The Vision of Oneness: Peace Alone Is Everywhere
by Shree (Sherrie Wade) MA
Director of Transformation Meditation Online Institute
As soon as we open our eyes we become aware of all of the separate forms around us. We become aware of our own body that appears as a form separate from other bodies. Therefore, the concept that we are all one can be confusing to the beginning meditator. The system of yogic philosophy called Advaita Vedant, with writings by the Shankarchariyas, the great yogi Sages, and others, is that all is one reality without any division. One without a second! If we examine this further, we know that when we were in the womb we were one with our mother as we were in her body, but as soon as we are born then our body is separated from our mother’s body. At that point we become a separate body or person. As an infant we did not know ourselves as separate but very quickly we were told: “These are your eyes, these are your ears, this is your mouth, and this is your name.” You are told that the body is who you are and that you have a mind that has to develop through studying and learning.
When you go to school you are told that you have a mind and a brain and that some students are smarter than others. You are told that you are a person with a name given to your form and by this name you are called everyday for attendance. You are told that you have to listen, study, and do well on the tests to evaluate how studious or how smart you are. You are told that you have to work hard in order to retain and memorize the information that is presented. At the end of the semester you are given a report card to know how you have progressed and to alert your parents to your progress or lack of progress. If you do well then you are considered successful and if you get a “D” you are told that you failed. From this failure you may conclude that you are dumb for failing. It soon becomes clear that it is you, this body with a mind, who fails or succeeds.
When we study world history we find out that there have been many wars and battles throughout history in order to have peace in the world. More people have been killed in the name of peace then in any other way. Yet, the world keeps going on with the basic premise that peace can be found by getting people to agree. The belief is that there will be peace only if there are basic agreements about human rights and property. From this idea as soon as there is disagreement there is conflict and conflict leads to anger and anger leads to war. Even those who march against the war go home and argue and fight with their own family members.
If family members are not at peace, and if each person is not at peace within him or herself, then how can their family be at peace and not argue or fight? If families are not at peace then how can their neighborhood, community, city, country and world not have arguments, wars and battles? From the flawed system of creating peace, that has been prevalent in the world, we can see that a new method is needed. We need a method that is based on inner peace, or Oneness, and not on division. When there is division agreement is required in order for people to get along. A new system is needed whereby you would no longer separate your own body and mind from the source. That source is the source of all, so then agreement is not necessary as all diversity comes from one same source. Just like, all the different aspects of water such as the bubbles, steam, waves, whirlpools, foam, etc., are all manifestation of the same water or H2O.
When you do not know that the source is the same in all, then you will harbor jealously and fear in order to get all that you need for yourself. Meeting your personal needs for peace and happiness may even involve cheating or lying to others as the human condition is filled with desire, lust, greed, attachment, and ego. When you begin to divide yourself from your own source, and do not see others as coming from that same source, then, this division continues and you can never be fully at peace.
To bring about this new method of bringing peacefulness to humanity, we have to first understand what the Vision of Oneness is and what Oneness is not. Oneness is not sameness. It is very apparent that all things, forms, people, beliefs, ideas, are different manifestation and therefore not the same. So when we say that we are all One, this does not mean that we are all the same. Many cultures, schools, and institutions that have used this idea by declaring that everyone should be as one, so they think that if we dress the same and do not have our personal freedom that this will make everyone live equally without jealousy and resentments. But true Oneness has nothing to do with sameness. Oneness is not on the level of forms, bodies, or personalities. It is totally clear that with seven billion people each one has a different face, different cells, different genetics, and a very different upbringing so there is no sameness on that level of form or of individual people and personalities.
Then what is the meaning of Oneness? The answer to this question can only be seen when you close your eyes, since the human mind cannot know Oneness. When the physical vision is shut down from seeing all the forms and things around you, you will see the space in front of your closed eyes. This space is the space of meditative awareness, or a higher state of consciousness. This is the same space that everyone sees. In this space there is no division. Therefore, in the space of meditation there is no division. As soon as you use your senses to see or feel your body, mind, personality, or that of others, then you have divided the space. In the Vision of Oneness there is only space. Out of that one Pure Space, or Pure Consciousness, the innumerable forms are all created. Just like a potter makes many pots out of the earth or clay but they are all made from the same one substance. A multitude of pots in all designs, colors and sizes can be made, but the clay always remains clay. In the same way, the ocean is always ocean water even when there are waves, bubbles, and even icebergs that form out of the same substance. No matter how many forms develop it always remains the same ocean water.
Now, how can you apply this to the Vision of Oneness? We have to become aware that we are all made of the same space or consciousness and, out of that one space, there arises the five elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements move together in various formations and become all the planets, stars, mountains, plants, oceans, people, houses, cars, furnishings, etc. But as they are all made of the same substance they are all emanating from space. Therefore, they are all space. Just like all the clay pots are all clay, or all the forms of the ocean water are all ocean water. Even though we appear to be separate human beings, with bodies and minds, in essence we are all Pure Space. Science tells us that even though forms appear to be solid they are 99.9% space. Therefore, the vision of duality or form consciousness is an illusion to the human senses. Just like if you see a snake and get afraid only to find out later that it was just a rope. When you know that the snake is an illusion you are not afraid that it will bite you. Your body is like your car or instrument of perception. You know your car is not you, so in the same way you can know that your body is not the real You. Thinking that your body is the only “you” is the illusion. When you believe yourself to be only the body that was born then you fear that one day you will die.
