We have to die. Who has to die? The one that never existed. This seems unclear, but from the standpoint of the Self it totally makes sense. As long as the small self believes it exists, we are living a dualistic life, separate from God. Nondualism does not occur except in philosophy and theology class until we actually remove our ignorance of attachment from the small self. Then and only then can we express one voice, the one voice. We play at being connected to God, but real connection does not and will not happen until we give up our wrong understanding.
According to Henry Suso, “‘When the soul, forgetting itself, dwells in that radiant darkness, it loses all its faculties and all its qualities, as St. Bernard has said. And this, more or less completely, according to whether the soul—whether in the body or out of the body—is more or less united to God. This forgetfulness of self is, in a measure, a transformation in God; who then becomes, in a certain manner, all things for the soul, as Scripture saith. In the rapture the soul disappears, but not yet entirely. It acquires, it is true, certain qualities of divinity, but does not naturally become divine. ….To speak in the common language, the soul is rapt, by the divine power of resplendent Being, above its natural faculties, into the nakedness of Nothing’” (Underhill, Mysticism, 371-2).
All of us have to begin our walk home as dualists, but, like Plotinus, we eventually arrive at the place of Unity: “‘[H]e is become the Unity, nothing within him or without inducing any diversity; no movement now, no passion, no outlooking desire, once this ascent is achieved; reasoning is in abeyance and all Intellection and even, to dare the word, the very self: caught away, filled with God, he has in perfect stillness attained isolation; all the being calmed, he turns neither to this side nor to that, not even inwards to himself; utterly resting he has become very rest’” (Enneads 9.11, trans. Stephen MacKenna).
As we move toward Unity, we become purer expressions of Love. When people who have not practiced at all say that going within is selfish and neglectful of others, they reveal their ignorance. When we go into the Heart, we can finally care about others and love in a way that is not self-centered. As we can see with Suso and Plotinus and Swami Muktananda, being in the Heart brought them out of themselves and into God. The individual no longer was in the way. There was no chance of selfishness because All was All.
So in dualist sadhana, one voice has to die. Which one? We practice by disentangling from prakrti, only to find that the one who has been practicing is also prakrti and must in the end be let go of. The Heart is the cave, that still, luminously dark cave where All is. We are there, and we meet each other and ourselves as one there. There is no other purpose but this. Let go of all that is temporary and we put everything in order; all becomes clear. We are none of our vehicles, our instruments. We have an individual manifestation so that we can participate and act in the world. The only thing wrong is that we think this individual is us.
Only when we let go of all our vehicles can we be in the place of Love.
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