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..:: The One ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                                                                     

              Periodically throughout these essays, the concept of non-dual perception and experience has been suggested. This is possibly the single most difficult paradigm for the mind subtended by the flesh to come to terms with, since our “local information processor” – the ego – is fundamentally a difference engine that must function by comparing at least two distinct conditions to achieve a meaningful result. The entire thrust of these essays has been the provision of evidence (where such evidence can be had), information, and technology to look beyond the ego to the many extended levels of alternative consciousness available to humanity. The ultimate and final manifestation of non-dual perception is The One – the unified field of all that can be perceived in any manner at any level, and that which is beyond any perception of any kind at any level, yet still exists – the world inside the Black Box that cannot be probed or opened.

            How can that which is beyond any form of experience be known? From the working perspective of the enlightened mind located on the Physical Plane of experience, things and processes become at least hypothetically knowable by determining their associated qualities through whatever techniques of investigation are productive, and then assigning a single identifier – a name – to the resultant body of information and impressions, however tenuous they may be. The term “enlightened” is used here to differentiate this state of mind from the rote ego functioning of the ignorant and uninitiated, who frequently demonstrate “knowledge” based solely upon unquestioned associative conditioning that simply connects chains of crude symbolic concepts to basal emotional responses – essentially demonstrating the Pavlovian classical conditioning paradigm. Such individuals are walking political mechanisms that sadly can be activated to demonstrations of horrible prejudice and discrimination by the utterance of mere words and phrases. True knowing is both contemplative and empathetic – we understand the meaning of a thing by deeply pondering the all of the information available, even if some claims regarding it seem to be in conflict with others, and by submerging ourselves in the experience of it on all levels of its manifestation – physical, mental, moral, and spiritual. Then we can say that we have at least begun to know about that which we study. When this enquiry has progressed far enough, the phenomenon of the name will customarily occur in our consciousness.  

            Some of the names for The One that have previously been suggested in these essays are the Void, the Portal of Chaos, the Brahman, and the Presence, and all of these capture aspects of the essential non-dual manifestation, ones well deserving of serious investigation in their own rights. In dealing with a phenomenon that is as pervasive, and yet indefinite, as The One, simplicity of nomenclature and description is a definite advantage for the investigator. We are attempting to simultaneously refer to everything at once, and nothing in particular! If we confine ourselves to the linear logic of the Physical Plane and senses, the very attempt quickly collapses into a hopeless paradox. Therefore, we must find some additional modes of investigation and discovery, ones that will lift us out of the physicality of experience into the spiritual paradigm of knowing.  Ones that will relax the grip of so-called rational thought processing on the imagination and higher intuitive perception. Ones that will initiate spiritual trance as the medium of perception. In a word, ones that utilize meditation as the investigative toolset and environment, accessing various forms of non-linear, acausal, subtlely logical associations that transcend the rudimentary course logic of the ego and ordinary mind. 

            As has been exhaustively described in these essays, one does not simply walk out of daily experience directly into the perception of Infinity and The One – there are stages to be passed through beyond the physical senses, and levels of involvement present, each serving as the gateway to the next. The experience of The One is the result of a lifetime, or lifetimes, of residence in successively deeper states of trance and contemplation, as the apparent complexity of experience is observed, processed, and released. This activity is frequently combined with Physical Plane worldly undertakings – earning a living, marriage, family, social interaction, and recreation. One shuttles among these and a myriad of other possibilities as meditation is practiced in the mix, affording higher perspectives on the otherwise often mundane lives we may lead, showing us the higher, more refined purpose of those lives in consequence. 

            The final destination of the meditation process is the non-dual perception and experience of The One.  Frequently, the step preceding this attainment is the observation of the residual subject-object perception present in the Soul, the last remnant of our individual physicality in the body.  As a subject, the Soul has God as the object of its perception, and God is certainly very close to The One. Some bodies of philosophical thought even maintain that the Soul is God, and The One, and on the rarified level of our discussion here, there is a measure of truth in this contention.  However, the very use of the terms “Soul” and “God” still implies a distinction to be made between two qualitatively different states of Being.  Even if we refer to God as the Collective Soul, or the OverSoul, and distinguish this from the individual, personal Soul – the Hindu jivatman – the distinction is still made between the two conditions. There is an essence of “me” present in my Soul looking into a larger Manifestation of Light beyond, and separate from, my Soul, that I call God. Such is the power of the physical body and senses to constrain perception, even at the very highest levels! This is why Buddhism pushes the envelope of perception past even the experience of God, to the experience of The One, because it is only at this ultimate level that the Supreme Absolute Truth is known in and as Satori. 

