At-one-ment:

From the Christian perspective, we are created to know and enjoy the oneness of being.

The illusion of separateness is a great affliction for so many today. The feeling of loneliness, of alienation, of not being able to deeply connect with others, of not being able to be understood, is a cause of so much suffering. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As Jesus said to the first disciples, “Come, and you will see.”[1]

The prerequisite for knowing the oneness of being and being at-one with others, is to be at-one, in harmony, with ourselves. This is the heart of the meaning of atonement: through grace our at-one-ment with ourselves opens into at-one-ment with each other and the whole of creation in the oneness of God.

We do not come to this at-one-ment by a process of thought or analysis, through grasping subtle theological or metaphysical propositions, but through stillness of mind, through clearing a space in which to encounter the simplicity and beauty and oneness of our being.

The invitation of meditation is to let go of our thoughts (including those that might appear intensely interesting and wonderfully holy) and come home to the simple suchness of life, unmediated by our stories about it.

For some people hearing about meditation for the first time, it can come as a surprise to hear that letting go of thoughts includes letting go of thoughts about God during our time of practice. It becomes much more understandable if people liken meditation to being with someone they love to be with. It all becomes much simpler.

When we are with someone we love to be with, we can rest from thinking about them. We can simply enjoy being with them. We are both right here. And likewise with God, who doesn’t know how to be absent or anywhere else than right here.

When we let go of our thoughts, our stories, about reality, there is just reality. When we let go of our thoughts about someone we are with, we are simply with them. When we let go of our thoughts about God, all that remains is God’s unmediated Presence.

During our time of meditation, we simply return to our practice each time we notice we have become distracted. This simple work of returning (and returning and returning) gently stills the thinking mind and brings us to silence and peace.

Occasionally, our mind becomes so still that it relaxes and drops away, taking with it our sense that there is someone sitting here meditating. We won’t know this as the time, of course. There isn’t anyone here to notice there’s no one here. There is just oneness. Later, we might wonder at how time seemed to vanish and recall a sense of peace.

Meditation is a process of self-acceptance. We return to who we are. We learn to accept the gift of our personhood, the uniqueness of our being, the sheer wonder of being here at all. And in our self-acceptance, we become increasingly available to each other and to God.

Imagine how different the world could be if people could be helped to even glimpse the infinite value and preciousness of their life — if we could help bring this understanding to just one other person.

Our practice is simply to say our word, to follow our breath, and let go of everything else. We don’t think about our word. We don’t think about what we are doing, but become one with it. We become one with our practice.

All that is required is that we give this gentle work our whole attention.

This is all we need to do.

When we are at-one, in harmony with ourselves, we come into at-one-ment with each other and the whole of creation in the oneness of God.

Without any thought about what we might gain, what we might receive, what we might discover, we follow this simple path to the heart of all beauty and truth, to discover we are one with Love itself.

Don’t take my word for it. “Come, and you will see.”[2]

Click here to read other recent blogs from the School of Contemplative Life.

[1] John 1:39.

[2] Ibid.

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Chris Whittington, founder of the School of Contemplative Life. Visit our website to sign up for the SoCL newsletter: www.schoolofcontemplativelife.com

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The School of Contemplative Life

The School of Contemplative Life

Chris Whittington, founder of the School of Contemplative Life. Visit our website to sign up for the SoCL newsletter: www.schoolofcontemplativelife.com

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