Introduction: Light of Oneness
I saw Eternity the other night
Like a great Ring of pure and endless light.
~ Henry Vaughan(1)
A CONSCIOUSNESS OF ONENESS
We stand at the edge of a new time when so many things we have never imagined are finally possible. Many of us sense these new possibilities, but are unsure of what to do to help them manifest in our lives and in our world. But part of the evolution of humanity is the unveiling of knowledge. When we are given the opportunity to take a step, we are also given the knowledge needed to do so.
A consciousness of oneness, an awareness of the unity of life, is the next stage in our collective evolution. The light of oneness, which is now present all around us, contains the knowledge needed to enter this new time. In order to be open to this knowledge and emerge within this consciousness of oneness, we must abandon the dynamics of duality that have shaped our previous era.
The dynamics of oneness are very different from the dynamics of duality and separation. That we are separate from God has been a basic religious imprint. That we are separate from nature has determined our relationship to the ecosystem. That we are separate from each other has been the foundation of our political, legal, and social systems. Dynamics of duality have embedded our world in conflict and patterns of opposition. Can we escape the ritual of conflict? Can we recognize that life does not need to be a battle? Can we afford to continue fighting each other and nature itself? A different archetype is emerging within the collective psyche of humanity, an archetype not defined by the constellation of opposites.
This reorientation towards a living understanding of oneness offers the possibility of a union of inner and outer, of the one and the many. Inner and outer life can become more connected, the individual and the whole more consciously aligned. And energy that has become too focused on the image of individual spiritual progress can be given back to life where it is desperately needed. The world needs our spiritual attention; the whole needs to be nourished from the heart of the mystic. Life is not a problem to be solved. It is a living organic being glorifying God and evolving to survive. Only when we bring together the spiritual and the physical can we fully participate in what is happening within us and our world. And only with our participation can the world itself come alive with a new quality of peace beyond opposition, freedom that is independent of power dynamics, and love that flows where it is needed, sustaining the planet with divine presence.
One of the most pressing needs of the time is to unify the apparent opposites of spirit and matter. This will enable the magic inherent in matter, the spiritual potential of matter, to awaken and help change the world. But this can only happen through a consciousness of oneness. The constellation of opposites that has polarized spirit and matter is more dangerous than the outer battles we have been fighting. It denies life a vital power. Life needs this power, this magic, to evolve. Without it life will remain stagnant; the changes that are happening in the inner world will not be born into life. The physical world will just reflect the wasteland of our material culture.
Access to this magic is held within the consciousness of humanity. But we have forgotten this. Even humanity's role as guardians of the planet we have understood solely on a physical level. We are like parents thinking our child needs only food and clothing, not love, care, or education. The planet is a dancing creation of spirit and matter, spinning on an axis of love. It has energy centers that need to be awakened, places of power that need to be tended with devotion.
Can we leave behind the attitude that sees opposites creating conflict, and instead become open to the potential of opposites to unite? If we can, we will be in tune with what is happening, and can participate in the way spirit and matter come together. The era of the warring brothers is over—its dynamic of winning or losing is past. Now we need to welcome a paradigm in which consciousness does not constellate the opposites but recognizes their deeper union. Only then can the elements that contain this new way of being come into life.
AWAKENING THE HEART OF THE WORLD
At each stage of evolution we are given access to the energy of a higher level. This is how evolution works. We know this in our individual journey: each real stage on the path opens the door to a different level of understanding and a deeper energy. It is the same for the evolution of humanity. As a new energy and level of awareness are given to humanity, the paradigm of the previous era becomes no longer appropriate. This may create insecurity and a reaction to what is new, but that is only a passing stage. What is important is that we welcome the energy that is being given and learn how to work with it. The real danger is that we miss the opportunity that comes with the moment of transition.
At any period of real transition, help is given from the inner world. This is most evident in the time before death, when the individual is given grace to help resolve what has been left unfinished in her inner and outer life. How much we allow ourselves to be helped is always a matter of choice. In our present world predicament the help is present, but because we have turned away for so long from the reality of the inner world, we do not know how to access it. The helpers of humanity have to work hard to open up energy fields within human consciousness and the planet so that this help can flow where it is needed. They have to work around the patterns of collective resistance because there is not the time to confront these patterns.
