Sunday, June 19, 2016
We really enjoyed our series on oneness and non-duality – a foundational issue in metaphysics and spirituality. What do we mean when we say (as we frequently do!) that “we are one?” It’s easy to say – maybe not so easy to comprehend!
As spiritual beings having a human experience, where are we in relation to Spirit, to each other, to all of creation? Are we moving into duality-based thinking when we even talk about being “in relation?”
Here’s a notion that may challenge you. I am not you, but I am not other than you. Think about that – what is the energy you feel around that statement? Are you a little uncomfortable with it? If so, you’re not alone.
If I am not you, how can I be anything but other than you? How can you be anything but other than me? Where are the lines?
When we walk into the world of non-duality, the realm of oneness, it may seem that we are stepping through the looking glass, where our old paradigms no longer apply.
If you and I are one, if all the wonderful diversity in our world is One, there has to be an organizing and creative source energy that, well, contains us – creates us, animates us. That operating principle is Creative mind, Universal mind, God, Spirit, Source, Atman, Allah, Yahweh – any and all names work.
We thus move beyond the image of God as that grumpy old man in the sky, or even as that loving old man in the sky. Our understanding expands to reflect a world, as St. Augustine wrote, where God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference that is nowhere. When it’s all God, we no longer get to focus on that man on the cloud, however comforting and however understandable. We realize instead that we are in a divine dance with all of humanity and indeed all of creation.
Religious Science minister Margaret Stortz says that “the idea of Oneness with God is the most important principle in all of the science of mind. In fact, in all of metaphysics.”
It’s all God. This is a thought with unlimited implications for our worldview and our daily life.
This is a world in which there is no “other”. There is no “there,” meaning a place separated from the reality that is us. There is only here, and there is only Spirit, in all the millions of manifestations that make up this world of physical reality. The same spirit that appears as you, that created and animates you, appears as me, animates me. Although in physical reality we appear as separate individuals, we know that is only appearance which will fall away.
Writer Aldous Huxley wrote “there comes a time when one asks even of Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, is this all?” We suspect there is more – that is the search that brought many of us to New Thought. This question drives seekers in all faith traditions to dig deeper, to the common source that unites us all. Instead of looking for what distinguishes us, we look for what joins us. We seek out our common humanity.
This is truly the path of awakening. In a world in which we know that God is all, we learn that separation is an illusion. We learn to retrain our minds to see the world from the view of oneness. We no longer see good or evil, friend or enemy, “us” or “them.” Looking through the eyes of the One, we simply see that all are beloved, all are united.
A view based on Oneness, or nonduality, does not eliminate differences. It transcends them – they cease to matter in a world where, as Father Richard Rohr puts it, “everything belongs.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the founders of American Transcendentalism, wrote of what he called that “unity, that Oversoul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other…within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE…. The act of seeing and the things seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.”
That’s the truth that will transform our world – we are all expressions of the one universal energy, beautiful and whole. Imagine a world in which we all live this truth! Where do we start? Right where we are – today, now.