The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practise compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish, but are perpetually stored in infinite space, and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.
The connection of everything with everything was out of question for the early homines sapientes. This knowledge is part of the tribal consciousness. Due to the breaking out of man from the close interconnectedness with nature, this insight vanished and was replaced by the relationship of subject and object. The environment became an opponent, an object. Hence it can be occupied and exploited. This is one of the main achievements of the materialistic consciousness.
The governance of the world works only when the respect of the governed disappears. This lack of respect is the other side of the coin of the world of consumption and welfare, which tends to spread out more and more. Sadly, it is not limited to the relationship to nature in its alive and not alive parts, but permeates also human relationships. We can read the development of history also in the way, that the reification of nature could only be installed as a consequence of the erection of hierarchical systems of power and exploitation, in which persons had been turned into things.
Whatsoever, the result is a relationship between man and human as well as non-human environment, which is based on power and subjugation. The consciousness of a universal connectedness got totally lost, so it is of no certainty today but a possibility we can solely experience in meditation. To a contemporarian who sticks to the prevailing concept of reality, such experiences might be nothing more that esoteric follies.
As Rumi put it: “The Hand of Moses is a hand and a source of light. These things are so real as the infinity is real but for some they just seem to be religious fantasies, for those who just believe in the reality of the sexual organs and the intestinal tract.” (The Essential Rumi. Translation by Coleman Barks. Harper Collins 2004)
We are only sure about separation: I am I and nothing else, all non-I is different and alien. This attitude we have been training for centuries and centuries to engrave it in our brains. It gives us certainty. But the other knowledge is fuelled by the millions of years, which were before our modern times. Seen in this perspective, the idea of relating to the outside as objects (me here, everything else there) has been around in human history for just a tiny moment.
So we cannot forget about this ancient knowledge despite all materialistic illusions. It turns up here and there silently and timidly, mainly when we are in nature. We notice it especially strong, when our lives encounter severe difficulties. Crisis are often signified by a strong feeling of separation – we have to cope with a loss or digest a misfortune or overcome an illness or confront a deep inner desperation. Such experiences contain a state of separation, which can be equaled with hell, as pointed out in rule 25.
For separation reminds us of the idea of death. Death separates us from life, and any separation of an aspect of life is similar to the experience of death. A part in us, namely a part of our loving power dies in that experience. Love is the power of connection, which grows in a magical way by the exchange of energies between beings. Love knows about the connection of everything with everything. When it is interrupted, we react with fear.
As soon as we understand this all-permeating interdependency as a net of stories, the whole universe turns into a symphony of love stories. Every entanglement of one event with another is part of an endless tale from the book of life. Every particle, which is aware or itself in open connection with something different, adds to the great love. In it, there is exchange and exchange, on and on and up to the point, at which it has become meaningless who is giving and who is receiving.
The rules are taken from Elif Shafak's novel “The Forty Rules of Love” (Viking 2010). They are inspired by the Sufi tradition and worded by the author's imagination. www.elifshafak.com