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  • Kerri Cummings

How Hay Fever Taught Me to Love.

Hay fever.

I hate hay fever.

I hate hay fever so much that I want to take a torch to my nose. I am so sick and tired of having to just “deal” with it, and go to all these parties in outdoor places, full of pollen. While everyone else is relaxed and enjoying themselves and acting all “Hey look at me! It’s summertime and I’m so happy!”, I have to pretend to enjoy myself even though I feel like sitting on a wasp nest.

I sometimes would rather die than have to deal any longer with the pains of hay fever. I am grateful that I “only” have three months of it. Sneezing is ok. In fact, it's kind of fun. But all the rest of hay fever sucks. I feel sorry for myself and everyone else with hay fever. In fact, I have an unspoken affection for my fellow hay fever sufferers. I find myself holding back the overwhelming urge to hug them—every red-eyed, sneezing, miserable-looking one of them. Bless their pollen-filled hearts.

It’s funny how something like hate will bring out the love in people, isn’t it? Having a joint enemy, a shared suffering actually connects us. It makes us realize that we are indeed all one. Except for maybe all those annoying people who don’t suffer from hay fever. (Just kidding.) In fact, the latest hay fever session has made me realize that we all suffer. Hay fever season simply brings the suffering out in the open. It is pretty hard to overlook a hay fever victim; but the girl sitting at the table next to me at the café? She might not have hay fever, but she might have lost her mom, like me. I just don’t know it. She might miss someone like me. That guy I just walked past on the street? He might feel lonely in a relationship. In other words, every single person surely has something I might relate to. We are all connected. Each and every one of us has a story to tell. We all suffer. We all have setbacks and disappointments. We all have fears and hopes. And we all deal somehow. We deal in different ways, but we are all strong. Just thinking about that makes me want to hug all of you. It makes my nose itch less, my throat hurt less.

I think we should practice something I call the “Oneness” exercise at least once a day. Oneness training is a kind of mindfulness training, where you become aware that we are all one and the same. You become aware that we are all connected. Sounds esoteric, doesn’t it? Naïve? Stay with me for a minute, and just let yourself think about it. We breathe each other’s air. The air I breathe out, the other person breathes in. The air between people is shared air, and not just when germs float around during flu season. We share the air between us all the time. We are all made of the same material. Still not getting it?

Break it down to the atomic level. We are nothing more than atoms. Atoms are the basic building blocks of everything: the chair you’re sitting, air, or even human beings. We are consolidated energy. We are the same energy of which trees are made. The same bits that everything is made of. We are truly all “chips off the same block”. We are all a part of the same source, not just in biblical or otherwise religious terms, but in real physical terms. Scientists believe that the entire universe is expanding from a single source. We are part of this single source. The belief that we are all separate is only a physical, visual perception. Even our spoken words are nothing but sound waves. These sound waves—aka energy—get pulsed out of our smart little mouths and are heard by those in earshot. These sound waves we create by talking literally enter the ears of other people around you, and get translated by their brain. Can you see?

We all permeate each other constantly.

We are not separate in fact. We are not solid, separate beings, but rather seamlessly connected.

To hate someone else is to hate yourself. To hold on to anger at someone, is to hold back love from yourself.

So I want you to do a little experiment for a week. Everyday, practice this Oneness exercise: Each person you see—whether passers-by, friends, family, teachers, salespeople, even enemies—repeat the mantra: I am you. Repeat this for everyone you look at. Try this everyday, starting with 5 minutes. Then increase the time to 10 minutes, increasing up to one hour a day. With time, you’ll begin to see how your attitude towards others shifts. You will feel your heart soften towards others. You will become more open, gracious and empathetic toward others. If you already consider yourself empathetic and open, you will find yourself becoming even more so. You will begin to feel truly connected with everything around you.

Let me know how it goes in the comments section at the bottom of this page. I look forward to hearing your experiences! After all, I am you.

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