Have you ever experienced a moment of oneness with the universe? A moment where every separate thing became one, unified thing? If you have, do you long to repeat it?
Oneness and cosmic consciousness might sound like strange subjects for a hypnotherapist to talk about. But working with different levels of consciousness is fundamental to what we do as hypnotherapists.
On this page I’d like to share my personal experience of what the Sufi’s call the ‘Supreme Identity’ – oneness with God.
It happened quite unbidden whilst pushing my baby son in his pram along a busy street. It remains to this day the most profound twenty minutes of my life.
In this article I’m going to talk about how hypnosis and the REM state – and unconditional love – could be the key that opens the ‘doors of perception’ into a much larger model of reality. Perhaps the ultimate reality…
- What does oneness mean?
- An account of my personal experience of oneness
- Non-duality: the feeling of oneness with the universe
- What are the affects of oneness?
- Advaita Vedanta and cosmic consciousness
- Pure consciousness witnessing itself
- No ego – just Beingness
- The transformative use of hypnosis and the REM state
- 7 Ways To Help You Experience The State of Oneness
What does oneness mean?
Let’s start with an attempt at a definition of oneness – which is not an easy task. It’s something philosophers and poets have been trying to do for millennia.
There are some really rubbish YouTube videos about oneness where so-called gurus try to explain the phenomenon. They fail miserably, getting lost in their own nominalisations – words that do nothing but confuse us even more.
I can only base my definition of oneness on my personal experience and the accounts I’ve read about it since.
Oneness is a state of consciousness where every separate thing is experienced as One Thing. There is no longer subject and object. No longer me and you. No longer this and that. All becomes One. There is no duality. No space. No time. It is the eternal moment of NOW.
Every object – and space in between – is felt as being made of the same substance. For me, pushing my baby son, that substance was felt as love. The Universe is made of love.
What it boils down to is this…
Oneness is the ultimate human experience; a direct experience of ‘God consciousness’.
When it happened to me, quite unbidden, it became – and remains to this day – the most meaningful and powerful experience in my life.
An account of my personal experience of oneness
My experience of oneness has been published in Steve Taylor’s ground-breaking book, Spiritual Science.
I’ll give you a brief rendition here…
“It was mid-morning on a bright autumnal day in Colchester and it was my first time out with my baby son – just me and him, alone together...
Having parked the car, I pushed him in his pram down North Station Road, feeling really proud to be a dad. I smiled at strangers and everything in the world felt right.
Sensing the love from a stranger who smiled at me as he passed, I smiled back and felt a stream of energy flowing between us, from heart to heart.
I looked at the pavement, lampposts, street signs, cars racing past, all with a growing sense of wonder. “How wonderful that someone laid this path for us,” I reflected, “…and the lampposts, what a wonderful invention…and the music coming from that car – just perfect – someone wrote that…someone invented the CD player…people made it…”
I suppose you could say that at this point I was feeling a profound sense of gratitude and wonder that things existed, what philosophers might refer to as an ‘ontological state’.
But the experience intensified…
Non-duality: the feeling of oneness with the universe
“The sense of wonder and appreciation intensified until I became one with all and everything. Subject (me) and object (others/things) all merged into one.
I merged into everyone and everything, and they into me. There was no separation. Where I ended and others began, I could not tell. Everything was one...
And the only word to describe the state was ‘love’. Everything – and everyone – was made of love. Love is the universal substance, in everything and surrounding everything.”
My awareness was aware that time had stood still, or, more accurately, I had stepped out of linear clock time. I was floating in the eternal.
No time. No separation between myself and others. All objects, all people, all things, including myself were one and the same.
What are the affects of oneness?
This experience of oneness lasted about twenty minutes of clock time (I’ve since retraced my steps to find out) and as I ‘came to’, returning to normal, every-day consciousness I felt that there had been a ‘gravitational shift’ within me.
I had been gently birthed out of ego-consciousness and into soul consciousness. In the words of 14th Century mystic, Meister Eckhart, I’d experienced the birth of God in my soul.
I felt ‘born again’, baptised by the Holy Spirit.
I felt more altruistic, more empathic, more tolerant, more compassionate, more attentive, kinder, more loving toward everyone and everything.
