An analogy that is often used to indicate how we are all one is “We are drops of water in the ocean”. Or some say that while we are in the body, we are drops of water who have leapt front the ocean and when we “die”, we return to the ocean. One of my favorite Rumi sayings is “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the ocean in a drop.” But, this analogy always falls a bit short for me because when we return to the ocean, we lose our individuality. A drop is not a drop when it’s in the ocean.
A friend of mine said the other day a better analogy is we are like trees in the forest, which reminded me of the aspen tree. Aspen trees grow in colonies. Most aspens grow in large clonal colonies, derived from a single seedling, and spread by means of root suckers. Each individual tree can live for 40–150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony can live for thousands of years. Each individual tree is part of a genetically identical greater whole. They are in essence one living organism. Pando, also known as the Trembling Giants, is a colony of an individual male quaking aspen assumed to have one massive underground root system. The plant spreads over 106 acres. The root system of Pando, is estimated to be 80,000 years old.
I think we’re a lot like aspens. From above, we appear to be individuals. We have individual traits. We look to be separate. But, at the root, we all come from the same source and remain connected.