Understanding Unity

Understanding Unity

Photo by gin_able

When people speak of Unity and Oneness, we will naturally try to compare this conceptually with our experience. Perhaps a sense of togetherness with a mate, feeling part of a community, or an internal sense of integrity.

But the Unity of consciousness people speak of is much more than this. The best the mind can relate to is a “unity of diversity”, a sense of unity underlying the varieties of the world.

Unity is much deeper than that. And getting there usually takes a number of steps, a process. What is does not change but how we perceive it goes through a series of shifts. I’ve outlines that in places like States of Consciousness and in The Journey series.

As we shift from experiencing the Self within to being That, we come to an internal unity, a unity of self. The observer remains separate from all expression though, so a duality remains in experience.

As the perception deepens, we come to see the movement within all things, all expression is seen as the expression of One. Thus unity of form dawns.

And finally, full Unity Consciousness dawns when the inner Self and outer One are seen to be the same. They come together in a series of openings. Most of us perceive through the senses. But when the senses are absorbed by Self, we perceive from the heart.

This unity cannot be grasped by the mind. But it is completely inclusive. There is nothing not brought together. Diversity is seen as an illusion, an apparent covering of the One, moving within Itself.

morning glory
Photo by Joel Bedford

To get a sense of this, consider that we usually live in a world of differences. Everything seems unique. In Unity, there are no differences. The variety of the world is just a superficial sheen over the movement of the One within itself. There is no “inside” and “outside”, no separate “person”. Sky, shirt, table, car – all are seen to be the same thing. Not similar. Not thought to be the same. Experienced to be the same.

From physics, we know that all form is simply virtual fluctuations in the void. This is seen directly during the awakening process.  Of course, words fail. English was never developed to cover such territory.

Often, people will read teachers descriptions and mix in their concepts. But once you have a broad sense of it, you can place any experience or description within this continuum. Simply keep in mind that it’s a 2 stage process. There is a series of experiences. Then there is the opening and becoming where we switch from experiencing to being.

For most of us, what’s next is self-realization, not Oneness. In self-realization, there is an internal oneness so we can begin to get a sense of it. But it’s always more than the mind might expect. Remember that we live in a dream. Waking is simply waking from a series of dreams, of the individual, of the universe, of God.

How can you possibly understand waking from the dream of God if you are still seeing yourself as a person, separate? Perhaps still seeing God as a concept or even debating what the word means. Don’t try to understand it. Learn instead to allow what is. That is the door to Oneness.

Last Updated on April 2, 2021 by Davidya

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  20. Bojan

    Hi David. I was reading the teaching from Robert Adams. He said that only the Self is real and the world is the ilusion or nonexistent. So from the stages that you are describing he would be on the first stage,the Selfrealisation,which is still the stage of duality.How come that the people at that stage think that this is all there is? Don’t they “feel” somehow that the journey continues after that into Unity and Brahman stage even if they don’t have the intelectual knowledge about further stages? The Atman knows that his origin is in Brahman,right? Thanks for your comment about that.

    1. Hi Bojan
      It is common for this to be presented as “reality” when in fact it’s his reality but is not the totality of it.

      When someone awakens clearly, the sense of seeker falls away and they can feel done and complete. However, in many ways it’s just the beginning.

      Because there is an inner sense of oneness and the external world may be seen as illusory, it’s dismissed. They then equate the experience as “nonduality” and think it matches the old teachings. Yet the texts call it dwaita or duality as there is still 2 things, as you observe.

      As Shankara noted, the sense of illusory world comes from dominant rajas guna. When sattva becomes dominant, the world is seen as Lila, the divine play. In other words, illusory world is an effect of transformation rather than a perception of reality itself. (The guna process is parallel but a bit distinct from the process in consciousness)

      What further complicates it is a) there are far more people in that stage than later ones. (though that’s changing) b) some consider concepts of stages like this to create concepts that are a barrier to waking. This is true. But a concept of no stages is also a barrier – its the identification with the concepts that causes trouble, not the map itself.

      If someone goes on and teachers “reality”, they can become identified with their own teaching. That can get in the way of their process.

      Some people become clearly awake quickly, some people take time to get clear. Some people move into further stages quickly, some people take more time. But if they’re not supporting the process, it will tend to take longer. If they are unintentionally actively resisting it, even more so.

      This is a big reason why I talk about this stuff so much. It may create conceptual boxes for some but for others, it is green light, a signal they’re on the right track and things are unfolding as they should. Or it gives them language for the experience, and so forth.

      And no, Atman doesn’t know it’s origins in Brahman prior to the Brahman shift. Until then, Atman looks in on itself and doesn’t recognize more. He sees itself as infinite and eternal. Kind of like the cosmic version of the ego thinking this body-mind is who I am.

      After that, Atman does know itself as Brahman. But people take the Upanishad statements about this to think Atman = Brahman. But thats like saying ego = consciousness. Not really a good perspective. (laughs)

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