And the affects continued for several more weeks.
Although the intensity of the experience itself wore off (thankfully so, as I doubt I’d be able to deal with normal day-to-day tasks if the state remained permanent) the memory of it will last forever.
The positive affects of altruism, empathy, compassion and the like have certainly stayed with me.
Advaita Vedanta and cosmic consciousness
I’ve spent over a decade trying to understand what I experienced on that bright autumn day. I’ve researched others’ accounts of such experiences, going right back into the history of ancient mysticism.
It seems certain that what I went through was, in the words of Steve Taylor, a ‘high intensity awakening experience’. The only other time I’d had anything close to this was through the use of LSD and magic mushrooms in my 20s.
It was only when I stumbled upon Advaita Vedanta in a second-hand bookshop several years later that I started to understand things better.
This branch of Hindu spiritual philosophy proposes that the world we call ‘real’ is just an illusion, consisting of only our preconceived notions and perceptions. In other words, we don’t see the world as it really is, only our own perception of it.
Advaita philosophy states that there is a fourth state of consciousness (called Turiya) – beyond waking, sleeping and dreaming – and it is the state of oneness. They refer to it as ‘non-duality’ – no separation between subject and object.
This is the state I accessed somehow on that walk through Colchester with my baby boy.
Pure consciousness witnessing itself
Most of us go through life blindfolded.
George Gurdjieff, the philosopher and mystic said that, “humanity is sleepwalking,” and that we experience life through a very narrow lens. We see only what our consciousness allows us to see. We go through life living by the distorted ideas and beliefs that conditioned us years ago.
But in a non-dual state you become merged with everything – you become pure consciousness. It’s as if your whole system is rebooted.
As ‘you’ – or, more accurately, your centre of awareness – experiences things, it is as if you are consciousness witnessing itself.
It took me a while to understand this so I’ll try to say it another way…
In the state of oneness you are pure consciousness witnessing itself: consciousness witnessing consciousness. I AM THAT I AM. No thing witnessing other no-things (that are all the same thing!)
No ego – just Beingness
There is no ‘you’ getting in the way – no notions, no preconceptions, no thoughts or running commentary. You are one with All That Is. Your consciousness is swept up into the universal consciousness.
This has been referred to in all the great religious texts compiled over the centuries. Jesus referred to it as the Kingdom of Heaven, Buddhists might refer to it as enlightenment or Nirvana. Zen masters call it satori.
My own experience – and the many I’ve researched – tells me that the experience of oneness is the most powerful way of shifting one’s perception, and with it, bringing about emotional healing and transformation.
As Saint Paul said after his conversion on the road to Damascus, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
RELATED CONTENT: Read more about how to spiritually awaken
The transformative use of hypnosis and the REM state
This is where hypnosis and the REM state play an important and even vital role. You see, what we’re doing with hypnosis is focusing attention.
When we do this we begin to enter the REM state – nature’s optimal learning state. And I’m forming the belief that the REM state could be a portal into oneness, into pure consciousness.
Hypnosis accesses the REM state. Meditation accesses the REM state, as does the use of psychedelic drugs.
And it is in that state that we can feel a real connection to a larger reality, call it God, Allah, Spirit, the Universe, the Great Mystery, Nature, the Tao, whatever. And in so doing, something shifts in you.
This is why I now practice this type of therapy more often. You could call it spiritual hypnotherapy, with the aim of preparing you for a direct encounter with something larger than yourself. It’s what religion should aim to do. Instead, we’re told that we simply must believe.
I’m not interested in beliefs. I’m interested in direct experiences. If you are too, read on…
7 Ways To Help You Experience The State of Oneness
So, are there specific things you can do to have an experience of non-dual consciousness? I’ve contemplated this question for years now, thinking that there must be certain techniques that could create the state of oneness.
The answer is both yes and no…
This is where we enter the realm of paradox. We yearn for God but our desperate striving pushes the experience away. We’ve got to want without wanting, a bit like Wu Wei – doing without doing.
The thing is, people spend years meditating and hoping for a direct experience but nothing happens. Self-proclaimed gurus and people in high office in religious institutions pray for an encounter with God but He remains elusive.
