All – One!

Apr 04

January 31st, 2024

All – One!

This is one of my ‘dream capsule’ offerings from the month of January. If you would like to be part of these more intimate mailed offerings, let me know.

Dear friends. While sweeping the floor this morning, a formative memory came back to me from my days as a young wanderer – rewind to Pune, India, 2002.

I am sleeping on a rooftop a few blocks from the Ashram-resort of a notorious guru, who had died some years earlier. During the day I take classes like sufi whirling or Reichian breathwork, & eventually I start working there, transcribing taped talks by the troublemaker guru, in which there are jokes and long stretches of silence. I am in 26-year-old traveler heaven.

I’d lost my rented room in an apartment building, so the young landlord let me sleep on his concrete roof. A small mattress, a mosquito net, and a patch of wall I painted lavender. Some days I would dance up there by myself, practice juggling, or stare down at the scenes below. Sometimes it was the graveyard, which was very eerie, and sometimes it was the neighborhood “crazy guy,” who was unnervingly smart. Sometimes I smoked an unfiltered bidi (tobacco leaf tied with string) and felt like I was going to pass out.

But one day something happened while I was up there, and it burned a hole in the fabric of my life. What happened was this: I was gazing down one side of the apartment building, three floors below, where an Indian family had their courtyard. The courtyard was all dirt – not uncommon – and a woman of the house was sweeping it, which she did every day, to keep it tidy of fallen twigs and leaves.

But on this day, as she was sweeping, the broom (a large stick to which lots of long twigs had been bound with string) fell apart. Just like that, there were all these twigs lying in the dirt, amongst the other twigs she was sweeping up, like lost relatives. Undeterred, the woman took up all the parts of her broom and put them in the right way and tied them back up together again.

But I had seen it – that moment when everything started to blur and cohere. There it was, the truth that all things are connected to the other things, and a floor is dirt and a broom is a tree. No difference between sweeper and swept. I felt like I did after I whirled for an hour straight and then laid down. Or as if I were inside a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap, exclaiming “All-One! All-One! All-One!”

It was amazing.

So today, friends, I ask you, What reminds you we are all-one?

Love to You-All.