The Glorious Journey Home
The Oneness of God
Let me review the very, very simple theology of the Course, which is directly confirmable by inner experience. Before I do so, let me point out that although this teaching is very simple and totally natural and native to true beingness, so that even untutored little children or uncivilized indigenous people in any place or time can experience it, yet, even the greatest scholars and philosophical minds cannot understand it from the reference point of the separated individualized human consciousness. It can be experienced in a revelation, in an epiphany, in a light experience, in a natural return to wholeness.... but it cannot be analyzed, compared, evaluated, taken apart and digested by the left brain. It is not in the realm of conceptual understanding.
Even though it cannot be expressed in words, yet I must attempt to speak the unspeakable. At best it will leave a hauntingly seductive taste, a deep desire for the direct experience of it, in the mind.
This, then, is the meaning of everything:
God is. There is nothing else. God alone is. God is all there is. Only God is real. God is the one Reality. There is no relative reality or seeming reality or temporary reality or approximate reality or worldly reality. There is only God, the one singular, creative Reality. It is all I ever look upon, it is all I ever see. Whatever I think I see, in fact, what I see is always only God. I choose to call it ‘world'. I look on Oneness, on Holiness, on Light, on Perfection, on Love, on Self, on Reality, on All there is; but in my upside-down perception what I see instead is multiplicity; I see objects, I see shadows, I see forms, I see contrasts, I see ‘others', I see judgments, I see fear, I see corruption. I see only what is never there. The mistake is wholly in my perception and the meaning I give it. This mistake is not accidental. It is not just an innocent little error that comes from not knowing any better. It is a deliberate cover-up. It is the out picturing of my compulsive need to hide the truth of the oneness of God from my mind. In my little screwed up world of dualistic perception this kind of seeing seems to work for awhile, but in Reality it has no effect at all
My mistakes don't change anything. God still is, and nothing else is. There is only Light, there is only Love, there is only God. I can call what I see or feel anything and give it meaning. I can call it friend, I can call it enemy; I can call it wife, or child, or body, or mind, or anger, or love, or pain, or dream; I can call it table or grass or clouds or ghosts or atoms; I can call it Mary or Jesus or Shiva or Sai Baba or Tom or Betsy or me… I can call it anything… still the truth is not affected. Whatever I call it, it is God and only God and nothing else. Whatever I feel… whether I feel guilty or triumphant, free or bound, fearful or joyful, forgiving or vengeful… no matter what I appear to experience, still all there is is only Love. And that is God, and God is all there is. So, whatever thought I hold in my mind, ‘good' or ‘bad', I can never get rid of it, for there is no place for it to go outside of my mind. But, I can withdraw the non-God meaning I have given it and transform it into the all-loving God-thought that alone is real.
Let me go deeper. If God is all there is, then what about ‘I'? Obviously I exist. This is an uncontroversial fact. I cannot not be. ‘I' is an unchanging self-evident truth. Not the personal I, the one of many, surrounded by countless others. That individual personal I can not be; and in fact, isn't. It never really exists. But the self-awareness itself, the pure subjective, the center from which all perception arises, that I, the impersonal I, clearly exists. This is not the I of ‘I am a man', or ‘I am a body', or ‘I am spirit', or ‘I am an avatar', or ‘I am a disincarnate entity', or even ‘I am a soul'. Those are all particular descriptions that can differ and change. They qualify the one universal I. But consider just that totally unbounded I, all by Itself… Ramana Maharshi calls it the I-I,… pure beingness… the One without limitation or definition. That I is always there. That true I cannot not be.
So, if all there is is God, but there is also the I which cannot be denied or erased, then it has to follow that that I equals God. They are the same. There is no difference at all. But then it also follows that God must be first person subjective, not third person objective. God is I. God and I are exactly the same, the one singular creative Reality. Putting I and God together I can state the one Truth: ‘I am God'. That then is all of it. Nothing else is or can be. I can say, ‘I am God' and there is nothing else truthful to say.
But even this ultimate Truth, ‘I am God', has to be understood correctly. It does not speak of two, but of the One… I-God. Nor is it about a declaration of who this particular I is. It is speaking of what has no name and cannot be named; what is only a passionate eternal flow of mindful awareness, expanding and filling Itself... the Full creating the Full, while remaining ever Full. In ‘I am God' there are no objects or nouns at all, including I or God. In the sacred languages, Sanskrit and Hebrew, the root of all nouns are verbs, they speak of an ongoing isness. It is about an unchanging, ever flowing beingness. It is about a divine river of pure holiness. It is about the great biblical pronouncement, ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh', revealed to Moses from out of the burning bush: ‘I am that am'. Not a fixed concept of something with name and form, or even nameless and formless, but just an unchanging amness; an endlessly extending, blissful, melodious, all-inclusive stream of ever-expanding sacredness. That is I-God. Besides that there is nothing.
