“The doctrine of Plotinus concerning a higher life of unity, a lower life of multiplicity, possible to every human spirit, will now appear to you not a fantastic theory, but a plain statement of fact, which you have verified in your own experience. You perceive that these are two complimentary ways of apprehending and uniting with reality—the one as a dynamic process, the other as an eternal whole. Thus understood, they do not conflict. You know that the flow, the broken-up world of change and multiplicity, is still going on; and that you, as a creature of the time-world, are moving and growing with it. But, thanks to the development of the higher side of your consciousness, you are now lifted to a new poise; a direct participation in that simple transcendent life. … And you know … that you are also a true constituent of the greater whole.” ~Evelyn Underhill
A Higher Life of Unity
Our physical bodies are made up of trillions of cells. In addition, we have other lifeforms—mostly bacteria—living inside of us upon which we are dependent. Yet we tend to see ourselves as one body, one complete whole. We need to recognize that our one physical body is made up of many smaller living beings. When we do, then it is easier to look in the other direction and do the same. We need to see ourselves more as single cells in the body of Humanity than as individual beings. It isn’t that we are not individuals, but our individuality is not as important as being part of the whole.
Once we see ourselves as part of all humanity, we can move even further. We can see ourselves as part of the universe, the whole universe of both physical and spiritual dimensions. We can see ourselves as eternal and limitless spirits that are connected to all other eternal spirits including the angels and the Beings of Light.
There are many advantages in doing this. If we all see ourselves as part of the whole, there would be no wars for no man wars against himself. We would see far less egotism for no man is greater than the whole. There would be no competitions for there would be no one to compete against. There wouldn’t be people dying of curable disease for we would all care for each other just as we would care for our own arm if it was injured or our own stomach if it was diseased. We wouldn’t leave our brothers and sisters sleeping out in the streets when we have room for them in our homes. But these things can only happen after we truly become united.
A Consciousness of Unity
Underhill correctly indicates that this happens to those who develop a higher consciousness that allows them to see the world from this higher perspective. It is only by reaching this higher consciousness, even temporarily, that we can truly experience oneness and true unity with all. We reach that consciousness of unity by awakening and developing our dormant spiritual faculties: our spirit and soul. A person who is spiritually awake can never see herself as disconnected, as one tiny being caught is a mass of many beings. An awakened person is always part of the whole and works for the benefit of all. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take care of yourself, only that you do it without greed and egotism and with the intent of having what you need with any attempt to compete against others.