Wednesday, 21 August 2013


I concluded the last post by saying that separation was the root cause of evil and so it is but I would like to qualify that statement a little here because as it stands it is not the whole truth. At least, if it is taken to mean that separation is always an evil then it is mistaken.

There is a saying attributed to the Taoist sage Chuang Tzu that it was separation that led to completion. What this means is that it is only through the experience of separation from oneness that a created being can consciously know oneness. Thus separation is an essential part of the evolutionary process which term I use to mean the process that sees a unit of consciousness descend from a state of pure spiritual oneness into the dualistic world of form, where it is given the opportunity to know itself as an individual, and thence to re-ascend into oneness only this time with the fruits of experience. It goes from the state of unconsciousness (because it is not conscious that it is conscious) to self-consciousness and then, if all goes according to plan, to God consciousness.  And this process of making gods is only possible through separation.

Creation itself is only possible through separation. In order to create, God must become other than God. Because there is nothing apart from God He must separate Himself out from Himself and become two. We can call this spirit and matter, creator and creation, inner and outer, subject and object, life and form, but the point is that there must be a division in unity if unmanifested oneness is to manifest, and that is separation.

Separation is God becoming other than Himself in order to become more than Himself. So separation in that sense is actually good. It has at least the potential to bring about a higher good than would exist without it. It is also the source of love. The fundamental reality behind all else may be non-duality but if original unity had not become duality and then, as the interaction between the two poles of existence brought about the numberless worlds and created beings inhabiting those worlds, multiplicity, there would have been no possibility of love. Indeed, it could be said that love was the very reason for creation. And love, without separation, could never be because in pure, unmanifested oneness love can neither be expressed nor even known.

So it is not separation in itself that is bad but isolation or, in other words, a separate self that no longer acknowledges its oneness with the rest of creation. We were created as sparks of the divine fire. The mystery and glory of our existence is that these sparks can come to know themselves as the fire itself but, in order to gain that knowledge, they must first lose contact with the fire and experience the isolation of complete separation. Only thus can they know themselves as themselves. But if they do not then seek to grow out of themselves, and instead merely seek to grow themselves, then the purpose of separation becomes perverted. It is taken too far and seen as a destination rather than a stop along the way which should mark the point of return to the source. It is then that separation may lead to evil.

Life in this world is marked by separation. No man is an island said John Donne but it certainly feels that way which, of course, is why he had to say it. The common experience of every human being is that they are cut off and isolated from the rest of life. This may be glossed over through love, friendship and in other ways too but it is the fundamental fact of our existence until, through acknowledgment of our common spiritual source and direct intuition of that source, we learn to transcend our separateness and recognise our oneness. We might like to think that is inevitable, and it may be that everyone will eventually reach salvation (for what else is salvation but this?), but, even though life may always be trying to push us in that direction, it is still a matter of choice. We can choose to remain separate or we can choose to pursue the path of oneness. This world is perfectly set up so that either choice is intellectually possible by which I mean that if we apply reason alone to the problem we can equally well choose the path of materialism (which is separation) or belief in a higher power (which is oneness). If we go purely on a rational basis there is just enough evidence to convince the prospective believer in a God but not quite enough to convert the atheist to that position. Thus it is a matter of choice and the choice we make depends on the degree to which we are willing to listen to our heart. It is the heart that is our connection to oneness while the brain is the source of separateness. Atheists may theorise about the oneness of humanity (a lot of them like to do so) but they can never realise that oneness except as an idea or concept until they acknowledge the higher power that unites us, and which does so literally not theoretically. And that is God. So atheism, whatever it may say about itself, is actually the doctrine of separation because, though it may pay lip service to oneness, it denies the unifying principle. There is no oneness except in God. 

1 comment:

Paul Hillman said...

As always,crystal clear and so much to the point. Thank you, William.