Many and one onenesses

I like to differentiate between a small (psychological) and a big (spiritual) understanding of awakening. Each view adds and highlights something important.

For instance, are we one or many?


From a big or spiritual understanding of awakening, we can say that the divine is one and yet takes innumerable forms, including as any and all beings.

There is nothing wrong with that view. That’s how I see it too.


And a small or psychological understanding of awakening adds something important.

Here, we focus more on our own experience and don’t assume that existence as a whole is as it appears to us.

To myself, I am consciousness, and the world to me happens within and as the consciousness I am. This consciousness and experience of the world is one. I am the oneness the world, to me, happens within and as.

I assume it’s the same for others. They too are fundamentally consciousness, operating through whatever body and psyche is there. They too are oneness to themselves.

From this view, we are all one. The world inevitably appears as one to us. We are many onenesses.

We can also say that existence, most likely, in itself is one. We can add the view from science, which tells us existence is one in that it’s a seamless system. And we can add the view from the big understanding of awakening, telling us it’s all one in that it’s all Spirit, the divine, Brahman, and so on.


In a sense, we are many and one onenesses.

In my immediate experience, I am one, and the world to me happens within and as that oneness.

From a small understanding of awakening, I assume others too are fundamentally consciousness to themselves. They too are a oneness and the world, to them, happens within and as that oneness.

From science, it makes sense to see the universe and all of existence as one system and a seamless whole.

And from a big understanding of awakening, I see all as Spirit. It’s all the play of Spirit or the divine, including when it takes the local form of this being and all beings.


How has this played out for me?

The initial oneness shift happened when I was sixteen. In my direct perception, all was one. And to make sense of it through my mental representations, I definitely fell into the big understanding. I saw it all as God and Spirit taking any and all forms, including anything about this human self.

I was already into systems views (I loved Fritjof Capra’s writings which I discovered when I was fourteen or fifteen). So intellectually, I saw the universe as one seamless system. A holarchy made up of innumerable holons.

The small or psychological understanding of awakening was there, somewhere in the background, but I didn’t emphasize it so much and I didn’t differentiate the two as clearly as I do now. That came more over time, especially as I saw how useful it can be to make that differentiation.

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Not one & not two – no thing & something


The traditional teachings say that reality is not one and not two, and also that there is nothing yet something.

So if I use these as pointers for exploration, what do I find? How does it look in immediate experience, at least here now?

Reality is not one, and not two.

How is it not two? All is awakeness. Whatever happens is awakeness itself, appearing as experienced and experience and anything else.

How is it not one? Through a mental field overlay, we can differentiate in different ways For instance, we can differentiate between awakeness and form, experienced and experience, and so on. Also, this human self appears as a center of perception, thought, action and so on. And there is also a wider world.

How is it both? All is awakeness, and this awakeness appears as many when filtered through a mental field overlay.

How is it neither? All of these are stories. Pointers at most. A medicine designed to meet a specific condition. As stories in general, each of these have value only as a practical guideline in a specific situation.

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Flavors of one and many

Some flavors of one and many…

All is one in a couple of different ways.

Within form, or content of experience, I find that all is one through the Universe Story, evolution, holarchies, systems views, and many other ways of looking at it, some – such as the ones mentioned above – aligned with contemporary science.

When I explore what I am in my own immediate experience, I find that all is one. Content of awareness is awareness itself, and inherently free from any of its content, including the mental field creation of an I with an Other.

And all is many in a few different ways.

All is many when filtered through the mental field, creating an overlay of imagined – and very useful – boundaries placed anywhere within form, depending on what is useful and customary.

Independent of what I appear as to myself, others see me as one among many, as a human and an object among many. And that too is very useful.

All is also many in that any experience is fresh, new different, within the context of time. God never repeats itself, even if a story may say that something is similar to – or same as – something that went before or may come in the future.

And all is many in the context of space. What fills awareness here through this human self, is different from over there in your human self, and over there in my cat. Content of awareness is different depending on the creature.

Said another way, Big Mind is always the same in that all appearances are the play of Ground. Yet the content of these appearances, the content of experience, is always fresh and different, over time and among different beings.

Initial draft…

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