Overcoming Separation is the Spiritual-Mystical Journey

Separation seems to be a theme that shows up in every spiritual tradition, and the overcoming of it to union is the goal of the seeker.

Our sense of dualistic separation from God, Ultimate Reality, Nature, the universe, each other, etc., seems to be at the center of all spiritual seeking.

Some call it sin, our fallen nature, or suffering, or ignorance, not being in the Divine Presence, being out of harmony with nature (Tao), but they all seem to point back to this sense of separation, alienation, division, incompleteness, imperfection, a brokenness or rift in our being in the world.

The reason for it may be the natural consequence of a localized body-mind needing to have a finite subject-object relationship to all its perceptions in the world, which gradually emerges in the cognitive development of self-awareness in childhood and adolescence. This emergent “self” is sometimes called the ego, the “natural man,” the “carnal mind,” the small self, or false self.

The “problem” is perhaps that this finite limited first-person perception and identity causes the body-mind self to think it is fundamentally separate from its surroundings, which makes it feel weak, vulnerable, mortal, small, fractured, fragmented, a single, isolated, individual, alone in the cosmos. Everything “out there” is “not me,” and so it seems to dwarf me and not care for me. Our lives may seem insignificant and meaningless in such cosmic circumstances.

Overcoming this sense of separation seems to be the goal of all spiritual seeking. It is called redemption, salvation, atonement (at-one-ment), oneness, union, Presence, nonduality, the Kingdom, awakening, enlightenment, liberation, resurrection, the true Self, devekut, nirvana, and many other things, but they all seem to point towards a Wholeness (Holiness) that is regained, rediscovered, remembered, becoming conscious.

In this overcoming, as is done through contemplative practices like meditation, that finite limited sense of a localized subjective “self” falls away from consciousness, or simply becomes silent, and one perceives directly one’s eternal union in the heart of all Reality, of all Nature, as one with all of the cosmos, even one with all other people and beings and life. All of that “out there” is actually Me! One returns to the Presence of God, and finds they are at-one in God or Ultimate Reality.

There are no borders or boundaries to one’s sense of Self in this nondual unitive consciousness, but one discovers their true Self to be infinite, as the ground of Being itself, and a part of the Whole, even a manifestation of that Whole, an incarnation of the Godhead itself. And all other forms are seen as expressions of the very same creative Godhead, eternally creating from out of itself.

There is no more sense of separation in this consciousness. It is Wholly (Holy) One. There are no divisions in it, no walls, no borders, no incompleteness. God is undivided even in its multiplicity of creation. This Divine is a Singularity, all a part of that One. The “Father” is in us, and we are in the “Father.” We are One. The rift has been healed, the brokenness bridged, the alienation reconciled.

We see and know directly that our perfection and true identity is in the One Great Whole, which we also know as pure unconditional infinite Love. It is the Kosmos awakening to know its Self again, and you are that Self! This is not a theoretical or philosophical or theological speculation or idea in the mind. You experience it directly, first-hand, with the greatest clarity and reality of any experience you’ve ever had. You “know” it is true because it is your very Self. It is You.

Why do you feel we have this deep sense of separation in us? How do you think it is overcome or integrated in the totality of who we are?

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3 thoughts on “Overcoming Separation is the Spiritual-Mystical Journey

  1. Separation is the grand excuse of most religions; mystics realize it is just imagined. The mystical “truth” is that All is in One and One is in All here and now, in infinite and eternal Reality.

  2. Thanks for this post, Bryce. Your concluding sentence frames it up well for me. Overcoming separation or integrating into totality. These may go towards the same place, but my nature is more towards the latter than the former. Ken Wilber’s conception of reality as consisting of nested holons has always felt right to me. I feel OK with separateness when it is felt within the context of a nest. This feels consistent for me with the “not two, not one” aspect of experience. I see these as polarities, such as illustrated by the yin yang symbol, and the energy and maybe even tension that is part of that. I’m drawn towards fullness more than I am to emptiness, but I still feel resonance with the apophatic aspect of experience and your post on the spiritual – mystical journey draws me into this essential contemplation. David

    1. Thank you, David. I appreciate hearing your thoughts. I agree with your observation that there is much apparent separateness nested within a greater whole. It is perhaps recognizing that greater whole, the totality, that is often challenging.

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