At One means there is only One reality.
"Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them to what is deepest within themselves"
- Teilhard de Chardin
It is, as Longfellow said, "the thread of all sustaining beauty that runs through all and doth all unite".
After a long, long time...many years of soul searching', study and self-discovery I've finally 'got it' and now understand the difference between the deepest agony and misery of the human condition… and the greatest joy!
I 'know', from my own experience, that the difference is simply between feeling separate, isolated, lonely, lost, and feeling 'at-one', whole, home. I think most people, if not all, live with a kind of homesickness; a sweet nostalgia which they can't quite put their finger on as if they were once in a place that they can't quite remember but desperately, somehow, want to get back to.
The Mystics have said for millennia that in existence there is a fundamental oneness; there isn't and never has been any division or separation at all. Now science is beginning to agree, they call it a "Unified Field" or "Theory of Everything".
I believe that at our deepest level (our core, Being, essence, soul, DNA) we inherently know that we are one with each other and with all things. The trouble is in our mental-minds. We have a deeply rooted idea that we are separate, a deeply engrained belief. This causes a split between what we think and what we intuitively know; a distance between our heads and our hearts.
From day to day we live from our heads, our thoughts… and this causes all our problems, all our misery. We're going against our deepest instincts! It is said that while in the womb (and also as very young children) we are in a natural state of one-ness, love, union, innocence…bliss. Then after a while, gradually as we grow up in the world, we begin to realise that "I am this and you are that", "I am here and you are there", "I am me and you are…you". We start to feel separate, we become 'self-conscious', we become afraid.
In some ancient Eastern languages, the word for 'Separation' and the word for 'Fear' is actually the same. We go on and on accumulating knowledge, identity, conditioning and this sense of 'Me' gets re-enforced over and over again. We develop an "Ego".
Psychologists reckon that this is essential for survival at this stage of our lives. However, although necessary, too much "ego" can eventually become a heavy burden. As adults, we feel isolated, lonely, small, restricted and incomplete.
Trapped in this prison of a mind-made-ME, we long to expand, to grow, to melt, to merge with someone, something…anything. We ache to be back in that place that we once knew. This has all happened because we have forgotten Who We Truly Are. Our light has become hidden under the bushel of fear, a false self, a mask, a defense, and/or an idea.
The cure is Love.
Love is the essence of who we are and it is our way out of this mess. Love and fear are opposites. Fear was the problem, love is the solution. Fear means separation, love means union. Luckily, only love is really real.
I heard a Sufi story once:
A lover went to visit his beloved. He knocked on her door and his beloved called out "Who is there?"
"It is I, Rumi, your lover," he replied.
"Go away," she said, "There is no room in here for two of us!"
He was baffled, but went away and studied, meditated, learned, burned, unlearned and eventually surrendered and let loads of inner ego baggage go.
A few months later he came back to see his beloved. Again he knocked on her door and again she called out "Who's there?"
But this time his reply was different. "It is you," he said.
The door opened and he was welcomed in. He had learned the secret; he had remembered.
The word 'sin' originally means 'to forget' or 'forgetfulness' and so to be forgiven, to be redeemed, to be atoned, we have to remember something. We have to remember the truth that is at the core of who and what we really are, the truth that's in the marrow of our very bones!!
Truth is a word for anything that is indivisible: Love, the Now, God, Dharma, Logos, Tao, Energy, Nature, Life, Reality, Existence. To remember ourselves as a part of the divine plan is to be set free yet deep down, we are already free, love is freedom.
Love heals us, makes us whole again. (Interestingly, the root word for 'heal' and 'whole' is the same.) Our Ego NEVER feels complete, or fulfilled or whole. All our restriction, all our resistance, all our struggle, all our fight is basically against nature, against ourselves, against love. It's a fight we can never win! The part can never 'win' against the whole and eventually, one way or another, we will have to surrender, to yield, to let go.
"Love conquers all things; let us too give in to Love."
Love is the bottom line of every religion and spiritual pathway, to surrender ourselves to a higher, deeper, greater power. The word 'Islam' even translates as 'surrender'.
So it seems that our lives are a journey from knowing, through forgetting, to (hopefully) remembering again. We start out open and free and end up open and free. Somewhere in the middle we pass through a narrow tunnel. This tunnel is our identification with our small-self, "ME", a conditioned-ego, our cocoon.
The Buddhists say, "No self, No problem."
To me, that means no small, false, separate, scared self; no problems.
When they talk about 'dying before you die' I think they really just mean dropping the baggage; getting rid of all our un-natural ways and being natural again, returning to innocence, like a child, living 'in tune' with our own true nature, just as God intended, living love. Living like this you never fear death!
Jesus said that whoever is prepared to lose (their old life, their ego-shell) will gain (a new life, freedom, joy) He also said that the Golden Rule was to "Love your neighbor as your self", because he knew, he'd remembered, at the deepest level your 'neighbor' is yourself.
There is only One Self. Call it Love, call it Life, call it God or Truth or "The Ground of Being". It doesn't really make much difference. We are all truly, madly, deeply One!!!
Remember, re-member, be a member again of the whole of existence, of everything that is, was and ever will be.
In Hinduism, it's called "Lila", which means play. To be yourself is to be happy. To be whole is to be healthy (to be out of tune with yourself or the whole leads to "dis-ease").
We are each a vital part of something real, magic and infinite. We're each like different instruments in a divine cosmic orchestra. You don't need a reason to be happy and there is no reason to be afraid. Live, love, laugh, and learn.
"...and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
- T.S. Eliot
"Namaste", which (I think) means I honor that place in you, where you and I are one.
Copyright © 2006 Simon Heighwaya