Oneness: “… everything is just different expressions of one field of Being …”   ~ Nirmala

oneness nirmala fractal eye

In That Is That, Essays About True Nature, Nirmala “… captures the essence of spiritual inquiry and provides the reader with a real transmission of Presence on every page. It is much more than an exposition about our true nature as infinite consciousness, it offers an experiential exploration of who we really are, not only through the transmission in the words, but through the many thoughtful questions it raises.”

In this series, Nirmala’s 1st post explored “… the gem in this moment …” … a chapter from the section titled: BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT … and …

…the 2nd post delved into objective (vs subjective) reality by answering a spiritual seeker’s question: … is there anything objective? Is there any final truth, or is everything subjective? What is reality like outside our minds and beliefs? Do we create our worlds with our beliefs and mind? … a chapter from the section titled: MAKING UP REALITY … and …

… the 3rd post addressed one of the most common issues faced by almost everyone : navigating feelings of lack, or restlessness, or emptiness that seems to either be present at {all} times or returns after some sense of elation or joy … a chapter from the section titled: EXPLORATION THROUGH INQUIRY … and …

… in this 4th post, Nirmala, explores oneness and then answers a key yearning/question that almost everyone has: how to experience oneness more deeply … people experience momentary glimpses of oneness OR have an intellectual understanding … but yearn for the deeply felt and abiding “sense” of oneness … Nirmala offers some suggestions in this excerpt from the section titled: ONENESS …

 

All text below is from Nirmala’s book and is published here with his permission.

Advaita is a Sanskrit word meaning “not two” and points to the fundamental oneness of everything—that everything is a part of and made of one substance. Often the question arises, “If it is all one thing, why don’t I experience it that way?” This is confusing oneness for the appearance of sameness. Things can appear different without being separate.

Just look at your hand for a moment. Your fingers are all different from each other, but are they separate? They all arise from the same hand. Similarly, the objects, animals, plants and people in the world are all definitely different in their appearance and functioning. But they are all connected at their source—they come from the same source. This one Being that is behind all life has an infinite number of different expressions that we experience as different objects.

To continue with the hand analogy, your fingers are all made of the same substance. They are made up of similar tissues, cells, atoms, and at the deepest level, subatomic particles. Similarly, when your experience of reality becomes more subtle, you discover that everything is just different expressions of one field of Being.

oneness infinite expressions nirmala

What about your experience right now? Is it possible to discover this subtle oneness in ordinary experience? It is, if you set aside the expectation of a dramatic experience of oneness and explore the oneness a little bit at a time. Just as even a single drop of water is wet, you can experience oneness in even simple everyday experiences, since oneness is a fundamental quality of everything that exists.

As an experiment, just notice your fingers and the palm of your hand. Can you say where one starts and the other ends, or are they one thing? To take this further, where does your hand stop and your forearm begin? Can you experience the oneness of your hand and your forearm? If these are not separate, then what about other parts of your body? Are your feet and your ears really one even though they are so different? Now notice if there really is a separation between your thoughts and your head. Where does your head stop and something else called thought begin? What about feelings or desires? Are they really separate from you or your body?

Now, notice the simple sensations you are having: the sounds you are hearing, the sensations of touch, and the objects and events you are seeing. If you are seeing something, where does the seeing stop and something else called the eye begin? If you are hearing sounds, where does the sound start and the ear stop? Perhaps the hearing, the sound, and your ear are all one thing. Yes, the ear is different from the sound, but in the act of hearing, they become one thing.

Then, where does the source of the sound stop and the sound itself start? For example, if a bird is singing outside your window, where does the bird stop and the sound of its song begin? Or are they one thing? If the bird and its song are one thing, and your hearing and the song are one thing, then is it possible that you and the bird are also one thing?

oneness with bird nirmala

Oneness has often been thought of as something hidden or difficult to experience, when it is quite ordinary and available in every moment. Of course, a dramatic experience of oneness is a rare event.

But why wait for something so rare when this sweet and satisfying oneness is right here, right now?

Experiencing Oneness More Deeply

Q: I know intellectually that I am Awareness. I say “intellectually” because I don’t yet sense it as fact. Do you have any additional pointers?

