The One Being
The Absolute One, or we call this God, is best understood in a few different ways, pertaining to one of the main divine aspects or pillars of God. God can be understood as the vibrating Energy of Pure Consciousness, or as Radiant Love, or as Creative Power, or as Holistic Intelligence. If we understand the One in all four of these ways, then we get a more complete understanding of God.
In the model of Unity, there is no absolute difference (or separation) between God (Divine Being) and creation-manifestation. Yet there is a relative distinction between the unlimited power of God and the limited powers of manifested things. The manifested universe is OF the Unity of Being, or OF God, but it is not simply the same as God. For we need to acknowledge that God is greater than the manifested world at any time, and thus there is a distinction. Yet the manifested world is of God and in the Unity of Being.
The Mystery of God and the Essence of God mean the same. The complete Essence will always remain as Mystery, yet all divine knowledge comes from this Mystery/Essence. God said, “I am a Treasure that longs to be known, so I created the world that I might be known.” We all want to be known. We all want to be recognized for who we are. We all want to discover who we are, discover our own essence, mystery, treasure. We all want to be loved. God also said, “I created the world that I might be loved.”
So anyways, the Great Mystery is unfolding in this world. The Divine Essence of Being, God, is reflecting out colors and forms from the hidden Light. It is revealing knowledge of Itself. Divine forms are all around. Divine meaning and knowledge is all around. For this is the world of divine revelation. Revelation is not confined to one book or to one span of history. It is not confined to one single religion, nor to one single prophet or savior. Rather, divine revelation is in the beauty of nature and in the expression of our love. Inside, within us, divine revelation is the unfoldment of inner experience. It is a coming forth of inner knowledge from the depths of our being – where the Mystery (or Treasure) of God-Being is hidden.
Thus, knowledge of the Divine Reality, or God, comes forth from the depths of Divine Essence/Mystery. Each revelation of knowledge is like a gift. Each gift is beautiful for what it is, but we also should remember that each gift is a limited expression of the Divine Being. It is knowledge of God, but not God Itself.
Now we can reflect upon or meditate in the Divine Essence/Mystery; just as we can reflect upon our own self-mystery. Remember that self-mystery is simply a microcosmic reflection of God-Mystery. Now from this contemplative inquiry into the Essence/Mystery, knowledge of the Essence/Mystery will be revealed. “Seek to know thyself, and thyself will be revealed.” And God said, “Seek Me, and I will reveal Myself.” So revelations will unfold, and the Mystery will partly unveil and disclose. Yet we must also remember that any instance of revelation or spiritual knowledge can only be but a limited reflective form of the complete Essence/Mystery, and not exactly the whole Mystery Itself. Nonetheless, each revelation or unveiling of the Mystery is a wonderful and beautiful experience.
All attributes and forms emerge from the Absolute Essence, the Mystery of the God. The various forms of creation could be understood as imaginative descriptions of the Divine Mystery. What we see in the world, what we meet in the world, are living forms of God. This whole world is a collection of divine forms, because this outer manifest world is the Body of God. Each of the forms are different, and no two living forms are exactly the same. Some forms are more beautiful than others, and some forms or more useful than others; but still we can see every form as a form of God. Each form is at least somewhat different from any other, yet many do have similar qualities, which can also be called divine attributes or attributes of God. Each of these attributes, or essences, ontologically emerge from the absolute Divine Essence. Absolute Essence can be imagined as the One Great Root of Life, while the Divine Attributes are the branches of this Root, and the fruits and flowers of this Divine Tree are the forms of life, or the gifts of life.
Nothing in the world can originate from anything other than the One Divine Essence, so every living form in the world is a manifestation of various divine attributes of this One Essence. Everything that IS must ontologically emerge from Divine Essence, or God, so whatever emerges from Divine Essence must be an attribute of that Essence. Thus, if we look for a deeper reality of any particular form, we will find one or more of the divine attributes, because at a deeper level of truth there can be nothing but divine attributes. So the divine attribute of a form is synonymous with its spiritual meaning. Each form has one or more meanings, and the meaning of a form is its divine attribute. For example, one of the meanings of a tree is the attribute/quality of growing.
God, the Ultimate Being-Essence, unfolds Qualities from Itself.
These are the Divine Qualities of existence, and these Qualities gradually manifest into form and action, in a process we call spiritual evolution. This is an evolution of mind, as well as physical form and activity. This unfoldment occurs because the God-Essence is Self-reflecting upon Itself. Now this Greater Truth is mirrored in our human experience; for we are microcosms of the Macrocosmic Self. So by inner self-reflection we come to realize our essential qualities, and then these qualities are gradually manifested in form and activity.
The greater part of oneself is unconscious, and that which is known can be called self-understanding. But even more deeply, the greater part of oneself is God-Being, and that which is known of this can be called God-understanding. The common process, for God and man, is conscious knowing of self. God knows Himself through man’s self-knowing, and man knows himself through God’s Self-knowing. In a similar vein, God manifests His Qualities through man’s actions, and man manifests God’s Qualities through God’s power of emanation. All of this happens simultaneously. God is knowing Himself as we are knowing ourself, our true Self. And we can only be knowing our true self, because God is Self-reflecting upon Himself. God’s Purpose is to consciously know Himself, Herself, Itself; and to manifest this into form and activity. And this purpose is fulfilled by the conscious knowing of our true self, and by bringing this knowledge into form and action.
In an absolute zero dimension there is just the Mystery of Being, without Consciousness, and in the next dimension (the 1st) there is the One Light of Consciousness. At this dimension of just pure Light, there is only Consciousness of Being - without differentiation or qualifications of attribute. In the next dimension, or level of Being, there is qualification of Attributes; that is, there is Knowing of the Being's Qualities. Here, the Divine Light knows it's Qualities, its Attributes, the Essences of Itself, though this Knowledge is abstract. This level is synonymous with what ancient philosophers called the Intellect or the Mind of God.
