by Beverly Lanzetta
As we have seen, mystics the world over emphasize that their most profound insight into reality can be described as "oneness" or "interdependence." Through the veils of creation’s great variety and abundance, they discover simplicity, unity, and wholeness. The mystics also teach us that we are compelled to live an ethical imperative, in which oneness and interdependence with all reality becomes the ground of concern for social justice. The very depth of our love for life, and our gripping awareness of human suffering, requires that we cannot be indifferent to the injustices in our world. Thus, the first and enduring theme in this unfolding age is the personal and social dimension of the unity of existence –what the fourteenth-century mystic Julian Norwich called one-ing, or the wandering ascetics of India termed advaita –nondualism, "not-two." Evidence of the power of viewing all of creation as interdependent and mutually indwelling is evident in so many of our world religions. Although the unitive voice within our traditions remind us that distance from God is illusion, much of Western spirituality is premised on return from a state of ignorance or sin. I am not implying that the archetype of exile and return simply can be discarded or is without merit. No doubt each of us experiences and suffers alienation, aloneness, and fear of abandonment by God.