And that, I realize, is what I am. My holiness envelops everything and there is only my love, my holiness, filling and extending my fullness in an unmitigated splendorous outpouring of light. And so it is unchangingly, whether I experience it directly or not. I am eternal. I am one with God, I am God. I cannot die. There is no death. I was never born, I am never reborn. I am not a body. I am not in a world. I am not an individualized objective consciousness located in time and space. I am eternal. I am free. I am.
But this unlimited divine light is not how I experience myself. I have invented objects, bodies, differences, comparisons, contrasts, parts, structures, birth, death, happiness, suffering, health, sickness, etc., all the thoughts of things and ideas and pairs of opposites that I see manifested in the world. I made them up by creating the idea of time and space and positionality and ideation, for the sole purpose of blocking my awareness of the unchanging presence of God, the realization that God alone is. And so I spin a web of delusion, a world of shadows, none of which exists. Even the idea of God is a fabrication to block the awareness of God in my mind. I need Him to be an object, although He is not an object, but a verb, an action.... call it loving fullness.
I won't deny that I want that lovingness, but I don't want to totally lose myself in it. Above all, more than being immersed in the lovingness, I need to preserve the little gap between myself and God, so that I don't disappear into the uniform oneness, the blahness of dis-identity. I want to be immersed in love but at the same time I want to keep my self, my identity, my autonomy. The wholly all-inclusive oneness of God is a threat to me. It is a thought in my mind which I have to hide and cover over. Therein is the origin of all relationships. In the oneness of God there are no relationships. There is only the one all-encompassing light, creating and extending and bubbling forth, filling everything. But for me, located in my mind in this world, that light is not where I live as a human being. I cannot see it because my focus is totally on the gap.
The gap I preserve between myself and seeming ‘others' both in time and in space, a gap between bodies, and minds seemingly contained within those bodies, is merely the out picturing of the archetypal gap between myself and God; a gap which I so carefully protect. Every relationship centers on this gap. I have to constantly nurture the gap. If it gets too big I become isolated, desperate, alone, abandoned, without support and security. If it is too small I believe I will lose my self-identity and disappear into nothingness. Fear of both extremes keeps me busy night and day carefully honing my gap. In this, the special relationship is absolutely vital. Whether I love the other or hate the other doesn't really matter. The correct size gap alone matters. For me it is the holy grail, the dynamic stillpoint wherein I believe I can find safety and rest. Money, possessions, reputation, family, loyalty, behavior, profession, health, knowledge, living situation, religious belief, intimacy, privacy, love, all need to be carefully balanced and cultivated to preserve just the right gap, for only therein can I find happiness in the short interval I have available before death overtakes me.
The whole experience of being in a body in a life bounded by birth and death, is itself a manifestation of the gap. The idea of karma, that every action evokes an equal reaction, and requires a like situation to permit the corrective response to totally cancel the effect of the initial action, is an out picturing of the gap… a gap in time. All suffering in a body can be attributed to this endless wheel of karma. But the idea of sequential time is itself a phony manufactured thing. In truth, action and reaction always happen in the same instant, without an intervening gap of time, and as the Course puts it, ‘not a single note in Heaven's song is missed'. But I think I walk around in a human body in space and time, live and die, suffer and enjoy, attempt to improve myself, and make amends for actions that I hold on to in my consciousness. But all these were healed completely long ago, at the same moment that they happened. They never even appeared on the heavenly radar scope. Yet, once I made-up time and the possibility of delay, the guilt it spawned was now free to fester and brew all the varieties of human misery in my delusional mind.
Such is the human condition. A pitiful condition from which there is no possibility of surcease and rescue. No matter how lovely is the spiritual package that always seems to appear, promising relief through a golden age, in which the familiar world I see becomes newly transformed into one of peace and harmony… a lovely promise, but one that will not and can not happen. The solution is not in this world, nor of this world. Yet there is a solution, and it is the only solution. What's more, it is incredibly simple and totally available now. That solution is an action of mind. It is the realization that there never was a world of separation, and therefore there could never have been a problem. No problem, no solution. That is the only solution.
I do not need to fix the world I see, or accommodate myself to it, or do anything with it. I am real. It is not. It has nothing to do with me. In a moment of insanity I made it up, but now I can give it a different purpose and unmake it by changing my mind about it. Its bedlam need no longer affect me. I know it has neither substance nor true cause. There is no value in it anywhere. It is not related to God and God does not know of it. What is nothing cannot be known. The screen doesn't know the effervescent moving picture that is playing on it. Whatever appears to happen in the illusion, whether to me as a seeming body, or around me in a seeming world, is not real. I don't need to think about it. I stand in my certainty above the battleground. Once I resolve that this dream I make up be a dream of awakening, everything aligns itself to that purpose, and whatever I, the dream character, need do or not do, is shown to me. For me the world is already over. I need only to hold on to the realization that God alone is, and that I and God are not two, but one.... one I, one God…. the same… all there is.