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Mistaken identity

by Michael Ketterhagen


There is no longer Jew or Greek;

there is no longer slave or free;

there is no longer male and female,

for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Paul of Tarsus, Letter to the Galatians 3:28 (NRSV)


Paul is speaking of a world that most of us do not experience—a world of unity and oneness, where diversity is not an opportunity for division, but a world where people rejoice because of the variety of life. Paul’s world is also the core teaching of the Vedanta Philosophy, which is the core philosophy of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition. That Tradition believes in non-duality, just like Paul does.


Paul calls that oneness, that unity, Christ, whom Christians call God. The white and the non-white, the Republican and the Democrat, the Russian and the American, the man and the woman, criminals and saints, the Muslim and the Christian, the supremacist and humanist, the racist and non-racist, the capitalist and socialist are all one when we recognize the true identity of human beings. We are all spiritual beings created by the same Creator.


Yet, most humans choose not to see themselves as one with others, especially with those whom they tend to despise or look down upon. Why is that? Because we look at the outside, we prefer to establish our identity through comparing ourselves to others. We prefer focusing on our uniqueness and separateness. Then we join with others who think or look like ourselves so that we don’t feel lonely in our separateness. Most of us don’t like to feel alone.


We really have no excuse to feel lonely or isolated if we begin to truly identify ourselves with our spiritual selves. If we identify ourselves with our Big Self, our divine, infinite, perfect self and not our little ego self, we don’t have to experience the lack of wholeness and unity in our lives. Everyone, then, is one with us even though everyone else thinks differently, or is attached to a different political party, or is from a different race or culture or religion.


We are all one in Christ, as Paul would say. We are all one and interconnected as quantum physics would say. We are all one as Yoga philosophy would say. No matter what WE ARE ALL ONE. We will no longer have a mistaken identity and we will rejoice and live in a peaceful world.


But that takes a special effort at seeing beyond the physical and beyond the differences. As yoga says, “it takes the practice of meditation” to know our true identity.


I pray to the divinity in you!

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