A running theme of the writings here, always implicit but brought out more recently, is that God is personal and not the impersonal, or even so called transpersonal, absolute of many forms of mysticism, particularly Eastern but increasingly Western too. So rather than the absolute undifferentiated oneness that these approaches to truth offer, it is the combination of oneness and individuality that is the highest state open to man and the reason for this world of creation in which everything has a value and nothing is illusion except the darkness of separative existence - though even that can become a perceived reality for us if we go too far in its direction.
God is a Person (capitalized because he is the source of all personhood, our possibility of being a person deriving from the reality of him as Person). Do you not feel a sense of relief in hearing that? It means that you are loved, and that there is a purpose behind everything that happens in this world. We are too quick to dismiss this idea as anthropomorphic and say that we have made God in our own image. That may be true for many of the pagan gods, the Thors and the Cybeles etc, but it is not true of the one living God and Creator who is the source and pattern of all the highest and best in us. Of truth, love, beauty, goodness, and of the capacity to give and to sacrifice without thought of reward. Everyone feels these qualities within themselves to some degree, however overlaid by greed, ignorance and selfishness they might be, and everyone recognizes that they are laudable and should be encouraged unless they are sunk so low in self-hatred and bitterness that they cannot rise above cynicism or pride. They are the stamp of the divine Person within us, the reflection of his qualities and, however dim and imperfect that reflection may be, it is still the image of God shining in our hearts, and we can always use it to connect ourselves to our Creator.
God is not like us. We are like him though only so in terms of our purest, best and truest selves. If he had intended us to bathe in the blissfulness of pure consciousness, as the non-dualists would have it, there would have been no need to undergo the experience of life in this world; no need to develop a true sense of values, of courage and the ability to endure suffering cheerfully. But there is the need to learn all these things because they make us actively good rather than just neutral or detached, and that is why we are here. It is why God conceals himself from us and it is why we live in a world of opposites where evil and suffering are not only possible but likely, indeed inevitable. It is only through struggle that we rise and are able to bring out the potential that exists within us all.
So, far from desiring us to deny our individuality, God wants us to develop this from the seed he has implanted within us. He does not want clones. He wants free individuals but ones who are individual not individualistic. The difference is all important. Understand that there is no contradiction between oneness and individuality. This is simply how things are in a universe in which the One is the underlying reality but the many is the expressed reality, and the reason for that is that God, the fundamental 'I AM', finds the greatest joy in always becoming more. It is his nature to give and to expand (through us) and to know both the bliss of being and the joy of becoming which latter is also the means and fulfilment of his fundamental quality of love. Those who think of the absolute as beyond and above all qualities have misunderstood the very nature of God and creation. For the highest truth is not in pure being alone but in bringing being and becoming into harmony, with each completing the other. Isn't a beautiful painting better than a blank canvas? Pure unadulterated oneness would mean that love was an illusion but it is not. It is the essence of existence and that is because God is not one but three in one, and this is reflected in nature whether that be concretely in Man, Woman and Child or abstractly in subject, object and the relationship between them.
Divine reality has been perceived by human beings in this world as sometimes impersonal and sometimes personal. Over the last 100 years or so it has become more common to think that the impersonal conception is nearer the truth, but I regard this as a sad error caused by our current intellectual focus as well as a rejection of earlier (possibly simplistic) ideas about a personal God. I believe God to be personal in his true self-nature but with an impersonal aspect though that is not him in himself but him as the one life as it exists throughout his creation. It is him as immanence. We can identify with this life aspect if that is our wish, but it is a less comprehensive state than the one of relationship with the personal God, the transcendent Creator, a relationship whose basis is love and which acknowledges creation as real. Note that there is a sort of impersonal benevolence when an individual becomes identified with the pure ground of being (manifesting as compassion), but it is not the fiery joy of true divine love which is only known when creation is accepted as fully real in itself, albeit real as an expression of God, and not regarded simply as a lesser state of illusion or dream that is dissipated in the light of the Absolute.
Oneness underlies the multiplicity of reality but it is not the whole picture by any means. It does not make creation insignificant for creation comes about specifically to make something more than simple oneness. An impersonal absolute could never create and, in fact, could never lead to anything. It would just be itself. Creation needs a mind and a mind means a person. There is no getting away from this. God is personal and that means our individuality is real. We do not 'go beyond' it. We do go beyond exclusive identification with it but we retain our unique quality and if we did not what would become of love? What would become of beauty which always needs a form, of goodness which must be expressed and of truth which requires a mind to know it? There is an aspect of pure being to the divine nature but, though this might be shocking to the non-dualist to hear, it is only a part of it. It is the ground of being, like a spiritual counterpart to the body, but it is not God and if you focus on that exclusively you are falling well short of your true destiny as a human being. Man is spirit, soul and body as in his life, his unique quality and his form, and though there is a hierarchical relationship between these parts of his being they are all fundamental aspects of the totality of what he is and can’t be separated. Like his Creator, in whose image he is made, he is three in one.