Separate Yet One
(Posted on October 22, 2014 by David McMillin)
[NOTE: While serving as mentor for an online version of “A Search For God” study group and working on the Destiny of the Soul lesson, a class member reflected on the meaning of “knowing yourself to be yourself and yet one with God” – “separate yet one.” He shared some ideas from Hinduism that reflect on this important dynamic of relationship. Here are two of the replies I made in response to these deep questions. – David McMillin]
… thanks for sharing from your own deep knowledge of comparative studies as it relates to the Destiny of the Soul. The image of a wave in an ocean is a wonderful symbolic representation of the soul and God, and I was aware of its association with Hindu thought. However I was not aware of the distinction between Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa samadhi as it relates to reintegration. Thanks for pointing that out.
The question of whether the soul retains its individuality when it reunites with its Source was discussed in numerous Cayce readings, as it was in this one given for Morton Blumenthal (Mr. 900). Blumenthal's thinking was that the the individual soul does not become “lost IN the whole” – but rather retains its individuality while becoming “ONE WITH the whole.” Here is the relevant excerpt:
This as that as is the differentiation in the truth as is given in that of the INDIAN [Hindu] thought and that as is TO BE given in 's thought, or idea. ONE, that the individual becomes lost IN the whole. That as given, and as seen that, THAT the heritage of the soul is that the INDIVIDUALITY REMAINS, and KNOWS itself to BE ONE WITH the whole, but NOT the WHOLE, but one WITH and IN the whole, see? … Into that very same concept of the INDIVIDUAL'S concept of ITS creative energy, MADE, in mind AND will, ONE WITH the whole; YET able in ITS self to act in ITS own individual capacity, as long as it makes ITS will ONE WITH the whole. (900-461)
Interestingly, Blumenthal's wife, Adelle (Mrs. 136), also had thoughts in this direction and was similarly reminded:
For the soul liveth, and is a portion of the Creative Energy, and it returns to the Whole, yet reserving in itself the oneness in the ability to know itself individual, yet a portion of the Whole. (136-70)
You are right, I think, about the soul not being able to be apart from God in whom it lives and breaths and has its being – even if not consciously acknowledged or recognized.
As individual souls, even if we rebel and selfishly insist on being the Whole within ourselves – as being our own God – the Creator is patient and has prepared a way for our return to the awareness of Oneness (while retaining our individuality). Thanks so much for sharing your deep thoughts on this lesson. Blessings, Dave
[Here is a follow-up reply given in response to a subsequent comment in this thread discussing the enlightenment of Buddha and his awareness of “God-consciousness” while also knowing himself as an individual being.]
… I think you have part of your answer in the recognition that you are trying to comprehend a complex multidimensional reality with a limited 3-D mind. When we are in “higher” altered states of consciousness (such as deep meditation or mystical states) we have access to higher levels of mind in which we are able to understand these matters in a more comprehensive way – from the level of the “inner self:”
For Life and its expressions are one. Each soul or entity will and does return, or cycle, as does nature in its manifestations about man; thus leaving, making or presenting – as it were – those infallible, indelible truths that it – Life – is continuous. And though there may be a few short years in this or that experience, they are one; the soul, the inner self being purified, being lifted up, that it may be one with that first cause, that first purpose for its coming into existence. (938-1)
Note that it is the “inner self” that is lifted up so that it may be “one with that first cause.” Many Cayce readings discuss the “inner self,” which seems to be equivalent to the “real self” that you cited in your initial post. The readings tend to associate the "inner self" with the individuality of the soul. So there are levels of being and consciousness involved in the process of reunion with our Source.
Perhaps individuals such as Buddha and Jesus were able to consciously access these levels of being as part of their soul history – apparently it took Jesus multiple earthly lives and planetary sojourns to achieve Christ-Consciousness (the awareness of Oneness with God) while still having individuality.
Since you used a metaphor (wave and ocean) in your previous post, let me share the metaphor used most often in the Cayce readings that addressed your question:
Know thyself, then, to be as a corpuscle, as a facet, as a characteristic, as a love, in the body of God. (2533-7)
A corpuscle (blood cell) has its own boundary (membrane), role, (and the readings insist) and consciousness, yet is part of the whole body. I think of this as a “gestalt” in which “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – a deep concept if we apply it to the soul ENTITY.
I really appreciate your interest in this important aspect of ASFG because I too have a fascination with this question – so much so, that I have gathered many reading excerpts that address this concept and placed them in the resources for the lesson on “Know Thyself.”
The relevant excerpts begin with reading 136-70 (about half way down – there are over 30 of them).
All of the above is essentially an attempt at an intellectual, rational answer to your question. There is another way that is more intuitive through direct EXPERIENCE. What does it FEEL like to be separate yet one in a relationship?
Imagine that you have sought to do the will of God in some particular situation involving another person. Imagine that whatever you did (perhaps some simple act of kindness or service) went very well and you felt connected to that other person and to God for an instant, or perhaps longer. (Yes, this is the lesson on Glory.) You SENSED the ONENESS and had that AWARENESS and yet you still knew yourself to be yourself (with all the specifics and particulars associated with your unique being). Yes, some boundaries do soften or dissolve when we express love and feel it returned – but we still know who we are, even if we are part of a larger “gestalt” in consciousness (whether it be marriage, citizenship, humanity, etc). Have you ever had such an experience as we have just imagined? If so, how did it FEEL? This is another way to answer your question by APPLICATION.
And yes, there still is a great deal of mystery to it, but the mystery only draws us forward in our seeking. I hope this is helpful. Blessings, Dave