To know the Vision of Oneness rather than the vision of duality, or illusory consciousness, you need to turn your attention in meditation into the Pure Space that we all are. This pure vision of space, is seen by the inner vision or inner eye, (sometimes called the third eye) as it cannot be seen by the human or physical eyes. This third eye has the ability to perceive all the multiplicity of people and things as One, Pure Space. When we look at another person with our eyes they appears to be separate and we can easily see the different physical appearances, cultures, socio economic backgrounds, upbringings, education, etc. We can listen to their point of view, which may be similar in some ways and different to our point of view in many other ways. Therefore, oneness can never exist on the level of two. As long as you see someone else as another, or as a form and personality, then there can never be the sense of Oneness.
Oneness is the inner vision that sees everyone as Pure Consciousness, Pure Existence, and Pure Beingness. With this vision you see what is illusory and what is truth. You see the rope and you are not afraid that it is a snake. Which means that you see the Pure Consciousness that we all are, at our source, and not just the forms. Therefore, you can accept all the differences and not expect anyone to be the same as you. This is a great help in relationships. When there are two different people relating to each other, the two minds cannot, and will not, always agree. Each person comes from a different family upbringing, has a different genetic makeup, a very different past experience, education and life experiences, so each one will have inherent differences. The conflict that occurs in relationship is all based on wanting someone else to think and behave the way that you do, or the way that you think that they should behave so that you can feel easy, happy, or relaxed. This desire to have that type of sameness is impossible so of course many relationships fail. When each partner expects the other person to make him or her feel secure and happy, this becomes impossible as security and happiness can never be totally achieved outside of the Vision of Oneness. Permanent or the never changing inner sense of security and happiness only comes from the Vision of Oneness.
The Vision of Oneness only comes about when you do not divide the space into two: one as space and two as its manifestation or forms. As from this division you begin to see the two as separate. Through meditation you begin to see everyone and everything as one reality. Rather than seeing the physiological differences, you tune into the space or Pure Consciousness, which is unchanging and is forever one. The physical eyes have no choice but to see, different colors, shapes, sizes, and nationalities, etc. but the inner vision sees only the space from where it all arose. Space alone is everywhere. When you start to see with this vision then you remain at peace within yourself and then, and only then, can this inner peacefulness spread to your family, community, country, world and to all humanity.
When you meditate and see with your expanded vision, the Vision of Oneness, you see one Being. You do not see yourself as separate from anyone or anything.
Therefore, this is not even awaita, or non duality, because that is still opposite to dwaita, or duality. There is no duality to start with, as there is only Oneness. When you see it is a rope you never again say that it was a snake, you now always see it as a rope. You don’t have to first see a snake and then say it is not a snake it is a rope, so now you don’t say it was two or divided and now it is Oneness. You see it as it is and as it will always be. Illusion by definition means it was never there. In the Vision of Oneness you maintain your human experience of what to do that is best for you and your love ones; and the discriminative faculty to know who to talk to, who to spend time with, what is best for you to eat, and what you need to accomplish in your life. You do not loose your sense of the duality that is inherent in the waking state, as that is its nature. You know who you love and who your family members are, and who you give care to and who needs to be put in jail so they can no longer harm others. You do not loose anything, as instead, you gain everything! Now you are empowered with a higher vision that includes it all. If you become a millionaire you don’t have to forget where your first dollar came from.
In yogic thought we say Om Shaanti. This means that the Om, or universal space of all that there is shaant, or peaceful. When all is still, like when the air or ocean water is still, then it is all peaceful. So it is the movement of water that creates the waves and the movement of air that creates the gale force winds, and it is still the same water and air that remains in all it movements or manifestations. In the same way all the thoughts, beliefs and desires of the mind are made of the same consciousness that you are. When you are still or unmoved, such as in meditation, you know the peace that always remains with you, as this peace is at the source of your mind. When the mind returns to its source in meditation, or when your attention goes to what exists behind the mind’s thoughts, then there is peace. This is the reason you are always at peace when you are in deep sleep as there is no wavering of your mind in the deep sleep state. This peacefulness while you are awake is a state of consciousness, called the forth, or meditatve state. This forth state permeates all the other states, so when you live in your very own forth state of consciousness you always live in your own peace, and that is Oneness. When everything is absorbed back into the Pure Space of meditation, what remains is Pure Peace. Om Shaanti, Om Peace. The one who is peaceful creates a space of peace wherever he or she goes. May this peace be with you always!
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Sherrie Wade, M.A., Director of Transformation Meditation Online Institute and creator of the Transformation Meditation Home Study Teacher Training, has come to realize that the peaceful meditative state is our true nature. She speaks and writes with clarity and wisdom as to how one can unfold this awareness and transform one’s life. She is a certified meditation instructor from the International Meditation Institute, Himalayas, India, where she has spent over twelve years in self-inquiry and study. Shree has been teaching meditation since 1985 and is now known as a teacher of teachers.
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