Excerpt About Unity

Nonspatial or Nonlocal Unity

I think of the first kind of unity, which characterizes the basic mystical experience, as a perceptual or spatial unity. And I think of the other sense of unity as a feeling kind of unity, as nonspatial or nonlocal unity. We began exploring this nonlocal unity when I discussed the views of Plotinus and Dogen in terms of the relationship between the particular individual and realization. This nonlocal unity contains a new element that cannot be described simply as nondual. In nonlocal unity, there is a sense that each star contains all the stars, that each point is every other point. As we recognize this nonlocal unity, we understand that the fact that it is spacious does not mean that it is big; it doesn’t have a size. The experience of this unity is that each particular form of manifestation contains within it all other forms of manifestation, as particular forms. Each form is totally united with all other forms, not united spatially as waves of the same ocean, but united actually as one single wave. This is more the recognition that all the waves are inside each other, that all the waves are essentially the same wave, that all the points are one point. So the feeling of nonlocal unity is, “I am everything, not because I am a medium that manifests everything, not because I and everything come from the same source, but because I actually am every other thing in a direct and intimate way. The unity does not derive from the fact that we are all parts of the same movement or the same expression. One of the ways of experiencing nonlocal unity is as the feeling, “I am you. Your heart and my heart are the same heart—and not figuratively. I feel that I am in your heart and you are in my heart, because there is no spatial or ontological distance between your heart and mine.”

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