There are countless names for the spiritual essence of every individual on the planet. Some call it Atman, others the Christ. In some circles it is known as the Tao while in others, Divine essence or Buddha nature. Whatever the label, at the center of all humanity is a Life force that unites us in an eternal web of goodness. That goodness is the source and sustainer of all creation.
Religious institutions instruct us to cultivate and nurture a relationship with this Life force, and that is a worthy exercise to a point. I believe at a more profound level it is less something to be cultivated and more something to be. The word relationship has inherent in it a consciousness of separation. Life in its natural state transcends division, duality or any semblance of other. It just is; everywhere, all the time.
This oneness transcends what I call “vessel consciousness”, whereby we view ourselves as merely separate and individualized containers of spiritual substance. In reality, we are the veritable substance itself.
Jesus proclaimed, “The Father and I are one!” as he transcended “Vessel consciousness” and lived in “verity consciousness”. We are called to follow his example and to know ourselves as the veritable presence of God. There is no need to cultivate anything for that truth to be more real than it is right now. Our job is to emulate the paradigm of the Buddha who when questioned about who and what he was answered, “I am awake.” The time has come for us to leave behind the dream time of our perpetual sleep walking and wake up to the Divine essence of our very nature.
Certainly none of us is all that God is, but the blessed truth is that all the qualities of the Infinite exist at the point of us. All of us.
We, as cells within one body are inseparable from each other in a great cosmology of Spiritual being. There is only one presence and power in the universe and it is less concerned with how we address it and more concerned with how we express it. Science has shown us that we are 99% made up of the same stuff. Scientists call it star stuff. I choose to call it God stuff. This God stuff is the one and only source of everything that has ever been or ever will be, and it finds expression through our thoughts, feelings and actions. Given this knowledge it is imperative that we stop relying solely on the 5 sensory world; a world that lures us into a false sense of duality and a love affair with the word, “mine”.
The time has come for us to use spiritual insight to discern and remember the interconnectedness of all creation that lies beneath the surface.
With this view, illusions such as private good and private suffering fade away. There is no you and me. There is no us and them. We are all one and whatsoever we say, think, feel or do is affecting the whole of a universe that we are inextricably a part of. Any space we perceive between ourselves and God is an ego based construct that has no basis in reality. Any space we perceive between ourselves and anyone allows the pathological lie of duality to continue and we become the cause of our own suffering. And so I say, Namaste my friend. The Atman, the Tao, the Christ and the Buddha within me beholds the same in you.
I’ll leave you with one final thought from the brilliant mind of Albert Einstein. “A person experiences life as something separated from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison and through compassion find the reality of Oneness.”
Richard Burdick is the spiritual director of Unity of North Atlanta in Marietta, GA.