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Two Worlds

By Bill Harris

"Light that is One, though the lamps be many."—Robin Williamson

I begin this article with what, for most people, is a rather startling premise: that the common sense idea that we are all separate individuals, living in a world made of separate things and events, is an illusion created by the mind. Instead, I put forth the premise that the entire universe is one big interconnected system, and that all divisions are created in the mind, but do not exist in reality.

My premise, then (which is shared by all spiritual traditions in all cultures), includes the idea that there is no such thing as a separate "you" who acts upon and interacts with other separate individuals and things. There is, in fact, no separate doer. The only doer is the universe as a whole.

Thinking about the world in this way gives us a weird feeling, because all our experience tells us that we are separate, and that it's made up of separate things and events. Why should we believe something that we cannot experience?

Well, of course, there are people who do experience everything as one, big, interconnected process—and who do know, from experience, that there is no individual doer. These people are spoken of as being "enlightened"—though sometimes they are thought of as being crazy.

So what are these people experiencing? Is it real? Why should you believe their experience? How could you have that experience? And why would you want to?

Mind interprets reality
Let's start with something I've said before, that your mind creates your reality. It may seem that reality is "out there," and that you merely perceive it or are affected by it, but in actual fact what you're seeing or experiencing isn't "reality." You're actually seeing an interpretation of reality, created by your mind. As information comes in through your senses (and after you filter it in various ways), you make what are called internal representations of reality, inside your mind.

People forget, however, that they do this. They forget that these representations of reality are at least one step removed from actual reality, that in making them they deleted and distorted much of what came in through their senses, and that they then added all kinds of meanings that were not there to begin with.

I call this distorted, partial, and meaning-laden representation of reality your Internal Map of Reality, because that's what it is—a map. And, as you know, a map is not the same as the territory it represents. A map is useful, but it's just a useful representation of the actual territory, and you can't drive your car on those little lines representing roads.

That's why your reality isn't the same as your friend's reality. Because you share a similar culture, where similar meanings are added to what actually happens, you both share certain ways of thinking, and for that reason much of your reality is similar. But you also have many different ways of deleting what comes in, distorting it, and adding meaning to it. For that reason, your world, your reality, is unique to you.

Everyone, then, is walking around creating their own internal reality, and then forgetting that this mentally created reality, this Internal Map of Reality, isn't THE reality. And one of the most basic aspects of this self-created reality is the idea that there are separate people, separate things, and separate events.

I hope I've convinced you in previous articles that though all these separate bits seem incredibly real, all such divisions are created by the mind, all are arbitrary, and none exists in reality. They are all added to reality, and then we forget we did it. For example, you might consider whether a bee, and a flower, and the field it grows in, and the sunlight that helps it grow, are really separate things or one integrated system.

A world of dichotomies
So the first major premise of the world of the mind is that everything is divided into separate things. The second premise is that there is an on/off, black/white aspect to these divisions. You might notice that all these ways of dividing the world into categories can be expressed as polar opposites: me/not me, good/evil, here/not here, up/down, in/out, on/off, big/small, having/not having, happy/sad, alive/dead, before/after, etc., etc., etc.

In fact, all divisions (all made by the mind and occurring only in the mind) can be expressed this way. Notice that where one side of the polarity leaves off and the other begins is totally arbitrary. All of these divisions, and the actual dividing point, are ideas. They are conceptual. You cannot pick them up and put them in your pocket. They are not real things. And, also notice that with each of these polar opposites, both sides depend on the other. They go together. They are, collectively, one thing, artificially divided into two. You can't have up without down, because they are one system, one unit.

That's what the mind does: it divides everything into categories, and then forgets that the categories aren't intrinsic to the world.

We all grew up in the world created by the mind. It's what we know. We all assume it's the "real" world. But is it? Let's consider another aspect of how we decide what is real. Our perception includes only what registers with our five sense organs. Everything else might as well not exist. Yes, we've developed some instruments that pick up some things our senses can't perceive, such as cosmic rays. But a lot (in fact, most) of what goes on in the universe just doesn't exist for us because of the limitations of our equipment, both biological and otherwise.

So our reality is, in part, determined (and also limited) by the nature of our sensory equipment. If we had eyes that registered a different slice of the electromagnetic spectrum, things would look different. If we had eyes like a housefly things would look different. Our reality is determined partly by what is being seen, partly by the limitations of the equipment we use to see it, and to an even larger degree by what we do with it inside our mind (how we filter it, what we delete, how we mentally divide it into bits, what meanings we add to it, and so on).

We're not seeing "reality," then, but our own perceptive qualities, along with our mind's deletions, divisions, and interpretations of the tiny slice that gets in. We're not seeing things the way they are, but as the equipment we have interprets it.

After this process, we make some sort of internal representation of reality inside our head, and it's this internal representation that we perceive as reality.

A new way of looking
Now I'm being as careful as I can be in describing all of this because seeing things in this other way—where you realize that the divisions are handy but not really real—is so foreign to us that at first it just seems absurd. But the more you look at it, and the more you play around with it, and the more you investigate by noticing it in the real world, the more this other way of looking at things grows on you.

