Recently, I find myself becoming increasingly attuned to the way we tend to speak about spiritual concepts, especially around the idea of “One-ness.” More specifically, I am alert to those prayers, meditations, affirmations and sermons that, quite innocently, talk of God and spirituality as a state of duality rather than non-duality.
The idea that I am one with God is not one that I came to easily. Certainly, the affirmations gently presented during Sunday services, posted on social media, or emailed throughout the week, do include a language that supports the concept of non-duality. However, my own personal experience usually belied this ideal state as a reality.
In the past, whenever I heard a statement like, “I am one with God,” my sense was that He and I were side-by-side. I pictured His gentle arm or vibrational energy helping to push me forward toward some form of ultimate salvation. Likewise, the affirmation, “I am a co-creator,” again suggested a partnership of at least two. If Jesus wanted to tag along, then there were three of us working cooperatively together to advance my spiritual nature.
Now, I am understanding this is not the reality of God at all. God — the Divine Mind — is not just “in” me; God is “of” me and I am of God. There is no separation between my Spiritual Mind and the Divine Mind. Notice that even describing them as two minds implies a potential for separation. However, in reality, our minds are One.
For me, the reality of the Absolute Oneness of God and Me (the spiritual me) is difficult to fully conceptualize or even explain because, as we see here, we still name each — God and Me — as separate items. It’s little wonder so many New Thought students struggle with the transcendence from self to Self. Even Self is used to describe the individual spirit instance, not that of a unified Spirit.
So, how do we move to communicate the Oneness we understand conceptually, but fail to communicate adequately? How can we, as devoted students of Unity, coalesce around the ideal unification of God and Man such that our vocabulary can appropriately describe both, yet as one? And, finally, how can we fully achieve the non-duality we seek if we cannot verbalize the unity non-duality suggests?
My favorite analogy for Oneness is that of the ocean. If I take one glass of water from the waves lapping upon the shore, I have a glass of ocean. It’s not the entire ocean, but its composition is such that I can truthfully declare it to be representative of the entire body of oceans surrounding our planet. That particular glass of water, though, contains enough microscopic uniqueness that it would never fully be the exact same water as another glass pulled from the sea. Yet, it is 99.999999999% identical to another glass dipped about the same time and in the same place. Other glasses of water pulled from other times and from other shores (or from the deepest canyons of the ocean bottom) would have quite different chemical signatures. And still, all these glasses are holding “ocean water.”
How do we describe our relationship to God with the same easily attainable visualization as the ocean water analogy? The answer is, “we can’t.” At least not with the words and descriptions we commonly use within the Unity community — or any spiritual community for that matter.
The reason is that words will never replace the deep, inner realization that we are each, individually, a piece of God: if God is the entire ocean, we are a glass of ocean water. That also means that if God is omnipotent, we are omnipotent; if omnipresent, so are we. If God is perfection, love and joy, then it stands to reason that we are perfection, love and joy, as well. We are all these things once we come to know we are simply a single glass of God.
Therefore, it is the knowing that becomes the real hurdle. It is knowing without a doubt that we are God in the same way the glass of water is the ocean. Our words will always fail us. Our sight will never fully see. Our ears will never completely hear.
But, our Minds can truly know.
Through prayer and meditation, we come to know. We allow our mind to join Mind. We pour our glass of Self water back into the ocean of Divine Mind and, once again, become a part of God, eternally.