For most of us, there’s no shortage of things for us to worry about in our daily lives, and each of them plays a role in diverting our attention from the pursuit of happiness and understanding. In this thought-provoking article, Padma Shyam (of ONE’s Padma Yoga) explores the nature of oneness, and how contemplating its meaning can positively impact us all.
“These days, while I’m on my meditation retreat in the Himalayas of India, I like to spend an hour or so each morning doing some hatha yoga. I can hear the roar of the powerful Vyaas River just in front of my home, and in the orchard, the song birds and parrots enjoy the cool morning. I normally put on an audio recording of a talk by my guru and stretch out while I listen. This is my version of multi-tasking! I love the quality of bringing my awareness to subtle spaces even while I do physical yoga. I find myself staying in poses longer and meditating, listening and absorbing the knowledge.
This morning my teacher was speaking about oneness.
When we are in deep sleep, there is no duality in us. Between two people sleeping there is no duality in their minds; there is only the one space of deep sleep being known.
The dream state of consciousness might come into the mind and be active and full of life for the dreamer, but there is no sense of separation from any other real person. The space of oneness that was present in deep sleep is still present, even when dreams come into the mind.
If you meditate deeply on this you begin to understand that the space of oneness, the pure space of our being is ever-constant, even when movement is activated in the mind’s consciousness, and dreams start to live in our mind. The base foundation of our life, our raw existence and its potential consciousness, has not gone away just because the power of our mind began to move and create ideas.
Then my teacher said, “then waking state comes and oneness is still there.”
Normally in the waking state we feel all sorts of sense perceptions and emotions and we have all kinds of thoughts full of joy and love but also of duality, worry and agitation. We wake up and our whole day starts with everything we knew from the day before: Our home, our body, our relations, our job, our worries and responsibilities. This waking state is full of duality. People are different from us, we’re in competition with others, others are nice or not nice to us, we feel happy or we get sad about ourselves or about local or world situations. Living with this awareness of the “reality” of life, how can it be understood that oneness still exists?
It’s a shift in our attention.
Habitually, all day we put our attention on the forms and actions of the waking state of consciousness in our minds. When we put our attention only on the perception of the senses of the body, and on the thinking in the mind, then automatically we will forget about the oneness that is ever-present. Our mind will not remember both at the same time: the forms of our busy life and the formlessness of our pure existence when we are asleep. An assumption in the mind is also that “if I don’t constantly pay attention to the forms of my world then I will lose some competition, I’ll get behind in some race or start to decrease the power of my life and ego.” The waking state is full of the fear of death of itself and takes itself as the whole of reality. It cannot see itself for what it is: a state of mind.
If you meditate on the purity of your own existence, before you adopted any name or identity as an ego, then you’ll start to discover the state of oneness in yourself. You’ll come to recognize this pure state as who you have always been: when you were a little child, when you grew to be an adult, and who you’ll be when you’re 90.
Once you can see this oneness in yourself, then you will be able to understand that everyone is and always has been this same, pure one.
Whether the dream state comes, or whether the waking state comes, you and me and everyone are always the one ever-present existence. In your daily meditation, you can simply close your eyes and know that this oneness is pure, free and forever, and most importantly, this oneness is you.”
Written by Padma