So, what if you looked at the universe in the other way I've suggested—where everything is interconnected, where it's all one thing? What if you let go of the mistaken idea that all these separate bits exist other than conceptually, inside the mind?

If you look at it this way, where there are no separate things or events, you have to also conclude that under this way of looking at things, there can't be a separate "you," either.

As you begin to see beyond the world of the mind in which everything is expressed in polar opposites, where everything is arbitrarily chopped up into separate things and separate events—it begins to appear less and less real and less and less necessary—and this way of experiencing the world based on separation exerts less and less pull over you.

When this happens, you begin to perceive the world of the mind as I described it earlier: as a play, as fun, as something the mind creates, but not something that has to be taken so seriously. Or, if you do take it seriously, you do so in a playful way, like an actor in a play, who plays his role to the hilt, but knows it's just a play. He knows that when he walks offstage he once again becomes who he really is—which in your case is the entire one energy of all and everything.

So what's it like to know that separate things and events, and a separate you, is an illusion? What's it like to know, on an experiential level, that everything really is one energy, one huge interconnected process—and that you are that process?

Goodbye attachment
Knowing that you are one with everything, you aren't attached to anything being a certain way. Instead, you realize that the unfolding of the universe is happening in its own way and is being guided by something much bigger than the separate you that your mind has made up. All you have to do is go along for the ride. At the same time, you might decide to play as if it was all terribly important, and you might set goals and take on challenges and work toward certain outcomes.

Your happiness and inner peace, however, are unrelated to what does or does not happen, since these things come from knowing that you are everything, that you've always been and always will be everything, and that your existence did not begin with your body, nor will it end when your body dissolves.

The awakened person is therefore not at odds with the world, which would be like being at odds with yourself. As has been said of Jesus Christ, you are "in the world but not of it." You watch as it all goes by, but you are also a participant. You know that most people are caught in the world of separation created by the mind and are fooled into thinking that there are separate things and events, and that White Must Win. But because you know that these sleeping people are unaware of being caught in an illusion, you are compassionate, and you do what you can to help others with their suffering.

Even though you know who you are, your mind is still busy spinning out a story based on the premise of separate people, events, and things, because that's what minds do. Part of that story is the illusion of agency, of choice. Your mind is indeed making choices, but your mind is not who you really are, and part of you knows this.

The real you is the entire going on of it all, and from the perspective of the witness (which is the consciousness of the entire going on of it all), you see this quite clearly. So while your mind is doing its thing, you can pretend to be that mind and therefore pretend to be making life decisions—and you can have all kinds of fun doing so—but in reality, the decisions are part of the entire going on of it all. As I have said, there is no separate doer—the only doer is the universe as a whole.

Mastering the mind
Amazingly, to the degree that the mind you used to think of as "you" learns how to control itself, you can exert a little or a lot of control over your part. (I'm using the term "your mind" to refer to what you used to think of as "me," as opposed to what you really are—the going on of the entire universe.) Ultimately, though, there is a limit to your mind's influence over what is, because your effort is just one of an infinite number of other efforts of other minds, all with their own ends in mind.

Instead of being an automatic response mechanism, responding to the world based on unconscious rules, beliefs, fears, and limitations, your mind is able to consciously evaluate each situation, in the moment, and instantly and instinctively know exactly what to do and how to respond in order to gain the most resourceful outcome, both for yourself and for others. The ability to respond in this way is the result of mastering the mind, and also from the additional awareness (exhibited by the witness, which ultimately is the consciousness of the entire universe) which is developed as you meditate.

The enlightened person may or may not have this control over what happens and what is created. If that mind has trained itself, then that mind will be able to exercise a certain amount of control (and though this control is limited, it is still so vast that the trained mind can create almost anything it wants in the world of the mind).

The game of life
But here is a key point: the enlightened individual (which is admittedly an oxymoron, since enlightenment is partially the realization that individuality is a game created by the mind) realizes that it doesn't matter if anything is controlled, because once you know you're everything, you see that it's all one interconnected process, that this process is everywhere, that it includes everything, that it exists forever—and that it's you. And, it's independent of the existence of the organism you formerly thought of as "me." When the organism dies, you're still everything, even though that everything is no longer looking out through "your" eyes.

So if the enlightened person has had some sort of mental or yogic training, he may play in the world of the mind, exercising some degree of control over what is created. Or, he may just say, "Why bother? Everything is going along perfectly as it is."

Mainly, the awakened person watches as he plays his part. As he plays, he marvels at the complexity, the infinite permutations, the surprises, the certainties, and the uncertainties. He knows he is in the dream that he decided to dream, but he knows he is dreaming. He knows there are no divisions other than those the mind makes up, so separation doesn't bother him. He is calm most of the time, but sometimes his part requires him to be upset or to have some other emotion or reaction. That is being human. But whatever his mood, there is an underlying peace of mind, an underlying, effortless happiness.

You can be this way, too. It doesn't happen overnight, but it can happen. Using Holosync and learning the material I'm sharing with you isn't the only way it can happen, but it's a very effective and very fast way.

