Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of May 7, 2018

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The Sacred Ocean of Oneness

(Climbing Jacob's Ladder: 12)

If we are ever touched by the Sacred Radiance, the soul nurturing light spilling out of the spiritual and into us, we may wonder: where is that coming from? There is a spiritual domain beyond consciousness, beyond the deepest peace, beyond the self-emptying that opens us to the Sacred Radiance. This is the domain of total oneness, of utter unity, prior to the created universe. In that world, there is no separation, no you or me, no darkness separate from light, no galaxies, no suns or planets, no objects at all. Yet everything begins and flows from there.

We can call this the Sacred Ocean of Oneness. This is the eternal, unbounded world of primordial energy, the pure potential before anything created, the substance of all substances, beyond time and before space. In the face of that, our usual concerns vanish completely, as we emerge from space, time, and self into transcendent oneness and love.

We might ask with regard to this rung of Jacobís Ladder and the next one: why discuss it? Why concern ourselves with something of which the vast majority of us has no direct experience? The answers are that having no direct experience of That does not mean we are separate from It. Furthermore, the very idea of It can guide our meditation, our prayer, and our intuition toward the Truth, the Real.

This does not mean we need to believe in the existence of the Sacred Ocean of Oneness. Mental belief alone cannot transform us. But having an image of the higher reality can and does guide our inner work, and helps us understand our deepest experience for what it truly is. Even though we do not see It, we are even now in that infinite Ocean of Oneness.

All our intimations of awe and love come from that Ocean. When we hear a majestic piece of music, see a wondrous sunset or some other grand vista, behold a perfectly beautiful plant or animal, pray with heartfelt and total devotion, feel compassion for someone suffering, or feel our shared humanity with the people around us, we are touching that part of us that lives in the Sacred Ocean of Oneness.

We come to appreciate our place in that great Ocean. We welcome that understanding, appreciation, and warmth as it suffuses our being. We come back to that again and again, slipping through the layers of thoughts, views, and foreground perceptions that bind us to the surface, that enclose us in space, time, and ego, that keep us separate from ourselves, from each other, and from the Oneness. Back behind thoughts and sensory perceptions, behind our consciousness, behind the Radiance with which It illumines our life, we reenter the Ocean of Oneness, which we never fully left.

Can we live in the light of Oneness? We could start by living "as if" in the light of Oneness. What might that "as if" look like? We would relish the moments of our life in a new way, even the simple, ordinary, every-day moments, because we would be awake and present in each new moment. We would feel about other people that we are all in this together, that we equally share in the same unity. We would live with conscience, knowing that none of our actions are truly hidden or forgotten, knowing that harming another is equivalent to harming ourselves. And we would be free, not bound by habits of mind and body.

Remembering the Oneness brings us closer to It. At first, this may be just an idea. Yet, as we live with it, it becomes more than an idea, more than a mental image: it points the way for us, beneath all appearances, beneath ourselves, and toward the Oneness. To remember the Oneness we do more than think or feel it: we place It here, in us and around us. Even more, the Ocean of Oneness is not inert: as we move toward It, It also moves toward us, embracing us with love.

For this week, let us remember the Sacred Ocean of Oneness. Let us direct our gaze, our being, to the Oneness behind the surface appearances of our world, behind ourselves. Let us renew our place within the Sacred.

See Also: Vision of Oneness


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