We talk about spiritual experiences, we talk about spiritual awakening, and we talk about the differences between spiritual experiences and a spiritual awakening. We talk about different forms of meditation, and we talk about non-duality and oneness and how it’s impossible to talk about non-duality and oneness without revealing hidden tells of separateness and duality.
We all have our little takes on all the different terms of spirituality.
We think we know, but we don’t know what we don’t know. Or, we think we don’t know, but we actually know and just don’t know we know.
There’s nothing like spiritual confusion over the cornucopia spiritual terms.
In the end, it’s all spiritual. While it seems we can’t help but stumble, in reality we can’t help but find oneness – because oneness is all we have. Oneness is all there is.
Let the battles rage over New Age versus New Thought, Lao Tzu versus Confucius, Hindu versus Zen, The Grateful Dead versus the Moody Blues, Alan Ginsberg versus Ram Das, Richard Alpert versus Timothy Leary.
In the end, John Lennon said it best: I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. Coo coo ca choo.
What do we mean when we talk about the presence within? The oneness. What does it feel like? How do we reach it?
The poet, Rumi, believes we live with a deep secret that sometimes we know, and then not. That secret is our connection to the divine – the presence.
In “The Mirror of Intimacy,” Alexandra Katehakis said, “Everything you perceive is your presence. Look deeply into every moment and perceive divine presence. Recognize each circumstance as having a particular bearing on your soul. Over time, this practice will bring you presence of mind and make manifest your own catalytic presence.”
There are many names for the presence within, many descriptions of it.
- Om – The Buddhist and Hindu name that evokes the concepts of the oneness of God and the universal omnipresence of the creator deity.
- Brahman – Hinduism, the super-present properties of the creator deity, Brahma, understood to manifest itself as light within the human being.
- Divine countenance or the face of God – a metaphor for a close encounter with God.
- The Holy Spirit in Christianity.
- Immanence – a term for the presence used in mysticism.
- Inner light – a term used in various religions to refer to the presence of God within.
- Numen – a Latin term for the divine presence within.
- Psychedelics can produce the feeling of the presence of God.
- Shekhinah – Judaism’s term for a presence in a holy place called a tabernacle. The tabernacle represents the human body or being, and also refers to the presence of God within.
- Theophany – the overt appearance of God to a person.
- The Kingdom of God within – In Luke 17:21, Christ says the Kingdom of God is within us.
- Higher consciousness – the higher the level of one’s consciousness, the closer to God.
The next blog will explain how we can reach the presence within and what it feels like when we experience it.
I know that title here looks like it has a typo in it. Yet the awkward wording is intentional. What does it mean? I’m not sure. But I know one thing: our language does not lend itself to easily speaking or writing about deep spirituality, or what is referred to as nonduality.
Nonduality essentially means oneness. If there is oneness, there is not a subject and an object.
Alan Watts was the first teacher I read who questioned whether you can discuss nonduality in written or spoken English. Toward the end of the “The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are,” Watts concedes he can’t adequately describe nonduality because our object/subject language will not accommodate it. Many poets have tried to wrestle deeper meaning from English by defying conventional syntax.
The idea is to break syntax to open a hole in the language large enough for spirit to enter. Gertrude Stein said, “A rose is a rose is a rose.” Robert Duncan also said it with the line: “There’s nothing inside but the inside inside.” Or anything by John Ashbery, such as this: “The music brought us what it seemed we had long desired, but in a form so rarefied there was no emptiness of sensation.”
Perhaps you could defy our language this way:
You not you who you are not here where you are not now.
Or this question:
We not I who we are not here – are we you not now as we are you here?
Maybe it’s nonsense. Maybe it’s an opening to nonduality speech.
You can sound it out, and it makes as much sense as looking at a photo of yourself and saying, “This is not me” and being correct (thanks Zak).
To crack open the language is to crack open the thinking. And if thought is the barrier to true vision, then the language needs to be cracked open.