"So what," you say. "I'm okay with creating a reality with my mind and living in it. Other than as a fascinating intellectual exercise, why does any of this matter?"

This is a good question, and an important one. It matters because there are consequences to seeing the world as a chopped up series of bits and events. And, there's a consequence to buying into the idea that the reality created by your brain is THE reality.

If you see yourself as separate from the rest of the universe, then the part of the universe you think isn't you could harm you, and you will be afraid. Of course, if you know that you are everything, then there's nothing outside of you to harm you.

Or, thinking that there is something outside of you, you could want it, but not be able to have it. If you know who you really are, there is nothing outside of you to want or need.

The end of fear
If you know who you are, there's nowhere to go, nothing to get, and nothing to fear. Knowing this, you can play the game of wanting things and working to get them, if you want to, but you know it's a game, and in an ultimate sense it doesn't matter what happens. In that case, it's fun no matter what happens.

When you get caught in the idea that the mind's reality is real, you pay a certain price. You feel separate, you feel fearful, you cycle back and forth between "good" and "bad" people and outcomes, you deal with the illusory problem of existence and nonexistence, always wanting one side of the vibration and resisting the other. But when you get the mind out of the way, and touch the other reality, the separate self disappears, and is replaced by peace and bliss. In the "real" reality, everything is just fine.

As long as you have a mind, it's going to do what minds do. It's going to create a map of reality, made of ideas, concepts, and representations. It's going to create thoughts and feelings and it's going to chop things up into separate events and separate things, and it's going to use only those perceptions your sense organs are equipped to pick up.

As long as these creations of the mind pull at your attention, as long as you are willing to see them as real—as long as you disregard the evidence that it's all one big interrelated process, and that all divisions are conceptual rather than real—you will stay in the world of the mind, the world of suffering, desire, and death.

But once you give up falling for the illusion of separation created by the mind, everything changes. At this point, you have some choices. One choice is to leave behind the world of the mind, to pay no attention to it, and just stay in the no-mind reality. Just rest in being it all, forever.

There have been some enlightened beings who have done this. If you visit them, no one is home, so to speak. The separate self is gone. Such people are off in another place, where either the mind is doing its thing but no one is paying attention, or the part of the brain that creates the sensation of being a separate self is turned off. (Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School have even identified the part of the brain that turns off when someone has such a "unitary" experience. If you're interested in looking into this more deeply, get the book "Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief" by Andrew Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili.)

In this no-mind state, your mind and your body still operate, but the part of the mind that creates and maintains the illusion of a separate "you" is inactive. Still, your body seeks food, eats it, digests it, and so on, and protects itself to the best of its ability from harm, but, as I said, in terms of the separate "you" no one is home.

The other alternative is to know the no-mind world, but also, at the same time, live and play in the world of the mind. In this alternative, you are experientially aware of the world of oneness, where there is no separate doer, but decide to play in the world of separation, pretending to be a separate doer, either having fun creating whatever you want, or not caring what is created because you know that in an ultimate sense it doesn't matter.

This is why I've used the analogy of an actor in a play, because in this alternative you play your part, but because you're aware of the world of oneness, you realize you're just playing when you create divisions and meanings in your mind. If you know who you really are as you create with the mind, you don't suffer over what happens, as most people do.

As life happens, the body and its associated emotions respond, and the "you" created by the mind feels grief or sadness. But if you're established in the no-mind state while you play in the world of the mind—if you know who you really are—this suffering isn't real to you in the same way it is to the average, unconscious person. It's like the feelings you have when a character in the movie you're watching has problems and you identify with him. You feel it, but you also know it's just a story.

So what does this feel like, this experience that you're everything? There are generally two ways to describe it. In the first way, you feel that as the universe moves, it moves you. The other experience is the flip side of this one: it feels as if when you move, the universe moves in response. These are, of course, two sides of the same coin, two different ways of perceiving the same thing, kind of like those pictures that, when viewed one way it's a pair of wine glasses, and when viewed the other way, it's a lady's face.

Being in the here and now
Somehow the spiritual growth movement in the West has made the experience of unity consciousness into something tremendously metaphysical and otherworldly. In my experience, it isn't. It's right here and right now, and when you have it, life goes on, though in a different—and much easier—way.

When you first drop the separate "me," it's an odd experience. Very quickly, though, you see that everything continues, your body and your mind keep doing what they were doing before, and everything moves along in the same way. It's just a different perspective, like looking at the wine glasses or the lady. In one perspective you think you're a separate individual, and in the other you feel that you're really are the whole thing, and you easily notice how you've been making up the separate you.

You might play with this over the next few weeks. Pay attention to how everything goes together. Notice how all boundaries are arbitrary, and how they are all conceptual. Find out what happens when you do this.

Above all, remember that no matter what you do or don't do, there is no choice but to be the whole thing. You can choose to not notice it, but you're still it.

Be well.

Bill Harris
Director, Centerpointe Research Institute

"All this world is but a play.
Be thou the joyful player."
—Robin Williamson

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