“Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two.” Gautama Siddharta
I am taking a course right now with a woman who loves to discuss (no matter what the topic) how her “culture” should not be defiled. You can hear the under current of intolerance in her writing. Her thinly veiled distain for people who are not like her reveals her naked, ugly, American bias. Not only does she miss the fresh perspective of experiencing other cultures, she is too caught up in her callow ideas of her own uniqueness and refuses to see the similarities that permeate us as human beings. She sees only differences and is blind to unity.
People spend a lot of time pointing out how unique and different they are, and they do the same for their culture as well. I thought this was an American thing, but JJ did it too. He seemed to see life as a path from unity to diversity. So do I, just go the other way around, seeing the world as a path from diversity to unity.
It is in those exquisite details that an artist captures a representation of the manifestations of existence. Every artist uses the same primary colors as every other artist, yet their art is both unique and unified at the same time. Let me give you a few examples of the outward expressions of the inward human experiences. We can start with the mother goddess. Below she is depicted through the eyes of ancient Minoans with a snake in each hand:
Here she is the goddess of the Aztecs with a snake hood; the creator and the destroyer giving birth to life and death simultaneously:
Here she is in India; the creator and destroyer. Like the Aztec goddess and the Celtic goddess she has many hands showing the symbols of transformation :
Here is the Celtic Mother goddess. I find this one particularly interesting because she shows the trinity just like the statue of the head of Buddha; she wears the crescent moon crown like Isis; she has her snakes like the Aztec and Minoan goddess; and in her hands, like Devi in the picture above, she holds her knives; like the image of Shiva she hold the flame of life and the drum that beats the rhythm of time:
Mother goddesses have a lot in common all around the world. From Mohnejo Daro to Tenochtitlan, in Christianity and in Hinduism, the goddess is associated with her familiars – the snake, the bull, the moon, water, she is the bring of life and death.
Below are three Mandalas. One from Tibet, one from the Aztecs and one from the Navajo Nation:
An Aztec calendar:
From a Navajo healing ceremony:
You see these four colors? In both mythologies they represent the cardinal directions. In the Buddhist tradition white is north, red is south, black is west and yellow is east. In the Navajo tradition, the yellow and red are swapped. In both the Tibetan and Navajo cultures these kinds of mandalas are made with sand and meant to generate spiritual power. Neither are meant to be permanent. In all of the cultures they are essentially a map of time, space and the spiritual realm.
We even shelter ourselves in our common humanity. Here is Tikal in Guatamala. One of the most beautiful Mayan cities:
Here is a picture from Kanchipuram in Southern India:
Don’t get lost in your uniqueness, it is nothing but a door way to our common self. Diversity is what makes our lives vibrant, interesting and beautiful. Unity is what makes our lives bearable.
I’ve already talked about the Japanese goddess of rice, Inari. Here is a recipe she might like:
Thai Spicy Basil Fried Rice
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- olive oil flavored cooking spray
- 4 cups cooked jasmine rice, chilled
- 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 Thai chiles, chopped (can use serranos)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 8 ounces shrimp (or other protein, can use virtually any meat, fish, tofu, etc.)
- 2 cups Thai basil, leaves left whole
- 1/2 cup cilantro (optional)
Whisk together oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
Spray a wok or large frying pan with olive oil spray and heat over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic and chili (or serrano) peppers and stir fry for 30 seconds.
Add the red pepper and onion and stir fry until the onion is translucent. If using chicken or beef, add it with the the onion and red pepper. Cook until chicken is done, or beef is about medium.
Push ingredients in the wok/pan aside and quickly scramble the egg.
Add the oyster sauce mixture and stir everything together.
Raise the heat to high and add the chilled rice. Stir until blended with the sauce and other ingredients, breaking up clumps of rice with the back of a spoon.
Add more soy, oyster, or fish sauce, if necessary (or to taste).
When everything is blended together and rice is hot, remove from heat and stir in the basil.
Garnish with cilantro, if desired.________________________________________________________________“What is a drop of rain, compared to the storm? What is a thought, compared to the mind? Our unity is full of wonder which your tiny individualism cannot even conceive.” ― Ken Levine