One of the most pervasive myths in spiritual communities is this idea of oneness. Due to the somewhat recent popularity of authors (and some other authors for hundreds/thousands of years) who espouse enlightenment as a sort of emptiness or not doing or being anything… a shift from identification as a human being and from external reality and from any sort of sensate experience or emotional state… we have a culture of aspirational “enlighteners” who think that enlightenment is very different from their real, current, and human condition.
As I have talked about many times before, this only furthers the escapist, illusory mentality of people who wish to get away from their lives, their humanity, and “ascend” somewhere else. Spirituality cannot be here… we must “journey” to it, we must take weekend vacation workshops to find it, we must be something and do something and eat something else to achieve it. Most people are only awakened to the extent (especially in spiritual communities) to see what is wrong with themselves, what is wrong with the world, what is wrong with humanity. Or they are only awakened to the extent that they can accept the “good” or “light” in themselves and they castigate the rest. So, in their minds, the only rational illusion is that enlightenment and anything spiritual is not here and is not now and that it must be found and caught and sought after, that the “bad” or “shadow” aspects of themselves must be turned into light (often in quite a severe fashion) and that whenever something “not light” shows up it is worthy of admonition, chastising, and self-hatred because it means that they are not “enlightened”. That there are a whole series of rules and memes and books and gurus and diets that we must follow in order to “achieve” enlightenment, to “ascend”.
What is ironic about this is that entire spiritual communities are based in this illusion. That spirituality is somehow “out there”. That it must be achieved, and that anything having to do with humanity, the human condition, the physical body, our every day lives, our emotions, our senses, our sexuality… anything that is not controlled by this odd puritanical and pervasive thoughtform of “light” and “dark” and “evil” and “good” is somehow not spiritual. The irony is that this odd puritanical reasoning is the furthest thing from how spiritual flow, how divinity, how the direct experience of spirituality and enlightenment actually occurs (and not just in my accounts, in the clients and people I talk to who have found such states and books not based on pop psychology/propoganda and illusion for centuries FYI).
Within this myth perpetuated in spiritual circles about the nature of enlightenment is an idea of oneness. There is this categorization of oneness as a sort of hippie love-fest– that it is indescribable bliss. There is also an idea that oneness means that we lose our “ego” and surrender our individual identity forever.
From these two ideas has come a whole slew of odd irrational thinking. That we are all the same, that there is no such thing as race, sex, or class. That we all have equally valid ideas, equal intelligence, and equally matter to the world and to one another. That we should give each other equal respect, and consideration.
Let us explore this. We now live in a sleeper society of Wikipedia. I see this in the groups and communities that I am in (or once was in). The person who has read a wikipedia page going into a Thelema group, or a Shamanic group (or whatever, you catch my drift) thinking that they know everything about the subject because of wikipedia and google. Then the people who have read a book or two thinking that they are “experts” in a subject. Then someone who has been studying spiritual healing or magic(k) for twenty years… and not only studying but practicing… having the direct experience of not only reading words on a page but engaging intensely with a path for decades. And let us say that there are two people who have direct experience of this path for decades. One of whom circles around the same patterns, the same stuckness, their same issues never really engaging in their spiritual path… and the other launches head-first into their spiritual path fully ready to surrender and move forward and learn and become who they truly are. Are these people equal? Are their opinions equally valid? Any logical person would say NO. In any other non-spiritual sphere/community this would not be accepted. We would not want a second grader teaching us calculus, and we would not want someone who had studied calculus but had no love or embodiment of it (and was at a second grade mentality despite studying it for a long time) teaching us calculus.
We are not all the same. We are different. Our cultures, our race, our identity, our features, our physical body, our studies, our direct experience, our traumas and ancestry and lineage and past lives and everything that makes us who we are makes us unique. We should celebrate our individuality. It is beautiful. We are not all the same. Our community is not the same as every other, our family is not the same as every other, our social group is not the same as every other. Each sphere, culture, social group, family etc. that we operate in is a unique energetic makeup. And it is individual. And it is beautiful and should be celebrated for that unique beauty and what it (or you) can uniquely bring to the world.
People who have not had the direct experience of oneness do not realize that it does not mean that we are all the same. It does not mean that we lose our “ego” or fight to kill our “ego” (another topic, but how violent are we to our poor ego?) It does not mean that our opinions, our physical prowess, our ideas, or our experiences are the same as anyone else, or equally valid to any other. There are many paths up the mountain, but some of us are at the top, and some of us are at the base. I would rather speak to those ahead of me than those behind me… and at this point I would rather speak to people who have climbed back down the mountain and are relaxing in a hammock than anyone still engaged in the proverbial mountain.
