As I drive along the highway, losing myself to the being of Driving, I find that a couple strange things occur: First, I no longer feel a sense of loneliness. The road, the car, the passing trees, and I, all create something together of which we’re all a part. It feels like a community of spirit, a greater experience that we all share. Funny that the road could seem like a friend, but in those moments it does.
Second, I start to hear the road and the car – and everything else – talking to me. They don’t use words, of course, but through my intuition the road tells me how to steer, the engine tells me how to shift and apply the gas, the trees tell me where to look for possible dangers. As one, an intimate communication develops, which also dispels my feeling of loneliness.
My instinct is to say I am becoming “one with the road”, but I find something wrong in that. When I think of my body, I think of it as a unit: it functions as a unit, the parts interact as a unit. It may be that the brain and heart are more critical to its operation, but this does not mean that my body is “my heart becoming one with the other organs”. Speaking of my body in terms of any one part being “one” with the others sounds strange. There is only one “body”, which is made up of “body parts”. Viewed as a separate, they are separate; viewed as a whole, there is only the whole. It would sound odd to say that one part is at one with the other parts.
The same holds for myself. If I imagine I am “one with the road”, I am still failing to accept the unity of Driving. I am not giving my selfhood up to it. I still want to be an “I” who is “at one” with other things. But there is only Driving. As parts, we each have our names; but as a greater unity, we all disappear. There is no room for self within the higher Beings we participate in.
It is so natural to constantly set myself apart from the world that I can see why unity is so difficult for me to grasp. It is all around us, all the time – the unity of our body, of the ecosystem, of natural phenomena – but instinctively the mind wants to name and categorize; not for a particular purpose, but as though to establish the being of the things it sees, and thus make itself the ground of its experience of being.
There is an enormous difference between relating to a name, as a symbol, and relating to it as if it were real. This July I wrote several entries on the difference between these two: ideas and reality. The kind of naming that makes unity difficult to grasp is when I see things through their names, rather than just using the name to direct my eyes.
So I find myself in the situation of driving along, being “I” with respect to myself – and an odd form of nothingness with respect to Driving – when suddenly I look at the road passing under me and think, “I am driving this car.” That is like the brain claiming it moves my limbs, when in fact countless organic processes occur between my intention and the muscle’s contraction. In the abstract, yes, I drive the car, but in reality, there is only Driving.
This leads me to realize that the unity of Driving itself is just part of another unity. Driving combined with Destination make Travel. Joined with Purpose these form Wayfaring. And so on. All these unities, each part of a higher unity – until they merge into an Absolute Unity. This Absolute Unity is where all the differences between the lesser Unities are subsumed, and where their identities disappear.
In this station of Being, every beginning and end is merged. Even the concepts of beginning and end are swept away. They remain separate in regard to themselves, but naught with respect to the All. Can anyone say where the body begins and ends? A particular process, perhaps, but as a whole, there is a only a unified organic movement. I may be driving home in one aspect of my being, but I am also simultaneously leaving and returning: still in relation to my car, speeding along in relation to the highway. All of these particulars, each subsumed in the unity it helps to form, until all of them are lost in the final, Absolute Unity.
This is the plane whereon the vestiges of all things are destroyed in the traveler, and on the horizon of eternity the Divine Face riseth out of the darkness, and the meaning of “All on the earth shall pass away, but the face of thy Lord….” is made manifest.
Sometimes I refer to this as “being one with everything”, but now I suspect this phrase is confusing me. Referring oneness to my self only enforces the sense of separation. Rather, on the plane of the Absolute, there is only that. There is only the being of an All which is neither many, nor one-in-contrast-to-many. It combines even the concepts of manyness and oneness. Hmm…. what is that Being… If oneness with it is anything like giving myself up to Driving, I would think all loneliness should disappear, and that the universe would start “talking” to me. That sounds like a good experiment.