Two Faces of God, Four Faces of Oneness



Toward a Unified Field Theory of Consciousness,  Self-Realization and Nondual Therapy

Jeff Eisen, PhD         

In my 2003 book, Oneness Perceived, I began the chapter on evolution by positing two faces of God.  I called these aperceptual and perceptual, or alternatively, real and illusory, or Oneness/nonduality and duality.  I then went on to formulate that evolution, the process by which God creates, is a cycling between these two faces.

From this vantage point, the Wilber-Cohen designation of the three faces of God would be reframed as the three faces of Oneness.  I would be tempted to treat this as a matter of semantics, and yield my prior position that God is both Oneness and duality by calling these two realms of reality, only one of which is God.  However, this is not fully accurate.

God is reality... properly understood

The main thesis of my book is that duality is Oneness perceiving itSelf.   In other words, duality is the "illusory" appearance of the perceptual bifurcation of Oneness.  If Oneness is God, then duality is unarguably a face of God.  From one point of view it is the only face of God; certainly it's the only visible face.

On the other hand, it is also accurate to talk about Oneness and duality as realms of reality, because both are consciousness.  To the extent that the universe in the final analysis is comprised of consciousness, the two faces of God are then also two realms of reality: ordinary reality which is apparent, linear and above all in my system, perceptual, and nondual reality, which is aperceptual or out of time and space. These two realms can also be thought of as explicate and implicate.

Recognizing the two realms of reality leads to the principle of 2X (also introduced in Oneness Perceived), which states that in order to understand any natural phenomena, including oneself as observer and thinker, one has to take these two realms into account, and do so simultaneously.  This is, of course, very similar to Ken Wilber's principle that things must be looked at from all four quadrants. This has further led me to coin the word binary reality (or bi-real) to stand for the notion of the two realms of reality -taken simultaneously.

If the two faces of God/reality are looked upon as duality and Oneness, then the three faces of God that Wilber-Cohen derive from Wilber's four quadrants must be demoted to three aspects of Oneness (if this can be thought of as a demotion).  Wilber's four quadrants are cross-categories of individual, collective, inner and outer. In his view the inner/individual experience of Oneness is awakening, and the outer/individual is finding Oneness in an awakened teacher.  Wilber-Cohen then go on to posit that the collective experience of God, both inner and outer, is found in natural processes like evolution - or what I would prefer to call the Tao.  However, I differ with them on this point as well.  I believe the collective form of Oneness is better thought of as group resonance, with the inner/collective being one's accessing the nondual experience in a Satsang or group setting, and the outer/collective being the finding of the nondual experience in the other members of the group.  This is a more logical extension of four quadrants thinking than finding Oneness in the Tao of nature. It is what Jesus was referring to when he said, "wherever two or more gather in my name, there I am"

Where then in this revised paradigm do we put finding Oneness in the contemplation of the Tao or nature? Not as one of the three faces of Oneness but better in the framing formulation of the two faces of God, Oneness and duality. For in the contemplation of nature, we are not confronting the inner experience of Oneness in ourselves or in others, but rather we are confronting the natural world in its dual form, in its thingness, with every creature in it struggling to survive, competing for its niche and nourishment, and entranced by its own drama. This is not an experience of Oneness; rather it is an experience of ordinary, perceptual, illusory reality! We have to see through it; we have to pierce the explicate order to ascertain the implicate reality. This seeing through ordinary reality, all the way to the underlying Oneness, and then holding both levels simultaneously, is the principle of 2X.  This is an act of synthesis, one which collapses the thesis/antithesis of binary reality into a true, integrated reality. And this is the direction that 21st-century consciousness must go!

The application of these remarks to Self-transformation and nondual therapy

First of all, I want to address the application of the four faces/quadrants of Oneness, discussed above, to all varieties of Self-realization work, and nondual therapy in particular. The individual/inner experience of Oneness, the realization and stabilization of one's true identity as the One consciousness, is, of course, the goal, whatever the means.  In achieving this goal, the facilitator, be they teacher, guru or therapist, may provide experiences in all of the four quadrants.  First and foremost, they may provide the informational context, guide the stream of inquiry (inquiry has to be pre-existent) and provide the means, meditation, yoga etc. to elicit the experience. Then, depending on how they work, they might provide one or all of the following:  a reflection of Oneness as held in themselves, (individual/outer quadrant);   as stimulated in the student by a Satsang or other transformational group, (inner/collective quadrant);  and as held by not only the other members of the group but in the resonant space of the group as a collective organism, and even in the collective consciousness of humanity (outer/collective quadrant). 

But then, what of finding Oneness in the Tao? What of investigation followed by insight leading to synthesis; what of the collapse of binary reality into nondual reality?  And in particular, what is the relationship of this inquiry in general to its specific application in Self-realization?

Investigation and insight are not only in the domain of science, but also the real heartbeat of most psychotherapies, both conventional and transpersonal.  But therapy is only transformational, only nondual, only facilitative of awakening, when it is done in the true spirit of 2X, and when insight is sought not only to facilitate adjustment, but to penetrate one's apparent thoughts and actions into their underlying, yet unknowable processes - as well as their effects on one's well-being.  When the Self becomes not only a subset of nature - to be studied objectively and scientifically, but the very instrument though which all nature is studied, then psychotherapy becomes a relative, phenomenological, transformational and evolutionary inquiry, a seeing through the explicate order to reveal its implicate roots - of significance to the evolution of science - as well as an express train to liberation and empowerment! This transformational investigation of consciousness, reality and psychology is the first part of what I have named PsychoNoetics.

Level II Enlightenment

It is to be further noted that all of the four quadrant experiences suggest a modicum of separation, that is, they are all Oneness witnessed or experienced from a point of view. There remains an observer and an observed. There exists, however, another level, the level of Beingness Itself - where the subject-object split is no more, and all individual consciousnesses merge into the One consciousness.  This is the level at which authentic psychic phenomena like telepathy and healing can take place.  On this level one enlightened individual's intention can influence the consciousness of another and, to a limited extent, the whole world.  In addition to four quadrant awakening work as a therapist/teacher/guru, and in addition to facilitating 2X inquiry, the master of PsychoNoetics also utilizes his or her pure intention on the level of Being Itself to deconstruct the student's ego by clearing their consciousness of past and present life memories, beliefs, attachments, negative intentions and all the other accoutrements of false identity, so that it spontaneously reconstructs itself in the light of Oneness. This stabilizes realization and leads to that integration of ego with Self that which I call Level II enlightenment.

Nothing that I have said is meant to detract from the brilliant insights and formulations of Wilber-Cohen.  I have merely reframed their work in a larger context, and then used the extended paradigm to reconcile spirituality with nondual psychology, to further define PsychoNoetics and to explain what I do as a master practitioner.