Oneness is the state of mind where you can live and extend genuine peace and compassion. There are two paths to oneness. Learn how to travel both.
Most people want our world filled with friendship, love, and compassion. But this utopia of caring and sharing always seems out of reach.
Why is it so hard to find room for these higher virtues? It’s hard because there is a lot of negative social programming designed to separate us and trigger our deepest fears.
Achieving oneness is essential for the world to move beyond its current state of conflict. Let’s examine how to get there. We can do this!
The Two Paths To Oneness
Oneness is a term that describes the unity of both inward and outward states. The inward state or experience is peaceful silence. It is the absence of internal chatter. This is an experience of our transcendent nature. The outward expression of this is what we feel concerning other living things. The peace of the transcendent naturally connects us to other people and living things. It is a universal perspective that connects us to all living things.
There are two paths to oneness. There is an analytical approach and direct experience of the transcendent. We will cover the analytical approach in this article. The analytical approach makes us confront negative programming such as negative bias and prejudice.
The second path is the direct experience of the transcendent state of pure consciousness. You can reach this state with the proper meditation technique. The best process for this is Japa Meditation. The more well-known retail version of this technique is Transcendental Meditation (TM). This will provide a personal experience of oneness. Of the two paths, this one is the least confrontational, at least initially. Meditation makes your awareness grow, then you can’t escape what you become aware of.
We highly recommend the use of both approaches. Even if you meditate, you can still carry a great deal of negative bias and prejudice because of cultural programming. The self hypnosis of the cultural narrative is so powerful it will taint your mind with bias and prejudice. The analytical approach will help you see the programming that you need to fix.
The First Path ― The Analytical Approach
The analytical approach is the first of the two paths. This path takes willpower, courage, and persistence. It will make you confront beliefs, prejudices and fears. So this makes it an excellent group exercise. It will identify the roadblocks that are holding group back from becoming a team. This will help areas of individual and group self-development.
There are four levels or degrees in this analytical framework. It is important to realize that there is resistance at each level. This process surprises some people. It shows them where they hold bias and prejudice.
This will bring up some powerful emotions. Because of this, we recommend using emotional checks to minimize your discomfort and speed your progress. There’s an outline of this process below, but you find a link to the detailed process at the end.
Using emotional checks will make your research more accurate. It will save you time in the long term. And it will reduce the stress of investigating challenging ideas. These short breaks are the researcher’s quality check. They help to keep you on track.
Facing ideas that conflict with closely held beliefs is serious inner work. It brings up powerful feelings that trigger our “fight, flight or freeze” reaction. When the primitive instincts kick in, we lose our higher thinking functions. So when this happens, we must take steps to regain emotional equilibrium.
It is easy to get thrown out of their comfort zone when we move into exercises where we confront closely held beliefs. It brings up the “fight, flight or freeze” reaction of the mind. It’s the fear we might be wrong.
This is where the opportunity for growth begins. To ease the emotional aspect of this exercise, we recommend using emotional checks. This is a process to help you stay as unbiased as possible. It’s simple and practical. You will learn a lot about yourself if you go through the analytical approach.
Your curiosity brought you to the truth-seekers paths to oneness. Going through the process will reveal where you have room for growth.
Step One – Coexistence
To coexist with someone with different beliefs, you must acknowledge and tolerate their spiritual beliefs … even if they conflict with yours. Seeing their value as a person is the key. Their value as a person supersedes their beliefs. Keep in mind, you can change what you believe, and they can change what they believe.
You must learn to look beyond bias and prejudice in order to coexist. This doesn’t mean you should accept their beliefs if they are harmful. It doesn’t mean you should tolerate beliefs and behaviors that are discriminatory and harmful. Rather, it’s a conscious decision to withhold animosity.
If they have beliefs which are harmful, we recommend what we call an unconventional approach to help the believer. This approach can change the minds of some people. Be aware that this takes a significant investment of time and effort.
Learning to coexist with others who think differently is the first step toward oneness. It’s a huge and important step. It makes us face the boundaries of our judgments. It also forces us to confront the judgements of others with tolerance. Remember, the goal is for you to achieve oneness. You can’t become one with something you hate. Otherwise, you hate yourself.
To do this, you need to write the things you hate about the other person. Next, write the justification for your hate. Now, decide that this hate is destructive for everyone. So, you make a conscious decision to set aside your feelings. Putting these thoughts down in writing is a powerful tool. It makes your prejudices easy to see, and this give you the power to change them.
