"A human being is part of the whole called by us 'universe,' a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and our feelings as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." --Albert Einstein
"Oneness" or "Unity Consciousness" is a concept that is finally getting wider scientific interest and acceptance. For millennia, "Oneness" has been a core truth of most indigenous peoples and spiritual mystics of the world. The basic principle is that the "whole of life" or existence, is fundamentally unified, connected and cannot be more fully understood by dissecting it into smaller and smaller parts.
Science, in its attempt to define "what the universe is made of," has since Einstein's time moved from atomic theory to particle theory to quantum theory -- where reality is no longer seen to be made up of atoms or molecules bumping into each other, but of waves of potential that are all interconnected and part of each other. In recent years, quantum physics has laid the groundwork in the on-going attempt to identify a "unified field theory," which would describe "ultimate reality," where all life forces, all existence, can be understood within a single, unified framework.
To shed light on this concept of Oneness from both the scientific and mystical perspectives, we thought it could be most insightful to bring a spiritual mystic together with a quantum physicist, to see just how their understandings of the universe may be related or similar, and where they depart.
We chose an Indian physicist, Dr. Ravi Ravindra, emeritus professor of physics from Dalhousie University and a close friend and disciple of the great Indian teacher/sage Krishnamurti, and a British sufi mystic, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, to explore, discuss and explain the inter-connectedness of life.
Studio Guest Dr. Ravi Ravindra (credit: S.Olsson)
Studio Guest Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (credit: S. Olsson)
To our delight, the personal and philosophical chemistry between Dr. Ravindra and Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee was palpably strong.
Global Spirit Studio Discussion (credit: S. Olsson)
The two were so excited exploring their component parts and commonalities, that they at times seemed to almost complete each other's thoughts from each other's tradition:
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: "Love is the greatest force in creation. It is the power that takes us out of this world that appears to be separate. Of course it isn't separate because everything is both interconnected and also an expression of Divine oneness. But one of the great human veils is that we think we are separate. You think you are separate from me, you think you are separate from the chair you are sitting in, in fact, particle physics might say that that is an illusion."
Dr. Ravi Ravindra: "You know, this is actually very interesting because one force is a force which is 'centrifugal' that takes us away from the center, which is selfishness. But there is this other force, of love, which is 'centripetal' -- it really takes us toward the center, because it connects. Selfishness isolates us, love connects us."
To deepen the conversation, we added three short film segments to the program, (provided by the Global Oneness Project). The film segments extend this discussion of "Oneness" to include perspectives from members of three other spiritual traditions: a Christian archbishop from Ecuador, a Tibetan Buddhist,(who also happens to be the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa), and Bob Randall, an Australian Aboriginal elder.
Aboriginal Elder Bob Randall (credit: Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee)
In the attached video segment compilation, our host Phil Cousineau walks a labyrinth, then leads a short exchange between our program guests before introducing Mr. Randall, the aboriginal caretaker of the sacred Uluru mound (Ayer's Rock). Mr. Randall offers an all-encompassing native perspective, taking our studio guests and our viewers on a memorable journey into an aboriginal view of nature, oneness and the sacred.
This video sequence is from the Global Spirit program: The Journey Towards Oneness, now showing on many public TV stations (check local broadcast schedules at www.GlobalSpirit.tv).
GLOBAL SPIRIT is a unique inquiry into humankind's belief systems, wisdom traditions, and states of consciousness. Presented by British actor-comedian John Cleese and hosted by author and spiritual seeker Phil Cousineau, this new critically acclaimed series takes viewers on a mind and soul-expanding journey, exploring the relationships between ancient wisdom traditions, diverse belief systems, world religions, metaphysics and modern science.