Oneness

Perennial Tradition

Oneness
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

On that day, you will know that you are in me and I am in you. —John 14:20

“That day” that John refers to has been a long time in coming; even so, it has been the enduring message of every great religion in history. It is the Perennial Tradition. Yet union with God is still considered esoteric, mystical, a largely moral matter, and possible only for a very few, as if God were playing hard to get. Nevertheless, divine and thus universal union is still the core message and promise of all religion.

The Perennial Tradition states that there is a capacity, a similarity, and a desire for divine reality inside all humans. And what we seek is what we are, which is exactly why Jesus says that we will find it (see Matthew 7:7-8). The Perennial Tradition invariably concludes that we initially cannot see what we are looking for because what we are looking for is doing the looking. God is never an object to be found or possessed as we find other objects, but the One who shares our own deepest subjectivityour True Self, soul, or the divine indwelling.

Place does not exist except in God. There is no time outside God. God is the beauty in all beauty. Those who allow divine friendship enjoy divine friendship, and it is almost that simple. God’s life and love flow through you as soon as you are ready to allow it. That is the core meaning of faith—to dare to trust that God could, will, and does have an eternal compassion toward you.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro writes:

My experience with [perennial wisdom] convinces me that all diversity is part of a greater unity; that my sense of a separate self is a functional necessity rather than an absolute reality; that all my suffering is rooted in mistaking my limited and labeled self (male, Jewish, white, American) as my truest Self; and that I can, with practice, shift my awareness from that limited egoic self to the infinite divine Self that is all Reality. [1]

Shapiro uses a brilliant metaphor to help us see this:

Everything is a facet of the one thing. Think in terms of white light shining through a prism to reveal the full spectrum of color perceivable by the human eye: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Each of these colors is part of the original whole and cannot be separated from it—turn off the light source and the colors disappear. Now apply this metaphor to the world around and within you. Everything you see, think, feel, and imagine is part of and never apart from the same Source. We call this Source by such names as God, Reality, Brahman, Allah, One, Krishna, the Absolute, and the Nondual. The list of names is long; the reality to which they all point is the same. [2]

References:
[1] Rami Shapiro, Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent: Sacred Teachings—Annotated & Explained (Skylight Paths Publishing: 2013), xvi.

[2] Ibid., 5.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), xii-xiii, 95-96.

Image credit: Broken Obelisk (detail), by Barnett Newman. A permanent installation in the reflecting pool on the grounds of the Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas, United States.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Awakening the essential Self is one reason that the Center for Action and Contemplation is dedicated to reinvigorating the teaching of Christian contemplation. The consistent practice of contemplation helps to uncover our essential Self, our connected Self, our True Self. —Richard Rohr

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