The goal is to see their value as a person. You must empathize and attempt to see their struggles. You will see why they distrust or hate you. Communicating at this level of transparency is scary. It makes you both vulnerable. This takes courage. But your vulnerability allows you to change your point of view. This will also help those with a different mindset see things from your point of view.
Step Two – Inclusion
The second step beyond tolerance is inclusion. This is the conscious decision to find value in the other person’s belief system … even though their beliefs are different or even in conflict with your own. This second step is hard, especially when there are few redeeming values in the other persons’ belief system. This is can trigger the safety issues of both. Here’s a helpful quote to help you find the good in any system of thought.
The argument goes like this. No one thinks their beliefs are wrong. Yet, most would agree that their beliefs confine their perspective. They only feel safe when someone believes what they do. It’s the trap of belief. This is why people need to ask what you believe. They need to know so they can judge you based on the boundaries of their beliefs and values.
So, to align with them, I say I believe the good in all religions. I am a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and Hindu plus many more. Some people are okay with this answer.. But others tell me I must one religion. I ask them why? Isn’t it more prudent to believe the best in all, rather than confining yourself to just one point of view? — Guru Tua
This is a decision made on the conscious level to move past your judgments and assumptions. It isn’t an easy step. It’s one thing to understand another person’s values. It’s a breakthrough for you if you can find value in them.
This step is where many people get stuck. It’s one thing to see your bias and prejudice. It’s even harder to tolerate and now accept it in others. It forces us to seek positive change.
It’s hard to remove negative programming. If negative bias and prejudice exit in your own beliefs, you need to convince yourself that these values are inappropriate. If they exist in the beliefs of the other person, you can point them out but do so in a way that isn’t a blaming statement.
Here’s an example of blaming and non-blaming statements. First the blaming statement, “you believe it’s okay to kill someone if they have an abortion”. Now the non-blaming way to say the same thing, “am I correct in saying you believe you have the right to take the life of another person if they have an abortion?” The non-blaming statement is in the form of a question. It also omits words like, “you.”
You need to work at seeing the value in others are not like you, or don’t believe the same things. So, you must ask them about themselves. You must learn to listen and empathize. If this seems impossible, then research ways to enhance your listening skills. There is also sensitivity training which can help you unlock your ability to empathize with people.
Step Three – Acceptance
The third step is moving through tolerance and inclusion to acceptance. Acceptance occurs when you feel empathy for the other person regardless of their beliefs. This is significant for the absence of negative emotional feelings toward the other person. There is still distance because of your differing beliefs, but you can accept them because of their intrinsic value.
You still go your separate ways and have your own separate worlds, but now you can feel comfortable with them in your personal space. You value them enough as a person and can openly discuss their point of view.
At this point, don’t think you have overcome the cultural programming that installed the bias and prejudice. Unless you have done some serious inner work with the Enneagram you need to beware of slipping back into old thinking patterns.
You may not have changed the beliefs of the other person, but you have set a good example and you are giving them food for thought. They may not have accepted your point of view before they came to accept the value you bring.
You should feel comfortable in helping and sharing with the other person. Do it. Don’t allow cultural or social barriers to building walls. Keep planting seeds filled with facts. Facts over come fear.
Step Four – Convergence
The fourth and final step from tolerance through inclusion and acceptance is convergence. When you “See” another person, and value them greatly for who they are and not as a label or as a representation of a belief system.
B this point, all artificial boundaries have disappeared. This last step in the analytical approach to oneness. It does not “happen” on its own. Oneness results from actions based on decisions to move beyond your own beliefs, judgments, and assumptions.
You notice that each of these steps requires you to make the changes, not the other person. This is a struggle in any society that perpetuates social and cultural barriers. Many cultures encourage social inequities and this the principal reason this process is so difficult. You must have the courage to go against the grain of the culture if you want to live in a society free from discrimination and prejudice.
The Second Path ― A Direct Experience
The second approach is a direct experience of the infinite. Again, this approach is the use of a method of meditation that takes you directly to an experience of the transcendent. Japa Meditation is the generic form of meditation for this journey. Other forms of meditation can get you there, but not as directly or as often as Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM).
An intermediary step would be to learn the process for basic mindfulness mediation. This will provide a foundation for the more advanced technique of Japa Meditation.
The two paths to oneness have the same goal, but use different methods. We recommend traveling both. Achieving oneness is not an aspirational goal. It results from solid practical and realistic work. It takes courage and persistence. Everyone benefits when we undertake this journey.
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the search option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia