A Note From the Author: In my previous blog on the benefits of Higher Self meditation, I briefly described the ultimate possibility of experiencing unity or oneness. It is here that I will expand on the knowledge of oneness, a concept that is fully supported by science. Throughout the text, I will use the words “oneness”, “unity”, and “unifying principle” interchangeably as they are synonyms for the same experience.
When you meditate, you are purposefully directing your consciousness towards a new reality beyond the self. This change also moves you closer to your Higher Self, which is the living center of your consciousness. To paraphrase Assagioli, the father of Transpersonal Development, “spiritual realization is experiencing part of yourself that is one with energy pervading the universe.” In this experience, new feelings arise within, and you experience dramatic changes in energy that can best be described as surprise, awareness, love, lightness of being, freedom, and unity, among other descriptions.
When you start on this quest, you’ll probably have the following questions:
What does oneness actually mean?
The spiritual experience of oneness is best described as unity between the two energies of self and the universe. You will experience the two merging into one, and the perception of separation between self and the other is erased. Experiencing this reality is nothing short of life-changing. It can quickly end existential suffering, and new realizations and possibilities for your future can emerge. For further illustration of these Higher Self energies, refer to this diagram.
Is this a new-age spiritual concept?
Far from it! The proof of this unifying reality has been documented for centuries throughout Eastern and Western anecdotal and written experiences. In the Western secular written descriptions, as early as second century AD, Marcus Aurelius (121-180) wrote in his book entitled Meditations: “Be mindful at all times of the following: the nature of the whole universe, the nature of the part that is me, the relation of the one to the other, the one so vast, the other so small. No one can ever prevent me from saying and doing what is complete conformity with the whole of which I am so small yet integral part” (I,9).
What was this noblest of Roman Emperors speaking about? Was it the oneness of human nature with the vast universe? It would seem so. Centuries later, Dante (1265-1321) and Assagioli (1888-1974) described the process of working through ones’ lower and higher energies resulting in the ultimate integration of self with the Higher Self, resulting in experiences of higher states of consciousness. The transpersonal spiritual and psychological approaches to the Higher Self energies are synthesized in the HSY teachings which show you the way to that experience.
Is oneness “real” in a scientific sense?
In a series of exciting discoveries, modern neuroscience has begun to verify the experiences of oneness. Scientifically, experiencing the unity of these energies on the physiological level is supported by evidence showing imaging scans of decreased neuronal activity in the brains of meditating subjects. The most interesting findings of these scans show decrease in activity in the bundle of neurons in the posterior superior parietal lobe, or for ease dubbed as the orientation association area, or OAA center. The normal physiological function of OAA is to orient individuals in the surrounding physical space, which gives the individual a sense of self, separating you from the surrounding space that needs to be navigated. When neuronal activity in the OAA center decreases due to meditation or physical damage to that part of the higher or wisdom brain – the feeling of oneness or unity takes over as feelings of physical separation diminish. When we start to perceive oneness, the boundaries between self and the universe are slowly erased, and we begin to experience the energy of unity.
Many spiritual concepts are finding a surprising amount of support in modern scientific studies.
The astonishing physical experience of oneness was vividly described by Dr. Jill Bolte in her TED talk entitled “My Stroke of Insight”. Dr. Bolte’s experience of oneness was unfortunately brought on by a brain stroke that completely inactivated her left brain and OAA center, resulting in a total experience of unity, a sensation she eloquently describes in her TED talk. Fortunately, you do not have to experience a stroke or brain injury in order to experience the reality of oneness. All you have to do is meditate and connect to your Higher Self that holds all these energies together and is the bridge to higher consciousness states. The Higher Self directs the consciousness towards the oneness center, and these neuroscience experiments validate the HSY model of achieving higher states of consciousness and experiences of oneness.
In addition to the unifying energies embedded in the neurons of the OAA center, scientific neurofeedback experiments have shown that meditation changes your brain waves, some of which are associated with the emergence of spirituality and higher states of consciousness. With every new study, science is proving that the spiritual experiences of oneness and higher states of consciousness, experiences which have been documented and described over centuries by mystics, are real and achievable for each one of us. Taken together, all this scientific evidence proves that we are wired not as separate individual selves drifting and suffering existential angst alone in our small boats in the vast blue sea, but instead we exist as a part of the whole and that this oneness reality is in fact embedded in our brain neurons and therefore most likely in our genetic code. In other words, seeking the experience of oneness is literally built into our brains.
Why would we be hard-wired to seek out this experience?
The pursuit of this experience and the knowledge that comes with it makes our lives easier, giving us a moral compass and purpose to live a more integrated life which in turn alleviates suffering, and fear. Feelings of unity foster a sense of freedom, peace, love, and compassion towards ourselves and others that make the world a better place for all of us.
Taken together, all of these scientific observations point in the direction that human evolution, as slow as it may seem, is in fact moving forward in the direction of understanding and living the reality of oneness. Different levels of awareness and transpersonal experiences allow us to see different views of this unifying reality in which we see ourselves and the world in beneficial ways.
Centuries of spirituality and modern science have found each other!
How do you achieve oneness?
To paraphrase, “anyone can do it” and “stop talking and experience it!” was the wise advice to Dante from his Higher Self guide represented by Beatrice, as described in his Divine Comedy. To experience the reality of unity or oneness, you only need to try and meditate as often as you can and connect to your Higher Self which serves as a gateway to energies of higher states of consciousness. It is in the meditation practice that you are directing your consciousness towards the union of your Higher Self and with the energies of the Universe, and the experience of oneness becomes a possibility.
The oneness experience transcends the ego and connects you to the deeper human nature of transpersonal and spiritual feelings. The higher mind connects the experience and the heart experiences the feeling of unity of the connection. Through the heart, you feel a more complete experience of the beauty of oneness, and you are deeply moved by it.
How does the experience of oneness change you as a person?
When a friend of mine questioned these experiences as being selfish, I pointed out to him that his individual spiritual evolution, as is true for all of us seekers, changes your personality and behavior. These changes benefit the person making them, but any positive changes made internally also become outwardly visible and are reflected in the world. As each one of us strives towards greater self-awareness, we serve as individual examples for others to observe, possibly be curious about, ask questions, and hopefully begin their own search. This in turn moves our collective human evolution forward in an inclusive and consciously positive way that is in alignment with all energies pervading the Universe.
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.Leo Tolstoy
Although the search for unity is never-ending and the experience may be temporary, it is the search itself that is in fact evolutionary, as it changes the person towards higher principles and morality. In the process of searching, we discover new energy states already within us, and our seeking changes our perception and experience of reality. It also changes the experience of others as they notice changes in the person doing the search. On a personal level, even if I may have had only a taste of this experience, I can only say that I am still searching and enjoying the experience.
In the end, all the words and descriptions are not enough – you must experience it for yourself!
Have you ever had an experience of oneness?
Tell us in the comments below!