Vector8 Journals

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Power of the One

"Numerous bewildered seekers in the West erroneously think that an eloquent speaker or writer on metaphysics must be a master. The rishis, however, have pointed out that the acid test of a master is a man's ability to enter at will the breathless state, and to maintain the unbroken samadhi of nirbikalpa. Only by these achievements can a human being prove that he has "mastered" maya or the dualistic Cosmic Delusion. He alone can say from the depths of realization: "Ekam sat, "—"Only One exists."

"The Vedas declare that the ignorant man who rests content with making the slightest distinction between the individual soul and the Supreme Self is exposed to danger," Shankara the great monist has written. "Where there is duality by virtue of ignorance, one sees all things as distinct from the Self. When everything is seen as the Self, then there is not even an atom other than the Self.

"As soon as the knowledge of the Reality has sprung up, there can be no fruits of past actions to be experienced, owing to the unreality of the body, in the same way as there can be no dream after waking." Autobiography of a Yogi
I believe true power is attained on realising that "only one exists." Before I look at what this means, I'm going to examine two types of power.

One definition of power is exercising control over something, someone or self. For example, if someone can dictate to you how to live your life and you feel as if you have no choice but to obey, the other appears to have power over you. It could also be you have given the other your power because you believe you are incapable of finding the solution yourself and only this person can help you. I have observed this kind of power in religions, spiritual teachers and various cults, where people put their trust in someone else outside of themselves and suffer the consequence.

You may ask, isn't belief in God supposed to be about surrendering all that you think you are to a powerful entity who may or may not exist? That depends on what your idea of God is. If you believe God to be an entity that wants you to worship and adore him in return for his power that will protect you, then I'm saying you are making a "graven image" of God, i.e. you are humanising God. God, as I understand Him, is not a thing or image or form that one can use in exchange for something else. Later I will discuss what I understand to be the power of God.

There is another type of power that involves control but in an insidious manner. This method is used to communicate ideas such as in the media, by politicians and others who wish to gain power over the masses through mental means. Just like a magician will use sleight of hand techniques to distract his audience from discovering how he performs his tricks, a similar technique is used in communication to distract audience from the truth. I believe we are all experts at using this technique where we use examples to emphasise a point or to support an idea, when in actual fact there are hundreds of other examples that will disprove the same idea. Politicians use various forms of propaganda to get their point across and convince prospective voters that they are the right party to be in government. The media uses various forms of manipulation, including subliminal images, to attract their audience, disseminate particular beliefs or convince audience to buy particular products. Power in these examples are achieved through various forms of manipulation.

As I was pondering on these ideas, I was travelling on a long bus journey. I tend to use travel time to either ponder ideas or to be in silence. When I got on this particular bus, there were some school girls on board. As much as I know everyone to be me, I didn't fancy sitting near them so I sat in front. I could still hear them in the background teasing some passengers. As I pondered over how people relinquish their power to others, one of the girls came and sat in a seat in front of me. She was promptly followed by another friend. She told her friend she didn't want to associate herself with her other friends because they were being rude. Soon two more girls joined her. After a while, the same girl got up and decided she was going to sit at the back. Without question, the other three girls followed her. This, to me, was a perfect demonstration of how people can obey someone without question "like lambs to the slaughter." On the other hand, one could argue that the girls' behaviour was a demonstration of how one's thoughts have the power to influence others. Let this be a lesson: you never know who is pulling your strings!

How do you avoid being manipulated? You can seek out truth for yourself and, now that you are now able to see clearly for yourself, you can avoid being manipulated. This is an ongoing battle, however, and one that's difficult to win since manipulation is mostly carried out at the unconscious level. This is why someone wishing to behave in one way can end up doing the opposite as the conscious mind is saying one thing and the subconscious is agreeing with how it is being programmed. As Paul puts it:

"For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Romans 7: 19)
How does one stop fighting others and attain true power? By realising that there is only One having life, that every experience is the One being the One. There is no Father, Son or Holy Spirit, only the One. This One is my definition of God. There is no God and you, only God. There is therefore no longer any need to defend oneself. Who is there to defend oneself against? There is only the One.

Here's a famous Zen koan. Try clapping with one hand and see what happens? Nothing of course as a clap requires two hands. The power of the One is realising that the One has no opposition.

How do I apply the power of the One in other areas of my life? By not trying to convince others of my views. To defend myself is to be drawn into the illusion of seeing another. There is only One. Thus, in every moment I am being the One in my own way.

To judge someone is to believe there is another apart from the One. Only One exists.

I can also apply this principle of oneness, the One being the One, in the way I experience my body. If I have a pain I know that the pain is part of the old belief in duality, and it is tempting me to believe that there can be anyone or thing in opposition to the One. I then affirm that there is only One and no other power exists but the One; "there is no power but of God." Any other power is an illusion, a nothing to be given no attention.

On the same bus, as I was pondering these ideas about there being no opposition to the One, several young men got on. One stood near me. He tried to attract my attention and the way he was doing so was what one might describe as disrespectful. Since I was pondering on the One having no opposition I did nothing. When the man saw that I was paying him no attention he started using expletives that he thought would offend me. As far as I was concerned there was nothing for me to defend myself against and his words were like "water off a duck's back." Then they got off the bus. I was very grateful to the man, who is actually me, for the opportunity to demonstrate that the One needs no defence.

Only One exists. The One needs no defence as it has no opposition. The One is the only Power.

I am Power,

Related article: What is Oneness?