As spiritual understanding moves in an ever-expanding spiral and since this article is the fifth in a series of eight already published, for your convenience, dear Reader, I would like to think that you are reading it in the order in which it has been written.

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Brisbane 2. 1. 2008 [revised April 2009]

Separation occurs every time we think Me first or Mine first. Simple as that.

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Separation occurs every time we think that we are cuter, sexier, smarter, richer, gentler, more understanding more … more … more than the person in the queue in front of us.

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Separation occurs whenever we think we are more deserving than someone else.

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Separation occurs when we think that as long as we act for the benefit of our children, our family, our friends, we can push someone, anyone, out of the way to obtain whatever it is we are after.

At its ugliest, it is often made most graphic on the big screen:

separation brings us images of looters in the aftermath of disaster.

Separation is images of otherwise *nice* people pushing and shoving each other out of the way, trampling each other to get, to horde what they think they need to survive – they want it for themselves and for their family – they want it at the expense of someone else’s family.

Separation is favoring one child over another, in the home as in the classroom.

Separation is taking one look at someone and, on face value, deciding we can’t possibly “connect”, so we actively, if unwittingly, pursue the separation.

Separation is thinking we are good and righteous because we care for our loved ones whilst – maybe – donating to a cause that tugs at our heart’s strings, but shutting down our heart energy as we pass the grungy homeless tucked away in a bus shelter.

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As an adjunct to Proverbs 15:17 which states: Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it, is a parable given to me by Moriya, an adaptation of Erel Segal’s interpretation, which offers a great shortcut to understanding universal love and the concept of non-separation.

Once upon a time, there was a rich merchant who wanted to amend his karma by preparing a feast for the local poor. He had a couple of his best ox slaughtered. He despatched some servants to the market and others to find flowers with which to adorn the great hall where he would entertain the wretches. He also brought in a group of fine musicians.

As evening drew near, he surveyed all that he had brought forth and felt puffed up with pride. Only a truly rich man could produce such a feast. Only a truly good man would bother going through so much trouble for the town’s wretches.

During the dinner, however, as he looked about the splendour he had bestowed on the wretches, he began to resent the dirty, uncouth folk who had invaded his great hall like an army of rats. His mind began a tally of the money they had cost him.

Why, he thought, I could have gone through the same trouble but invite my dearest friends instead. Or I could have entertained my equals, or even the creditors, whom I need to maintain in high esteem, instead of wasting it all on such hapless creatures who are so cursed by God that they are unable to help even themselves.

And these thoughts created such a disturbance in his mind that, by the end of the dinner, he could no longer stand the sight of these paupers drinking his wine, licking their lips and finding merriment in the sounds of his music.

All of a sudden, he stood up. With sonorous claps of his hands, he muted the musicians. His guards returned the paupers to the streets.

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At its simplest interpretation, the moral of this tale is simply that it is preferable to give someone a simple meal, even a dinner of *herbs*, but treat them with LOVE, therefore respect, than to go beyond our comfort zones and resent them for what they stand for which, in the short and long term, can have no other outcome than duplicate resentment on their part.

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An added layer of interpretation could focus on those who receive for they, too, obey their own motives. Given the choice between a banquet of sweet meats at the table of a host who will treat them, at best, with polite indifference but from which they will walk away dispirited but full in the stomach or sitting in front of a simple plate of pasta at a table where they will be treated with compassionate respect, which would they choose?

The latter would be the wiser choice, but not every one is able to choose wisely.

Not everyone’s intentions are pure.

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And so, there is still more to squeeze out of this parable: On face value, alone, we do not know for sure which of the characters in the parable is the better person.

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The banquet-giver seeks love, respect and acceptance by “giving to charity.’

The receiver accepts the offerings, but gives nothing in return – nothing tangible, that is.

Although it might be unintentional, what the receiver does for the one who truly wants to give and assist, be that in a financial, artistic, emotional or spiritual area, is give us the opportunity to practice universal love.

In exchange, if such a person were able to accept and replenish their own heart-energy while, themselves, practicing flowing and letting go of the past resentments, to just be in the present-moment, they, too, might find themselves in the position of feeling love and compassion and respect.

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It is the search for love through overt acts that are disconnected from pure heart energy that create a type of resentment that can easily turn into hatred.

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Political squabbling aside, the international arena is one where we can observe that, generally speaking, financial but mostly impersonal AID to third world nations has not, over the past fifty years, generated much pro-west gratitude and respect although billions and billions of dollar-equivalent, from many countries, have been *donated* to relieve plight-stricken countries.

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Karl Marx may have been right when he said that, “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.” But, in the spirit of the topic at hand, he totally missed the point when he thought that its fall and the victory of the proletariat alone would yield a society fair to all.

Karl Marx, it is safe to assume, did not factor in the destructive drag of separation and conditional love.

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One main step to editing some of our karma in this lifetime is to not separate ourselves from anyone. Though we might see ourselves as individuals, the difference between us is only skin-deep and truly minimal. When we think of it, there are only so many ways anyone can react to any stimulus and I suspect that at various moments in our many lives – past and present - our reactions have been tainted by most of the colors on the palette: from petty and nasty to generous and heroic.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that we are neither better nor worse nor any more *unique* than any one pixel is from all other pixels that make up one huge panoramic billboard.

We are neither more nor less unique than all the other drops that make up the oceans.

It is therefore most unfortunate that so many children are brought up in the notion that they are *individual* and *unique* and *special*.

It is wonderful that each child is indeed so dear to each of their parents, however, as tiny little pixels amongst 6.6 billon others, they are not unique and neither are we.

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As an aside, it would be a very useful thing for parents who teach moral values to their children to also teach them the link between good thoughts and the genuinely good intentions behind *good* actions. The sooner a child learns his or her direct input to their own karma, the better because simply being *nice* and well-behaved and a good student and doing the parents proud is really not what this is about.

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When it comes to non-separation, what seems to happen is that we forget that we are *only* souls in disguise. By that I mean that we are only the vehicle, the host, for our souls, right?