Posted by: Michelle UluOla | March 13, 2010

The Languages of Separateness or Oneness

Have you ever noticed how various professions and trades have a language all their own? Part of that is out of convenience and necessity: abbreviations and acronyms are used to increase speed of communication, and there are many words specific to a job, along with those created to describe new discoveries or inventions.

But, there’s also a level of lingo used that’s akin to the secret handshakes and passwords of childhood clubs. It keeps adult groups smugly separate from those who aren’t associates. We all recognize it, and many of us use it, sometimes unconsciously out of habit. Our common speech calls it out as “officialese, legalese, political double-talk, fine print, red tape, mumbo jumbo” and of course, prescription-pad-shorthand.

Then there’s the Alphabet Soup of acronyms of secrecy: the National Security Agency’s NSA, the Central Intelligence Agency’s CIA, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s FBI. The Secret Service uses POTUS to refer to the President of the United States. SCOTUS is used for the Supreme Court of The United States. However, I recently heard a more chilling use of SCOTUS in a media report to refer to the Supreme Commander of the United States, in a non-constitutional, figment-of-the-reporter’s-imagined upgrade from Commander-In-Chief.

Perhaps it was one of those unintended consequences that through TV shows like “Law and Order,” “CSI,” and a slew of hospital dramas, the general public has become privy to more of the terminology of lawyers, forensic scientists and doctors, cracking the codes previously known only by those club members. That enables people to more effectively converse with their own lawyers and doctors and be more accurate in reporting crimes and testifying about them. The Discovery, History and PBS channels do a stellar job of educating the masses about various fields of science, also exposing them to increased vocabulary. The positive result is that more people feel included, rather than separate.

While the occupations mentioned above use different variations of their mother tongue to converse, IT and computer specialists go way beyond that, using “mathematical codes” to instruct machines how to communicate with humans and computerese to talk with each other. That means it’s essential those professionals are multilingual to a high-tech degree. Their creations are beyond amazing, elevating Dick Tracy’s two-way radio watch and Star Trek’s science fiction of 30 to 50 years ago to the level of everyday, taken-for-granted household devices. But now, with the use of Morse Code-type abbreviations for emailing, texting and Twittering, the English language is rendered nearly unintelligible to non-computer-literate people. Like exclusionary high school cliques, the younger set uses modern-day shorthand to hide their conversations from parents, and sometimes, their peers.

Considering all the ethnic and sexist jokes, not even humor is immune from fostering disconnection.

All of the above are examples of the language of separateness. While there are obviously times and places that its use is necessary and functional, it seems that too often these days, it’s used to intimidate, confuse, belittle or convey: “I am better, smarter, more skilled or talented, younger/older, different that you.”

In October 2002, I attended the 5-day, International Conference on Altered States of Consciousness in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The list of presenters spanned the spectrum from physicists, anthropologists, biologists and psychologists to shamans, including some people who are both. Physicist John Hagelin, Ph.D. gave a fascinating address. [A wider audience later became familiar with him when he was featured in the What The Bleep Do We Know? movie released in 2004.] While I no longer recall all the details of his talk, I still vividly remember the finale. Dr. Hagelin pointed to the screen behind him where his slide presentation was projected. There was a large chart divided down the middle. The left side was labeled “Physics,” and the right side was “Metaphysics” (or a word referring to Spirit/Religion). Each column detailed a list of discoveries, theories, and beliefs held by scientists or philosophers. There was a line drawn across the bottom, and under it, the conclusion he had come to after analyzing and comparing both lines of thought: “We Are One.” It turned out that despite invented and imagined differences, his research showed that science and spirit intersected at the same place.

As I thought back to Dr. Hagelin’s lecture, I began to look for the places in our everyday life where there were examples of that oneness. That’s when I noticed how something as basic as our language so often conflicts with that idea. Our vocabularies have become more and more limited as we rush through our communications, often unmindful of how our words affect others…or reflect on us.

Take something as simple as how we greet people: “Hi, Hello, Howdy, Hey, Hiya, Yo!” The words are often telegraphed in a hurry, just as a launch pad to get on with conversation. They might be followed with, “How are you?” But few people expect to get an answer, let alone an honest one. While some individuals have welcome mats outside their front doors, not many actually voice the cordial greeting of “Welcome!”