A: Many people have grasped the Oneness and their true nature as Awareness intellectually, but it is not a common or an ongoing experience for them. It seems there is often a gap between an intellectual knowing and a more grounded, knowing-in-your-being kind of knowing. The bridge between these two is, very simply, repeated experiences of Awareness. We tend to only really know something we have experienced a lot.

oneness intellectual nirmala library monastery

For everyone, different amounts of experience are required for that knowing to be felt in an ongoing way. How many times would it take to do something like flying an airplane before you felt you knew how to do it? If you piloted an airplane once for two minutes, would you feel you knew how to fly an airplane? Hopefully not! But if you had flown solo hundreds of times, you would probably have an ongoing sense that you know how to fly an airplane.

So having a deeper experience of Oneness is usually a matter of having lots of experiences of Oneness and Presence. However, it can also result from one very strong or long lasting experience. Although everyone would like to have a single big experience that does the trick, from my many conversations with people, more often this shift seems to happen gradually, as a result of a series of experiences.

There is one more point I’d like to share with you. Experiences of Oneness are wonderful and of great service to this shift, but such experiences are not that important in and of themselves. Like every other experience, the experience of Oneness comes and goes. And any effort to get or keep such an experience will cause you to suffer as much as striving to get or keep any other experience.

While it’s profoundly delightful to experience Oneness, a deep knowing of the truth is what matters. When there is a deep knowing that Presence, or Being, is all there is and that is who you are, it no longer matters if you’re experiencing it in this moment or not. It is similar to how while it is useful to own an automobile, imagine if you had to experience your car twenty-four hours a day in order to own a car! Owning a car is much easier than that since you trust the existence of your car, even if you can’t see it in this moment. We have had enough experiences of the reality of physical objects that we have developed a trust in them, which allows us to freely move in and out of experiences of our car without doubting that it will still be there when we need it.

In the same way, with enough experiences of Oneness, you just trust this deeper reality. Experiences of our true nature are necessary to develop this trust in Oneness, but those experiences don’t have to be ongoing for this knowing and trust to become ongoing. The real point of spiritual experiences is for the experience of Oneness to become irrelevant because the deeper sense of knowing is so constant.

oneness ordinary extraordinary nirmala forest watrefall

There are no techniques or processes that can cause you to experience Oneness or Presence, and there is no formula for the shift to a deeper knowing and trust. However, spiritual practices and teachings can put you in a place of curiosity about and receptivity to the spontaneous arising of Presence. They make it more likely for a spontaneous experience of Oneness or Presence to arise.

 

You can download a FREE PDF copy of That Is That  from Nirmala’s website .

Nirmala’s Stillness Speaks Teacher Page will be coming soon... a brief excerpt from his website bio is offered here: After a lifetime of spiritual seeking, Nirmala met his teacher, Neelam, a devotee of H.W.L. Poonja (Papaji). She convinced him that seeking wasn’t necessary; and after experiencing a profound spiritual awakening in India, he began offering satsang and Nondual Spiritual Mentoring with Neelam’s blessing. This tradition of spiritual wisdom has been most profoundly disseminated by Ramana Maharshi, a revered Indian saint, who was Papaji’s teacher.

“Nirmala offers satsang in gratitude for the love and grace that flow through his teachers, Neelam and Adyashanti, and for the Truth brought to this world by Ramana Maharshi and H.W.L. Poonja. Advaita satsang is offered as a celebration of the possibility, in every moment, of recognizing the truth of who we are. Nirmala offers a unique vision and a gentle, compassionate approach, which adds to this rich tradition of inquiry into the truth of Being.”~ excerpt from Nirmala’s website.

Here’s Adyashanti on Nirmala: “What is appealing about Nirmala is his humility and lack of pretense, which welcomes whatever arises within the field of experience. In the midst of this welcoming is always an invitation to inquire deeply within, to the core of who and what you are. Again and again, Nirmala points the questions back to the questioner and beyond to the very source of existence itself-to the faceless awareness that holds both the question and the questioner in a timeless embrace.” ~ excerpt from Nirmala’s website.

Images: (edited and logo added): Featured and 1) Central Eye by agsandrew, 2) Modern Abstract Background Colorful Illustration by rolffimages, 3) Landscape with boat and birds by jeneva86, 4) Library, Ancient books, globes in Stragov monastery by SergeyAK, 5) Deep forest waterfall by Deerphoto, all purchased from depositphotos, for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post).
Nirmala’s image sourced from his website.
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