Articles

Only-ness vs Something Else

Only-ness vs Something Else

Published Miracles Mag Fall-2013

Non-Duality or what is commonly known as the Oneness of God or the Oneness of Reality is a common topic for articles.

I often talk to Course students that say that they are sure about what Non-Duality means. When I question them further about this subject, it is clear that they have not actually given it much thought and therefor do not see how Non-Duality actually relates to the teachings of ACIM and other Spiritual Practices. I admit the subject can be daunting!

The realization of a Non-Dual Reality has many consequences. I will write other articles that may be helpful in clarifying these consequences. First we need establish a common ground of language.

Our first task is to set aside labels that may have some confusing baggage. The term Oneness is familiar and therefor handy but it is fairly identified and contrasted with the idea of Two-ness or Three-ness, etc. The term Non-Dual has similar challenges, although it is not so well worn in the common vernacular. Non-Dual literally means “Not-Two”. I prefer the term, “Only-ness” (Of course I prefer it, I made it up!). “Only-ness” imparts a sense of “Nothing-Else-ness”, but in a positive way. It is also a reminder that the ONLY reality is Gods Reality.

The point that I would clarify with this article is:

Either “Only-ness” OR “something else” is True. It is not possible for both to be True.

Before we consider this statement any further, I shall address some objections. There are many but I shall focus on two.

Objection 1

Judeo/Christian/Islamic (and other) teachings have persuaded us that God’s utter omnipotence means that there is no impossibilities where God concerned. Biblical Scripture states,

 “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37).

Many, are those that do not accept scripture but accept this idea that comes from it. It sounds very nice but this objection is not a strong one. Besides the fact that a strict translation of the classic Greek turns out to be, “For no word from God will ever fail”, Scripture clearly states at least three things that are impossible for God:

  • God cannot swear by a name higher that God (Heb 6:13)
  • God cannot lie (Heb 6:18)
  • God cannot contradict (or deny) God (II Tim 2:13)

Objection 2

Every day the experience of “something else” is my experience, yet God is also a real part of my experience! If “something else” and Only-ness are mutually exclusive, I would not experience them both.

It is true that each moment of our experience is experienced in a separate moment than the one before. From the point of view of this moment, the next moment is “something else”. I leave my home to commute to work. From the point of view of my home, the job location is “something else”. It is also true that many have had transcendent experiences in which God’s presence is felt. How could this happen if the Only-ness of God and “something else” were mutually exclusive?

I shall offer as rebuttal, an illustrative story. In this example, I shall show how two mutually exclusive principles or ideas can be part of your experience when one is “real” and the other is not. This is a dualistic illustration AND it serves my point.

A sleeping child is having a nightmare of being alone and lost in a dangerous wilderness. The sleeping child is terrified! Her body jerks and she mutters her distress as the violent dream is of being chased and doing battle with wild animals. The sleeping child’s disturbance is noticed by her Mother who touches the child’s forehead gently with her lips. The mother softly whispers loving words that ease the child’s troubled dreaming. Within the dream, the mothers comforting presence is felt. While not waking up, the child moves gently toward wakefulness. Her presence becomes a larger part of the child’s, otherwise terrifying experience of isolation. She does not awake but the dream has shifted. Her terror is reduced. She no longer shudders.

There are many valuable points in this metaphorical story but the one that addresses my objection is the following: The child’s mother has not entered the dream yet it now includes the calming presence of her mother within an otherwise terrifying and lonely experience. In this same way, you may experience the Only-ness of God (Mothers love) AND “something else” (the dream of fear).

It is possible to experience two mutually exclusive frames of reference, where one is “real” and the other is not.

What the heck is an Only-ness?

Good question! Glad you asked!

The principles that define Only-ness (the pure, Non-Dual thought system of the Course) are:

  • This is a Reality that has no pieces or parts. There is nothing to distinguish any “thing” from any “other” “thing”. There are no qualities, properties or difference that separate.
  • This Reality is (an Only-ness) the only existent Reality, therefore there is nothing OUTSIDE this Reality. There is not even such an idea as OUTSIDE.