So, despite there being no straight and guaranteed path to unity, I’m going to list 7 things that might improve your chances of having such an experience.
#1 – Get your emotional needs met
Unmet emotional needs raise our stress levels, putting the more primitive, survival brain in charge. We end up over-reacting, over emotional and unable to think straight.
But once basic needs are met, we free up spare brain capacity – giving us the potential to experience higher states of consciousness.
RELATED CONTENT: How to meet your emotional and spiritual needs
#2 – Resolve past traumas and negative memories
Unresolved traumas and negative memories from the past will also keep the survival brain in charge, limiting your capacity to experience expanded consciousness.
A huge amount of mental energy goes into holding those trauma patterns in place, energy that needs to be freed up for you to experience oneness.
The good news is that trauma can be resolved – and often faster than you think.
RELATED CONTENT: How hypnotherapy can help you break free from trauma and PTSD
#3 – Study and practise self hypnosis, meditation, and breathing techniques
One of the things I teach my clients is positive self-hypnosis. (Hypnosis occurs naturally every day but most people use it negatively, such as worry, fears, anxiety – which are all trance states).
Once we learn to master our own trances we’re on the way to self-mastery. We’re then no longer vulnerable to being emotionally hijacked by the survival brain.
And being in control of your consciousness (so that you direct your attention) is a prerequisite for the experience of oneness.
RELATED CONTENT: Learn more about hypnosis in this FREE video course
#4 – Develop your Observing Self
The Observing Self is that part of us that can stand back and witness our experience. We can learn to observe our emotions, thoughts, sensations, memories etc., without becoming embroiled in them.
It helps us to ‘be in the world but not of it’ – observant but no longer at the mercy of life events (and our emotions).
Author and psychotherapist, Arthur Deikman, wrote beautifully about this in his ground-breaking book…
#5 – Increase your level of self compassion and unconditional love
Someone once told me that there are three types of relationships in life…
A relationship with ourselves…relationships with others…and a relationship with The Other (God).
It’s hard to have a healthy relationship with others and with God if the relationship with ourselves is disrespectful. So, we need to get our own house in order first.
As the Buddha reminded us, “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
Check out the excellent content and do the self-compassion questionnaire at self-compassion.org
And I’m now sure that my own experience of oneness could have been triggered by unconditional love for my baby son. Perhaps I was picking up what he felt in his pram?
#6 – Study and read religious texts and books on mysticism
Whether you have any religious beliefs or not I think it’s fair to say that ancient scriptures are all attempting to convey certain truths to us. The Bible, The Koran, The Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, The Tao Te Ching all seem to be pointing to some larger reality.
Contemporary writers like Steve Taylor, Eckhart Tolle, and Ken Wilber speak of the same thing. It seems that reading such material primes us for having a direct experience. The brain starts ‘looking’ for it.
This was certainly the case for me. I recall reading three books about spiritual awakening just before my own experience of oneness.
RELATED CONTENT: Check out my favourite books to assist your spiritual evolution
#7 – Investigate the use of sacred plants and medicines
I’m not condoning the abuse of drugs here and am not suggesting that you trip out on LSD or magic mushrooms without doing proper research and prepping. These drugs are still illegal anyway, despite the recent research into their positive effects on treating depression and PTSD.
But what I can say (based on my personal use of psychedelics in my 20s) is that these ‘medicines’ gave me profound experiences of altered states of consciousness.
With the right mind-set and in the right environment (and with the right guidance) there’s a good chance of having incredibly powerful spiritual experiences on psychedelics.
But bear this in mind…
Psychedelics are not for everyone! You’ve got to be ready for any eventuality (and they are still illegal in most countries).
I hope you’ve found this page entertaining and informative.
If you have had experiences of oneness – naturally or through the use of psychedelics – please get in touch or leave a comment below. My research is ongoing and I’d be very interested to read your story.
You might also be interested in sharing your account at the Institute for Mystical Experience Research and Education.
I’ve written a separate page on mysticism here, if this is something you’re interested in exploring more.
If you’d like to develop the skills that could lead to an experience of oneness please consider booking a Free Discovery Session with me.