The idea of Unity and multiplicity by Alan Watts.

“The sense of unity with the “All” is not, however, a nebulous state of mind, a sort of trance, in which all form and distinction is abolished, as if man and the universe merged into a luminous mist of pale mauve. Just as process and form, energy and matter, myself and experience, are names for, and ways of looking at the same thing — so one and many, unity and multiplicity, identity and difference, are not mutually exclusive opposites: they are each other, much as the body is its various organs. To discover that the many are one, and that the one is the many, is to realize that both are words and noises representing what is at once obvious to sense and feeling, and an enigma to logic and description.”

Alan watts.  in “The Wisdom of Insecurity”

The symbol is often confused with what it symbolizes. When one is repeatedly called by his name, that person tends to believe that he is the Name. Same happens with everything in the Universe that has a name. The name is mistaken for the true identity of an object or a person, which can be experienced through senses and feelings.

You have a body. It is made up of different parts. Arms, legs, head, heart and many hundreds of parts. However we know from the experience that this body is one. We have only created parts for our intellectual understanding. Similarly, the whole universe is one body, with you (your awareness) being the center of its experience. But due to the language we use, we identify everything as separate from us. Each thing that we name differently becomes separate entity in our perception.

The Idea of ‘I am different than you, and “this is different than that” takes place the moment something is given a definition through a name or a word.

From the experience we can know that we are one with the universe. For example,

  • close your eyes and listen carefully to the sounds that you hear. And ask yourself, are the sounds coming from outside of you or are they inside your head?
  • open your eyes and see. Is what you see outside of you or is it a part of your consciousness (means part of yourself) ?

This experience of oneness with the universe is so lost in our lives because we are entirely caught up with logic and description. We are constantly engaged in thoughts, which take away the mindfulness and the sensory experience of the present moment.

There is a famous zen question: “Who were You Before you were named?” That question gets you thinking about your true identity. It is an attempt to suggest that state of mind which is free of all definitions, and a pure, naked awareness, (the only right view) which zen aims to achieve.

That awareness can be brought back by the consistent practice of mindfulness and meditation. Otherwise we are all lost in the grand illusion of our own thoughts, failing to realise our true nature..

Thank you for reading. hope this added value to your life and made you question about your perception of yourself and the universe. There’s more to come to challenge your thoughts and beliefs. Till then find more awareness, find more of your true self..:)

Featured image by Dawid Zawiła on unsplash.

If you liked this you might also like related ideas from my posts below:

Mindfulness: Ideas and practices to increase your awareness of life.

Concentration: The treasure hidden deep within you!

Expand from within to discover unknown dimensions.

True freedom can be found only in emptiness.

3 Life lessons to be learned from this simple zen story.

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