a time, even just a fleeting moment, when you experienced
a feeling of oneness with all there is? A time your cells
felt thoroughly awake to the earth, the heavens, or the
loved one in your arms? Remember that sense of knowing the
perfection of it all?
those moments, more common than one imagines, the fractured
pieces of life unite. Self-consciousness evaporates. Your
heart is unbounded, your mind crystal clear, your body light
and relaxed, and your soul is wrapped in tranquility. You
long to linger in that blessed state forever.
may call it transcendence, illumination or a peak experiencean
experience quite outside the daily routine. Yet it seems
more real and substantial than anything you have known before.
Mystics know this as "unitive consciousness".
Philosophers name it the "universal logos". Spiritual
masters may liken it to a glimpse of enlightenment. And
physicists, such as David Bohm, know it as an expression
of the "holomovement", the whole of "all
that is"--an unbroken unity always in motion.
the way back to 500 BCE the question of unity has driven
deep inquiry. The philosophers Heraclitus, Plato and Aristotle
believed that all things are in constant flux, yet fundamentally
ordered and connected. This "universal logos"
defined, ordered and balanced everything by its opposite,
so that ultimately, opposites constituted a unity. For them,
perfect harmony was composed of the tension of opposites.
But since then western thinking has leaned heavily on the
differences of opposites rather than their underlying unity.
Our minds, speech and perceptions separate reality into
clearly labeled boxes. And although this certainly helps
manage the overwhelming "stuff" of reality, it
a dualistic, rationalist standard lives the heart and soul
of humanity. Despite the differences between cultures, races,
and genders, there flows a glue whose bond is stronger--for
having been broken apart. An enlightened moment may reconnect
us to this understanding. Or a relationship. Most especially,
experiences of grief and compassion return us to the undeniable,
felt-in-the-bones truth of our oneness.
ago I read a book by Paul Tillich, The Courage To Be. He
wrote of how one is more intimate with the other in the
absence, versus the presence, of another. When that loved
person is not there with you, there are no limits to the
way you experience the bond between you. But in their company
limitations exist in time, context, and the judgments sparked
when personalities meet.
words showed me the prison of my perceptions and how my
personality assigns form to everything I encounter. It keeps
me apart from the other and the glue that holds us together.
Apart from a Source that unites us in our shared humanity.
cannot adequately convey the experience of unity. In the
wordlessness of viewing a painting, listening to a piece
of music, or walking in nature all elements seem to fit
into one harmonious whole. In meditation, when the noisy
mind settles down, the space in-between seems both one-pointed
and eternal. Yet these are often solitary events where the
dictates of the personality can be quieted. To bring the
experience of unity and wholeness into comm-unity is the
challenge of the ages.
with the multiple distractions in our lives, our inner impulse
toward unity cannot be stopped. The tragedy our world suffered
September 11, 2001 brought together opposing dichotomies.
An entire planet mourned as one. Nations, individuals, religions
and cultures linked in a compassionate embrace to comfort
and support each other. We came to know the real meaning
of global comm-unity. Collectively we stood in "witness
consciousness" acknowledging the immense actuality
of life and death, the light and dark of humanitys
we don't need dramatic or traumatic happenings to experience
unity. It is in our lives all the time. Unity is so fundamental
to our being that even glimpses are powerful in framing
the wider context of our lives. We're called to deal with
forms, separations, polarities, "this and not that."
Attending to our lives in these ways doesn't separate us
from unity, but a growing awareness of unity lends deeper
meaning to these activities. It gives us our inner compass.
So watch for unity in your life in the "between moments,"
the times when you step back inwardly and take a rest. Let
your deep unity with all that is be your life's companion,
an invisible presence that is always there for you to help,
guide, and sustain.