ONENESS. From Oneness Perceived: A Window Into Enlightenment.

All true spiritual traditions are closer to one another than to the religions derived from them, for they spring from one reality!

ONENESS PERCEIVED presents a unified field theory of perception and reality. It is a theory of Oneness and duality, reality and illusion, as they effect, redefine and unify such fundamental concepts as consciousness, knowing, evolution, time, space and being.

It is a unified field theory, but because it deals with perception and not aperceptual reality, it unites the biofield or perceptual field, the field of consciousness, and not the physical field. [Whether it will move us closer to a unified physical field theory as well is to be seen, but it will at least offer some clarification.] I call it perceptual field theory.

Oneness is reality.
Oneness perceived is duality.
Duality is illusion.
Oneness perceived is illusion.

THE GREAT INFERENTIAL

Oneness is the great inferential. In one sense we know it is there, it must be there, yet there is no way of getting primary information about it, no way of knowing it. Sometimes the idea that there is only Oneness and everything is connected seems improbable, a woolly headed notion, a mystical construct. Other times it seems self-evident, a palpable reality, a truism, so real that it shines out every place one looks. What is this level on which all things are connected, on which all things are one? Call it the level of being. No matter how extensive the differences between things are, everything exists, everything is in a state of being. Existence .. being .. forms a continuum, inhabits a common dimension, saturates all possible separate dimensions, is all inclusive, universal.

Oneness is reality. However, this too is an inference, a negative category. Oneness can be said to be reality only in the sense that it is not illusory, is not a perception, is not dualized, is not a relational quality. It is a reality that we cannot even prove exists. It must exist otherwise we could not have anything to perceive, but we can no more prove it than know it. We think it's reality, the reality that underlies all appearances, but again this is just pure supposition, unacceptable in any scientific court of law. For now, let us just agree to discuss Oneness as if it exists and as if it is reality, aperceptual reality. For if it is not real and doesn't exist, then nothing is real and nothing exists.

Not that this is a compelling argument. One could take it the other way, reasoning that since there is no proof that Oneness is real or even exists and since we know perception is illusory, then perhaps nothing is real and nothing exists. This opens up a difficult path. If nothing is real and nothing underlies perception, what does this say about the nature of existence .. that nothing exists except illusion? As absurd and self-contradictory as this is on the face of it, it does dispassionately sum up the human predicament, or for that matter the condition of all sentient beings.

It also implies something else. It implies that the existence of Oneness and reality, to say nothing of the reality of Oneness, if believed in at all, have to be believed in as articles of faith, blind faith. We believe in them because we must, because without that belief the bottom would fall out of all higher human thought and endeavor. We would be trapped in a shifting maze of appearances with no direction even possible. However, this belief is more like religion than philosophy .. to say nothing of science. To believe in Oneness the same way we believe in God, with no proof and no prospects of proof, just faith, is not a foundation for science but for superstition. The more we think about it, the more closely it resembles belief in God.

Can Oneness be considered the generic form of God?

Like God, Oneness is something that we suppose must be there, underlying all we can see, something we infer from all of the detailed and glorious illusions that make up our world and ourselves. Unlike God, however, Oneness is devoid of form and intention, and as such devoid of the forms and intentions that almost all religions attribute to their Gods.

If, however, despite the difficulties it makes for us, despite the abyss it throws us into, we choose to disbelieve, to be agnostic on Oneness, where does that leave us? Is it possible to construct a coherent world view on the foundation that all there is, is appearance, illusion, with no underlying reality? We would have to start with the premise that underlying perceptual illusion is just a more fundamental illusion. (Not the fundamental illusion, just a more fundamental illusion.) Now peculiarly enough, this is just what science finds. Beneath color perception we find the illusion [I say illusion because these are cognitive perceptions realized in the form of sensory analogs] of electromagnetic waves, behind that we find the illusion of packets of energy; behind that perhaps vibrating strings and behind that .. nothing, at least nothing we have thought up yet. What is generating these levels of illusion if not Oneness, if not primal existence .. nothing?

In a sense then Oneness and nothingness can be held equivalent. Why is this and what does it mean? The solution to this apparent paradox resides in the realization that "thingness" is a perceptual category. Nothing, "no thing", doesn't mean absence of all existence, it simply means absence of perceptions, perceptual categories. I talk more about this in the chapter titled Thingness and the Perceived Self. That nothing, "no thing", no perceptual category seems ultimately to underlie the hierarchy of sensory and cognitive perceptions by which we account for things, could suggest an absence of fundamental existence, particularly if one does not recognize the difference between perceptual categories and underlying reality. However, it does not suggest that absence to me. Rather, it points to the existence of an aperceptual Oneness that is a perceptual void.

DUALITY AND ILLUSION

The relationship between Oneness and duality is wholly a matter of perception. Whenever there is perception, Oneness divides into a perceiver and a perceived, a subject and an object. In other words, Oneness becomes dual. Oneness and duality are the same thing from different points of view; as are reality and illusion. More precisely, duality and illusion arise from any and all points of view, whereas Oneness and reality exist only from no point of view, A point of view is a necessary condition for perception. Perception without a point of view is as contradictory and meaningless as perception without a perceiver.

If reality exists only from no point of view, it is definitionally unknowable,[ that is not perceivable]. In that case, what can reality mean?

The dualism engendered by the sheer act of perception is an unbreachable wall, an irreducible fact, an impenetrable illusion that limits the human condition and, in fact, the condition of all bounded entities.