Taking leave of someone is often done with a clipped, “Bye.” The original, “God be with you” was lost in the mists of the 1500’s when it morphed into “good-bye.” There’s also, “See Ya!” The use of the more meaningful, “Farewell” went out-of-fashion long ago. Leave-taking is often abrupt as we quickly move on to the next item on our to-do list.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with our American English forms of salutations and valedictions, especially when offered with a smile and/or nod. However, I’ve noticed that other languages use words that are much richer in meaning, showing respect and acknowledgment of the other person in welcoming ways that recognize and celebrate oneness.

One of my favorites is “Aloha,” which has multiple, nuanced meanings, depending on context. The parts of the word “Aloha” mean “to love” and “to be with.” When Hawai’ians use it as a greeting, it means “Hello, I love being with you (again).” When they use it in parting, it means, “Farewell or until we meet again, I loved having been with you.” It can be used in a platonic or romantic sense. It’s a greeting of love and compassion and, most especially, can also mean to be in the presence of the “divine breath” or “divinity,” acknowledging the “Spirit within” the other person. Aloha is usually spoken with a warm, gentle tone or high enthusiasm, and if one is extra lucky, accompanied by a lei of flowers placed round one’s neck. How lovely!

In much the same way, Eastern cultures use “Namasté,” accompanied by the gesture of mudra—the act of palms placed together at the heart chakra with a bow of the head in greeting. An interesting article about that, along with the western tradition of shaking hands can be found here.

Last year, I was introduced to the Mayan greeting, “In Lak’ech Ala K’in.” Translated to mean, “I am you, and you are me,” it’s a way of honoring each other with a declaration of unity and oneness. It’s also an approach for looking at the world and practicing a spiritual presence. For a thorough explanation see posting here.

Aboriginal cultures around the globe have similar forms of greetings in their native languages. Through their use, they have retained the art of communication that oftentimes seems neglected in the fast-paced Western world.

Gene Rodenberry provided a futuristic example for us when he created the Vulcans of Star Trek fame. There aren’t many folks parting company with Mr. Spock’s “Live long and prosper,” or answering with, “Peace and long life,” but wouldn’t that be nice?

While I certainly have no aspirations of starting a campaign to use forms of greetings different from one’s norm, I would like to politely suggest more awareness. As I pondered all these various languages, it occurred to me that it’s really not at all about the actual words spoken. It’s about energy, thoughts and intent. It’s about slowing down for a moment, taking the time to truly connect with each other, acknowledging our Oneness. After all, even if we have nothing else in common, we are all crew members on Spaceship Earth, so we are all in this together. If we practiced this form of conscious communication, I believe we could begin to co-transform our world into a more nurturing, peaceful one for all of us. Yes, it’s only a small step, but we’ll never get anywhere without taking the first ones. It’s certainly worth a try, isn’t it?


© UluOla 2010



  1. I do not drop many responses, but after reading a bunch of responses on The Languages of Separateness or Oneness | UluOla’s Blog.
    I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright.
    Is it simply me or does it give the impression like some of the remarks look like they are coming from brain dead people?

    😛 And, if you are posting at additional online social sites, I would like to follow everything new you have to post.
    Could you post a list of the complete urls of your public sites like
    your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?


    • Thank you for reading my blog post.

      It’s always alright to ask questions. In response to yours, I know the people who posted comments there, and they are some of the most enlightened, brain-awake people I know, so I can only imagine that you missed the point. As for posting urls, I do not have a linkedin profile or twitter feed, and my Facebook page where I communicate with over 700 enlightened friends around the world is not open to the public.

      In Lak’ech Ala K’in


  2. Michelle, you do such great writings! I enjoyed this one a lot 🙂
    sunshiny Aloha♥


    • Thank you so much, Angelika…you made my day! Glad you’re enjoying my blog. Warm Aloha with Blessings of Love and Light to you, Michelle


  3. In Lak’ech Ala K’in, my good friend

    delight full and insight full


    • Thank you for the kind words, Steve. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. ~~~Aloha~~~


  4. smiles;”


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