More About Oneness

By Kiara Windrider

Guides (monks) from the Oneness University

"Man cannot make it (Awaken to Oneness) on his own, it has to be given to him." - Sri Bhagavan

What is Enlightenment?

Bhagavan defines it differently in different contexts. For a neurologist it is the shutting down of certain parts of the parietal lobe. For a biologist it is a heightening of the senses. For a psychologist, it is the loss of the ego. For the philosopher it is becoming a witness to life. For someone on a spiritual path, it is about opening your heart to life, and developing the capacity to love.

When asked to define love, Bhagavan says that he can only tell you what love is not. It is not about neurotically possessing another person. It is not based in neediness or attachment or fear of loss. It is not a justification to control somebody's life. What most people call love is not love, he emphasizes. To experience love you require a mutation in your physical brain. Only then can you experience the love of a Buddha or a Christ. No amount of spiritual or psychological effort can take you there.

Enlightenment is to be free from the sense of separate existence, he emphasizes. The sense of a fixed identity disappears. Once you become enlightened, what exists is only the other. You experience oneness with all creation, and eventually oneness with God. You experience the gift of being human. You experience what it means to give and receive love.

In the realization of this oneness, there is joy. As long as the self exists, it can experience pleasure, but not joy. When things are going your way, you experience pleasure; when things are not, you experience pain. But this is very different from the causeless joy of pure being where you are no longer separate from any aspect of creation or creator, no matter what the circumstances of life.

Bhagavan says that the next best thing to enlightenment is knowing that you are not enlightened. This is not a frivolous statement. 'Don't pretend to be enlightened if you are not', he affirms. Many of us on a spiritual path have built up a spiritual persona around ourselves that is as difficult to break through as any of the darker expressions of the mind, and perhaps more so.

The main obstacle to enlightenment is not in the particular quality of the self-identity that we create, whether it is coarse or refined, material or spiritual, but in our degree of attachment to that identity. We assume that our journey towards enlightenment is a linear progression, and that we can become better and better people until someday we cross the finish line and we're there.

It is perhaps easier for a simple person to get enlightened whose head is empty of concepts than someone who has walked for years on a spiritual path and has all kinds of concepts and expectations about what enlightenment is or should be, or what she is or should be. Ironically, the more attached we become to a spiritual persona, the more we develop a spiritual ego, and the further we get from the enlightened state. The mind delights in creating an 'as if' image of the enlightened self. Now it can continue its game of comparison and judgment, except on a more sophisticated level.

Being good does not threaten its survival, as long as we are simultaneously disowning the bad; being spiritual is fine as long as we continue judging ourselves or others for not matching up to our neurotic expectations. We take the dim radiance of our divinity that still manages to shine through the thick layers of the mind, and enshrine it with religiosity, stifle it with morality, distort it with self-righteousness, and destroy it with spiritual egoism.

I am not implying that it isn't desirable to strive towards morality, goodness, and love. There is a reason that religions exist, and many people have been enabled by being on the spiritual or psychological path to refine or even transform their ego. As a spiritual teacher and psychotherapist, I have seen the power of meditation, and of techniques such as holotropic breathwork, psychosynthesis, regression therapies, and bodywork, to begin to heal the traumas of the past and polish the rough edges of our personality.

If refining and clearing the mind is our quest, then by all means we must continue doing everything that we can in this direction. However, if enlightenment is our quest, we cannot get there by trying to develop enlightened qualities. We need to come to an understanding of the very nature of the mind.

In the courses offered at Oneness University, the first few days are about becoming aware of the prison of our mind. It isn't about trying to change any of it, because you cannot. You are simply witnessing the reality of your mind as it is, the emotional charge, the habit patterns, the assumptions, the traumas, the conditioning, and the masks that we build up in order to survive. As you witness, you begin to strip down the social and spiritual personas, and you begin to understand the nature of mind.

You become aware that enlightenment is simply about 'de-clutching' from the mind.

We need to be clear that enlightenment does not mean changing the contents of the mind or getting rid of the mind. To become de-clutched from the mind means that you recognize the mind for what it is, which then no longer has power to make your decisions for you. It is not about becoming mindless, but rather about becoming what the Buddhists call 'mindful', being present with reality as it is.

Most of us feel identified with the mind, but we are not the mind. The mind can be a very useful tool. However, enlightenment isn't about escaping from the mind, as many people believe, but simply 'de-clutching' from it. After enlightenment, you find that you are no longer controlled by the mind, and can de-clutch from it when it is not needed. When the mind is needed, however, consciousness comes through and uses the mind with a sharpness, clarity, and versatility not possible before.

To be de-clutched from the mind is to lose the sense of 'self' as a fixed, separate, continuous entity which we refer to as 'I'.

Enlightenment is the realization that there is no self to get enlightened. We cannot change the nature of the mind. The mind is simply the mind, but after enlightenment, our relationship with the mind changes. We no longer become enslaved by the content and conditioning of the mind. Thoughts may still come and go, emotions may still come and go, but we recognize that they are not 'our' thoughts or emotions any more. In this recognition we experience freedom.

