, Africans, Americans, Europeans; we have Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, but beyond all these diverse manifestations there is one humanity. Similarly, we have humans, animals, birds, fish, forests, mountains, ocean, but beyond that there is one life.

The moment we recognise this unity of life, totally interconnected and interdependent, our burden is lifted. We see the world, not in fragments, but as an integrated whole. 

Fragmentation and separation lead to materialism. The moment we say this is my country, separated from yours, it is my religion, separate from yours, this is my body, separate from yours, we begin to focus on superficial appearances, and we become possessive and exclusive. This leads to division and conflict. I call it materialism because we are focusing on the material manifestation. I believe that our planet is part of a sacred Universe and we are all part of a sacred unity - Oneness.