Attaining Unity With the Universal Quintessence and with Other Beings In a Connective Consciousness

  Participation in Higher Consciousness Super-Consciousness Unitive State
Dialectic As Transformative Interchange   Dimensions Of Being   Inner Dialectic
  Contact With Spiritual Substance Higher Reason Divulges Transcendent Being
Learning to Live In the Supersensible Domain Location Your Consciousness in Your Higher Self

"The present purpose seems to be evolution by means of functioning. The objective of evolution is twofold. On the one hand it is the development of the independent individual. On the other it is the coordination of the individuals so developed into a functioning unity."

Steward Edward and Betty White, With Folded Wings, 1947

     In this essay, we will examine the two aspects of Unitive Being:
  1. A realization (activation and understanding) of our primordial 1 unity with the One Quintessence: the development of the independent individual 2  

  2. A merging of our essence with Higher Beings (both supersensible and terrestrial) in a Connective Consciousness: the coordination of the individuals so developed into a functioning unity

    We refer to the One Quintessence as God, Sophia, the Oversoul, the One Mind, Unity, Infinite Love, and Goodness. It is a definite challenge to understand our primordial unity with the One Quintessence, since there are a number of misconceptions waiting to trip us up. Often, the manner in which thinkers have expressed this unity leads to confusion.

"This world is engendered by the Real, and has the Real as its Self, the Real is its material altogether. That Real than which there is none higher, THAT THOU ART, the restful, the stainless, secondless Eternal, the supreme."

Shankara, The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom

"You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean, in a drop."

Rumi, You Are

"Liberation is nothing else than the becoming one with Brahman, or rather, since the identity of the Soul with Brahman has always subsisted and has only been hidden from it by an illusion, liberation is nothing else but the awakening of the consciousness that our own Self is identical with Brahman.

Paul Deussen, The System of the Vedanta

    From time immemorial, all persons working within--or in conjunction with--the Perennial Tradition have taught that humans are an aspect or an expression (Form) of the Universal Quintessence. This means that we are NOT the One Quintessence, as a misconstruing of Shankara's "THAT THOU ART" or Rumi's "You are the entire ocean" might lead us to believe. And Deussen is clearly incorrect in saying that we are identical with Brahman or God.

    A more accurate--and less misleading--explication was provided by Paul (Acts 17:28):

"In Him we live, and move, and have our being."

      It is not that we are or become or are identical to the One Quintessence; we have our primordial being in Him/Her. The purpose for our experiencing human existence appears to be our learning to identify with our Higher Self--our soul, not with our lower self: ego, body, appetites, will, intellect.

    The most complete and useful explication is provided by Iamblicus:
"There is another ultimate underlying potency (àρχñ) of the soul which is superior to the whole realm of nature and generated existence. Through it we are enabled to attain communion with the superior intelligences, of being transported beyond the scenes and arrangements of this world, and of partaking of the Life Eternal and the higher powers of the heavenly ones. Through this capability we are able to set ourselves free from the domination of Fate, and are made, so to speak, the arbiters of our own destinies. For, when the more excellent parts of us become filled with energy, and the soul is exalted to communion with superior beings, then it becomes separate altogether from those conditions which keep it under the dominion of the present every-day life of the world, exchanges the present for another life, gives itself to a different order, and abandons the conventional habits belonging to the external order of things, to enter and mingle itself with the order which pertains to the higher life."

Iamblicus (250-325 CE), The Egyptian Mysteries 3

       It's important to examine (and realize) each section of Iamblicus's explication:
  • Our soul possesses an ultimate underlying potency (àρχñ) which is superior to the entire realm of terrestrial existence.

  • This potency (power or capability) enables us to establish communion (dialectical interchange) with superior spiritual beings.

  • This potency enables us to actually live in Eternity.

  • It enables us to partake of the supernatural powers of superior spiritual beings.

  • It enables us to free ourselves from the dominion of Fate and determine our own destinies.

  • We then are able to locate our being, our consciousness, and our actions in a separate superior life in the Supersensible Realm.

(Click on image for explanation.)
    We have our primordial being in the One Quintessence in the Supersensible Realm. During the brief time that we experience Terrestrial Existence, most of us become totally "entranced" with and identified with our earthly bodily existence. The vast majority of us, through conditioning, through social influences (family, religion, education, TV) become in our essence nothing but egomaniacs: demented entities possessed by our egos; living only for ourselves; obsessed with mind-destroying activities and pleasures; capable of no genuine feelings for others; uninterested in learning, understanding, or developing to a higher state.

"Despite the soul's fall there lingers in it, although in a condition of atrophy and enchantment, a residual germ of that divine principle which once wholly actuated it; a germ capable of being so stimulated into activity as to raise the personal consciousness even to the point of unity . . . with the Universal Mind and through the healing efficacy of that principle's transmuting potencies, to effect such an organic change in the psychical, and even the physical parts of our present frail and imperfect nature as will bring them into a divinised condition."

