In a world that seemingly grows smaller as we grow older, it becomes easier to experience and understand our connectedness and dependence on others, many others. In Buddhist teachings, this realization translates into realistic and enlightened thinking about the nature of oneself and winds up in the conclusion that actually there is no oneself at all, there is only parts of the whole. In other words, we are not only interdependent and interconnected; we are one.
And not only is our conviction to our separateness a delusion, it is a harmful conclusion and leads us into acting upon this false belief. It leads us into taking the poisons that make us sick. Buddhism calls this sickness dukkha, which means suffering and that includes pain, frustration, anxiety and just plain unsatisfactoriness. How does thinking of ourselves as separate have the consequences of poisoning ourselves and making ourselves sick?