I think the answer to this question lies in several areas:
First, we have been acculturated to dwell predominately in the left hemisphere of our brains with our thought processes. Here we are analytical and separate, we base our assumptions on information from the past and speculations about the future. This is the area of our thinking that is constantly trying to evaluate who we are, what we have done and what we should do next. It is a place of separation and individuation.
Second, we have been conditioned to be less aware of the thought processes that are common to the right hemisphere of our brains. This is the seat of our oneness, our commonality, our unity consciousness. And though we are less aware on the surface of this aspect of ourselves, it is clearly at the core of who we are. When someone calls for help, we don't run away, we run toward them and try to help. At the deepest level of our beings, we understand that to let the other suffer or die would be to let a part of ourselves suffer or die.
Third, when we all saw that image of earth, taken from space in the 1960's, we opened our eyes as if for the first time and began to see that there were no dividing lines for nations or governments. Instead we began to see ourselves as very lucky to be alive, all of us, thriving together, on this little blue green marble, floating in the vastness of outer space. From this perspective, we began to see the earth as one organism, miraculously supporting us all.
And while it is true that we are each unique and different, we now see that we are a part of the whole. Just like our nose is different from our eyes, we understand that both are a part of our face. As my mentor Peace Pilgrim puts it, "We are all cells in the body of humanity." We may each be different, but we are not separate. And it is our oneness that is at the core of who we are.
But why stop there? If our individual selves are a part of humanity, and if humanity is a part of life on earth, why not go even further and try on the thought of all of life, either on earth or beyond, as being a part of the vast consciousness that pervades the Universe.
So now, with this thought in mind. How do you think each aspect of life, or awareness, would like to be treated? How would your nose like to be cared for? Certainly not as separate. That would leave it hanging out there all on it's lonesome. The same can be said for one another. How would each of us like to be treated?
Ah, in steps The Golden Rule. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' There is some version of this teaching found in every major religion on the planet.
But what about beyond? As we move our attention on out into the galaxy, it doesn't take too much more looking for us to begin to see the Universe as a whole? Awareness arises, dances in one form or another, passes back into compost or spinning galaxies and arises again. As we start to appreciate the depth of the beauty that we find there, we begin to learn how to embrace the one thing there is. We find that we can celebrate not only our individuality, but also our unity consciousness, living, loving, caring for and embracing each and every aspect of the whole.
A very Happy New Year to you all.