The other day, a reader asked me the following question: “Why, Garret, did the early spiritual teachers call the study of true nature Non-duality as opposed to Oneness?”
Cool question. And it turns out there’s a fairly obvious reason, and one that’s not so obvious. Both reasons are informative and important to consider. Let’s start with the obvious.
A noun ending in the suffix “-ness” means the state of being or becoming the original adjective. Happiness, for example, literally means the state of being or becoming happy. Oneness, then, means the state of being or becoming one. And there lies the reason: The true Self (i.e., Consciousness, Love, God’s infinite Being) never exists as two. As such, it can never become one. It’s already one, non-dual, or not two. In other words, who you truly are is infinitely whole. Who you are is all there is. And what is whole or all there is can never become one with, or connect to, something or someone else. Why? Because there is no something or someone else.
Now for the not so obvious (which could be considered a continuation of the first reason).
To the separate or personal self we often think ourselves to be, experience is composed of distinct objects, others, and events. But, as discussed in past articles, the separate self’s point of view is imagined (the separate self is merely an image made of and appearing within the true Self or Consciousness). On the contrary, to the true Self—the only point of view that’s real—there is only itself. To the true Self, there are no actual distinctions. This is why we say, “Consciousness knows only Consciousness,” “Love knows everything and everyone as Love,” and why Jesus said, “I and my father are one.” In short, there’s not a thing called Oneness because the concept of separateness only exists from the point of view of the imaginary separate self. And if separateness is imagined, then Oneness, or two separate things becoming one, is too.
One last thing about the use of the word “Non-duality” over the word “Oneness.” To be fair, neither word is perfect. Both try to capture the essence of experience. Non-duality, though, is simply a better description of the indescribable, breathtaking, and timeless glimpse into the indivisible nature of who we truly are. My simple hope is that this article, this “case against” Oneness, might ease the burden of trying to establish a relationship with, trying to understand the perspective of, or trying to connect to what doesn’t fundamentally exist.
And make a bit more obvious the effortlessness and ease of the one Being we share.
Inward and up,