As we deepen into our experience of being, there are many stages that we must pass through. Each time we pass through one of these stages, it opens us up in a way that allows us to move into the next stage – and the next, and the next, and the next.
Several of these stages include a shedding of the self from different angles and perspectives. At first we must learn to let go of our egoic concept of self. Then we must see through all of the layers of separation and division that keep us trapped in a spiritual concept of self. Finally, we arrive at a stage of realization where we understand that there is no one home – no one at all.
Most people will have great difficulty understanding this concept with the rational mind. A mind that sees itself as real is still attached to its concept of self. A mind still attached to its concept of self cannot see beyond the concept that it is attached to. But the idea that we are someone is indeed a misconception that arises within a mind that is still attached to its own sense of self.
When we discipline the mind through concentration exercises, and we cultivate awareness of our mind states through the practice of mindfulness, we begin to see into our thoughts, through our thoughts, and past our thoughts. Eventually we are placed in a position where we must examine the arising of thought from a much different angle – from a place best described as beyond the mind.
Along the way, additional realizations of our true nature begin to coalesce into a fuller understanding of who and what it is that we truly are. One of these realizations manifests as the experience of synchronicity, which eventually reveals a deeper universal perfection that underlies synchronicity itself. We begin to see that the whole system is in harmony with itself – perfect in every way.
The realization of this innate perfection then begs the question… How does the law of universal perfection across a particular system allow for anything that is imperfect to arise within that system? At this point, one begins to see how actions – however perceived, and the thoughts that brought them forth into the world, must themselves be arising as perfect parts of the system.
Again, this is not an easy concept to wrap the rational mind around, but at deeper levels of experiential realization, one can no longer escape the truth of things as they are. The mind is but an injection point for the divine will of consciousness itself; and thought is one of the primary tools used to guide us on our journey – as a tooth on a gear that turns the clockwork universe in the direction of its own purpose.
Where are you in any of this? You are the ghost in the machine. The you that you think you are has no basis in reality. You are but a drop of conscious awareness in a sea of conscious awareness that is flowing as a stream of conscious awareness into and out of this thing that we experience as reality. There is no separation or division in any of it – there is just the presence of a loving conscious awareness in which all things happen.
With these intertwining realizations, one begins to see ones own innocence in the process of unfolding. We see that the process is not a personal one that applies to us, but rather is an impersonal process that applies to the system as a whole. It is we, attached to our concept of self and in resistance to the truth of things as they are, who struggle against the stream of consciousness and create our own suffering.
But even this is perfect. Our suffering is the crack the light shines through, and it is through our perceived experience of suffering that we learn, grow, and progress into a profound state of unconditional love. This is the return to our true nature as beings of infinite love. Our suffering, and our freedom from suffering, are two dynamics that occur within form, to teach us how to love without conditions.
This is the evolution of consciousness itself. An entire system of consciousness that contains the whole of existence, in a state of absolute perfect harmony with itself, experiencing itself through a multitude of forms and formless states. A system that has infinite love for itself and infinite patience for the unfolding of its own divine plan; including our individual and collective roles within it – learning to love unconditionally.
If we can shift ourselves into the spaciousness beyond mind, return ourselves to our original state as beings of infinite love, and be in harmony with the perfection of all things as they are, then we begin to enter into the effortless way of being, or the great way of nondoing. Instead of doing, there is just being, and within being, all doing is done – harmoniously, without resistance.
Instead of losing ourselves in a trap of egoic consciousness, or a trap of spiritual identification, we find ourselves standing nowhere, doing nothing, being no one – and we are free. Free to dwell within the spaciousness beyond mind, as a being of infinite love, in harmony with the perfection of all things as they are, flowing, as one, with the effortless way of being.
At this level of realization, experientially arrived at in its fullness, all seemingly paradoxical aspects of this understanding disappear from view. There is no longer a need to question the mysterious nature of the beingness that exists beyond our being of which we are all a part, because we are it. There is no separation or division anywhere – we are the stream of consciousness, but there is no we in any of it.
Oneness is the collapse of duality into the nondual, experienced at every level of our being, through the continuing process of self-realization. But oneness means just that – there is only one. Only The One. Experiencing itself, expressing itself, expanding itself, watching itself, being itself, playing with itself, learning from itself, etc. There is no you, no me, no us, no we. There is only The One.