An Only-ness is a way of describing the ineffable Non-Dual state that is the Reality of God as portrayed in ACIM and other Spiritual Practices. (Note: Only-ness is NOT the extreme superlative of any (positive) quality or attribute you can think of.  Therefore, I am NOT saying that the Only-ness of God is the most good, most powerful, or most anything or quality in this world.)

Principle 1 – God has no parts or pieces!

“God does not know of separation”

ACIM P-2.VII.1:11

The Devine simplicity of the Classical (Christian) Theism or Nirguna Brahman in the Hindu tradition is God without attributes, qualities or features. In this view, God is perfected, fulfilled, whole, and complete. This perfection means that change is not desirable, necessary or even possible.

Principle 2 – Only-ness means that there is nothing else!

“… what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.”

ACIM T-In.1:8

The term, “all encompassing”, covers it. It is just that simple.

What is meant by “something else”?

Another great question!

“Something else” is an expression of the idea of dualism. It is the experience of subject / object. Separation is the guiding principle of “something else”. For example, God is God and I am “something else”. This supposition can only be taken seriously, if I accept as true, the evidence that God and I are separated by any meaningful quality, feature or distinction.

Why is Only-ness and “something else” mutually exclusive?

The simple answer to this question is spelled in one law or principle of classic thought, the Principle of Contradiction or Non-Contradiction. It is the second of the three classic laws of thought. It states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, in other words the two propositions “A is B” and “A is not B” are mutually exclusive.

The law of non-contradiction can be expressed more simply: A cannot be both B and non-B at the same time and in the same sense.

If “something else” is true the integrity of Only-ness is broken. The broken whole is a contradiction.

If pieces exist within simplicity, simplicity is complicated. Complicated simplicity is a contradiction.

Either Only-ness OR “something else” is True. It is not possible for both to be True.

What It Means

“Something else” is the necessary principle of the ego. Only-ness is the necessary principle of a Non-Dual Reality. The point is that it is not possible to have it both ways. Combining the two is actually the choice for “something else”.

The teachings of the spiritual geniuses who’s “names are legion”, have shown that, the choice for “Only-ness” is the (sometimes bumpy) more direct road to the “Peace that passes all understanding”. And the choice for “something else” is the (always bumpy) longer road to the same destination.

The “Only-ness Road” requires that we practice thinking about ourselves and our lives in a different way. In my experience the Only-ness Road has the power to provide richer and deeper appreciation of Love, Forgiveness. I would suggest the Only-ness redefines them both! For me it has transformed and clarified such ACIM concepts such as The Holy Spirit, Guilt, The World / Body as Illusion, Healing the Mind, Giving as Receiving, True Empathy or Compassion, The Ego, The Soul, Extension vs. Creation, to name a few. In future articles, I shall share why Only-ness has such a transformative effect on the comprehension of these subjects.

Only-ness is difficult, not just because it is unfamiliar. It is difficult to conceive of. One who considers the idea of Only-ness must question the very existence of the considerer! This may inspire great fear. It is easier to imagine that they are both true and that the Phenomenal Universe has something at all to do with this Only-ness. In this highly individualized curriculum, called “the body experience”, we must accept what we are able, without fear.

In coping with the difficulty of the Only-ness concept, imagination is the key. When imagination flowers, our mind is more prepared for the peace that is Non-Dual Reality. A properly educated imagination will make way for ideas that allow us to understand the “Something else” experience in a more non-dual, profoundly peaceful way. This peaceful state, transforms our ability to navigate this life. This peaceful state can give way to inspiration and creativity. This is the practical reason for taking this idea to your core, to heart.

Wisdoms singular pursuit has the task of preparing the mind for self-identification with Only-ness. As in the dream metaphor above, at the end of all dreaming the child is awake and knows only the safety and loving presence of Mothers embrace.