The grace that is being given at this time is not interested in personal development. It is not concerned with individual well-being. Its purpose is to open up the energy channels that exist within our collective psyche and collective consciousness and help the heart of the world awaken. We have become so focused on ourselves we have forgotten what has always been true, that the world itself has a higher nature, and that we are part of this greater reality. This truth was expressed long ago in the Upanishads:
That which is the finest essence—this whole world has that as its soul. That is Reality. That is the Self.(2)
When someone is dying, the gates of grace are open. When the person has entered the next stage of her journey, other help is given, but the opportunities given before death no longer exist. The same is true of the present time of global transition. If a certain work is done now, it will affect the whole cycle of the next era. This is why the need of the present time is so pressing. The energy has an urgency because it can only work within a particular time-frame. This is something that is not generally understood. If this work is not done within the next few years, it will be left undone. The transition into the next age will happen at a lower level.
We need to know that the help is there and we need to learn how to work with it. A new energy of oneness, a new quality of love, is already present in everyday life. But this is only the beginning. Other qualities are being made accessible and they can be directly attuned to the collective. One of these qualities is the peace that belongs to the soul, a peace that is not born from the resolution of conflict because it does not belong to the opposites. This is a peace that is not threatened by the dynamic interplay of the opposites or by change. It can bring harmony and understanding, while it also allows for the misunderstanding and discord that belong to our human experience. It is a peace that belongs to God, to our own divine nature. It is given, and not imposed by force.
How do we help bring these qualities to life? We have forgotten that the human being is a microcosm of the whole, that all levels of reality interpenetrate within our heart, which is not separate from the heart of the world. Just as our hearts can awaken and come to know our divine nature, so too can the heart of the world awaken and come to know its own belonging to God. We only have to turn our own hearts towards what is real and live in the world within this understanding. A heart aligned with love, immersed in oneness, will affect life around it more than we can know.
Spiritual work takes many different forms. Inner purification is an important preliminary work, which involves changing patterns of our behavior and freeing ourself from attitudes and responses that interfere with our aspirations. Psychological inner work is part of this process—confronting the "shadow," the repressed, rejected and unacknowledged parts of our psyche; accepting our wounds; and transforming psychological dynamics and patterns of conditioning. Only when we have gained a degree of inner harmony and emptiness can we hear the voice of our higher Self, and learn to discriminate between inner guidance and the desires of the ego.
Through spiritual work we also develop the qualities we need for the path, for example self-discipline, compassion, patience, perseverance. Through working on our spiritual practices such as meditation and remembrance, we learn to still the mind and be attentive to the needs of the divine in our inner and outer life. We also learn to master our negative qualities, such as anger, greed, jealousy, and judgment. Through this work we are better able to align ourself with our higher nature, and live its qualities in our daily life. We bring our selflessness, awareness, loving-kindness, discrimination and other qualities into our family and workplace, transforming both ourself and our environment. To live according to our higher principles in the midst of the outer world with its distractions and demands is a full-time work.
The spiritual wayfarer gives herself to her inner work and outer service. The Sufis are known as "slaves of the One and servants of the many." We make our contributions to outer life in whatever way we are called, whether through simple acts of loving-kindness or more defined service, helping those in need. We help those in our spiritual community and in daily life. We learn to be always attentive to the needs of our Beloved in whatever form He appears.
There is also another dimension of spiritual work that until now has been mainly hidden, known only to initiates. This is the work done by individuals and spiritual groups on the inner planes, helping humanity from within. Just as the human being is surrounded by an aura of light and energy, so too is the world surrounded by a structure of light. The balance of energy in this structure helps maintain life on the planet. Mystics have always worked with this web of light, for example by reflecting light where there is too much darkness, or holding a space of conscious remembrance, which allows grace to flow into the world.
