Oneness (repost from 2005, with updates)

If I break down the walls,
I will be surrounded by the garden.
If I break the levee, water will inundate me.
Meditation is not to be separated from life.

The task of following Tao is to cease all distinctions between the self and the outside world. It is only a matter of convenience that we label things inside and outside, subjective and objective. Indeed, it is only at elementary stages that we should talk of a Tao to follow. For true enlightenment is the realization not that there is a Tao to follow but that we ourselves are Tao.

That understanding comes after a simple breaking down of a wall, a shattering of the mistaken notion that there is something inherent in this life that divides us from Tao. Once the wall is broken, we are inundated by Tao. We are Tao.

Do we continue to meditate once we come to this understanding? We still do, but it is no longer a solitary and isolated activity. It is a part of life, as natural as breathing. When you can bring yourself to the understanding that there is no difference between you and Tao and that there is no difference between meditation and “ordinary” activities, then you are well on your way to being one with Tao.

Deng Ming Tao, 365 Tao

“Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgment, discernment, comprehension. It is a gestalt or oneness, and integrated wholeness.” — Stephen R. Covey

“A miracle is nothing more or less than this. Anyone who has come into a knowledge of his true identity, of his oneness with the all-pervading wisdom and power, this makes it possible for laws higher than the ordinary mind knows of to be revealed to him.” — Ralph Waldo Trine

“And in the solitary state of oneness, man can meet himself.”
— William Harper

“Seeing the oneness of life, and experiencing this with no Self in the way to distort it, is so very different to how the mind tries to project it. The mind literally has no idea how it truly is from an experiential perspective. It is always so much more simple and down-to-earth than the mind could ever imagine or comprehend.” — Julie Sarah Powell

β€œStudents achieving Oneness will move on to Twoness.” — Woody Allen

“How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Oneness is a concept thought of by new agers as becoming “One with the Universe” or by religious people as “Becoming One with God”. The simple reality is that so many of us feel disconnected in our lives, or like we are incomplete and there is a void needing to be filled, by someone or something else. Oneness is more the feeling of being complete with yourself and connected with the outside world as well.

Psychologically, it’s kind of the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Most people manage to fulfill their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing (at least in our society – in other places it is very different). So survival needs are filled. Then people look for love – usually from others. Then people look for self-fulfillment, or “self-actualization” as Maslow calls it. Once you’ve gotten there, you can consider others needs and help them learn to fulfill them, becoming inter-connected with and interdependent with others, rather than dependent or independent.

You see it again in Joseph Campbell wonderful “Hero with a Thousand Faces” — the difficult part of the hero’s journey seems to be conquering whatever evil he faces, inner or outer demons. But the real, true difficulty is in coming back to the world — completing the journey and knowing there is nothing separating you from yourself, or from anything else. You care for others because you are no longer afraid there is anything to lose, anything they can take away from you. What blocks us from others is the fear of losing a part of ourselves, or a fear of trusting others only to be abandoned by them. But once you overcome those fears, through the process of rebuilding after you have lost something to someone else or been abandoned, then there is no longer anything to fear. You faced your worst fears and survived them. You are complete in yourself, so you don’t look for anything from someone else, and you don’t fear that they will take something from you.

It is a wonderful feeling to feel you are one with yourself, that you are connected to the larger world as well and understand the linkages and inter-dependencies. Yes, you learn to meditate even when life is busy and there’s no time to sit by yourself. You meditate while doing other things, what the yogis refer to as “moving meditation”. The point of meditation and of yoga is to bring you to a place where you can be calm and in control no matter what is going on around you — you simply don’t allow the chaos of daily life to affect your mental state. It is a very healing place to be.

So how do you get there? Mostly by practicing meditation and yoga. And spending as much time as possible doing whatever makes you feel connected — whether that is gardening, walking in the world, talking to others, being with animals or pets, or whatever works for you. There is no single path, no secrets. The paths others present are merely ways that are helpful for them. There is no ultimate goal other than to constantly become more yourself and help others ot expand their own awareness. That’s it!