ILLUSION

All perception is illusory. Illusion is an inescapable consequence of the duality of perception, is the duality of perception. Illusion enters with the perceiver. The sheer existence of a point of consciousness in Oneness sensing another creates duality and illusion, which, of course, are merely the generic and specific forms of one another.

When one confronts himself with this premise, one confronts the ultimate dilemma of the human condition, the impossibility of knowing reality, perhaps even the problem of conceiving reality. This is because conception, at least meaningful conception is closely tied to perception, and equally built on sensory experiences. Throughout the history of mankind, contemplative people have tried to find a way out this limitation without fully appreciating why it is impossible. Alchemists and their successors, scientists, try to get around it by peering ever deeper into macrocosmic and microcosmic space, as if duality could be resolved just beyond the limits of resolution of our unaided senses. All sorts of experiential metaphysicians ranging from shamans to gurus to academic psychedelicians explore inner space through trance, meditation or drugs. All attempts, however, are destined to fail because of the intrinsic limitations of perception.

Unfortunately, non-illusory perception is the perpetual motion machine of both physics and metaphysics. It seems intuitively possible, yet it can only run contrary to natural law, and that realm has yet to be discovered. The bright side of the matter, however, is that the pursuit of non-illusory perception has led not only to a great deal of nonsense, but to science and technology as well. However, as science progresses, the search for non-illusory perception is misleading us deeper into paradoxical wonderlands, quagmires of nonsense. It is time to accept the limits of perception, and consider what further limitations in the pursuit of knowledge and the doing of science, these limits thrust upon us.

NON-ILLUSORY PERCEPTION

What could non-illusory perception be? Sometimes in altered states we think we experience it, but as soon as we try to hold on to it, to describe it, to claim it as ours, to know that we know it, it vanishes.

Q. Is non-illusory perception possible? A. The only way to have perception that is non-illusory is to have perception without a perceiver, without a point of perception, to have awareness without reference to an individual consciousness, without someone to be aware. Is this a possibility? Could a "you" experience it?

A person can be aware of the illusion of duality, but he cannot get free of it! A person can know about reality, but he cannot perceive it.

Q. Can the observer be both subject and object? A. Not and remain the observer, i.e., only at the sacrifice of separation.

Q. Can you remember what you have never experienced, what you can never have experienced?

ISNESSING ISNESS

One sometimes has an experience which seems as have the portent of Oneness. Is it possible that this is real? Can one experience Oneness but not perceive it, or is this semantic nonsense?

Experiencing Oneness is imaginable by being in a state of pure awareness, not awareness of. How can this be accomplished, if indeed it ever is? Meditators suspend "perception of" by disidentifying, disassociating, or turning away from the presentations of the sensorium. The Yogis withdraw from the senses entirely, whereas other meditative traditions teach techniques of disidentifying from them, or quieting the mind [stopping the cognitorium] by concentrating on a point, counting breaths, repeating a mantra, etc.

What is left when we do this? Pure consciousness, experience without experiencing anything! If anything is, this is the experience of Oneness. It is not Oneness out there, Oneness perceived. It is our inner, individual Oneness. Oneness known. But this is the turning of the circle... Oneness is Oneness.. is all Oneness. By suspending perception and tapping into our inner Oneness, we experience universal Oneness... and that opens the gate.

There is a possible problem with this formulation of pure aperceptual consciousness as the experience of Oneness. Consider the possibility that consciousness does not exist in aperceptual reality, but it too is perceptual illusion, the reification of the experience of the sensorium or the cognitorium. If this is the case, can consciousness exist without anything to be conscious of? If consciousness is just one pole of the dualistic illusion, conscious/unconscious, then how can we attribute anything real to it? Even more to the point, how can we say that pure consciousness is the experience of Oneness, to say nothing of being Oneness itself.

One solution is to go beyond the intrinsically dual idea of consciousness as synonymous with awareness [consciousness /unconscious] to the definitionally non-dual idea of Isness, that which just is, RESTING IN ONENESS, neither known nor not known. But again can we experience Isness? If we can, is it not just another perception? Does any experience of it convert it into the illusion of consciousness? On the other hand, if we cannot experience Isness, how can it lead to the experience of Oneness? Obviously we are running up against the limitations of a dualistic language here.

Try this... what if we don't experience Isness? I don't mean being unconscious of it. That would just be the other pole of the duality, conscious/unconscious. What if we refuse to admit being either conscious or unconscious of it? What if we neither experience or not experience it? What if we isness it instead? What if we isness Isness? Is this possible or nonsense? Is it what the meditation masters do? I leave these as open questions as well.

Isness... As a new verb it is destined to remain forever incomprehensible!

What is the difference between being Isness, which we all, from the lowest to highest, can lay claim to, and isnessing Isness? What is the difference between a common man and a Buddha? Is it knowing or even remembering a state never perceived, in fact, unperceivable?


The fundamental question, the heart of the matter, is this. Do you, by suspending perception reside in your own fundamental self, the perceiver rather than the perception, thus touching your own unperceived reality, your own Oneness, which, of course, is also the Oneness of the universe; in this way coming to know unperceived reality. Or is this too, this touching of your own self, your own Oneness, just a perception by a different eye, also an illusion, the innermost shell of a perceptual onion that has no core?


PERCEIVED REALITY

Is reality itself a perceptual illusion? If we perceive it, it must be. Everything else we perceive is. But if that is the case There must be infinite realities just as there are infinite qualities and infinite illusions.

Is there something real beneath that illusion we call reality? How can we know it? How can we call it? The cosmic mystery! The unperceived!