In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks this work was almost tangible, as individuals and groups all over the world meditated and prayed, helping to repair the inner fabric of life that was torn apart by the violence of the tragedy. One could feel the cocoon of love and devotion that was being created by all of the souls engaged in this work.
Spiritual groups and individuals have always worked in the inner realms, bringing love and light where they are needed. Through their prayers, devotions, and other practices they work either knowingly or unknowingly. Traditionally His lovers and the awliyâ, the Friends of God, look after the well-being of the world, "keeping watch on the world and for the world." Much spiritual work happens on the level of the soul where it is veiled from the everyday consciousness even of those who are involved. It is difficult for the mind to comprehend levels of reality beyond its immediate perception, and often it is best for the ego not to know what we are doing. Inflation is a constant danger in this work.
However, there is now a need for wayfarers to know a little of the work that is happening in the inner planes. In the West we have identified spiritual work too much with our individual inner journey or outer acts of service. We need to know that we are a part of a network of mystics who are helping the world come alive with love, working from within to redeem a world that has become desecrated with materialism and forgetfulness.
During the last decade a web made of the lights of the lovers of God began to form around the world. When I first glimpsed this I was awed by its beauty and purpose. I wrote:
The spinning hearts of the lovers of God are forming the map made of points of light. At this time His lovers are being positioned around the planet. Some have already been positioned. Some are moving to physical locations while others are having their hearts awakened to this hidden purpose. Slowly this map is being unfolded, and in certain important places lovers are forming clusters of points of light. Certain spiritual groups have been formed or are being formed to contain these clusters as dynamic centers of light.
When this map of light around the world is fully unfolded it will be able to contain and transform the energy structure of the planet. It has the potential to be the bond that will enable the world soul, the anima mundi, to be impregnated with a higher consciousness. The hearts of His lovers form part of the hidden heart of the world. As this map is unfolding, so their spinning hearts can open the heart of the world. At this moment in cosmic time the planet is being aligned with its inner source, allowing the world to be infused with a certain cosmic energy that can dramatically speed up the evolution of this planet. If the heart of the world opens, it can receive this frequency of cosmic energy and directly implant it into the hearts of people. This would alter human life more than we could imagine. It is to help in this opening of the heart that many old souls have incarnated at this particular time and are working together.(3)
Over the years this web of light and love has become more defined, more interwoven, and has covered more of the planet. For any real and lasting spiritual transformation or awakening to take place, an inner container first needs to be created. This web of light is the inner container for the consciousness of the future, a consciousness of oneness that is being given to humanity.(4)The container for this awakening has been created, but the dynamic energy of oneness needs to be brought into the collective. The web of light needs to be brought down to earth, enfolded into the physical structure of the planet. Women have a specific role to play in this work, as their bodies contain a creative force that unites matter and spirit. This creative principle naturally allows the inner to flow to the outer, nourishing what has been forgotten with the light and love of the divine.
Light of Oneness describes a little of how mystics work in the inner world, using the light of oneness to transform the old patterns and bring a new awareness into the collective. It is a description of an inner landscape that may seem unfamiliar, but is real. This is not a textbook of how to access oneness or work on the inner planes. We are always guided from within in this work; the knowledge is given from heart to heart, from soul to soul. But it may be helpful to know that this work is taking place, that a new awareness is being made accessible that can transform life beyond our imaginings. It can open a doorway to a different horizon, expand our understanding of spiritual work and the potential for global transformation, and thus enable us to participate in ways that until now have been unknown.
Central to our present time of transition is a need to become more conscious, to learn to participate knowingly. Much knowledge that until now has been kept hidden is being revealed by many different spiritual traditions. This book is about the work of the lovers of God, those who have given themselves in service to their Beloved, and are here to help the awakening of His world.
(1) "The World," The Works of Henry Vaughan, ed. L.C.Martin
(2) The Thirteen Principle Upanishads, trans. R.E.Hume.
(3) Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Bond with the Beloved, pp. 37-38.
(4) See Vaughan-Lee, Working with Oneness