So what is Oneness actually like? The Direct Experience of it?
Well, like all good myths there is some truth to the illusion. We do experience a dissolution of Self, a realization of connection that is profound, life-changing, and a sort of bliss that is really indescribable. The myths are true. But it is a temporary experience so that we can change perspective, not a permanent state.
Let me explain. After we have experienced “oneness” (basically have dipped our toes into oneness typically) we can either get freaked out or be not ready for jumping into the full flow of oneness and go back to our separate thinking and identity. When this happens we desperately miss “oneness” and will seek spiritual high after spiritual high (or adrenaline rush like jumping out of airplanes) to find it again and again, to dip or toes in again and again, only to lose it again and again. This is what most people do, and why we have so many aspirational spiritual sorts– they are just looking for the high of oneness but do not venture into the reorganization, integration, and change of perspective aspects. Or maybe they do not realize that they can go further than this state. Basically, they never dive head-first into oneness. They just dip their toes in from the shores.
Most people who go through the “high” of oneness will endlessly talk about it like an addict, and will ironically talk about killing the ego, oneness as the hippie-love fest and all being the same mentality while espousing how many workshops they have been to, what teachers or gurus they have studied under, and how long they have been meditating.
What happens if we go through (instead of back) into Oneness?
When we go through oneness, we come back to ourselves. We are still one (although without the high or rush that happens with being hit over the head with realization of oneness) but we realize our own identity. We no longer are haunted or persuaded or hurt by the innumerable thoughts we once had, or we sense them but do not identify with them because they are not who we truly, as an individual are. Our minds are quiet. Our lives are peaceful. We are one… yet separate.
It is hard to describe to people the perspective change that happens. Many people are not ready to hear that you can experience more than one state at once. That you can know that you are one, that you can be one, feel that you are one… and that you can experience separation and individual identity at the same time. In fact, experiencing oneness allows for you to truly understand who you are as an individual, it gives you clarity that is so clear that it is a bit jarring to process.
The perspective change that occurs with experiencing oneness is that it is always present. But you can be blissful and joyful and full of sorrow and pain and anger at the same time. In fact, all of these states can be exquisite and are equally valid and worth– no state or emotion needs to be chastised or cleared or chased away as “dark” or “negative” or “bad”. You can be one and spiritually isolated at the same time. You can realize that all of humanity, the world, and each other is one…. and that we are quite separate and that separation, that individuality, that individual spirit that is present in each person, each tree, each pebble is necessary, and often beautiful.
The direct experience of oneness allows for us to give up the seeker role. We have found. We constantly feel the ocean of divinity, the oneness, the vibration and sound and harmony that is present and flows through everything and every person. This can be quite difficult to process, actually. And the experience of oneness can actually be quite isolating, as the whole world, or entire spiritual communities would rather engender and support the mythology of oneness that the actuality of the experience.
In the direct experience we just continue to unfold, and return to our external lives with the perspective shift that we have gained. It can take years, or decades, or even lifetimes to integrate or even understand having simultaneous experiences of being oneness and also individual… being the entirety of the flow of divinity but yet just a pebble in that flow. It is a continual process of unfolding. The further that you get, the more you experience oneness, and the more people have no idea what you are talking about. The more you expand into oneness the more connected you feel and yet the awareness and understandings cultivated become isolating.
I realize that this blog may be difficult to process because people really want these states to be different from their lives. People hunger for their lives to be different as they repeat the same patterns, and destroy themselves again and again in their lives without consciously understanding why. Many people have this hunger for illusion because it perpetuates this idea that if they only changed their diets, if they only did yoga, if they only were able to “ascend” or “achieve oneness” their entire lives would be bliss and they would not have to deal with the human and sensate experience. And the state is different. Just not in the way that people want, the way that many “gurus” teach to gain money and followers (and most gurus have not reached these states themselves. Most real gurus are actually not popular because they say the things that are truthful and what people do not want to hear– most people really love their illusions. It is rare that a true guru gains popularity with the masses because most of the masses are asleep or caught in aspirational states and illusion).
If you are stuck in any of these states, I can help you integrate and work with them. Contact me with interest.