Dissolving the Illusion of Separateness

Clouds seen from behind wire gridI recently saw a bumper sticker which said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” It’s so simple and clear. But what does it mean?

Right next to that one was another sticker which said something like this: “Spirituality is learning to break free of the illusion of separateness.”

Ultimately, the hardest thing to understand about our existence is that we are never born and we never die. Our energy and life comes from the star stuff of the cosmos. We don’t appear from nowhere. When we die we don’t go to nowhere, either. So our human existence comes and goes without being born or dying. We are like characters in a play who seem to appear from offstage, but were already back there, just waiting to come on. Or, we are like water which can become rain, or a river, or a cloud, or invisible humidity, but the molecules are always there.

Unfortunately, the illusion of separateness is powerful. Our bodies, the temporary vehicles of our human incarnation, are finite. Physically, we can be hurt or killed, starve, drown, burn, break bones, lose sight, or any number of agonies. But the gift we are born with is the ability, the possibility of transcending those limitations. We can be human and cultivate our inner freedom to the point of overcoming our faults, our problems, our suffering.

The process of understanding how we really are is what makes spirituality necessary, to help us realize the truth about our nature as conscious beings. Spirituality is the process of learning to dissolve the illusion of our separateness from nature, other humans, our planet, the stars and the entire cosmos.

This is where spiritual practices come in. The essence of most religions is a spiritual practice. It is that essence which I focus on here in this blog. How can we grow in the understanding of our true spiritual natures? How can we overcome the agony of our separateness, with its loneliness, fear, judgment or hate? How can we begin to understand that in truth, we are always valid, always infinite. And that spiritual Self cannot be burned, cannot be drowned, cannot die.

The truth is that you are the world, that heaven is something accessible to each of you, and that no one can take that away or give it to you. You just need to open yourself to the truth and your journey will begin.

7 thoughts on “Dissolving the Illusion of Separateness

  1. The day I tried to imagine where I was before conception is the day I stopped fearing what may come after death of my physical body. Great post.

  2. Great post and lovely blog. Reading this post I couldn’t help but think of the Heart Sutra’s saying that emptiness is form and form is emptiness.

    Thank-you for visiting my Buddhist blog and thank-you for boosting my question. I’ll be linking to you. Nice to have you on board. 😉

  3. but it’s much more than an idea, a concept or a philosophy.
    It is a way of life, a way of being, ultimately a wholely different personal and cultural attitude.

  4. jonathan- …and because it’s so different from the dominant way in our culture, it’a all the more difficult to embody. I see the phrase “we are all linked” often in blog posts, but I wonder if that person is living that way, or just hoping the words will carry them there.

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