You might have heard it said that "we are all one". What does that mean? The quotes below explain it. These quotes from: an ancient text, an advanced meditator, a near-death experiencer, a spirit communicating through an evidential mediums, a materialist atheist , Christian scripture, Christian theologians, a Native American medicine man, a Jewish Scholar of the Kabbalah, and a Sufi philosopher, all describe something very similar:
According to Wikipedia:
"In Hinduism, Brahman is "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world", which "cannot be exactly defined". It has been described in Sanskrit as Sat-cit-ananda and as the highest reality... According to Advaita, a liberated human being ... has realised Brahman as his or her own true self."
J. J. van Der Leeuw, an advanced meditator, wrote in The Conquest of Illusion:
"In that experience [of the Absolute] we are no longer the separate self, we are no longer what we call 'we' in our daily life. Not only are we our entire being, past and future, in that sublime experience of eternity, but we are the reality of all that is, was, or shall be, we are That."
Linda Stewart wrote about her near-death experience:
The metaphor represented by the image I saw and perceived was absolutely clear and I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that WE ARE ALL ONE. I comprehended that our oneness is interconnected by love and is an available, much higher level and means of communication than we normally use but to which we have access. This love is available to anyone who is willing to do the hard spiritual work that will allow us to open our hearts and minds and eyes to Spirit. I remembered the love I had felt in the presence of God and experienced a total sense of love for all existence as an interconnected oneness and a manifestation of God.
The spirit of Charles Marshall communicating through direct voice medium Leslie Flint said:
It is the development and it is the tremendous realisation that one must have eventually of how we are all linked and bound together and how actually the very fundamental thing that flows through us all, is the very essence which is of God. And so we gradually evolve more and more to God or become like him.
I do not refer to shape or form, I refer now to the infinite spirit which is the very life blood you might say of all humanity; where we lose in each other ourselves and discover that we are all in a oneness and in accord. And when we have this oneness and accord we reach a stage of spiritual development where we can be considered to be living in a form if you like of paradise because we are conscious of everything around and about us as being not only "us" but "all".
Lester Levenson who developed psychological techniques that led to his realization wrote:
"This peace was eternal and forever, and it was the essence of every living thing. There was only one Beingness and everything was It; every person was It, but they were without awareness of the fact, blinded by the uncorrected past they hold on to."
He saw this Beingness as something like a comb. He was at the spine of the comb and all the teeth fanned out from it, each one thinking it was separate and different from all the other teeth. And that was true, but only if you looked at it from the tooth end of the comb. Once you got back to the spine or source, you could see that it wasn't true. It was all one comb. There was no real separation, except when you sat at the tooth end. It was all in one's point of view.
"It was obvious to me that I wasn't that body and mind as I had thought I was. I just saw it—that's all. It's simple when you see it.
So I let go of identifying with that body. And when I did, I saw that my Beingness was all Beingness, that Beingness is like one grand ocean. It's not chopped up into parts called "drops of bodies." It's all one ocean.
That caused me to identity with every being, every person, and even every atom in this universe. And that's an experience so tremendous, it's indescribable. First you see that the universe is in you, then you see the universe as you. Then you know the Oneness of this universe. Then you are finished forever with separation and all the hellishness that's caused only by separation."
Moving awareness to "the base of the comb", as Lester Levenson described it, is not like losing individuality, it is like remembering who you really are. When you are at the tip of the comb, it is like looking through a kaleidoscope that produces the appearance of multiplicity. When people who have near-death experiences and evidential mediums describe the afterlife, they are not always describing the ultimate reality. They describe various levels. The physical world seems to be at one end and pure consciousness seems to be at the other end, but there are other levels of the afterlife in between. After death, most of us will go to a level similar to the earth plane. It is only at the higher levels that one begins to experience the ultimate. This universal consciousness is consistent with the personal God experienced by people who have near-death experiences. If each of us with our personal nature is part of the universal consciousness, then the universal consciousness must have a personal nature too.
A similar view of consciousness, Panentheism, also exists within the Christian tradition.
According to wikipedia
Panentheism (meaning "all-in-God"...) is a belief system which posits that the divine ... interpenetrates every part of the universe and extends, timelessly (and, presumably, spacelessly) beyond it.Palamite Panentheism is explained in the video Christianity and Panentheism on youtube. This philosophy is a form of monism or idealism that holds that consciousness is fundamental. Here are some quotes from the video that support this view:
- Acts 17:28: "'In him we live and move and have our being.'"
