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From Oneness to Duality and Back

If we can imagine it, it already exists.

If we can speak of it, it already exists.

A Course in Miracles tells us that when we are at the crossroads, trying to make a decision, we have already made the decision. We have already experienced the result of both decisions. Any crossroads is simply a re-enactment.

That sounds all very cute, conceptual and corny. Like all spiritual ideas, it can’t be proven. Just like those Zen stories – trees falling in the woods, pouring tea into a full cup, a thief at an empty house and so on – it’s a clever mind-muddler but does the crossroads idea have any practical use?

The crossroads idea suggests that all actions and thoughts are happening at the same time or, at least, time is not a straight line. Physicists say time is a circle and it’s possible that it’s a dot – everything is happening at once … the decision we’re equivocating over has already been enacted and we’re back at the start, circling ourselves in tighter and tighter circles till we become the dot.

If that’s the case, it would explain that it’s already happened when we think it or speak it.

But we’re playing in the world of theories so let’s become practical.

The minority of people (and most sages) say that we are in Oneness and that no “other” exists – there are no enemies, good and bad people, dark and light forces … there is just one and all is a reflection of the perceiver – not real but appearing as an annoyingly persistent illusion.

The majority of people say we’re in a world of duality – good and bad, friend and enemy, light and dark and so on.

And then there’s a whole tribe of people plondering along between these apparently certain extremes.

So, how can very different worlds exist in the same time and space?

Despite the possibility that time might not be linear, I am going to pretend that it is in order to explain that it is not!

In the beginning was Oneness – constantly creative stillness and peace. A fully sensing intangibility was pulsing with aliveness and certainty.

After aeons of sublime peace, shards of this Oneness desired to know what this Oneness was … to know how it was being experienced. To do that, they needed to become not-oneness to look back on themselves and know this.

The instant that thought occurred, duality became and these shards of Oneness felt everything that wasn’t Oneness – separation, doubt, fear, sadness, lostness and so on. The further from Oneness these shards went, the more fear they experienced and this was new, giving rise to the thought, ‘Where did this fear come from?’

The answer was immediate: ‘Them!’

As they asked the question, they saw other shards and, since they had no awareness of themselves, the answer was, ‘They caused my fear.’

The moment there was separation and “other”, there was blame. Yes, it is inconceivable that they could not see their own part in creating fear but let us be a little bit compassionate to these infant (and unaware) shards. We expect they’ll understand soon.

But they didn’t get it. Well, some did but the majority knew of fear and saw other and put one and one together to get three.

The more we focus on one thing, the less we see of our periphery. The more these fearful shards focussed on other shards that “caused” the fear, the clearer and more tangible became the story. As their focus moved away from the Oneness that birthed them, and to the growing number of shards that were the cause of their fear, their fear grew.

The number of shards grew. The fear grew. The answer was obvious.

One shard against the millions was overwhelming so many shrank into themselves and tried to slink away from contact, lest they became noticed and hurt. They became invisible. Became innocuous. Became inconsequential.

Others tried to link up with less fearful shards to form relationships that were constantly tinged with suspicion but were a nice pretence from the bigger fear out there.

However, despite the hiding and linking, the fear grew and so weapons were devised – weapons of words to explain why one shard was better than another; weapons of activities to entrap and neutralise; weapons of things to annihilate the enemies.

But still the fear grew and so wars of words, actions and things grew … and so did the fear. Soon, the fear was too much to deal with and some sought different answers, different sources for the fear.

Some wondered if, in fact, the fear did come from other “bad” shards. The wondering would not have happened if the fear had been kept at a manageable level but it wasn’t.

The insanity of the wars toppled many into greater wars and many into themselves. These “inner” shards wondered if, indeed, some of the sages had been right, that the fear comes from not from outside but from inside. Perhaps it’s an Inside Job, they wondered. As they wondered this, they couldn’t help but look inside themselves and, in there, there was nothing but peace and solace.

What came next was a surprise. Once they rediscovered the peace of Oneness inside themselves, they started to see it outside of themselves. They stopped blaming all those “bad” shards and, magically, the badness crumbled for them. Once that indescribable peace returned to their awareness, they found it difficult (and unnecessary) to see badness in another shard. Fear disappeared for them. The sharpness of “enemies” softened and, like a magnet, Oneness enveloped them again. Having seen themselves from the viewpoint of “other”, they realised the power they had for creating fear, peace, doubt, certainty and everything else.

Some say that the split from Oneness and the return to it all happened in a split second of timelessness and the tiny gap in Oneness is forever sealed … and that any sense of duality is simply a shadow, an echo, a memory of the shortest movie ever.

Oneness, they say, is where we are and it appears otherwise to those of us who wish to keep running a movie that has finished … that we can step out of the cinema any time we choose.

I do wonder what the world would be like if we stopped blaming other shards. Actually, if that happened, would the world continue to exist? Would there be a need for it at all?

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