Only-ness is a completely abstract idea. ACIM reminds us of the challenge we face.

The mind that taught itself to think specifically can no longer grasp abstraction in the sense that it is all-encompassing. We need to see a little, that we learn a lot.

W-pI.161.4:7-8

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God Creates

This small poem was inspired by a conversation with a member of the ACIM group that I facilitate for the Center for Conscious Living in Moorestown, NJ. (Thank you Debbie!)

It expresses the idea of Oneness as it relates to the concept of creation. We normally think of creating the way a baker creates a cake. A combination of different ingredients is combined to produce a result that does not resemble the ingredients. This cannot occur in Oneness because there are no differences possible.

 God Creates

================

God, being One,

created the Son.

Upon this creation,

there remained but One.

by Ken Davis

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If it makes no sense to you, do not feel alone. Eventually these kinds of paradoxes will rest gently on your mind in a way that points towards Truth.

That is my intention.

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A Note to Blog Followers

The first three sentences in the introduction to A Course In Miracles (ACIM) states:

“This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary.”

T-in.2:1-3

Like many statements in ACIM, the message seems direct and obvious UNTIL one becomes more familiar with its teachings. There are layers to the Course. Below I have spelled out three possible readings for these first sentences of ACIM:

  1. st Layer
    1. This is a book is called, A Course In Miracles
    2. Everybody must take ACIM in order to have miracles. There is no other way.
    3. Take your time to get through it (Text, Workbook, Manual for Teachers)
  2. nd Layer
    1. This is a Course about manifesting miracles on earth
    2. Everybody must take ACIM in order to manifest these miracles.
    3. The time you spend with the Course is spent voluntarily.
  3. rd Layer
    1. This Course is a directly purposed to change your experience of this world, by changing your mind about it.
    2. No matter what you think you (or anyone) are doing in this life experience, changing your mind is actually what is going on.
    3. You can change your mind quickly or slowly, but you will change it.

While one may be drawn to the idea of “manifesting miracles on earth”, I think that most will find the last reading to be the most cohesive AND intriguing.

My name is Ken Davis of KenDavisCoaching.com. I have applied the principles of ACIM, for years and it continues to change my life in wonderful ways that I could never have imagined. I have noticed how these life benefits have deepened as my grasp of the Course has deepened. I have noticed that deeper insight and cohesion is a very common experience for most Course students as they the grasp the principles of Oneness that underlies all Course teaching. It is for this reason that I am writing this Blog.

The teachings of ACIM are completely non-dual in nature.  Non-dualism is more commonly called “Oneness”. The abstract nature of Oneness would seem to render ACIM useless for practical application to life’s events. Astoundingly, practical application is perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the Course teachings.

As a Life Coach that Coaches using the principles of ACIM and as ACIM Group Facilitator for a number of years, I have noticed that idea of Oneness remains elusive, even to veterans of the Course. Also, I find that the viewpoint of Oneness is absent in most ACIM learning aids. While there are no rational words that convey the experience of Oneness, the mind can be prepared for the experience of it.

My focus will be on the concept of Oneness as expressed in the Workbook for Students (WFS). I chose the Workbook lessons because it provides Course students a way to apply the theoretical to daily live. It is the opportunity for Course students to transform information to knowledge.

Each day starting January 1st 2014, I will supply a commentary on the lesson in the Workbook corresponding to that day of the year. Some commentaries are short and some are not. Occasionally, there will be essays to assist you with the commentaries as well as those that provide further insight about Oneness and its centrality to ACIM teachings.

My aim is that you find this blog both helpful and enjoyable. The way that I recommend that you use this blog is as follows:

  1. Read the workbook lesson

(Click the “LESSON”, “INTRO” or “REVIEW” title link).

  1. Read my annotations on that lesson.
  2. Follow the instructions in the workbook lesson.

If you want these daily annotations delivered automatically to your Paperwhite Kindle, click HERE!

Kindle delivery is 99 cents per month. Currently, new subscription will be free for 2 weeks!

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