Clarifying the Meaning of Universal Oneness

Flickr - Oneness - AlicePopkornJames C. Wilhelm, Contributor
Waking Times

I recently wrote an article published by Waking Times that has generated many excellent responses for which I am deeply grateful. The large number of responses and questions generated by this piece, titled The Implications of Universal Oneness, have prompted me to write this article. This is not a response to the questions and comments but is, rather, an attempt to clarify and expand upon the central hypothesis of The Implications of Universal Oneness

Our original state of oneness is not something we can know, it is something we are. Attempting to know the timeless oneness is like the blade of a knife attempting to cut itself. Our true and original self belies all attempts at description; it is beyond words. It is the self-shining presence awareness that pervades, transcends and underlies all forms.

The singular unity of creation is an ancient proposition that has been orally transmitted for at least 6,000 years and has existed in written form since approximately 1,500 B.C.E. My personal awareness of universal unity began with a profound experience at age thirteen that left me with no doubt that everything in existence shares a common origin and all of us are, at our essence, identical. The definitive word in the previous sentence is “essence.” Though each of us perceives a multiplicity of different individual human beings and forms, we all are in reality, one being.

When we explore our world we perceive enormous differences between ourselves and the myriad different life forms and objects that surround us. Within our own species the apparent differences we might notice in appearance, culture and personal beliefs are nearly innumerable. This diversity is critical to the continuation of life as we know it and is an important attribute of humanity. The brilliant writer and television producer, Rod Serling, showed us in an episode of The Twilight Zone that our lives would be intolerable if all of us appeared to be the same on the surface of what we call reality.


  • We separate each other into groups such as our nation of origin, our race, religion, beliefs, moral behavior and numerous other criteria. All of these labels and groups are meaningless illusions; they are merely names and words made up by human beings. In the face of these illusory differences, it can be difficult, maybe even impossible for some of us to see how or where all of this diversity could possibly come together. When we inquire within ourselves, however, it may become apparent that our differences are illusory and only our timeless essence is real. We are self-shining timeless awareness and everything else we perceive is merely vapor that comes and goes with the passage of time. Our true self is unborn, and never dies.

    We, the original timeless being, chose to create this illusion. We live here in this world, the way it is and the way it is not, by intention, not by accident. We chose to give up the perfect oneness that we were, and still are, because in our original state of pure subjectivity we had no way to know anything about who we are.

    Experience is possible only in the presence of a subject and an object. Our intention to have an experience of ourselves brought forth everything that we call energy, mass, atoms, galaxies, plants and animals. Along with the choice to separate into many, we chose to forget that we had anything to do with that choice or with the creation or this temporal illusion. For this universe to serve as a means of experiencing ourselves, we had to forget how it got here. If this forgetting were unnecessary we would never have created any of this in the first place.

    Though each of us has the ability to remember that we chose to know ourselves through this universe of objectivity, most of us have no memory of having done so and some  believe that the idea of being something more than a body and a mind is ludicrous.

    Regardless of whether we presently perceive ourselves and our world as reality or illusion we will continue to be in this world and this earthly journey will likely bring us in contact with other humans who think we are different from them. It would be naive to suppose that there are no humans who perceive us to be in a separate category.

    Thinking we are separate and different, someone might take something from us, including our health or our life. I would rather not consider this eventuality but if it happened, what would I do? What if you find yourself uncomfortable in the presence of a friend or relative? We may choose to discontinue a relationship while continuing to love the other person. In case we choose not to be in communication with a particular individual the most effective and powerful way we can be is to vibrationally send love to this person or persons by thinking of love and mentally seeing love energy radiating from us and going to them.

    We may be giving, loving, peaceful individuals but that does not mean we should succumb passively to the possibility of imminent harm or destruction. Yes, we are aware that all of life is one and that the death of our body is not the death of our self. However, if we find ourselves in danger of imminent harm, it is incumbent upon us to defend ourselves and our loved ones while doing the least possible amount of harm under the particular circumstance. For example, the art of aikido, which means, “the way of unifying with life energy” was specifically developed to effectively defend the practitioner who is being attacked while protecting the attacker from severe harm.

    I am presupposing that we would never initiate a thought, word, or action that could intentionally or unintentionally harm another life in any way. While we may certainly defend ourselves, it is our responsibility to refrain from launching an attack. I really do avoid stepping on bugs and I do put worms that have crawled onto the sidewalk when it rains back into the grass.

    Why would anyone knowingly and intentionally harm in any way what appears to be another living being? Everything we think, say or do ultimately affects only us, so harming another only harms the person doing the harm and it does so immediately.

    It is fear that keeps us in this prison. As is the case with everything else that appears real, fear is illusory; it has no existence other than the existence that we give it. But the illusion that we perceive as our world is so authentic and convincing that many of us identify with its material appearance. This creates the belief that the things we need for survival are scarce and we must do anything necessary to acquire them. If we begin to have a stable supply of the necessities, we then seek other, even scarcer, items for comfort and luxury. Fear of lack, which is ultimately fear of death, can drive levels of greed that have some humans believing that the ends they desire justify any means they choose to use to acquire them.

    We can see the effects of fear throughout the world. It is likely that all of us humans have experienced fear. Where love is, fear cannot be. When we pay attention to the love light that shines within us, fear cannot dominate our thinking. In all of life’s relationships, the most powerful way to be is to be love, to give love, to think love. This means that if someone has caused you harm you are free to stay away from them. Then forgive them, and send them your love energy from a distance. This will help to heal your body, spirit and mind and to bring peace to you and throughout your environment. Do not maintain a grudge or feelings of animosity or thoughts of revenge. The other person does not know what you are thinking and probably does not care. Taking care of yourself and giving love heals the person who hurt you as well as you; indeed, it brings healing to everyone living within this earthly illusion.

    How do we be love? How do we be our true and original self? The meaningful verb here is “to be.” There is nothing to do; there is nothing you can do and nowhere you can go. You already are love. You already are your true and original self. Be love – right now.

    About the Author

    James C. Wilhelm is an international spiritual teacher, self-development mentor, author, lecturer, philosopher, Emmy award-winning television producer, and successful entrepreneur. He has shared his experiences of practical mysticism around the world for more than 40 years. Jim has translated his mystical understanding into practical knowledge that we all can apply in our lives.

    Jim has recently published his second book: I Am God and So Are You – Discovering the Power of Your True Self

    This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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