Sunday, November 3, 2013

I Seem To Be Fighting To Be Separate Within Our Oneness

I was talking to a friend after an AA meeting recently. He was questioning me about my use of the term “Oneness” when I spoke during the meeting. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean by Oneness. I hear that used in my church, but it means ‘others, like us, who have the same mind.’ I don’t think that’s what you are talking about.” I replied, “That’s correct – I don’t mean those who are of like mind. What I mean is inside each of us is the Spirit of God. The same God. The same Spirit. So, inside each of us – the real us – we are all the same. We are actually one. Oneness.” “But what about Muslims? Atheists? Communists?”  “What about them? We are all one underneath – either trying to express Love or crying out for Love.”
He nodded but I could tell he just wanted to end the discussion. We went on to chat about some of the upcoming NFL games, said goodbye, and went our separate ways.
Oneness – it’s a concept that we try to comprehend, while maintaining our individuality, our uniqueness, our separateness. To be separate is to underscore the thought that I am me and you are not. Pretty straightforward.
But that’s not who we are.
During my sharing, I was trying to use the Fellowship of Alcoholic Anonymous as a very good (but limited and imperfect) example of Oneness.  In my program of recovery it is suicide to continue to believe in my uniqueness. Retaining my uniqueness allows me to think, as I’m listening to other recovering alcoholics share their story or issues, that my circumstances allow me to ignore what is being said, to look for the smallest differences between the sharer and me, to focus on those smallest items that don’t specifically apply to me, so I’ll feel better or bigger, or….
In the Program we refer to this tendency as Comparing-Out rather than Comparing-In. It’s a last gasp defense mechanism of my addictive self to continue its denial of the obvious. That is death for me. Comparing-In is life for me. It allows me to say to someone who asks about AA, “We all tell our stories – our problems and our recovery. They are all very different, yet they are all very much the same.”
Oneness. Those of us who sense this reality share honestly and openly, laugh lustily, and get choked up. We understand that we are all distinct, not unique. Yet underneath our distinctness, we are all the same. We are one. And that sense of Oneness brings a calm and peace and comfort – all of which maintains our sobriety.
In the Workbook for Students in A Course In Miracles (ACIM), there are discussions about meditative practices.  The lessons encourage a deeper sort of meditation, referred to as “Down-And-Inward” meditations. The guidelines ask you: 1. To sink deeply into the center of your mind, 2. Use concrete methods (often, simply repeating the title of the day’s lesson) to pull myself back when my mind wanders, and 3. To maintain a heightened sense of intention, i.e., really be willing to want to find peace and calm and light and knowledge and the trusted love of God. [These guidelines are artfully summarized in A Workbook Companion, Allen Watson and Robert Perry, Vol. 1, Circle Publishing, 2005, pp 124-6.]
The Course said this practice would enable me to find that peaceful center of my True Self – the Self that had never severed being a part of God, the Self that knew the Truth of Love, and the Self that existed in the reality of Spirit, which is without fear, the Self that experiences Oneness.
A very good friend and Course student has used this technique with a remarkable result that changed his life. So, here I went – as I did in AA – simply following instructions. Doing as I was told. As I wrote about this in February 2013 (Spirituality May Not Look Like What You Think It’s Supposed To Look Like): “It is an effective meditative practice for me. However, I wasn’t seeing bright lights. I wasn’t being overwhelmed with peace. I wasn’t being blown away by the presence of God’s love. What I did know was that the meditative time went by very quickly, whether it was a 6-minute or 30-minute meditation. Where had the time gone?
“Several days after first using this new-to-me technique, this friend in the Course simply happened to mention that he had had a deep meditation and he knew he was at his peaceful center. “How do you know?” “Because the time goes by instantly.” Wow! That was what was happening to me, too!  But I hadn’t seen it.
“What was I expecting? What was I anticipating? … It didn’t matter what my expectations were. What mattered was a little confirmation – a deep meditation where time elapses instantly. Where there is no time. That is peace….
“I remembered, early in my sobriety, listening to a member of the Fellowship who kept asking the group – week after week – when her desire to drink would be lifted. It got old listening to her whine and complain. Then, one evening, listening to her repetitive “When is my desire to drink going to be lifted?” I realized I hadn’t thought of taking a drink in a long while. When was my desire lifted? I didn’t know. I remembered thinking there should be lightening bolts and thunder claps and choirs of angels. None of that. My desire to drink simply faded into the night.”
From ACIM: “In the presence of those who hear the Holy Spirit’s Call to be as one, the ego fades away and is undone.” [T-5: IV, 1, 11] Oneness. No thunder claps. No Angel choirs singing. No fantastic lightening bolts. Looking for the similarites in all people rather than looking for the differences. Comparing-In to life, rather than Comparing-Out.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#1 November, 2013

Copyright, 2013

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