Last week, I was among a group of fellow serious spiritual seekers, at T. Thorn Coyle‘s Feri apprenticeship training. We talked a little about the differences between the ideas of unity in Western and Eastern faiths; in general, it could be said that unity in Western faiths has often been interpreted to mean that there is only One God, and all must worship the same One, whereas in Eastern faiths, unity has often been taken to mean oneness of everything.
One and zero
Both of these extremes of view, and the full spectrum between them, can of course be found in some form in all cultures. However, it seemed significant in terms of our discussion last week that for hundreds of years, while Eastern mathematicians and philosophers grappled with the mysterious zero, Western mathematics and philosophy struggled along with the irreducible unit.
There is something about the concept of zero that allows the folding and collapse, the flattening of hierarchical, combative spiritual notions. Zero allows us to think both in terms of nothing – dark absence, the void – and of infinity – brilliance, limitlessness. Instead of trying to make all ideas into one dogma, all expressions of the Divine into One God, and rejecting and persecuting anything that won’t fit, zero allows us the space to open to the mystery of multiplicity that is also unity.
The mystery of love
This mystery of multiplicity that is unity is the mystery, for me, of love: two which are also one; many which are also one.
Love is the central mystery of the spiritual, the secret chamber of the heart in which the mark of the Divine is stamped, where the whisper of Life’s voice is heard. Love is openness, is yielding, is consuming passion, is stillness. Love is strength and compassion and commitment. Love is all things and nothing, void and infinity, that from which all emerges and to which all returns.
Step into the stillness of your own heart, the place where Love dwells, waiting.