Next week I’ll be in San Diego participating as two organizations who teach “oneness” decide whether to become one. Over 50 years ago, the one group that taught Ernest Holmes’ Science of Mind philosophy divided into two groups. Operating for many years as the United Church of Religious Science and Religious Science International, they created their separate operational processes and developed their own cultures allwhile teaching the same beliefs.
In today’s article, we sprint through humanity’s evolutionary path in honor of these two groups (now known as the United Centers for Spiritual Living and the International Centers for Spiritual Living) for taking this important step. They are evolving to their next logical step, just as you and I are.
To begin this jaunt, let’s consider that there are two ways by which we humans come to experience life – peering inward and looking outward. Gazing externally has allowed us to develop the wonderful gift of science, a tool which allows us to make sense of the external world.
Science has looked back into the past and offered us conclusions about how we got where we are now. Although they cannot tell us why or how everything started, most scientists believe that at the beginning of the universe all matter was compressed into one very tiny spot. The familiar “big bang” exploded outward disbursing everything that had been one into the vast recesses of space. From that moment that all substance moved apart, science suggests that all the physical laws that we have discovered that act upon this matter existed as well.
As matter expanded from its initial state of oneness, the laws of gravity, strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism began guiding it into clumps which eventually became stars and planets. Planets with the right conditions saw the elements combine in a form of self cooperation to produce simple organisms. Science says something called “life” emerged and it grew more and more complex as it followed processes that later we described as evolution and survival of the fittest.
Eventually evolution led to something called consciousness emerging within these more complex beings and ultimately one of them became so complex that it crossed a threshold into becoming conscious of its own consciousness –humanity was born. As humanity’s evolution continued, so did its development of both its ways of experiencing and understanding life – that is, peering inward and looking outward.
The outward empirical gaze of science has served us well, bringing increases in our standard of living, technological advances and greater understanding of our universe. Yet this outward gaze also tends to reinforce a perception that we are separate and apart from one another. It calls our attention to our differences. It fosters our sense of competition. And, it contributes to our dividing ourselves up by our dissimilarities, be they our different races, cultures, countries, religious or political beliefs – and sometimes even our different organizations who teach oneness.
But just as we can peer outward and gain understanding on our evolutionary path, we can also peer inward and gain equally valid insights. Mystics and sages have been looking inside via meditation and reflection for years and reporting back their discoveries – we are already one. They remind us, as does science, that we were born from oneness. At the depths of that inner awareness, they sense that in spite of outward appearances to the contrary, we are still one. They state with conviction that as we continue to evolve we will return to truly living from that oneness.
Interestingly, in our past knowledge was knowledge – we valued both inner and outer wisdom without distinction of its source. Hundreds of years ago a great “split” put the physical world under the domain of science and left the world of the nonphysical – God, consciousness and so on – to be the concerns of religion/spirituality and philosophy. Along the way, each developed their own processes and cultures.
In recent years, there has been a move to reunify our inner and outer ways of understanding the universe – an integration of science and spirituality. This was certainly one aspect of Ernest Holmes’ work in the creation of the Science of Mind early in the 20th century. Individuals such as Sri Aurobindo, Ken Wilber and others have made contributions to this aim in creating “integral” philosophies.
The melding of the outer and the inner approaches to understanding have offered some interesting insights. For example, many now realize that observed evolution of physical life growing into more complex forms is mirrored by a similar evolution going on inside everything. Many philosophers suggest (and mystics concur) consciousness is embedded in everything. As physical life evolved in complexity so did the consciousness embedded within it.
Here’s how Ernest Holmes put it – ” Through eons of time life has been slowly climbing up the ladder of unfoldment to the present self-conscious state achieved in man. Some degree of consciousness exists in everything because everything is some form of Spirit, and Spirit is Intelligence. However, there are degrees of intelligence, or consciousness. We often hear the expression, “Consciousness sleeps in mineral life, dreams in plant life, awakens in animal life, and comes to self-consciousness in man.” Man, then, stands at the very peak of the evolutionary climb. He is now a self-conscious individual which means that he not only knows, but knows that he knows. He can think about his own consciousness, and he now has the power of choice – the very summit of life’s upward striving. Evolution, through infinite ages, has done much for him.”
So in essence, our journey has always been one that follows the same path. That path begins in unity, it wanders into the experience of separation, and when that sense of separation has served its purpose, it returns home to the unity from which it began.
Millions of years ago, Spirit-God-Consciousness began in oneness and cast itself out, splitting itself up and embedding itself into all of its creation and allowing itself the experience of separation. Yet the forces that would lead us out of the wilderness of separation were embedded within us from the beginning – evolution. Evolution has allowed both the outer expression and the inner consciousness to simultaneously grow– along the way experiencing greater complexity, greater levels of self cooperation, greater degrees of conscious awareness, greater involvement in directing the evolutionary process. There appears to be a direction to the progression. Where is it going? As Holmes put it, “Evolution is the awakening of the soul to a recognition of its unity with the Whole.” In other words, we are remembering that we are already one.
Hundreds of years ago, our ways of knowing began in oneness but humanity split them into science and spirituality. We have allowed ourselves to believe that there are two separate ways of knowing – the outer and the inner. The material successes of science has on the one hand contributed much to the quality of our life while on the other leading us to turn against ourselves in conflict as we believe ourselves separate. Something within us says it is time to move beyond this duality. The evolution of our understanding is reuniting in an integral viewpoint where we realize that everything is connected. In other words, we are remembering that it’s already one.
Tens of years ago, the philosophy of Science of Mind began in oneness but our humanness allowed it to split into two organizations. We have allowed ourselves to experience separation via different rules, different structures, different cultures – forging different relationships with different people. Evolution has now brought us to the point where we realize that separation has served its purpose and now returns us home to the unity from where we began. In other words, we are remembering that we are already one.
Some years ago, your essence born of the oneness came into physical form at the moment of your birth. Your senses have allowed you to experience separation from everything that appears “out there” in the earth. You have believed that you are different from others, that you are in competition with humanity, that competition and conflict are appropriate in this world of duality. But forces and urges within you question this sense of division, pushing you to grow beyond it. Evolution and love call you to a sense of connection with others – to truly know your unity. In other words to remember that you are already one.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!