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Discovering the Oneness of Life

by Roy Posner

 Essays

 

 

 

When we look out onto the world, we experience life in dual aspects: day and night, hot and cold, pleasure and pain, positive and negative, good and evil, etc. It is how the mind perceives the realities and unfoldings of life. As we develop more subtle inner capacities, we see shades of gray in between these polar extremes. As we rise in consciousness, we not only see the entire spectrum of possibilities from one pole to the other, but we begin to lose the entire sense of polarity. When we rise to our penultimate selves, we only see and experience Oneness.

What is Oneness? There are many ways to interpret this term. Let me begin with one: Oneness is non-differentiation. Oneness sees the utility of all things; that everything and every side plays a vital part in the greater scheme of things. Good as well as evil, positive as well as negative; the pleasurable as well as the painful, and so forth. By having the consciousness of Oneness, one perceives the unity of life -- that both sides of any duality are necessary for the unfolding of life. E.g. WWII, in which 60 million died, was the greatest "negative" of all time, and yet it enabled the most positive progress in the history of the world (the UN, the European Union, rapid global prosperity, and accelerated social and cultural integration and unity, to name a few.) Progress that may have taken hundreds or more years occurred in not even 50.

Likewise, when we look back on own lives, we see that the greatest negatives in our lives were often the spur that enabled our greatest progress and success. Without them, we would never have become who we are. To see the value of the positive and the negative, or any other polar set of opposites is to begin to have the perception of Oneness. It is to recognize that all parts serve an emerging purpose -- not merely the good side, but the "bad" as well. To look out on the world this way is to have the vision of Oneness, which is to see life as it really is -- undifferentiated and One.

The problem is that we look out at the world through a divided consciousness, not from the poise of Oneness that perceives nondifferentiation. As a result, we feel pain and therefore suffer. We want this, but not that. We take pleasure in one outcome, but are repelled by another we did not seek. We are disturbed by certain "problematic" circumstances of life, when they are actually an intense spur for progress. Nearly every minute of the day, we look out on the world from our divided self, seeing and experiencing the polar or extreme divisions of life, not its undifferentiated Oneness.

However, if we were more conscious, we would embrace everything that we see and comes our way; both sides of the duality; all shades of the spectrum of life in between -- which would in turn enable us to live far happier and more fulfilled lives. Then why do we see duality instead of Oneness? It is because that is how we were born: with a divided consciousness. When we first became aware, we noticed that our body was separate from others, so we identify with it alone. The same with the division between our own selves and the world around us. When we live in the primitive consciousness of the body that is how we see the world. Unfortunately, many live their entire lives this way -- especially fanatics and other selfish or otherwise negative individuals.

One level up we see the world through our sensations, emotions, and feelings. We are not as brutally separate as when we are centered in the physical consciousness, but nevertheless we desire one thing over another, have endless emotional preferences, which leads to persistent disappointment and pain. Moving up further still, we come to mind, which is more stable than our vital/emotional being, and is not swayed or determined by desire. Still it sees the dualities of life, often taking to one side or the other. Our incessant opinions are proof of this fact. So is our ignorance and lack of integral knowledge on most matters. As we move upward to the more rational mind, we see more possibilities, more shading between the extremes, and we embrace these, which causes us to suffer less and become more insightful. Beyond that, the view of life through polarities all but disappears. In this highest spiritual consciousness, there is the perception of the necessity and utility of all things -- even the integration and unity of elements and circumstance that oppose one another. It is the spiritual perception of Oneness.

Our lower consciousness then sees division and duality; our highest consciousness sees Oneness. Our lowest consciousness is one of separateness that divides life into extreme polarities, and experiences life this way -- primarily as pleasure and pain. As we move to a greater consciousness, those distinctions fall away.

How can we bring this higher consciousness into our own lives? When we move away from our ego-sense, we lose that sense of division. We then see the truth of things in their multiplicity of possibility, making us less prone to favor one truth over another, which means we will not only suffer less, but have insightful into the truths and conditions of life. By suffering less, we will in turn have increased positive energy that will help us rise in our careers, and will engender deep joy and delight in being alive. 

How then do we overcome ego? We do it by moving within, to a deeper consciousness, away from the surface bubblings and stirrings of life. In those calm, serene, undisturbed depths, we look out at the world with clarity, and without prejudice. When we are firmly entrenched in this consciousness, we sense more of the Oneness of life. We become mindful and aware of the multiplicity of possibilities before us, which enables us to make right decisions that lead to actions that end in success. We see all things in their rightful place in the Play of life, which enables us to be in harmony with all of life's unfoldings.

Interestingly -- and ironically -- living our lives this way helps us break down the dualities our higher consciousness perceives as necessary for our progress. Through that deeper poise, we tend to create the conditions of the Good, as opposed to the good that is opposite of the bad. This Good knows no opposite. It is self-existent without a dark shadow. It is a life of spiritual self-giving, gratitude, self-knowledge, silence, wisdom, love, delight, and oneness. No opposite emerges when we take to these spiritual behaviors. Dualities disappear, even at the lower emotional and physical levels of life. We in essence bring undifferentiated Oneness to the surface of life. It is indicative of our own spiritual progress, evolution, and transformation.

Eventually, we can come to experience the Ultimate Reality behind all existence, in which the Spirit and Life are seen as inextricably One. It is the greatest of all spiritual experiences as we see that we and our Creator are of the same reality; that we are One.

Additional Information: Oneness and Unity for the Individual, Oneness of Life in the Cosmos

 

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