Bhagavan teaches that there is no such thing as a personal mind. Yes, we have individual thoughts, but they are simply emanations from what he calls the Ancient Mind, a collective 'thoughtsphere' of humanity that has existed from the beginnings of our current civilization, perhaps 11 or 12 thousand years ago. All our fears, inadequacies, turmoil and pain, all our lusts, addictions, insecurities and greed, all our hatred, rage, jealousies and judgments, belong to this thoughtsphere. Additionally, many of our impulses for kindness, beauty, pleasure, happiness and courage also exist within this thoughtsphere.

Our brain can be visualized as a radio receiving station that picks up these frequencies at random, depending on our state of mind or health, physical environment, or various astrological factors. Our own individual traumas or conditioning from the past also contribute to the band of frequencies that we select.

However, our thoughts are not our own thoughts. Because our brain is programmed for separation, we receive these thoughts, feelings, impressions, and emotions as if they were our own, thereby separating us even more effectively from the rest of humanity, which we perceive to be better than, less than, or somehow different from us.

We watch a movie on the screen and very quickly get lost in the illusion that it is real. However, if we slow it down so that we can see it frame by frame, we realize that it is only a movie. In exactly the same manner, we are conditioned by the self to perceive our own life as a living movie.

Enlightenment creates a fine-tuning of the senses where we realize that the sense of a fixed continuous self is an illusion generated by the neurological circuitry of our brain. There is a continual dance of personalities, but no fixed or continuous self that somehow remains the same from birth to death. Consciousness flows through your body moment by moment, but it is the same consciousness that flows through all creation.

When there is no self, there is no craving or attachment. Cravings and attachments are based on a sense of separate existence, or self-importance, where you continually desire things you do not have, or have what you do not desire. When there is no separate self, attachments and cravings cease. When cravings and attachments cease, there is no suffering.

We are not talking about physical or psychological suffering here, but existential suffering. Existential suffering is the incessant desire to be experiencing something other than what is. It is not our pain that causes us suffering, but our resistance to that pain. It is our attempts to escape from suffering that cause us suffering!

Enlightenment means to experience the reality of each moment as it comes your way, without needing to resist it or change it in any way. Once you are willing to fully experience what is there, you are no longer separate from reality. You experience the truth of each moment directly as it is. You become freed from the interference and conditioning imposed by the mind. You experience the causeless joy of being!

You still have mental pathways of old habits, memory and personality, but you are no longer a solid thing. The self becomes porous, and the winds of eternity become capable of blowing through freshly in every moment. You are no longer a fixed 'person' but a dance of 'personalities' blowing in and out of awareness. You are not even a witness separate from yourself, watching things blowing in the wind. You are the wind.

You may still have likes and dislikes, emotions may still come up, but there is no charge left, and as soon as they come up they will likewise go away, just like an infant throwing a tantrum one moment, and staring in wonderment at a little tiny caterpillar the next. There may still be emotional habit patterns imprinted in the body, but these too subside over time.

Another realization that comes after enlightenment is that your body is not your body. Most of the functions of the body are involuntary, but you realize that even the functions that you think were voluntary are not really yours to control. During an enlightenment experience, many people report that their body goes through all sorts of involuntary postures and movements, tears and laughter, completely independent of personal will. It may also become totally immobile, and you realize that there is nothing you can do to make it move, unless it chooses to.

Your relationship with your body changes. You no longer identify with it as yours; rather it simply becomes a beautiful vehicle for consciousness to use. You understand how privileged you are to have this lovely, living body as a means to express the Divine in the world. Each taste, each smell, each sound, each vision, each touch is exquisite, and is as if you are experiencing it for the first time. Each thought, likewise, comes with its own living freshness directly from the consciousness of each moment, an experience that the Zen Buddhists refer to as 'beginner's mind'!

Enlightenment begins with the ability to witness all these things. As you move into deeper states of Unity and God-realization, you discover that you have become one with all creation, and that indeed the sense of your own body embraces all of creation. Eventually you discover that you have become one with the Creator as well as creation. You realize, in the words of Jesus two thousand years ago, that 'I and the Father are One'.

In a nutshell, Sri Bhagavan teaches that:

  1. There is only one Mind - the Ancient Mind. It is conditioned by separation and duality.
  2. Your mind is not your mind , but an extension of this Ancient Mind.
  3. Similarly, your thoughts are not your own thoughts, but downloaded from the 'thoughtsphere' associated with this Ancient Mind.
  4. The sense of a separate self is generated by the neurobiological structure of the human brain.
  5. This 'self', in experiencing itself as separate, generates cravings, aversions, comparisons and judgments, which are the core of suffering.
  6. When the self disappears, suffering ends. When cravings drop away, including the craving for enlightenment, you are enlightened.
  7. When the 'deeksha' is given, a neurobiological process begins, which leads to the dissolution of the sense of a separate, or fixed, self.
  8. When the fixed self disappears, you experience yourself as simply a dance of personalities continually arising and passing away.
  9. Your body is not your body. When the self disappears, your sense of ownership of the body disappears, and you experience it as a vehicle for the divine dance of consciousness. Eventually, all creation becomes your body.
  10. The mind, based in duality, cannot be enlightened.
  11. The self, which is an illusion, cannot be enlightened. The self is only a concept.
  12. Enlightenment is the realization that there is no self to become enlightened!

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