Sometimes it is very difficult to see our oneness with the whole world and all the things happening in that world. The Samkhya philosophy, which is the foundation of the yoga tradition, says that “all life is a unity, a non-duality.” We are connected intimately with everything else in the world because we are one with all that exists.
The scientific way of saying this is: the microcosm is the macrocosm. That means anything that happens on the small scale of life affects “the all of life.” When the little or part of the whole changes, the whole changes. Everything that we as individuals change, also changes in the community or the environment of which we are part. This connection to the whole is easier to see when the whole is small. For instance, we are much more aware of our entire body changing when we take a drink of coffee in the morning than we are aware that our getting up in the morning affects the war in Syria or the people in North Korea.
Our connection with the whole becomes less and less apparent the larger the whole gets.
Some examples might help with this:
When one person stops abusing alcohol, that person’s entire family is affected. This isn’t so visible until a party happens. Then, that person’s simple decision/commitment to sobriety pushes everyone else in the family to deal with their own behaviors. “Should I ask him/her if s/he wants a drink?” “Should I stop drinking so that s/he doesn’t feel out of it?”
Another example might be: When a person diffuses lavender or eucalyptus essential oil into the house, the entire environment of the house becomes softer and gentler. This again is somewhat invisible until one begins to notice that people are less irritable than they were a few hours ago.
Or, when a person buys a hybrid car, releasing less carbon into the air, significant changes occur not just to global climate change, but the State of Wisconsin loses tax revenue from the decrease in gasoline usage.
Or, every time we use a plastic straw, we are adding to the plastic that gets digested by our fish and reptiles because most of the left over plastic is put into the oceans.
Another example: every time we invite a black person into our house and talk with that person outside as s/he enters or leaves the house, our neighbors become less fearful of all people who are different.
The examples are endless, especially in the areas of protecting the environment or making the world a more peaceful and trusting place. Yoga advocates for that lifestyle of honor and respect, and trust and love because the yoga tradition knows that the microcosm is the macrocosm.
Yoga knows that what is happening in our lives, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually affects the entire world. The microcosm of ourselves is the macrocosm of the entire world.
It is difficult for most of us to put our heads around that but we need to be aware of that. What is happening in our world is happening in the entire world.