So many practices are useful and helpful. Here I want to focus on what I consider their simple ground and unity, which I call Oneness.

Presence evokes the sense of the living and vivid Presence of Oneness. Mystery evokes the sense of wonder and paradox beyond the mind. God, can evoke a sense of devotion, although it is so laden with associated religious beliefs. Love evokes a heartfelt resonance.

But I return to my focus on Oneness, or One, which is simple and unburdened. Let all the other terms, and all the other qualities, be included in this as its multiple facets. Oneness has been the golden thread through my life, in my life experiences, in the realms of body, mind, relationships, and spirit. This is what my life is dedicated to, what I cultivate within myself and what I want to help evoke in others.

It is not something we need to learn, but something we need to remember. It is what the world needs now (by any other name). And yet, the paradox is that we never left it and could never leave it. It is our very nature and the nature of all that is. We experience it every moment in our basic experiences of space, time, life energy, love, mind, and self. It is only that we have become so complicated in our knowing, and in our familiarity with consensus reality, that we have lost touch with the direct experience.

Take a few moments to relax into your direct, unencumbered experience of space, of being Here; of time, of being Now; of life energy, of simply being alive; of love, of the simple feeling of being and caring; of mind, of simply being aware; of self, of the simplicity of I AM. All of these are One, Oneness. They are all Here, Now, I. It is effortless, for they simply ARE. You cannot manufacture them, although you weave all sorts of knowing around them according to your beliefs and interpretations. And all the differentiations you make of them and all the experiences you have of them do not undermine their basic Oneness. In a sense they enrich it, and in a sense Oneness remains ever itself, the same and simple. It is a beautiful Mystery.

We all have a primary intuition of Oneness, and this in three ways: We have a sense that all is One, that the infinite totality and wholeness of all that is, the whole cosmos and whatever variety it comprises on all levels, is One. We have a sense that we are One within ourselves, that we are One with each other and all of life and all that is. And we have a sense that the Essential Reality — call it God or even Godhead beyond God, if you like — is Pure Oneness, beyond all division, beyond all complication, beyond all qualities. And we have a primary intuition that all three of these ways are really One!

All of this is prior to beliefs, belief systems, opposing traditions and all their complications. It is simple. It is Peace, it is Love, it is Power, and more, but it is also simpler than any of these. It is simple Oneness. But it is not a simplicity that is merely simplistic or naive. It is not denial. It is not anti-rational or pre-scientific. It is not mystical in the sense of doctrine, or world-negation, or monasticism, or woo-woo other-worldliness, or any other associations you might have with that term. Oneness is Being, beyond any doctrine of Being.

Take the time to settle and relax into this Oneness. It is already here and now, in its wholeness and perfection. In its presence, you feel trust, love, wisdom, strength. You feel willing to surrender to what is. You feel willing to release everything, to let go of yourself, for nothing really is lost. And you find that you are inspired and renewed in what you essentially value, in your life purpose, relationships, and commitments.

Ed Hirsch, an Ashlander, cultivates the Practice of Presence, which he plans to host as a weekly drop-in group at Omega House in the spring.

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