A Short Book About Oneness
Foreword (or Afterword)
How This Book Happened
Blah Blah Blah
Greta Thunberg, Ke$ha, Iggy Pop, and numerous others
I never expected to write a book on oneness, which is sometimes called the non-dual perspective. At the same time, it was probably inevitable: I’d been playing around the unfenced edges of oneness for a long time, so it makes sense that one day I might fall in.
By the way, you don’t need to read this part of the book until later, if at all. Go ahead and skip it until later if you’re even slightly moved to do so.
In the case of this specific book, in the late summer of 2020, during the extended US Covid-19 lockdown, I began watching YouTube videos of ascended masters. This is one possible term for people currently alive or recently deceased who, through meditation or other such means, have arrived at a state of sustained peace that could be termed enlightenment.
My playlist included Gary Weber, Roger Castillo, Francis Lucille, Adyashanti, Gangaji, Papaji, Mooji, and especially Rupert Spira, whose words and general perspective resonated the most with me. But there are others, including obviously Eckhart Tolle, and you can find them easily if you're interested.
Somewhere in there, for a few weeks, my ego essentially shut down, or perhaps more accurately shut up. By which I mean, when I went looking for the pain I normally felt in the places I normally felt it, it was gone, replaced by a peaceful stillness.
I spent most of the next month simply watching and rewatching these videos over and over again. On paper, I wouldn’t recommend such a passive sounding path for anyone wishing to reach the end of pain or drop into a peaceful place. But for me, it was effective.
Also, it wasn’t entirely passive. Throughout the whole process, I was consciously breathing. It was, essentially, an extended meditation with videos playing in the background. And I think the videos were relatively well-chosen.
Additionally, there was a cognitive element to what was going on. As a technical writer, I get paid for, and also get off on, guiding people through complex mental landscapes in a way that most literate and willing readers can follow and understand.
After a while, I began to see that these ascended masters, or enlightened people, were all talking about the same thing. That much wasn’t really a revelation. But I also began to grasp the set of ways of thinking which, if ordered, could point to a path of inquiry about the question Who Am I?, which Ramana Maharshi placed front and center of his teaching.
By ordered, I mean not only provided with structure but also placed in numerical order – in this case, from 1 to 35. The result has become the structure of this book with its 35 insights, to be read sequentially, each building upon the previous ones.
You can also think of the book simply as a bicycle path through a picturesque woods, with a sequence of places to stop along the way and notice something beautiful, perhaps memorable.
That’s how and when the spine for the book was constructed, or rather seemed to construct itself.
Then I fell out of nirvana with a thud – a big hard thud – back into the emotional pain that had been waiting for me just outside the door. And then I lost the door. In Rupert Spira’s words, my non-dual honeymoon was over.
Because this was all during a particularly painful separation from a loved one, not to mention a devastating world health crisis, the pain I fell into was severe. In retrospect, it also appears to have been necessary to the growth and development of whatever it is that I am becoming. But even if I’d believed that at the time, I don’t think it would have helped much.
The half-written book sat on my computer in several Word document files for more than two years. I stumbled upon it about a month ago, somewhat lamenting that it was unfinished, and wondering if it was any good.
If you’re a writer, you know perhaps that rereading your old writing can produce a variety of outcomes, one of which is shame-spiral induced nausea. When that doesn’t happen, well, that’s a pretty good day.
In this case, a decent amount of the writing seemed to hold up. I still wasn’t sure whether I could finish it but, spoiler alert, it turns out that I could and did. The writing flowed surprisingly quickly and in quirky directions that I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t much control, but which kind of made sense all spliced together.
The result feels like a collaboration between two very different versions of myself as a writer – one residing for a short time in the silent eye of a malevolent storm, and the other more or less after the storm had passed.
If you have actually read through all these words, that was very nice of you. As when an already welcome guest visiting my home brings a covered dish, I’m moved to let you know, You really didn’t have to.
I hope you enjoy the book and maybe even get something out of it!