Oneness and Individuality

Consciousness may express and experience itself through the sense of individuality and apparent separation just as much as it might through the majestic sense of oneness — it is clinging to or seeking one and avoiding the other which creates the chronic dissatisfaction which plagues most spiritual seekers. What we can recognize, upon inspection, is that both views are just that – views – and as such are essentially fantasies of interpretation on perception, projections of mind.

Moreover, the sense of individuality, as well as that of unity consciousness, are equally natural expressions of the incarnated being, contrary to the claims of some teachers who disparage one and elevate the other. In life, it is only fixation in any state that turns out to be the hindrance, not the state itself, which is, after all, a transient and non-binding modification of consciousness.

Light and shadow alternate. This realm is a platform for the complementary play of opposites, of yin and yang, and in fact it is one that makes the other “meaningful”. On the other hand, there are many so-called spiritual authorities who preach that the sense of separation and individuality is a lesser, or undesirable, state. One popular Western neo-advaita teacher, Adyashanti, wrote: “The state of consciousness that a great majority of humanity is in is not natural. It’s altered. We do not need to go looking for altered states of consciousness; humanity is already in an altered state of consciousness. It’s called separation. Separation is the ultimate altered state of consciousness.”

However, consciousness itself is perpetually changed by experience, so in that sense, it is always “altered”. In that regard, the sense of unity or oneness is also an altered state. Since there is no fixed and permanently established consciousness, it is all flux. Consequently, the effort to cling to some preferred, idealistic state (such as un-separate-ness) inevitable results in stress and suffering. One can verify this through their own experience.

It seems that there are a lot of myths swirling around the experience of “oneness”, perpetuated by our fellow human personas who would like to imagine the victorious acquisition of idealistic and superior states, along with the sense of some finality to the spiritual search. In reality, such an awakening to “oneness” may grant another perspective, a shift in the angle of vision, but does not immediately eradicate the subconscious programs (vasanas) which continue to confuse us in our behaviors and relationships.

It is a good step, however, if properly utilized in one’s inquiry, although it can also become even more of a hindrance, as we have witnessed too many times in teachers who claim some special liberated status and yet are revealed to be all too human in their foibles. The term “Spiritual By-pass” has been employed to describe the use of spiritual blinders that lead one to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.

In fact, ego-mind can co-opt even profound awakenings, wearing the experiences as some sort of badge. This is the “Intermediate Zone” that the 20th century sage Sri Aurobindo wrote about, which can be a serious trap for those without mature and qualified guidance and mentoring. I have discussed this previously, including in the essay “Tests of Mind, Character, and Will”.

In our human adventure, we may experience both separation and oneness, and there is even a level of realization in which we recognize that what we truly are is utterly beyond any definition or temporary experiential state, whether it be one of apparent lonely isolation or exalted oneness with all the universe. Both are equally interesting to our immortal Spirit in its infinite expansion of Self-awareness.

Indeed, it is only the human persona which holds the hierarchical perception that one state is somehow better or of more value than another. In reality, different views, different states of vibration, even the different dimensions are all arising interdependently, and exist within one another, informing and influencing one another and creating new possibilities all of the time. Thus, to quote the Guide Sparrow, one state or vibrational frequency cannot be of greater value than another, for all are “interwoven as one fluid mechanism, one interconnected sentient orchestration, and one infinitely expansive and evolving interactive process — That which some call God.”

 

oneness 2

Advertisements

About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, and our lazy dog, Amos, in a lovely little mountain town called Paradise, situated on the ridge of the Little Grand Canyon, in the Northern California Sierra Nevadas. I have several other sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Free Transliterations of Spiritual Texts: http://freetransliterations1.blogspot.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Oneness and Individuality

  1. Pingback: Oneness and Individuality – Bob O’Hearn – The Conscious Process | Pauline Battell – Star Seed – Lightarian (TM) Rays Master-Practitioner – Reiki Kundalini Master-teacher – Spiritual Channeller – Lightworker

  2. Bob OHearn says:

    “Internal and external are all the same function. That means when we are practicing, we take up all the phenomena of the physical universe, internal, external, mental or physical as well as motion and activity, and regard them all as the sublime activ­ity of the True Mind (Awareness). As soon as any thought or mental state arises, it is then the appear­ance of this sublime function. Since all things are this sublime functioning, where can the deluded mind stand? This is the method of extinguish­ing delusion by seeing that all things external and internal are the same function of the True Mind (Awareness).”

    ~ Zen Master Chinul

  3. Hi Bob, great post! Gary Horvitz pointed me over here and I’m glad I did! I agree with this take on a conceptual view of total reality although I think, in some ways, it stops short of ‘the end of suffering’ which is the physical and mental end of attachment to self reference. In my experience, self reference (individuality) does exist, but it is weakened or becomes smaller both suddenly and gradually as a result of practice. We outgrow it in a tangible, physical way and become something larger than it, not just when sitting but always thereafter. Does this jive with your experience?

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Thanks for your comments, MWW!

      In answer to your question, I would offer that we never lose our individuality, even if we return to Source. “It” is not something to “outgrow”, nor do we become “larger” or more holy or more spiritually ascended. That is all still part of the fantasies of the human persona. What we are is already perfect and complete. It is only our awareness or recognition of who and what we are which can expand or contract.

      In terms of “suffering”, you might take a look at this essay: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/suffering/

      Blessings!

  4. Bob OHearn says:

    “The ‘I’ casts off the illusion of ‘I’ and yet remains as ‘I’. Such is the paradox of Self-realization. The realized do not see any contradiction in it.”

    ~Sri Ramana Maharshi

  5. Thanks Bob, well said. I’ll check that out.

  6. Bob OHearn says:

    “Action, of any kind, including inaction, creates a momentum of energy. The direction and properties of this energy is dependent upon the choice and intent, and action produced. The action of the many, or the actions of the one, all effect the process, the bigger picture, the evolution of the One. Therefore the actions of the one do not go unnoticed by ‘the process’, since that individual is an inherent part of that process.”

    ~Sparrow

  7. I love your writings, Bob! You are one of the few people I’ve been able to pull from while going through my own transition into recognizing spirit vs. what the world has taught us to pay attention to. I recently wrote this poem, I hope you enjoy!

    Sinking Into the Self

    There’s so many special moments
    I have wanted to have
    Yet, I feel that I keep sinking
    And losing hold of my raft
    And, perhaps that is the purpose
    To learn there’s no steady ground upon which to stand
    Perhaps, all this seeming sinking
    Is a part of my life’s greater plan
    Because, I know deep down we aren’t just born
    And then one day we die and that’s the end
    Know that there’s a force that gears all life forward
    Into another type of land
    And, maybe, that’s why so many people are scared
    Because one day they think they’ll disappear to dust
    Yet, I know the next portal that awaits us
    Is just the point of another type of cusp
    So, maybe, I’m meant to sink
    And, maybe, you are, too
    Maybe when we reach the deepest vista’s of space
    We’ll find a new world where nothing appears as two
    ~Jennifer~

  8. Bob OHearn says:

    “The purpose is to experience life. It’s to experience being in the physical. Because in the other realm we don’t have a physical body and we can’t know who we are. The other realm is a realm of non-duality. Here, we are in a state of duality. Only in this state of duality can we know who we are. Because, it’s only by comparison with others, by knowing who we are not, by knowing opposites—that you can’t have good without bad, negative without positive—do we know who we are. All that is only possible here. Only here can we feel our emotions, fall in love, get hurt and really experience life to know who we are. None of this happens in the other realm. You can say that this is reason we take form, we take birth here.”

    ~Anita Moorjani

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s