All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything. – Swami Vivekananda
In Eastern thought, One has the dual meaning of number or quality. The modern concept of mindfulness flows out of the spiritual traditions from both East and West. Mindfulness emphasizes the non-separation of the self from the Oneness of true reality. To become mindful, is to become aware of how our individual selves are interconnected within the Oneness of it All. But, for most, the all-encompassing unity of existence is obscured by individual perceptions and interpretations of reality. Those who do experience the oceanic feeling of oneness return to the innocent state of a newborn infant before the self separates from the One.
The central concept of Taoism is the oneness of the All is the Tao. At the end of the first chapter of the “Tao Te Ching, the great sage LaoZi (LaoTzu) wrote: The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name./ The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth. /The named is the mother of the myriad of things… The Tao cannot be named because there is no re-representation by the mind. This concept echoes throughout modern studies of consciousness. Many researchers have tried to understand the metaphysical roots of consciousness. This concept of consciousness-as-such is called a “Minimal Phenomenal Experience”. Or: Buddha- Nature; Atman-Brahman; being-awareness-bliss; and so many more. Essentially though the Oneness of it All has no distinctions. Distinctions require language and language separates the One into Many.
My Chinese name, given to me by my mother-in-law, is Zhuang Dao Bai. Zhuang for ZhuangZi my favorite ancient sage. Dao – for the Dao (Tao). and Bai – for Li Bai the ancient poet.
Division is the same as creation; creation is the same as destruction. There is no such thing as creation or destruction, for these conditions are again leveled together into One. Only the truly intelligent understand this principle of the leveling of all things into One. They discard the distinctions and take refuge in the common and ordinary things. The common and ordinary things serve certain functions and therefore retain the wholeness of nature. From this wholeness, one comprehends, and from comprehension, one comes near to Tao. There it stops. To stop without knowing how it stops – this is Tao. – Zhuangzi, “On Leveling All Things” (tr. Lin Yutang).
Taoist thinkers connect the meaning of “Heaven” with the concepts of: ziran – self-so/self-affirm; xing – nature; and de – potency. In Zhuangzi’s writing we see that it is our human consciousness which separates us from the Tao – the One. To be truly natural one must be mindful of their own “I/Me/Mine” consciousness creating the distinctions from Heaven / Oneness. Nature offers us a gateway back into the Heaven on Earth into which we were born. Researchers have named this state as “consciousness-as-such. In Eastern traditions there are two views of this state. In one, there is a state of being which is fully absorbed into the One, like a dreamless sleep. In the other, although there is no conscious thought, there is an awareness of being within the One.
We all experience this reduced conscious awareness every day when we transition to and from sleep. That fugue state of flow is the One – the Tao. The goal of meditation is to bring about this state of awareness without making conscious distinctions. Perhaps you have heard of the concept of Non-Dual Awareness (NDA). NDA is a mirror and objects/actions/distinctions are reflections in that mirror. When a Self-Transcendent person achieves Oneness, they experience the clear light of awareness. To be One with the Universe is to be blissfully content with no sense of a lacking or needing more than what simply and naturally is. May we all seek to experience oneness and become aware of our natural connection to this heaven on earth. Peace.