In an ancient scriptural text in Shaivism, there is an aphorism which states, “Consciousness herself, having descended from the expanded state, becomes the mind, contracted by the objects of perception.” This statement is the basic teaching that we are all interconnected beings, but feel separate due to illusion caused by our attachment to the sense of “me and mine.” We have forgotten our true heritage of Unity Consciousness and are lost in defending our separateness and are impoverished in a feeling of disempowerment.
Since my previous post, I have been reflecting on how we create separation between ourselves and our fellow human beings, when we pass judgment based on racial, religious, cultural, social and economic differences. Throughout history, man has been at war, committing genocide in the form of ethnic cleansing and other outrageous atrocities, because of our perceived differences. Now more than ever, it feels as if we are at a crossroads where we are capable of creating a future full of promise for the evolution of humanity. We can choose to make a quantum leap in consciousness or to follow the path by which we are ruled by our fear and hatred and it’s ensuing destruction of civilization.
We have known the extremes of man’s inhumanity to man, brought about by a division in beliefs, lifestyle, heritage and border, and on the other hand, we also see the reverse of that, where in times of tragedy, people unite around a common need. I often wonder what is that quality in humans, that in moments of extraordinary duress, a person can draw upon a power within to perform super-human feats, putting their lives in danger to assist others. That quality of Unity Consciousness was seen when 9/11 happened, where firefighters, police officers and ordinary citizens performed heroic deeds. In the concentration camps in Europe during the Nazi regime, we heard stories of men and women who went around comforting and taking care of others in those sordid conditions. We also see a version of that Unity Consciousness when we attend sports events in an arena where everybody is rooting for the home-team. We lose ourselves, though momentarily, in a feeling of oneness that transcends our separate identification.
When we look around our world and see the variety of people whose physical appearances, ethnic origins, and lifestyle differ from ours, how do we find this Unity Consciousness in the diversity of manifestations? If we look on the surface, we will see that we are all different, but on a deeper level, we are all basically the same in our need for love and security. Is there a way to experience this Unity Consciousness that the sages tell us is our birthright?
In the Vijnanabhairava or Divine Consciousness translated by Jaideva Singh, in Verse 104 he comments: If one contemplates, “I am not my body, nor am I confined to any particular place or time…I am everywhere.” He will then enjoy happiness.
And Verse 105: If one contemplates over the fact of knowledge and desire being common to every existent in the universe, he will acquire the consciousness of unity. Man usually thinks that there is nothing common between him and a jar or a tree, but if he comes to realize that knowledge and desire are the common characteristics of all manifestation that all are co-sharers of this divine gift, he will shed his insularity and feel his kinship with all.
And Verse 110: Just as waves arise from water, flames from fire, rays from the sun, even so the waves (varied aspects) of the universe have arisen in differentiated form from me(Consciousness.)
These contemplations along with meditation, can lead to the wisdom path of Unity Consciousness. Our minds keep reinforcing our sense of separateness, but if we keep practicing the perception of unity through the experience that comes from meditation and contemplation, our natural identification with Unity Consciousness easily follows.