Oneness for Dummies:

The Unperched Version of Being One With Everything



One of the core assumptions we were conditioned into infers that a living being perceives an environment and a world located outside of him/herself. Hence, as a Human being, I use a language and thought processes designed to describe and interact with this apparently external realm. This very idea that “someone is perceiving something” establishes a first foundational sense of separation. As a side effect, what perceives – conscious awareness – and the instrument enabling perception – the “lens” through which we see the so-called reality – are entangled and form the cornerstone of our sense of personal identity. “I perceive”, “I see”, “I hear”, “I feel”, when analysed one layer deeper, mean that I fully identify with whatever interface the “I” perceives through. This observation becomes even more impactful when we realize that nearly all people’s “lenses” or “perceptual tools” are biased and the product of conditioning. As I already identify with the “lens”, it automatically means that I will also identify with the conditioned bias.


All nationalistic perceptual biases are great examples of this. “Nations” literally are mental constructs invented in the XIXth century. The hard facts are that these collective narratives were what conditioned people, through education systems and the first mass media (newspapers), to identify with, and therefore adhere to, a territorially defined coercive structure that started to be known as the “State”. [1] Thankfully, a majority of people are critical of far right parties and “wall builders”, and have a clue that identification with flags killed more than 200 millions people in the XXth century, and generated Ausschwytz. Yet, very few do not feel offended when somebody negatively speaks about their nation, very few do not feel some kind of excitement, or even joy, when their country’s team scores a goal or wins a medal, and nearly all of us enjoy jokes about other people’s nations. All of the latter are nevertheless, in my understanding, soft and sweet ways to keep feeding the very same paradigm.


Fundamentally, Nation-States are transitory forms and by no means who we are as humans. They are just one layer of our worldview, one aspect of our perceptual bias, one very limited and distorted “way of looking at things” we all were educated into. And just like when nearly everyone believed that the earth was flat, just like a fish – without leaping out – cannot possibly be aware it swims in water, it is highly challenging for all of us to leap out of collective beliefs and perceptual biases that nearly everyone on the planet shares in a given moment in time.


Of course, deconstructing beliefs and perceptual systems, and opening up to new, enlarged, ones, is a relevant part of the agenda. My own pathway nevertheless taught me that there is a tremendous short cut that each of us can chose to take. It is best summarized by the Talmud quote which says that “we do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are”. What a frame switch! For me it means, “I”-as-awareness can disentangle from my perceptual “lens” and dis-identify from it. It means I understand that my brain’s job is to always keep selecting the very tiny pieces of information (2’000 bits/sec amongst 400 millions consciously available, 400 billions unconsciously) that will keep validating my current worldview. It means that not only I can take responsibility for my perception but use it as the most direct Self-awareness and Self-discovery tool I can imagine. My perceptual screen becomes my mirror. The separation between me and the world instantly ends. I literally am everything the world reflects to me. Including, of course, everything I hate in it. From being the very root of separation between “me” and the world “out there”, perception becomes what interconnects both, what makes me and the world be one.


On the easy side of that perceptual frame switch lie everything and everyone that inspire me. Am I inspired by Martin Luther King’s “I had a dream” speech? – I feel moved in my deepest core every time I see/hear it – then, great, I may have a clue that I also am inhabited by the power of words, by a vision, by an aspiration to freedom, that a part of me is rebellious towards the established order and several of its absurd ways of looking at the world. I feel that non-violence, peace and love are such tremendous forces and intrinsic parts of Human Nature and that courage is likely a resource that I do also have. Fair enough. I just grew my self-esteem and my self-love, which is awesome (and highly recommended for a stunning majority of human kind).


But, what about the dark side of this 24/7 mirror-game? When I look at the world, what do I see? Do I see violence? What is my relationship to my own violence? Do I see a world in crisis? What in me is going through a crisis? Do I feel hopeless about the world and humans? What about that hopelessness well hidden somewhere in my own shadows? Do I feel awefully pissed off every time I see Mr Trump somewhere in the media? What kind of “Trumpness” resides in me and that I do not want to see?


If I take this last example, this is literally what happened to me right after he was elected. For a few months, something in me just couldn’t accept this could actually be true. I was irritated and feeling discomfort every time I was seeing his face somewhere. Until the very moment I started to realize that I, also, was a “wall builder”. First of all, between “me and the good guys” who were against Trump and all those who voted for him, and anyone who would vote far right anywhere on the planet. Because “these people are the problem, aren’t they?” Isn’t that a separation-generating way to perceive things? Isn’t it absolutely dualistic? Especially for somebody like me, who had been “preaching” non-duality, interconnectedness and oneness all over the place for years? From that point, I even realized, that I had been, since a very young age (and my father’s World War II childhood experience in England), “fascistely anti-fascist”. Which is, from where I speak today, just another way to be fascist. A subtle way to hold a fascist energy and to project it outward only with a different – and politically correct – collective target.[2]


I then realized that this whole perceptual bias was above all the external projection of a pattern I had internalized. I had indeed built a wall within myself between the “good parts of JP”, the ones I believed made me worthy of love and belonging, and the “dark sides of JP”, the ones that had to be hidden, even from my conscious self. Literally an inner-fascism, a way to exile the undesired parts of myself – and to leave those “migrants” outside – or even to annihilate them. An inner-manifestation of self-hatred. Harsh judgement and violence against myself. For years.


Even though dozens of such “exiled” parts are still knocking at my door (and their integration process might take at least a couple more lifetimes, unless it doesn’t) my “little fascist”, at least, is back home. I found out he is actually is about 5 years old and I am able, most of the time, to play with him. It seems that when he pops out of his box, I see him pretty quickly and look at him with a “got you” kinda smile. He plays his fascist-judgemental part in my head and emotions for a few seconds and then he just disappears from my perceptual screen as quickly as he came…


The external consequences are nevertheless even more spectacular. Even though I do not agree with anything Mr Trump does or says, I am not affected by it at all anymore. Actually, I nearly do not “see” him anymore. And when I do, I see a wounded 5 years old for whom I feel compassion and some kind of strange tenderness. And, by extension, every time I see any kind of “far right” sympathizer, the first thing I see is his/her own self-hatred. I feel it through the part of me that has been – and sometimes still is –  “there” too. For sure, it is not a spiritual ecstasy like the ones I experienced during retreats. It is not the “being one with everything” during which every participant of a personal development workshop hugs every other one in a collective wave-shot of – temporary – unconditional love and open-heartedness. Yet, for me, today, that’s where real operational, day-to-day oneness and intimacy with life and the world – in the very state it is in right now – starts. It is as much a part of unity as the former. I am Trump, I am climate warming, I am the fear, the anger and the grief present on this planet right now, I am a – rather primitive – human being of 2019 intimately one with everything I perceive in this very context. And therefore, I can also fully be love, joy, and peace, and start to consciously evolve and take action from the place where I really am right now. “The New Age can only take root in the Dark Ages. There is no other ground”.

[1] It is not the focus of this paper but I hold a PhD and a post-doc on that very topic.

[2] During what I now call my « perched years », the same dualistic-fascist scheme was applied to the « good conscious spiritual guys » I felt part of versus the « bad unconscious profit-driven materialistic jerks » who were destroying the planet.