From being an individual to becoming Universal

In many ancient cultures, individuals were known by their tribal or clan name. Their individuality melds into the group identity. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu expressed this reality through their Ubuntu philosophy: “I am because we are!” They took Ubuntu beyond the boundaries of South Africa and invited people from all over the world to embrace Ubuntu.

We find Ubuntu in the Quran, “O Mankind, we created you from a single pair of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another” (Sura 49:13). We realize our interconnectedness by recognizing our single source. In other words, “I am because we are.” The Quran goes further in revealing our individual and collective identity in the Divine Essence. “We have created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than his jugular vein” (Sura 50:16). And Jesus revealed his mission when he prayed for all of humanity, “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 21:20).

How do we realize our Universal identity?

When we see the Divine in us we are individuals; when we see ourselves in the Divine we become universal. Being a drop in the ocean we are individuals, when we see ourselves as the entire ocean in the drop we become Universal. The more we live in the now and here the more we realize oneness with the Universal Divine Essence. This present moment now is part of every moment from the beginning and the end of time; therefore, this present moment is part of eternal time; and the place where we are at any moment is part of the entire universe.


This entry was posted in Inspiration. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to From being an individual to becoming Universal

  1. Josephine Ludwig says:

    This is a good one ! I want to connect with the Universal. I want to see myself as Divine within but also as Universally Divine and connected to all. My prayer time lately has morphed into a kindness and compassionate practice of sending loving energy first to myself, next, to those close to me, then to difficult or unkind people and last, but by no means least, to the entire cosmos. The perspective of seeing myself as one with all is comforting and challenging at the same time. I also believe this universal perspective, if we all lived by this principle in all aspects of our lives, could change the world. Much thanks for your heart and words today. This is important.

  2. steve tadrick says:

    We live in Eternal time so we must learn to respond in the Moments of Eternal Time as best we know it. Right now I sit in a receptive posture waiting for this moment to appear. Mary said, “Let it Be” and She didn’t look back.

  3. JoAnn Rulo says:

    Your words were very thought provoking as always Paul. As I reflected on your writing I kept thinking of a story Fr. Anthony DeMello told in one of his books. You are probably familiar with the story, It was the Salt Doll Story. The salt doll approaches the sea and asks the sea who he is. The sea said, “Come in and you will find out”. The salt doll waded into the ocean and began to dissolve. As he waded in further he dissolved even more. Just as he completely dissolved he said, “Now I know who I am”. The more we surrender to what is in each moment the more we experience the Divine. Thomas Merton called it “The Palace of Nowhere”. And when you change the spelling a little it could also be “The Palace of Now Here”.

    • JOSEPHINE says:

      Your comments are very beautiful.
      Thank you.
      Your thoughts brought even more to Paul’s post with your expanded thoughts and the references from Anthony DeMello and Thomas Merton. You really helped broaden and expand Paul’s thoughts. I thank you.

      Jo Ludwig

      • JoAnn Rulo says:

        Thank you Josephine. Paul’s writings always stir up so many thoughts but DeMello and Merton’s writings seemed to be what my heart was resonating with through Paul’s words tonight, Hugs to you also. Did you go to the Peace Ripple meetings several years ago? I think I might have met you there.

  4. geneiler says:

    You’ve been on my mind.  And here comes a blog.   Thanks for bringing me to a few moments of deeper thought. When I decide on a symphony I’ll be in touch with you. Hope all is well with you and your students. Blessings. Gen

  5. Joanne says:

    “ When we see the Divine in us we are individuals; when we see ourselves in the Divine we become universal.“


  6. Mark Rudis says:

    Sri Ramana Maharshi who the novelist Summerset Maughan simply referred to as a Saint was once asked how we should treat others. His simple response was “there are no others.” If we could see the ocean in the drop we surely would stop to consider that what we do to others in reality we do to ourselves. The great medicine man of the Sioux nation Black Elk described a vision he had when he was a boy, in it he could see the entangled “hoops” of all beings. Although each has his own local physical being i believe there exists only one non local Devine Entity of which we derive our human experience from. Perhaps there are no nouns, a being is an experience in the dreams of God. Excellent entry my brother, your words caused me to think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s