Why do we feel disconnected from God/Reality? What is at the root of this sensation of being separate, alienated, apart, fallen, broken, imperfect, sinful, ignorant, isolated, detached?
Nondual teacher Rupert Spira often makes the analogy of our spiritual condition in life as similar to a dream, and I think it’s an excellent analogy. In a dream our mind must create a finite particular individual to inhabit the dream, to experience the dream, to see it from a first-person perspective. We can’t experience the dream otherwise. Even though the totality of the dreamed world is taking place in the mind, in consciousness, and none of it is truly separate from the mind, yet we only see it from the finite perspective of the individual in the dream. The mind collapses itself to a particular individual and places this individual into the dreamed world.
Life is similar to the dream. We can usually only experience life from the perspective of the first-person, from the vantage point of a finite localized individual body-mind. But fundamentally we are not separate from the world, from the totality of the cosmos. It is all a part of us, and we are an expression of it. The elements of our bodies were born in the cores of stars. God has collapsed its Self into a finite first-person perspective in order to experience and see the world/cosmos through our very own eyes. This is how God experiences the world—through us! God can’t experience it otherwise. We are the very means through which God becomes incarnate in the world, conscious of the world, of God’s own creation, of God’s own Self.
But unfortunately in this collapse of being and consciousness into the finite separate self in the world, through the emergence of self-awareness in our childhood and adolescence, we often become trapped in this first-person perspective, limiting our identification with it only, thinking we are fundamentally just this particular body-mind, this one individual person, and our identity stops at the border of our skin. So we then feel separate from all things around us. We are “here,” and everything else “out there” is not me. This seems to be at the root of this feeling of separation. It is a psychological split of the subject that we think we are from all other objects in the world/cosmos.
The spiritual journey (and particularly as we go deeper into mysticism) seems to be the transcendence of this finite personhood, this separate “self,” going beyond this psychological “self,” and the realization of a greater Identity that encompasses the entire world, even the whole cosmos, a reunification of all things, and to see it all not as “other,” but as Self, that this particular person we usually think we are is actually a manifestation of That. All That! The One, the Singularity. The Whole.
In Christian language, we see ourselves in the “Father,” and the “Father” in us, and this mutual indwelling is the “Christ,” the Word made flesh. We are that Word (Logos) that was made flesh. Our flesh! All flesh! All forms, all manifestations, all incarnations of energy in matter. Jesus prayed that we may see and know this Oneness in Christ (each and every particular manifestation as part of the whole) and the Father (the Source of all particulars) (John 17). We are both the many and the One.
This is at-one-ment, oneness, nonduality. It is the realization of our true Self, our true nature, our Christ nature, as Divinity itself, as One in God/Reality/Nature/Cosmos/Love. It is a fundamental shift of consciousness, which can happen in contemplative practices and other means that transform and transfigure consciousness, which transcends the self-consciousness or self-awareness of being only this finite self, the individual ego identity, the particular localized individuality, and sees all things and all beings as a manifestation of the very same divine energy. It is God waking up, in us, as us.
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In this awakening, this beatific vision, this resurrection, this Parousia or “Second Coming,” this enlightenment, the separation is healed, the rift is repaired, the alienation is dissolved, the brokenness is made perfect, and we are freed from the small prison of the ego-self in the identification with all things, and the Source of all. This is an infinite unconditional Love which includes all things. Nothing is excluded. Everything belongs. It is all part of the One which we are. We are of One heart and One mind, and this is the source and cause of our compassionate action and Love in the world.