I'm learning "VOA - numbers and their stories - Number one", and found a sentence I can't understand well:

(My brother had drunk too much)

Now my brother is a wise and calm person. He is at one with himself. He recognizes when he has had too much alcohol to drink.

The full text is here: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/words-and-their-stories-number-one-139576908/118908.html

I found some translations said that it's meaning is "His mind was calming down at that time".

It makes sense to me, but I don't feel it complete correct because the sentence is using is so it's not telling something at some time point in the past. It's just decribing what kind of person my brother is, and what kind of state my brother in.

So my understanding is "He is such a person that he is in harmony (usually/often/always)".

Is my understand correct?

And is my opinion about the translation I referred correct?


Dictionary.reference.com gives us at meaning 24:

a) in a state of agreement; of one opinion.
b) united in thought or feeling; attuned:
He felt at one with his Creator.

Macmillan shows us that at one with means:

happy and relaxed in your environment
Here in the mountains I feel totally at one with nature.

So he is at one with himself means he is happy and relaxed with himself, he is united in thought or feeling with himself.

ODO gives us:

in agreement or harmony.
they were completely at one with their environment
Source: Oxford Dictionaries Online definition of “at one”

Which fits even better: he was in harmony with himself.

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  • 1
    To directly answer the asker's questions: "Is my understand[ing] correct?" Yes, you are correct, someone who is at one with himself is a person who feels in harmony with himself. "Is my opinion about the translation I referred [to] correct?" Yes, you are correct that a man who is at one with himself is in harmony with himself right now. If he was at one with himself, then that means he was in harmony with himself at that point in the past. – Egghead99 Sep 9 '14 at 17:08
  • @snailplane I changed it to taken. "taken without obviously attributing it" would be a bit long. – oerkelens Sep 9 '14 at 21:00
  • @TylerJamesYoung: thanks! Thanks for editing it in! My google-fu has hiccups. – oerkelens Sep 9 '14 at 21:10
  • @snailplane :-( It's late... it seems several skills apart from google-fu need some rest. I'm going to bed feeling very dumb :'( – oerkelens Sep 9 '14 at 21:14

To be at one with oneself is a combination of two things:

  • knowing oneself:

    • psychologically
    • emotionally
    • physically
  • not being disturbed by what one knows about oneself

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