When it comes to new age spirituality, there are many different paths you can take. Regardless of the method you choose, it appears that the ultimate goal of any given spiritual path is achieving an all-pervading sense of oneness. Not just oneness with yourself, but with the Universe, with God… with all that is.
The spiritual journey is about first discovering the intimate connection you have to your natural surroundings, then coming to realize that this world, and everything in it, is an extension of the Divine. You begin the path feeling isolated and alone, separate from your surroundings and alienated from others. The path ends with feelings of connection, wholeness and unification with all of existence. What, exactly, is this feeling of oneness all about? And, how can we bring about such a favorable state of mind? Here are three simple ways to become one:
Be One with Yourself
When you are no longer divided on the inside, you will be at one. The quest to find your true self comes to an end the moment you realize that the person who is doing the seeking is the one that you are looking for. Perhaps the simplest way to understand oneness is to extend your right index finger. Then, using only that finger, try to point to the tip of your extended finger. If it doesn’t work at first, try pointing harder. In the same way, we waste precious time searching in vain for our true selves. It’s like switching on a flashlight in a dark house and then spending the whole night searching for the source of the light- unaware that you have been holding the source in your hand the whole time.
What would it be like to be at one? For starters, I imagine it would be very quiet inside your head. If you were really at one, you wouldn’t need to express your stream of consciousness in verbal form. Instead, you would instantly know what your thoughts are, right as they occurred. The little voice inside your head would finally be able to rest, since talking to yourself implies that there are two of you - one that’s doing the talking, and one that’s doing the listening. Likewise, a person who is at one would never need to hesitate or second guess themselves. They would move easily through the world, always taking the path of least resistance, like a stream flowing effortlessly down a gulley- never paralyzed by indecision, worry or regret. Finally, a person who is at one has necessarily come to terms with being a human. Therefore, they wouldn’t need to spend time and energy trying to be anything else, other than who they genuinely are.
Be One with the Universe
In order for conscious life to happen, there needs to be certain elements present. The first thing you need is space. After all, nothing can take place unless there is first space for it to take place in. Another essential element is light. In our case, we have the Sun- a sphere of pure energy, radiating light and heat. But, just having a bunch of stars, shining out into empty space, is not enough for conscious life to occur. For that, we also need physical matter to exist. We need spherically shaped planets to form out of this matter at just the right distance from these radiant stars. Then these planets need to develop water, fertile soil and abundant plant life. You also need the element of time so that nature can learn to thrive and to evolve. This process of evolution needs to continue for millions of years until conscious life develops. That is where we come in.
Human beings have evolved in order for the Universe to become aware of itself. After all, what would be the point of a Universe without any beings to experience it? Sure, the Universe would still be here. Earth would still exist and it would no doubt be beautiful. But, without anyone around to appreciate it, it wouldn’t really matter all that much. That’s because, for experience to happen, there needs an experiencer. It is our presence on Earth and our experience of life that makes the world exist.
As experiencers, we play a key role in making physical reality come into being. An orange tree can grow up and produce fruit, but the actual, sensual experience of eating the oranges is what makes the fruit so sweet and delicious. Similarly, our ears sense vibrations traveling through the air and turn them into audible sounds. Our nose allows for a flower’s scent to be experienced, just as our sense of touch determines if a given surface is rough or smooth. To be at one with the Universe is to recognize the central role we play in existence. By bringing physical reality into our awareness through the five senses, we make experience happen.
Be One with God
Let’s go back to the elements listed above that are necessary in order for conscious life to exist: space, light, time, physical matter, water, nature, evolution, consciousness. Considering all of these elements, which one would you say is divine? Some claim that the light is divine, others say that the divine is the space in which everything occurs. Others might insist that God is nature or that consciousness is the true driving force behind all of life. My question is: why does it have to be limited to one thing? Why can’t it all be God? After all, no one element is superior to the others. Light is not more important than space; time is not more important than matter. Rather each element is an essential part of an interdependent web- one in which each element is of equal importance in order for the experience of life to occur.
Being one with God means recognizing that the Universe is the real miracle. Many of us believe that the life we are living through now is not the miracle- that the real miracle comes later on, after we pass away. While that may still be true, it shouldn’t take away from our ability to appreciate how special physical existence is. Spirituality is typically about paying homage to the intelligent, creative, invisible force that drives the process of existence. What many of us are missing is that the manifest world of physical form is just as worthy of our respect and reverence as the formless world of spirit. You can spend a lifetime searching for God, not realizing that the truth was right there in front of your face the whole time. The simple truth is that this is God. This Universe, this Earth, this Sun- you, me, this human experience that we are having- is God. When you come to realize that you can’t possibly be separate from it, because you fundamentally are it, you will be at one.
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.