- Colossians 1:17: "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
- John 14:20: "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."
- Athanasius the Great (writing about Jesus): "In creation He is present everywhere, yet is distinct in being from it; ordering, directing, giving life to all, containing all, yet is He Himself the Uncontained, existing solely in His Father. As with the whole, so also is it with the part. Existing in a human body, to which He Himself gives life, He is still Source of life to all the universe, present in every part of it, yet outside the whole; and He is revealed both through the works of His body and through His activity in the world." On the Incarnation, 3.17
- Martin Luther: "God must be present in every single creature in its innermost and outermost being, on all sides, through and through, below and above, before and behind, so that nothing can be truly present and within all creature than God himself with his power." Weimarer Ausgabe 32.134.34-136.36
- Larry L. Rasmussen: Nature could not exist if the spirit of God was removed.
Bernadette Roberts, is described at enlightened-people.com, as "a Carmelite nun who reached a deep state of union through the Christian practice of contemplation. She continues a long tradition of mysticism within the Carmelite Order that goes back to Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila."
In an interview with Stephan Bodian published in Yoga Journal and reprinted at spiritualteachers.org Bernadette Roberts said:
So here begins our journey to the true center, the bottom-most, innermost "point" in ourselves where our life and being runs into divine life and being - the point at which all existence comes together. This center can be compared to a coin: on the near side is our self, on the far side is the divine. One side is not the other side, yet we cannot separate the two sides. If we tried to do so, we would either end up with another side, or the whole coin would collapse, leaving no center at all - no self and no divine. We call this a state of oneness or union because the single center has two sides, without which there would be nothing to be one, united, or non-dual. Such, at least, is the experiential reality of the state of transforming union, the state of oneness.
As it turns out, self is the entire system of consciousness, from the unconscious to God-consciousness, the entire dimension of human knowledge and feeling-experience. Because the terms “self” and “consciousness” express the same experiences (nothing can be said of one that cannot be said of the other), they are only definable in the terms of “experience”.
Non-dualism arises in every age and culture. It is a universal human experience not dependent on prior beliefs.
Black Elk [Hehaka Sapa] (c. December 1863 – 17 August or 19 August 1950 [sources differ]) was a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) and Heyoka of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He participated at about the age of twelve in the Battle of Little Big Horn of 1876, and was wounded in the massacre that occurred at Wounded Knee in 1890.
The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka , and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
The Kabbalah is a system of esoteric and mystical Jewish thought which originated in Provence at the end of the 12th century and spread into Catalonia and Castile. ... After the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, other centres of kabbalistic studies emerged, including Fez, Venice, Salonika and Safed (now Zefat) in Palestine, where Moses Cordovero, (1522-1570) possibly the greatest systematic theologian of the Kabbalah, lived and taught.
Do not say "This is a stone and not God."
Rather, all existence is God,
and the stone is a thing pervaded by divinity.
- Moses Cordovero
Wa?dat al-Wujud (Unity of Essence)
Ibn Arabi’s doctrine of wahdat ul wujud focuses on the esoteric (batin) reality of creatures instead of exoteric (zahir) dimension of reality. Therefore he interprets that wujud is one and unique reality from which all reality derives. The external world of sensible objects is but a fleeting shadow of the Real( al- Haq),God . God alone is the all embracing and eternal reality. Whatever exists is the shadow(tajalli) of the Real and is not independent of God. This is summed up in Ibn Arabi’s own words. " Glory to Him who created all things, being Himself their very essence(ainuha)"
The various descriptions above of unity of consciousness are consistent with the view based on the sciences of cosmology and quantum mechanics that the universe was created by a transcendent creator.
There are various techniques that have been known to produce an experience of the ultimate. One path to it may involve a progression of states produced by meditation. This progression begins with relaxing concentration which produces serenity, which releases happiness, which allows love (Metta) to flow, which generates a feeling of connectedness to all things, from which a non-dual experience may arise.
- Lester Levenson's Story at releasetechnique.com
- Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book by Dainiel Ingram
- What is Yoga as Meditation? Free on-line course.
- Not-self is a further refinement of the realization of oneness.