Pride in the Rainbow of Diversity Within the Unity of the One

"With Pride" by Janaka StagnaroWe are nearing the end of Pride month, and I have loved ending my school year of teaching seeing a host of children walking around campus draped in rainbow flags. Not only do they feel free to express who they are or what they believe in, but also the fact that they feel safe to do so. There is so much fear in the world of anything different, anything that shakes our sense of “truth” of how to be.

The rainbow, in The Bible, is the sign of God giving hope of better times to come.

What are those better times? When the world recognizes that there is one love shining through the prism of matter, making everyone colorfully unique as our fingerprints. That we are all facets of a glorious diamond, cut lovingly by the Creator.

That is how I look at these children as an educator, a parent, and one who has felt I never really belonged in this world, that I was different.

However, looking at this time of renaming one’s gender and sexual orientation through the single eye of Spirit, there is a danger of believing that we are the expressions. Spirit wants us to go beyond the forms and definitions, while there is a multitude of ways we can express ourselves,

The ego, which is that belief that one is separate from All That Is, loves to put oneself and others in little boxes—in this way, ensuring that one is cut off. These boxes are prisons. Any definition is being in the boundaries of the finite. The finite appears to be born, grows, withers, and eventually dies.

The eternal does not.

Not feeling like any definition ever fit me — despite trying on a few as I grew up — forced me to turn inward and drew to me many teachers who pointed at ways to go beyond all forms to come to the Infinite. One such teacher was Ramana Maharshi. At first, when seekers had come to him at the turn of the 20th century in India, he taught only in silence. Then as he began to speak, he taught that words are the grandchildren of truth. Our nature is silence as it is devoid of the ramblings of the mind. Then comes thought and images, and from these thoughts and pictures, we speak in words.

We get so caught up with labels. We have political, national, age, sexual, gender, race, professional, caste, economic, species, social, planetary, interests, dislikes. You name it, and someone will have that label.

Are labels bad? No, but they are limiting. I look at labels as clothes. Labels are something we are constantly donning. Few can walk in this world utterly naked of labels. And even if we are naked, such as Ramana, we always label others.

Labels are only harmful when we take them as ourselves. When we believe we are such and such a label, it is much harder to expand out of it when it is time to grow, and we become stuck in a box, a definition.

Of course, labels help us find community with others with likewise labels, and being with others is great support. In Buddhism, the sangha or community of practitioners is considered one of the three refuges.

Can this labeling be harmful? Yes, because with any labeling we will suffer. When we take them so seriously we believe that is who we are. Then we will not be aware of our true nature and we will experience the polarities of the illusion of us and them, you and me, good and bad, pleasure and pain, life and death.

When one comes in contact, or experiences a boundless love or infinite space, then all definitions and orientations fall away in such a moment. When the temporal awareness returns, the labels become quite transparent.

Every night we all go to a label-less place — not consciously — but we do so. And that is sleep. In the dream state, there is usually a dream character you will identify with, and it will be male or female, as well as other actors. However, there exists also a witness that witnesses what the dream characters are doing. There is no judgment, no rooting for characters by this witness. It is like the sun shining on all things on this planet.

All those dream characters are but aspects of your mind; however, you just have identified one dream character as being you. This dreaming is not the state of sleep I am to which I am referring. There is still identification, labeling going on.

The following state, which we all crave, is the level where all labels are gone; there are no more distinctions between anyone or anything. It all becomes One. And that is deep sleep. Without getting deep sleep, we will not be functioning at peak effectiveness in the waking state. We need and crave dreamless sleep.

A naked one, or one with the label of a master, is one who is consciously aware of that oneness, no matter what state of consciousness. When you live in that state, there is no bigotry of any sort; all are seen as a facet of the One.

There can only be love as no one is cleaved from another.

Let this month and all months be a time of pride for the incredible diversity that life expresses itself. Without biodiversity, life will cease to exist on this planet. And without human diversity, humanity will cease to flourish and will fall into creative stagnation.

Let us all glorify this social rainbow with all its colors, reminding us of the one light we have always been, are, and will be.

What I just wrote above I said years ago in a poem from my book, Beyond the Beyond: Poems to My Beloved Self. And if you are interested in finding out some of the ways to go to that state of consciousness beyond definitions I posted an article below that has some techniques.


Finding Your Self

Dear Beloved,
Relish not those who ‘have found themselves,’
For they are shod in iron shoes
Walking over the bog of time.

They find themselves in their jobs,
As doctors, lawyers, and teachers
Nurses, writers and artists,
Accountants, politicians and beggars.

They find themselves in their roles
As husbands and wives,
Lovers and ex’s,
Friends and foes,
Sons and daughters,
Mothers and fathers.

They find themselves in their beliefs,
As Buddhists and Hindus,
Christians and Muslims,
New Agers and Jews,
Pagans and Bohemians,
Philosophers and Scientists.

They find themselves in the land of their births:
New Yorkers and Chicagoans,
Texans and Californians,
Americans and Russians,
Earthlings and Aliens.

They find themselves in what they do for fun,
In what they hate,
In what they possess and do not own.

In fact, they find themselves
In every minute of every day.

And sink deeper moment by moment.

Only until you can smell the stench of the mud
And taste the sickness
Will you stop and say:
“I do not know who the hell I am.”

When that moment comes
The iron shoes will slip off
And you will slowly begin to rise.

When you begin to see
That all such notions,
All such identities
Are nothing but lies.

Then beloved,
Over this world you will skip
Asking the question: “Who am I?”

Beware, dear friend, for the world is slick with many alluring going on’s,
And lush places
Will continue to grab at you
And suck you down in your quest by saying:
“Now you know.”

Janaka skipped.
Skipped for a long while
Across the world with mouth gaping;
And in between soft breasts with mouth wet,
Doing this and doing that,
Trying to find out who the hell he was.

And just for a moment or two
Even his skipping stopped.

Not because of any person
Or thing,
Or event.
Not even for an idea.

He just stopped
And knew the unknowing.

Now, when some beautiful eyes flutter,
Or when someone dear disappears,
And he forgets to skip
And sinks up to his big mouth —
A mouth that shouts to the world:
“I know what this is all about!”

Even the mud tastes sweet.

— Janaka Stagnaro June, 2021

"A Different Perspective" by Janaka Stagnaro


(This article originally appeared in the Medium publication, Know Thyself, Heal Thyself)