All Oneness

Men are entrusted from infancy with the care of their honour, their property, their friends, and even with the property and the honour of their friends. They are overwhelmed with business, with the study of languages, and with physical exercise; and they are made to understand that they cannot be happy unless their health, their honour, their fortune and that of their friends be in good condition, and that a single thing wanting will make them unhappy. Thus they are given cares and business which make them bustle about from break of day. It is, you will exclaim, a strange way to make them happy! What more could be done to make them miserable?-Indeed! what could be done? We should only have to relieve them from all these cares; for then they would see themselves: they would reflect on what they are, whence they came, whither they go.

Blaise Pascal [1] Blaise Pascal Pensees, no. 143

Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.

Carl Jung [2] Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Vintage Books, 1989, p. 356
I am too alone in the world, and not alone enough
to make every minute holy
Rainer Maria Rilke [3] Rainer Maria Rilke, Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Robert Bly, Harper & Row, 1981

I remember telling a friend a couple of years ago that our everyday business-busyness seems to be a diversion, a desperate attempt to keep loneliness and depression at bay, that the order of the day is among the 'ten thousand things' to distract us from the telos of human life. It seems that Pascal agrees.

I believe we fear solitude and aloneness. We fear ourselves. There is a psychophobia—a reluctance to face who we really are. Thus most of what passes off as urgent business or necessary tasks of our daily grind are merely divertissement from the 'order of our life,' our life purpose, our meandering journey toward the meaning of our lives.

We are afraid to be alone, for to be so is to face a void... the Void, the cavernous keep within that is God. Because we consider loneliness a blight we try at every instance to defend ourselves against it, for to have an audience with God is petrifying; to see God's face would make us go completely insane. Thus, if a real human is not around we turn to our pets. Else we go virtual and turn on the television or the radio or the computer—anything with a population of worldly creatures to reassure ourselves that we are not alone, to tune out the howl of the Wind within, the Ruah—the breath, the spirit. No wonder then that solitary confinement and sensory deprivation are the worst punishment that can be meted out. People go crazy being by themselves for any extended period. True enough as the Jews proclaim—to see the face of God would mean complete annihilation.

Even in solitary prayer—that time reserved and bracketed for our personal use—we seek someone out there, someone apart from ourselves, and thus we visualize God as someone apart from us, in front of us, above us, a parental authoritarian figure extending a hand or a sword, a god who is 'wholly other.'

Note on God

Alice Howell has a fitting conceptualization of God that prevents this reification of God. She says take God as a verb. Imagine God as a process, a movement, rather than an object of some sort. Immediately God becomes more alive than energy. God is a happening. God is what happens to us. Indeed Carl Jung defines God as all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans and intentions and change the course of my life for better or worse. [4] Carl Jung, Interview in Good Housekeeping, December 1961 God is not a personality but a flux.

God as some Father in the sky is not at all an imagery befitting adults. As we naturally take leave of Santa Claus and Easter Bunny, so must we part with the imagery and conceptualization of God of our childhood years. Literalists and Fundamentalists and plain ignoramuses beware! Look closely at the atheists you damn to hell. For they are God's angels sent to divest you of your childish illusions. God derides you through them. Wise up! Grow up! Heed Paul's wisdom: "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known." [5] 1 Corinthians 13:11-12

We cannot bear being alone. In those times of physical or psychological loneliness, when no human is around or can help us we call out to some deity to comfort us, to offer us solace, and salvation. Yet the paradox is that aloneness is God itself—the feeling of being all by oneself is the encounter with God. Hence the god to whom we turn to escape aloneness is a delusion and an idol. How can we turn our faces toward the real god when we are "not alone enough" as Rilke confesses?

When we are alone, "all-one," we would rather be with someone else. Aloneness is feared, pathologized, jeered at. But All-Oneness is the epitome of the perfection of Oneness. To experience the Void in being One is part of the spiritual life. To not experience heaven in Aloneness is a sin—'missing the mark.' [6] In the New Testament the Greek word that we translate into the word sin is hamartia, a term used in archery literally meaning 'missing the mark.'

As expected, however, our society has turned things upside down. We frown upon the unsociable. We chide the introverted. We dread being by ourselves. We legalize and promote the 'ten thousand things' of Maya to distract us. And we busy ourselves sating our senses. Maya—the goddess of illusion—is big bucks in our world. And the more diversity in the divertissement industry the merrier we are. All the world's a stage and we buy right in, sweating it out 9 to 5 to get more and more ot it.

Loneliness is not an emptiness that must be filled. Loneliness is a symptom that we have not yet become comfortable with ourselves. The ideal human is never lonely. S/he craves not for another human, even if s/he enjoys their company. And the measure and incidence of loneliness is an indicator of how much we have yet to transcend the barrier to our deepest selves to live a relationship with God.

We humans know more of the cytology and biochemistry of our bodies than of the person that is embodied through that agglomeration of cells. But what does it profit a man to know the universe without but not the world within... and thus lose his soul? God is within. And our relationship with ourselves is our relationship with God.

Jesus said, "Congratulations to those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the (Father's) domain. For you have come from it, and you will return there again." [7] The "Scholars' Translation" of the Gospel of Thomas, by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer, sayings no. 49

Gospel of Thomas