While Absolute Unity, or nonduality, has always been the nature of the eternal realm, dualities here in the temporal realm dominate, and are often seen as conflicting. How are these oppositions to be reconciled if we want to achieve the promise of harmony and world peace?
The good news is we have a built in pattern for accomplishing just this. Opposites confront each other, creating a purposeful tension (muddle), which calls for a “higher synthesis” (resolution), ultimately bringing about transformation.
Oneness is inherent in the realm of Divinity, but intended in the temporal realm. This potential, or capacity, is achieved through the on-going process of transformation over time, leading to greater and greater levels of unity in diversity.
As it is said in the Baha’i writings:
“The source of perfect unity and love in the world of existence is the bond and oneness of reality. When the divine and fundamental reality enters human hearts and lives, it conserves and protects all states and conditions of mankind, establishing that intrinsic oneness of the world of humanity which can only come into being through the efficacy of the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is like unto the life in the human body, which blends all differences of parts and members in unity and agreement. Consider how numerous are these parts and members, but the oneness of the animating spirit of life unites them all in perfect combination. It establishes such a unity in the bodily organism that if any part is subjected to injury or becomes diseased, all the other parts and functions sympathetically respond and suffer, owing to the perfect oneness existing.”
Unity in diversity in the natural realm is the general rule, why not in the world of humanity, as well? Unity in diversity is spiritual unity; it is an expression of the principle of the oneness of humanity, honoring all the natural forms of difference that will continue to exist within the human family, while allowing them to enrich us all.
Again, the Baha’i writings clarify the meaning and purpose of this unity in diversity:
“What is true of the life of the individual has its parallels in human society. The human species is an organic whole, the leading edge of the evolutionary process. That human consciousness necessarily operates through an infinite diversity of individual minds and motivations detracts in no way from its essential unity. Indeed, it is precisely diversity that distinguishes unity from homogeneity or uniformity. What the peoples of the world are today experiencing, Bahá’u’lláh said, is their collective coming- of-age, and it is through this emerging maturity of the race that the principle of unity in diversity will find full expression. From its earliest beginnings in the consolidation of family life, the process of social organization has successively moved from the simple structures of clan and tribe, through multitudinous forms of urban society, to the eventual emergence of the nation-state, each stage opening up a wealth of new opportunities for the exercise of human capacity… At this crucial stage of history, that purpose must be to establish enduring foundations on which planetary civilization can gradually take shape.”
Only because humanity struggles with such a multiplicity of identities (ethnicity, skin color, class, ideology, nationality, family, occupation, appearance, age, sexuality, physical ability, height, weight, religion) are there inequalities and prejudices, which lead ultimately to racism, genocide, and war.
Moving toward harmony, peace, and unity requires transcending these limiting identities and focusing instead on our eternal, spiritual identity. This constitutes a transformation in itself, and ‘Abdu’l-Baha urges us to strive for this, when “all souls will become as one soul, and all hearts as one heart. Let all be set free from the multiple identities that were born of passion and desire, and… find a new way of life.”
This is what all the transformations that have ever been experienced have been leading to. The principle of the oneness of humanity, or unity in diversity, represents the higher synthesis, and resolution, of all the differences and oppositions found in this physical realm. It is the apex of spiritual principles, founded upon a love for humanity as a whole, and containing within it the idea of service to others.
Living into this consciousness, and practicing the principle of the oneness of humanity is essential for our collective survival, well-being, and fulfilment.