All of Us

David Karchere

I would like to read one of the verses of “One Voice,” sung by the Wailin’ Jennys and written by a founding member of the trio, Ruth Moody:

This is the sound of all of us,
Singing with love and the will to trust,
Leave the rest behind, it will turn to dust,
This is the sound of all of us.

I cannot tell you how deeply these lyrics play on my heartstrings. I have such a deep desire to hear the sound of all of us—whatever grouping of people I am with, and ultimately all people. The key to that is right in the song: it begins when the one voice sounds through us all, each in our unique way.

I am interested in the conscious breakthrough that leads to knowing that our voice is a unique expression of the One Voice of whatever group of people we are with. Of course, we have a local awareness—an awareness of ourselves as a human being. But as our awareness elevates, we see something far larger. We feel the heart of the group of people we are with and the heart of the world we are in.

I can feel the creative urge in all of us. It is the urge to love, the urge to live, the urge to know the truth of ourselves and the truth of this world in which we live. It is the urge to be truly ourselves. And being ourselves means something beyond a static reality. It implies being ourselves in living. And how do you do that without expressing yourself and embodying who you are in all that you say and do? That is a forever-emerging reality.

I feel the urge to live a joyful life, be in the joy of life together, create together, sing the song of life together, and be in the dance of life together.

Yesterday, the 2020 inductees to the National Football League Hall of Fame in America were introduced, and then they each gave a short speech. They each had a bust made of them and were given a golden jacket.

Troy Polamalu is a Samoan man who played defense for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I remember seeing him running through the field with his curly black hair flowing behind him, intercepting passes and tackling opponents. He seemed to be everywhere.

As a commentator said, the word that defined him was flow. But he was also powerful. If he were not intercepting the football, he would tackle with sure-footed power.

You might be surprised at the values Troy extolled at the enshrinement: humility, resilience, and selflessness, along with hard work and toughness. Beginning with a comment on people, such as Beethoven and Dickens, who inspired him, he said this:

These great men were known to have a beast-like work ethic, coupled with an unwavering ability to create until perfection, beyond what most believe the human body will allow. To me, that’s what it takes from being ordinary to extraordinary. It is the willingness to push beyond what the brain says to the body is possible and create a new order of boundaries for one’s self. It is the ability to learn from greatness around you and curate for yourself a unique version of their efforts. 

I imagine that many Olympic athletes might share that same attitude.

Troy’s comments expressed the philosophy of football and the best of that philosophy. His words made me think of how there are so many philosophies in the world: the philosophy of education, health, science, spirituality, and on it goes. There is the supreme philosophy. It is the philosophy of life itself. The word philosophy, at its root and origin, is about a “love of knowledge.”

What is the cornerstone of a true philosophy of life? Is it not knowing yourself? And in knowing yourself, being true to yourself? It is easy to say. Socrates said, To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom. Pythagoras gave this instruction: Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God.

But what does it really mean to know yourself? And how do you do it? Certainly, it takes moving beyond the experience of an isolated human being, at odds with the people and the world around them. It takes moving beyond a fearful, small sense of self, to knowing a reality of selfhood that leads to greater wisdom.

Think of it this way. There is a vertical axis of selfhood. At the lowest end of the axis is our human body, and then the rest of our human capacity—our thoughts, feelings, and spiritual nature. At the highest end of the axis is the eternal essence of who we are. This is the altitude of self, the greatness of self, the expansiveness of self, the transcendent self who is not only invested in our own human experience but also the world in which we live. This is the origin of the One Voice that lifts up all voices. Knowing ourselves is the lifelong process of discovering everything on the vertical axis of selfhood.

So, if someone were to ask you who you are, what would you say? There are probably many valid answers to that question. We are many things. And yet, at the very essence of who we are is Being. So here would be my answer. I am. And if someone were to ask me again, that would be my answer. I am.

In this article, I will speak for myself in these matters. Each time I do, if it is right for you, I invite you to own what I say as what you might say for yourself. And I will speak for myself. So here it goes.

I do not need to define myself. I will express myself, and I will embody who I am. But I do not need to explain myself. Who I am is who I am. And if I were asked again, I might say, I am that I am. I am the existent one. I am defined by the Being who I am. I am defined by the very essence of who I am.

From a human standpoint, I am the very essence of my Being at the highest end of the vertical axis of selfhood. I am THAT I am. I allow that essence of my reality to define me—nothing else. I am THAT I am. 

I am that very essence of my Being and that ever-changing kaleidoscope of expression that emerges from that essence, which is the origin of it all: that still point within me. Because I am the expression of that, I am unpredictable. How about you? Is Being not unpredictable? I am flow—not like Troy with his hair flowing behind him on the football field. I am flowing in my world—unpredictable, defined, and guided by something you cannot see. But I am true to that flow. I am true to that essence and origin—what it asks me to do and where it directs me to go. I am true to all the colors of the kaleidoscope of Being that I am called upon to be. I am THAT I am. Nothing else defines me. And the same is true of you.

No criticism defines me. Any applause does not change me. I am defined by the very essence of Being, the essence of who I am that is one with the essence of all things, that is part of the One Voice. I am THAT I am. Is this not the cornerstone of the philosophy of life? It is being who you are, knowing who you are in your essence. Not that you could define it; not that it is a finite thing. Who we are is an infinite source of experience.

