Creating Community

By Kelly Isola
Creating Community

Affirmation: I am open to a deeper understanding of Spirit within all people. We are One.


The affirmation for this month is a powerful and deeply transformative practice—if we take it on, if we are truly open to understanding Spirit within all people.

This type of work takes us to the edge of our knowing and probably to the edge of our comfort zone, because it invites us to understand all people, which would include those who think differently from ourselves, those with whom we don’t agree.

At the root of the word community, it’s about our shared humanity, our connection—how we act and are with each other. Everywhere I look there are TV shows, articles, pictures, poems, reflections, and memes about the importance of community, proclaiming “we are one.” If I didn't know better, I would think we were starving to know oneness—how to experience it, capture it, and celebrate it.

I, too, am longing to feast at that banquet table of oneness, but I find myself drifting in and out of understanding what oneness really means. While I affirm we are all one, it can be tough to define, to manifest it, to “come from” it, and live it. Whose form of oneness is it? Last time I checked all the people of the world hadn’t gotten together to decide what we mean by oneness. What does it really look like—not as a theory, but really lived, down and dirty, in the reality of my everyday life where there seems to be divisiveness or differences around every corner?

I used to think oneness was this amorphous, unknowable principle, an ideal that was too daunting to experience unless I put great effort into it. I have discovered that most of us live oneness without even knowing it. It is anywhere we naturally express compassion, love, being of service, listening, and belonging.

So why do I miss seeing that so often? Because it turns out we are collectively creating myriad expressions of that oneness; that is, oneness manifests itself, or we come across it in an infinite number of ways. While its essence remains the same, it is always arising in different forms.

Perhaps this is because God, Spirit, the Divine, whatever you want to call it, is always happening, always emerging, always expressing. I look at my life and see that sometimes this oneness is offered in very sweet and tender ways and sometimes in challenging and difficult ways. In other words, the more aware I become of oneness in its infinite expressions, the better I am able to respond and live through that oneness as my awareness of Spirit keeps emerging.

Plato said that we are all born whole yet need each other to be complete. Everyone I know wants peace, love, joy, and a meaningful and abundant life—to name a few things—which are all aspects of oneness, I think.

Yet how can I help someone else find peace if I don’t have an understanding of what it means to them? It’s different things to different people at various times in their lives. Because I believe in the interconnectedness of all life, then the fulfillment of peace is found in helping each person find their own peace—then together we bring it into manifest form.

If I am to create community and be open to understanding Spirit within all people and claim “we are one,” then the question becomes: How do I need to be for you to know love? How do I need to be if you are to be happy or have abundance?

Living through oneness depends on my belonging with you, with all life. As my understanding of what oneness is and how to live it grows, I realize just how interdependent we are. Oneness is dependent on the relationship I have with you, with earth, with the cosmos.

In our great uniqueness as individuals, we see that what connects us collectively is the creative force we call oneness—of which we are expressions. The experience of oneness only makes sense within the infinite diversity of life. The treasure of my uniqueness only makes sense in relationship to the whole.

Oneness is an ever-present, shining beacon focusing us on how we can play together for our well-being and for the whole of life. That's how we take another step toward the fulfillment of spirit expressing through our humanity. That’s how oneness is really lived, down and dirty, in the reality of my everyday life. This is how we create community.