Oneness has been a theme of sorts throughout my life.
FLASHBACKS TO THE TIME BETWEEN LIVES
When I was little, before school age, I had several flashbacks to before this life – when I had no body, all was a golden light, time was a whisper in distance, there was occasional communication with other beings, and all was love, the divine, and oneness. Of course, I didn’t think of it like that at the time. I don’t remember thinking about it at all. It was just something that happened, and I sensed it was profoundly familiar and from before this life, and where I felt the most profoundly at home.
I AM THE LOCAL EYES, EARS, THOUGHTS, AND FEELINGS OF THE UNIVERSE
A few years later, when I was ten years old, I was deeply impacted by the Cosmos TV series by Carl Sagan. I remember going out in the garden after watching the last episode, looking at the night sky filled with stars, and viscerally experiencing that I was – quite literally – the universe bringing itself into consciousness. I am the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. Just like al beings are.
Shortly after this, I was in the mountains in Norway with my father and brother, and we slept out under the stars. It must have been in the fall since the night sky was dark, and again filled with stars. And this time too, there was a shift into a profound visceral sense of the oneness of the universe and all there is.
ALL IS GOD
At sixteen, there was again a shift, and this one didn’t go away. I walked down the gravel road to our house at night, again under a dark sky filled with stars, and a big wind going through it all. From one moment to the next, there was a shift into recognizing all as God. Everything without exception is God.
Everything turned inside-out and upside-down. This human self is God locally experiencing itself as that, and having for a while taken itself as most fundamentally that.
This shift is still here.
FORMS OF ONENESS
There are several forms of oneness.
We can see all of existence as a seamless system. This universe is a seamless evolving system, and galaxies, solar systems, planets, ecosystems, and us are part of that system. We are local expressions of this larger seamless evolving system. Everything is the universe expressing and exploring itself in always new ways, and – through beings – experiencing itself in always new ways. This is a story from science, and it seems accurate in a practical sense.
We can see all as the divine or God, as mystics describe it. God is everything, and everything that we see as distinct things are part of the oneness of the divine. It’s all the divine exploring, expressing, and experiencing itself in always new ways. This is a story when it’s expressed and heard as a story, and it can also reflect immediate noticing.
We can talk about oneness in a more social or metaphorical sense. We as citizens of this nation are one, or we who belong to this political party are one. This is a limited oneness that has an other.
We can also find the oneness we are in our own immediate experience, independent of these stories. We can find it here and now.
In one sense, I am this human self in the world.
And when I look in my own first-person experience, I find something else.
I find I am capacity for my experience of the world. I am capacity for the content of my experience, whether it shows up as sight, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thoughts, or anything else.
I find I am what the world, to me, happens within and as.
I am the oneness the world, to me, happens within and as.
We can explore this oneness through logic and stories, and we can also explore it in our own immediate noticing.
TWO BASIC FORMS OF ONENESS
In reality, there are only two forms of oneness.
One is the oneness found in stories about oneness, which can reflect science, logic, or immediate noticing.
The other is the oneness we can notice here and now.
THE ONENESS WE ARE
The oneness we are can take itself to be something it tells itself to be – a human self, a separate being, a doer, an observer, and so on.
The oneness we are can explore oneness through stories.
And the oneness we are can notice itself in immediacy.
None of these is inherently better than the other. They all have value and a function. But the final one is a bit more fundamental and has more potential for profound transformation.