            The ego, our limited sense of individual existence, is invested with a determined will to survival as a discreet mode of perception, and will furiously resist even temporary excursions away from its dominion. Appropriately ely only the pilot of our organism as we sail through the sea of sensory perception we call life, it persistently seeks to be not only the Captain of the Ship, but the Admiral of the Fleet, and even the God of the Sea, Poseidon, himself! No aggrandizement is too extravagant for the little ego as it desperately flees from the dreaded specter of its own mortality.  This is the ultimate suffering to be relieved by meditation in the Buddhist paradigm – the suffering associated with the fear of physical death, and this is accomplished with finality only in Satori. When consciousness  surrenders the last vestiges of subject as it merges into object and becomes The One, the most primal fear of personal extinction dissolves with the last vestiges of the sense of personal identity.  

            Are we dead in the experience of The One? The phrase “No more subject” certainly seems to indicate this, since that subject, however diluted, is still “me”, and implies “me-ness” as a perceptual manifestation. But, what is death, anyway?  Is it simply the end of sensory perception? Is that perception the root of, and dependent on, subject-object duality? Some clues to the resolution of this last question of this essay can be found in the philosophy of Yoga. For the Yogi, the experience of the senses is an illusion created by the spiritual turbulence associated with physical action – the term “Karma” literally means “action” in Hindu Sanskrit. For the Yogi, the Atman, or Soul, is the only reality, one present behind the Karmic turbulence of the transitory sensory illusion, an expression of, yet simultaneously existing in unification with, Brahman – The  One referred in this essay. The Yogi seeks the state of perceptual unification with the Soul, Brahman, and The One through the practice of the moral structure of the Yoga lifestyle indicated in the Yamas and Niyamas. This unified condition is referred to – is namedSamadhi in the theory and practice of Yoga. Samadhi is a state of existence typified by non-existence.  No experience of physicality or other subjective condition, other than Ananda – Spiritual Bliss – is present there. This Bliss can take the form of the Divine Light, Perfect Divine Love, or the Supreme Absolute Truth, and it is characterized by the most extreme distance possible in the Yoga paradigm from the physical experience of life as defined by the senses. Is this death? Well, the term “Samadhi” literally has the meaning, of  “completion”, in Sanskrit, possibly a reference to the physical “completion” of life. This interpretation illustrates why the Yogis of India rub themselves down with ashes from the cremation grounds to take on the appearance of a corpse, starve themselves to the point of emaciation, practice punishing austerities, and renounce all worldly involvement – they perceive this existence as an illusion, and the condition of death as the Truth! The closer they can bring life’s illusion to death, the more real they become as the Atman – the Soul – experienced in Samadhi. It is of great significance that there are several Samadhis that fall short of literal physical death, but Maha Samadhi, is the Yoga term for this condition of ultimate, permanent reunion with SAT

            Buddhism takes this principle to the conclusive stage of seeking The One in all phases of living in the illusion, but particularly in meditation. Many of the features of the Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga are incorporated in The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, and the Buddhist frequently lives in renunciation and austerity. The distinction between the two paths is seen in their conceptions of the key term detachment.  The Buddhist paradigm sees the Yogic goal of Samadhi as just that – still a goal, and a symptom of attachment, albeit to non-existence, for that reason, although there are also Buddhist variants of Samadhi stressing contemplation as the mechanism of Ascension, as opposed to meditation.  To be truly non-attached is to accept existence and nonexistence with equal disregard, and to seek The One by seeking nothing as the preferred state of consciousness, the final level of meditation beyond even Samadhi. This level can be attained, but cannot be described using any terminology in any language. It must be experienced at first hand by the aspirant.  

            What is The One? Perhaps it is God’s absolute state of Peace within the form of the Logos – “In  the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Perhaps it is Pure Nothingness – the Void – and a condition of absolute Peace for that reason. Perhaps it is the Infinite Field of Divine Love and Light of Samadhi. Perhaps it is the Great Mother of all Creation, unfolding Existence in the Dance of Shiva, or Nothing and Everything expressed nowhere and everywhere, as the beating wings of a humming bird...

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                                  (CR2008, Alan Schneider)

 

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