Imagine you are the whole universe. Imagine you live in total joy and bliss. Imagine there is no past, no future only Now. Imagine there is no space, no time, just an unbounded eternity. Imagine endless peace, harmony and unconditional love. Imagine no fear and equality in all things. This is Oneness.
Unfortunately we can never imagine it fully. The dilemma is that to understand or experience anything, we need to compare it to something else, which immediately brings us into duality. Oneness by definition is incomparable.
So is it ever possible to know Oneness? Yes, but only by direct experience, when we go beyond the mind, intellect and ego. Oneness is the coming together of all opposites. It is always with us as the basis and underlying essence of everything. It is nothing in itself but holds the potential for everything. We have to go beyond the senses, beyond duality to find Oneness.
We’ve all had random, unexpected glimpses of Oneness. Perhaps you were watching a beautiful sunset and had that moment when you felt like you merged with the whole of creation; or saw your new-born child for the first time and fell in love with the whole world. We even have expressions for these glimpses, we say, “It took my breath away” or “Time stood still”. This Oneness. We became One with the totality of the experience. But, when we return from the moment of Oneness, we find it impossible to fully express it in words. It just was! There are no words we can use to describe Oneness. In Vedanta it is simply referred to as Tat or That.
We can also have direct experience of Oneness through meditation. Meditation provides a systematic path by which our awareness settles to quieter and quieter levels of thinking until we finally transcend thought completely. All duality is in the realm of thoughts. When we slip into the spaces between our thoughts, we become Oneness. We “become” Oneness because even though we use words like “experience”, to experience anything brings us back into duality. Oneness is a state of Being.
Deepak Chopra has told us that, “Every single thing is an aspect of One Field of Consciousness” he goes on to say, “The Whole never loses contact with its parts, they are never lost or forgotten.” Modern quantum physics talks about a Unified Field, which underlies and connects everything in creation. Who we are, is Pure Consciousness or Oneness, expressing itself in different forms at different times in our evolution. Pure Consciousness, eternal and timeless, is the Oneness. We are the separation, the duality.
To quote Deepak again, “The origins of life forms is the differentiation of Pure Consciousness into multiple forms of life expressed as qualia conglomerates which create the relative world. John Lennon simplified Oneness as, “I am he, as you are he, as you are me and we are all together”.
Damian Mark Smyth said, “We’re One, we’ve always been One, we’ll always be One, until we think we are not”. And here in lies our challenge, we are One but we think we are separate, we have forgotten our Oneness. As a result of forgetting, we create an illusory world of duality, which leads to suffering. All dis-ease is the result of forgetting we are perfect. All disagreements, conflict and wars are due to the mistaken belief that we are separate. When we realize we are One, who or what is there to fight against? On a cosmic level, two people fighting with each other is as ridiculous as if your hands decided they didn’t like each other and started fighting with each other!
Are we then doomed to a life of separation, where Oneness always remains an elusive dream? Not necessarily. Fortunately, Vedanta and its great teachers have illuminated a path guiding us to the place where it is possible to live fully in this relative world, with full remembrance of Oneness. They have given us a vision of 200% of life. Here are a few suggestions to take us in the right direction.
Being part of a harmonious community helps to foster the principles of Oneness. It supports us on our own journey and allows us the opportunity to serve others. It allows us to be open to new and different ideas, to begin to dissolve our barriers and limiting beliefs. Community can re-connect us with a sense of Oneness.
We’ve already mentioned that meditation can give us direct exposure to the Oneness deep within. When we transcend thought, we enter a field of Pure Awareness, the non-local, ground state of existence. By making this journey back and forth from local to non-local awareness, we begin to witness the state of Oneness along with our waking, dreaming and deep sleep states of awareness. This opens the door to Higher States of Consciousness and the full re-integration of Oneness in our lives.
Begin to be more conscious of everything in your life. Conscious of your thoughts, your emotions, how you react to the situations and people in your life and be conscious of your choices. Being conscious of how your actions affect your life and the lives of those around you helps to create a sense of belonging. A sense of being part of something greater than just your own ego driven ideas.
See your own Oneness
When you stand in front of a mirror, pause for a moment and look directly into your own eyes. Say silently or aloud AHUM BRAHMASMI (a hum brah mass me), which means I am the Universe or I am the Totality. You can say it in English if you prefer. This is your soul reflecting back into itself and reminding itself of its Oneness. Practice this at least once a day or whenever you catch your reflection in a mirror.
See the Oneness in Everything
The Bhagavad Gita states, “If you can see God (the Oneness) in everyone, you can never do harm to anyone”. Wherever you go, whatever you experience through your senses, keep reminding yourself that it is all part of the same Oneness. Begin to recognize the world as a reflection of yourself.
The Indian blessing Namaste (nam ass tay) is commonly spoken, accompanied by bringing the palms together in front of the heart center, when meeting or taking leave of someone. It means, “I recognize the Divinity in you which is also the Divinity in me” or in other words, “We are the same Oneness”. If it’s not comfortable for you to say it aloud, think it silently every time you meet someone.
Oneness is the potential for all sounds but is, itself silent. In every moment of existence, the whole of manifest creation is constantly emerging from the silence of Oneness. The first sound or vibration emerging from the silence is OM. This vibration then diversifies into all the sounds and vibrations of the Universe. When we chant OM it draws our awareness back to the dawn of creation, which is ever taking place within us. OM guides us back into Oneness.
Love is the greatest, most powerful unifying force in creation. When we are in love, we become one with the object of our love.
The Sufi poet Rumi wrote, “The lover asked his beloved, do you love yourself more than you love me. The beloved replied, I have died to myself but I live for thee.”
Ram Das said, “Oneness is the source of love. Real love is the One celebrating itself as two.”
In the Vedanta it says, “The ignorant man (engrossed in duality) desires material things; the intelligent man (Seeker on the path) desires Enlightenment; but the wise man (knower of Oneness) just loves and receives everything.”
Live your life from Love, recognize that you are the Universe.
The Yajur Veda tells us “It is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent. It is all-powerful, all-pervasive. It pervades, permeates and penetrates all things and all hearts”. This is Oneness. This is who you are. Be the Oneness, everything is yours.