A sense of oneness encourages you to optimize and expand your contribution as an individual. It isn’t enough to just get by in life. If you perform well below your capacity, you’re denying responsibility for your role in the larger body. You’re withholding value both from yourself and others.
When I (Steve Pavlina) decided to retire from the field of computer-game development, I’d been devoting much of my spare time to helping independent game developers, especially those who were trying to finish and release their first game. I provide free how-to articles, hosted a popular online discussion forum, and shared lots of free advice. However, once I committed to a career change, I stopped providing that level of help to game developers and transitioned to my new career as gracefully as possible. While some people were upset by this move, I considered it a fair decision because I believed I could make a more positive contribution to the greater good through the field of personal development. I didn’t regret the choice at all.
The value of fairness also arises naturally from oneness. Fairness means that we learn to treat each other in ways that honor our individual well-being as well as the greater good. In practice, this means helping others align themselves with truth, love, and power.
Fairness isn’t the same equality. The cells in any given body can be considered equal only in the sense that they’re all equally part of the same whole. However, in form and function, those cells are decidedly not equal. The cells in your body specialize for the good of the whole, becoming blood cells, brain cells, skin cells, and so on. Similarly, as human beings it isn’t in our best interests to enforce equality except at the basic level of equal human rights. Our strengths lie in our difference, so it’s important for each of us to explore those differences and develop them into talents. This development can still be considered fair, even though it isn’t equal.
When we resonate with oneness, lying becomes anathema to us because dishonesty creates distance and disconnection. Honest communication comes naturally to us when we recognize that we’re inherently connected. Lying to others is no different from lying to ourselves.
Imagine what would happen if the cells of your body started lying to each other—or merely withholding the truth. Suppose some of your white blood cells signal that everything is okay, but in reality they’re losing ground to a spreading infection. Perhaps they justify it by claiming they didn’t want to worry anyone. Do such actions serve the greater good of the body?
The experience of oneness is the key to expression compassion and kindness. In this state of being, you feel a natural affinity for everyone else. Loving actions don’t require willpower or effort when you recognize that everyone is you. You don’t have to remind yourself to treat your neighbor as yourself. You know that your neighbor and you are one, so behaving in accordance with this principle is effortless.
One morning while I (Steve Pavlina) was out for a walk, I saw a homeless man sifting through trash cans in an outdoor shopping center. None of the stores were open yet, so he and I were the only people in the area. Prior to my experience of oneness, I would have passed him by without making eye contact. But this time I knew in my heart that he wasn’t separate from me. He was me. I didn’t have to convince myself of this—I felt it with a deep sense of inner knowing. Without hesitation I walked up to the man, smiled at him, gave him some money, and told him I wished him well. He looked at me with gratitude and thanked me. I didn’t connect with him because I thought it would make me feel good. I did it because when I’m in the state of oneness, compassion is my natural way of connecting with the world.
Oneness creates an empathic connection between you and everyone else. You realize you’re not an island unto yourself, and you begin to see that invisible threads connect you to others. In some ways the realization of oneness is a blessing, while in other ways it’s a curse. It’s a blessing to realize we’re all inherently connected. It’s a curse to notice that many people still live without this awareness.
Because oneness empathically connects you to others, it invited feelings of deep joy as well as deep sorrow. When you accept its pleasure, you also accept its pain. As Kahlil Gibran wrote in The Prophet:
Now that we’ve explored the three primary principles of truth, love, and power, it’s time to address the secondary principles of oneness, authority, and courage. These secondary principles are derived from the pairings of the first three. Oneness is truth plus love. Authority is truth plus power. And courage is love plus power. These secondary principles will help deepen your understanding of conscious living. The three-part combination of truth, love, and power is intelligence.
Oneness is the principle that results from combining truth and love. Whereas love is the ability to connect by choice, oneness is the recognition that being connected is your natural state. Love is choosing to connect. Oneness is knowing you’re already connected. Oneness has no specific target; it’s an omnidirectional feeling of connection to everyone and everything at the same time. Oneness is pure unconditional love.
Self-discipline is another one of those dirty words. We’re told to take it easy. Go with the flow. Don’t sweat it. The myth of fast and easy pervades modern society. This may convince you to buy a lot of junk you don’t need, but it isn’t an effective way to run your life if fulfillment and success matter to you.
Even when you’re highly motivated to work on goals that truly inspire you, there will be times where your motivation wanes, and you have to tap into your willpower to keep going. Self-discipline is the willingness to do what it takes to achieve the results you want regardless of your mood. When you’re feeling unmotivated, apathetic, bored, or lazy, self-discipline provides you second wind and keeps you moving. It’s your fail-safe, your motivational backup system.
If you want to turn your desires into reality, at some point you must take action. When you set goals that truly inspire you, you’ll feel naturally motivated to take action. You’ll work hard, but it won’t seem like hard work because you’ll be so inspired. For the most part, you’ll just be doing what you love to do.
What about the Law of Attraction? Can’t you just sit on your butt all day and manifest what you want through the power of intention? That would be a gross misunderstanding of how the Law of Attraction works. When you focus single-mindedly on what you want, you’ll begin to notice new resources appearing in your life. If you don’t take action, however, those resources will dry up, and you’ll be no closer to your goals.