As a person knows themselves as that, there is an unfolding process that kicks in. We ascend to that transcendent place at the top of the vertical axis. Not all at once but as part of our life journey. Then we look upon our human experience and the world we live in with a new perspective.

We realize that we are responsible for the safekeeping of the human being we have thought of as ourselves. So, from the point of highest origin, we look down upon this human being through which we express and embody ourselves. And then we are in the position to say, I am THAT I am. But now seeing it from the highest perspective to our humanity. I am THAT I am. That is me in expression. That human being is my human being. That is my love that he is expressing. It is ultimately not his—it is my love. My human being is radiating my love. That is my life he is living, the life that I give to him. I am THAT I am, that being on Earth, that flow of knowing, that flow of wisdom, intelligence, and inspiration. That is my flow; that is my intelligence. I am that I am.

When we see ourselves from this transcendent viewpoint, we have the opportunity to become intimate with our humanity. I believe we are all in the process of that, on some basis. The human sense of self and the reality of Being have become estranged. That is our human crisis. And so, as Being, we are becoming intimate with our humanity and all its hurt places, pain, and ignorance. We could own it and say, I am getting to know my ignorance. And then my ignorance is turned to light in my intimacy with it. As I enter this human being’s mind and see his unknowingness, it is turned to light. As I know the smallness and the fear, I become intimate with it. I enter it. I enter my own heart. My love is now in my heart, loving this human being and, through this human being, I love the world.

I believe that all human beings walk around feeling the pain of being seen as merely human. This is the pain of people living at a low place on the vertical axis of selfhood and seeing others from that perspective.

We ourselves are somewhere on that vertical axis, awakening to the One that we are and living with the projections of the world around us. The experience of a human family can be like that—not being seen by your family. Have you had that experience?

We are here to be intimate with that unknowing. And in that way, we light up our field with knowing. We say, Yes, I see, I understand. And if there is forgiveness that needs to be passed around, I forgive. I am the One Voice, the One Spirit. I am that I am, that One Reality within us all.

We each have the opportunity to know that for ourselves. When we do, we inherit the magical powers of the Creator, which all add up to the power to express and embody who we are. I am humankind. I am that I am. I am not only owning my own self—which I do in a particular way because apparently, I am the one most responsible—but I own the body of humanity that I find myself with. I own humankind because that is what the larger reality of me is always doing.

When we are in that place, is this not, in essence, what we are saying?

Do you feel this love? This is not only the love of a human being. It is that. But more than that. This is the love of the One I am. Do you feel and know that love? 

Feel this life. This is not only the life of a single human being. This is the fountain of life of the One I am. This is the life eternal, the One Life, present now. 

Do you feel this flow of wisdom, of truth? Do you see this unfolding beauty? It is the unfolding beauty of the One I am.

This is the sound of One Voice.

Are any of us capable of giving expression to that One Voice? Yes, of course. All of us—every one of us—are naturally the expression of the One Voice, letting all unknowing turn to dust.

This is the sound of all of us,
Singing with love and the will to trust,
Leave the rest behind, it will turn to dust,
This is the sound of all of us.

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George Fuentes
George Fuentes
August 18, 2021 6:15 am

The phrase “vertical axis of selfhood” reminds me of an upside-down triangle ▽. Where it comes to a point at the bottom is where we contact the earth. It is the physical dimension, and where we know ourselves as physical beings. It is the basis on which some people may say “I am only human”. But as we go upwards on the triangle it gets wider, and we realize we are more, and we encompass more. The horizonal line at the top of the line in fact encompasses everything and everyone. It is the One. If that is the perspective from which we speak, then we do not merely speak for ourselves, but for All. Jesus put it this way, “the word that I have spoken… I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak”.

Certainly, if that is the truth of OUR own voice, we fulfill this commandment: “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father…”

P.S. Listen to this version of the song “One Voice” sung by the United States Air Force Band inside the Washington National Cathedral. It is beautifully sung and performed: Some of the commenters stated that it moved them to tears, and I will have to confess that it did the same to me. Not sure why.

August 17, 2021 4:35 pm

This is so beautiful and leads us to answer the important questions above for ourselves – This is the sound of all of us,
Singing with love and the will to trust,
Leave the rest behind, it will turn to dust,
This is the sound of all of us.

Fiona Gawronsky
Fiona Gawronsky
August 14, 2021 7:25 am

Reggae musician, Bob Marley, wrote a song probably all of us know, “One Love”. Here are some of the lyrics: “One Love. One Heart.” And the chorus, “Let’s get together and feel all right”. I guess you can’t be together and feel good if there isn’t one love and heart flowing together.
Martin Exeter wrote a book using his ancestral motto, “One Heart, One Way”, as the title. Martin’s book includes his poem, “Thus It Is”, and this quote, “The truth is true and all is well, unconquerable life prevails”. The poem was inspired by Winston Churchill who, in 1940, with a nation facing the might of Germany, and, with much less military might, rallied the spirit of Britain to never give up.
What miracles can happen when we are One Voice, One Heart, One Way. Let’s get together, all is well,

August 13, 2021 9:22 am

How beautiful. We are all in this together, singing the song of creation, birthed by our love.

Ron Free
Ron Free
August 11, 2021 8:57 pm


Kari Bye
Kari Bye
August 14, 2021 6:18 am
Reply to  Ron Free

I am here, between heaven and earth, as a co-creator! I feel the heart of the group of people I am with and the heart of the world I am in.

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