From here, creation comes into being, reflecting the Qualities of God, but in a process (of time) rather than instantaneously, and in this process there will be varying degrees of clear reflection - at any one point in time or place. Manifestation (materialization) is the final outcome of Divine Unfoldment, though not necessarily its sole purpose. Divine Unfoldment first works through realization, and from realization comes manifestation. In other words, the Divine Qualities must first be realized by a respective being, before manifestation of these Qualities is possible. A higher Vision must precede a higher manifestation; for if there were no higher Vision preceding a manifestation (or action), then this manifestation would be accidental or conditioned by lower visions.
One of the most significant teachings of the Sufis is that God created the world in order to be known. This is significant for spiritual ontology. Being needed to know Itself, so our world and everyone in it is God/Being knowing Itself by emanating everything from Itself. What we have here is a sense of spiritual purpose in regards to creation, the purpose of life. Spiritual Essence by itself is unfulfilling. Spiritual Potential seeks to be actualized. There are many ways to understand this point of need, or necessity, depending on what Quality we consider.
First, consider Intelligence, and imagine a time when there was only Intelligence and nothing else. There was Intelligence, but nothing to be intelligent about. In other words, there is this Quality-Essence of Intelligence, this Unlimited Potential to be intelligent, but no world to be intelligent about. There needs to intelligible forms and an intelligible world, in order for the Essence-Potential of Intelligence to actually blossom and show what it is capable of.
Next, consider Consciousness, and imagine a time when there was nothing but pure Consciousness and nothing else. There was this pure Consciousness but nothing to be conscious about, for there was no world and no content. Consciousness, or pure Mind, has potential to know anything, but there first must be something to contemplate or know. There was once just a Knower, but without anything or anyone to know. So knowable things and knowable beings are necessary to fulfill the very purpose of such Essences as Intelligence, Consciousness, Mind, and Knowing. None of these Essences can even actualize what is possible from them, without there being a world of creation in which to be involved. This can also be understood in relation to our own selves.
Next consider the Essence-Quality of Love. Imagine a time when there was Love, an abundant, overflowing, unlimited Love, but nothing or no one to love. Love alone, without relationship and without beloveds, is an unfulfilled Love. For Love can only be fulfilled and fully actualized when there is a world and others to love. Love only comes out in its full fruition when in response. Otherwise Love remains as potential. So this is one of the great reasons for creation, or for life; that the Essence-Potential of Love (the Divine Being of Love) be known and experienced and actualized. And for this to be possible, there needs to be a world of living beings to interact and interrelate with Love. This then becomes our own human purpose in life, that our own inner potentials may be known and actualized, and especially our potential of love. But without others, and without community, love would remain as just a potential within us. For love really becomes actualized in our relationships with others, how we interact and relate with others.
Love wants to be known. This is the great purpose of all life. Remember that God IS Love, so if God wants to known then this means that Love wants to be known. This is intrinsically in the very essence of Love. Just consider this for a moment; isn’t it true that love always seeks to be known? What would Love be if it is not known?
The expression of Love is beauty. Of course we use the word beauty in various ways, and mainly to describe an aesthetic perception, but the deepest meaning of beauty and the deepest experience of beauty is when one perceives an expression or manifestation of Love. When we see beauty, in this deeper sense, we are seeing the manifested expression of Love. We are seeing Divine Love being expressed through an individual or through an action. One could rightly call this natural beauty, or the beauty of Nature, which is just as true as calling it divine beauty, for there really is no difference. God, or the Divine Reality, expresses itself through nature. This of course includes us too, for we are as natural as anything else on earth. God’s own expressive being is found in nature, in this natural world and through us. This world is God’s medium for Divine expression. This world, and everyone in it, IS the Divine Expression. It IS the revelation of God’s Being. God is presenting here in this world. The Light and Love of Divine Being is emerging into manifestation – through the forms and actions of this world.
What we have to remember, though, is that this theophany of Being, this emergence or expression of God, is seldom complete in any one moment or through any one being. Rather, the full completion (or perfection) of this can only be realized through an unfolding process involving time. Thus we should see people and things as incomplete [in the fullness of potential perfection] yet in a process of completion. Acknowledging the incompleteness is being realistic, but we can also realize that each is in process to a fuller divine completion – which adds a healthy spiritual idealism. In some cases there will be much to praise, for much love and beauty will be found; while in other cases, there is less to praise. But generally speaking, we can look at either the positive or the negative, either the degree of love and beauty that is present or the degree that is lacking. That is, we can look at either what is divinely present (or expressing through this being) or what is divinely lacking. It depends if one wants to dwell on the positive or on the negative.
The spiritual seer recognizes God in both the limited and the infinite/absolute. Yet this should not imply that all things are of equal value. There is an equality in the sense that every manifestation is part of God’s diversity; yet there are greater and lesser values in the context of spiritual evolution. For example, one can recognize the spiritual struggle and unique spiritual stage of a troubled teen; but there can still be greater value and appreciation attributed to a person with refined manners or temperament. There is a kind of spiritual beauty in watching a little child clumsily dance, but this is because we recognize the beauty of the innocent play or trial; yet if we are comparing the actual beauty of movement, the experienced and talented adult dancer can certainly more astonish us with her beauty and grace. The divine consciousness, of which we all are capable, sees spiritual quality in everything and everyone, because everything exhibits a unique stage or level of divine maturation, like wine in various stages of maturation; yet simultaneously there is a knowing that greater perfection, goodness and beauty is possible. So one cannot be merely dispassionate about the natural hope for refinement, even though the stages can also be appreciated.