M. A. Atwood, Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy, 1850, 1960

Rebirth Into Unitive Being

     We find ourselves in a "box" [terrestrial existence] and if we're to advance in our personal development, we must break out into a higher state of being.

     We must DIE to our present state and be re-born in a higher state. But that shouldn't be too hard, since we've been breaking out of spaces since even before we became a fetus (when we pushed through cellular walls during mitosis) and then when we were "born" by passing out of our mother's body into this anything-but-ordinary world.


     If we're to advance beyond our current terrestrial state of being, we must shunt off (become detached from) our ordinary sense-based existence and attain spiritual re-birth. Only through introspective contemplation (the inwardly turned eye of the mind) can we realize (activate and understand) this process of spiritual regeneration into unitive being. Through the Divine Light of contemplation we penetrate that darkness which does not comprehend the Light, but in which Higher Reality lies concealed.

"What is at issue is the conversion of the mind from the twilight of error to the truth, that climb up into the real world which we shall call true philosophy."

Plato, The Commonwealth

      We realize it would be folly to stay in the old world and try to theorize our way into Higher Being. We break our shell--die to our old self--and stick our head up into a new world.

     We spring up to a Higher Life by struggling to consciousness and comprehension in the new realm of the One Quintessence. We release ourselves into the surrounding Universal Life so our experience can explain itself.

"Thou must thyself be the way; the understanding must be born in thee; thou must enter into it, so that the understanding of the work in the practic art . . . may be opened to thee."
Jacob Boehme

Attaining Unitive Being

     Humans are, in essence, both mortal and immortal. The terrestrial phase of human existence is a school in which we learn to re-attain Higher Being . We are placed within this twofold world, experienced as the sense-world, so that we have the opportunity to activate the requisite faculties that lead to actual participation in the world of higher, unitive being and consciousness. We begin by examining ourselves and recognizing that we are the result of our own experience in an earlier state of being, when we passed from Unitive Being to terrestrial existence.

      We recognize that we contain in ourselves the elements of a decaying sense-world. Those elements, we realize, are at work in us, and if we identify with them exclusively we devolve to a sub-human level of egomania. But if we work to understand ourselves and attain inner self-discipline, we can break the power of negative sensory-world influences, as the newly-forming immortal elements reawaken within us. We not only slough off old, negative patterns of thought and behavior, but we develop new virtues, such as patience, sympathy, reasonableness, caring, and insight, to mention only a few.

     We gain an awareness of our transformative powers when we learn to discipline and overcome devolutionary forces in us that would pull us down to a regressive state. As we gain ascendancy over the elements of hatred, lust, greed, violence, and ignorance, we come to an understanding of higher powers within us that lead to Unitive Being.

"The Perennial Tradition consists entirely in acting as the situation requires; he that acts appropriately in each occasion attains to the rank of savant."

Hujwiri, The Revelation of the Veiled Mysteries, 1042 CE

     To be fully understood, Unitive Being must be worked for, attained, and then manifested. I can only describe the features of the Unitive Being and how it is attained; the actual achievement of the higher state must come from your own inner work beyond reading and studying.

"By no explanation, nor any familiar analogy do we here presume to aid the natural intellect to a conception that transcends it, and which can only be attained through the identical experience."

Mary A. Atwood, Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy

     The first steps in achieving Unitive Being are to relax our sensual bond, dissolve our ego, and purify our consciousness so it is capable of experiencing its higher life in the Elysian light. Learning to relax to the point of stepping outside the body requires diligent effort and experimentation to find just the right procedure that works for us.

      Overcoming the self-obsession which ordinary life encourages in us demands self-awareness and a commitment to a higher life of virtue and discernment.

"All that we teach is nothing else but to dissolve and recongeal the spirit, to make the fixed volatile and the volatile fixed, until the total nature is perfected by the reiteration. . .

            Albertus Magnus

     As Plato explains in his writings, we attain Unitive Being by gaining mastery of the essential procedures of philosophy (the love of and the search for wisdom): Higher Reasoning and Dialectical Interchange.

"He who is not able by the exercise of his Higher Reason to define the Form of the Good, separating it from all other objects and piercing, as in a battle through every kind of argument, endeavouring to confute, not according to opinion but according to essence, and proceeding through all the dialectic energies with an unshaken reason--he who cannot accomplish this, neither knows the Good itself, nor anything that is properly denominated the Good. And would you not say that such a one, if he apprehended any certain truth or image of reality, would apprehend it rather through the medium of opinion than of science; that in the present life he is sunk in sleep and conversant in the delusions of dreams; and that descending into Hades, before he is roused to a vigilant state, he will be overwhelmed with a sleep perfectly profound."

Plato, The Commonwealth, Book 7

     Attaining the unitive state requires that we transform our entire state of existence, which is originally that of bewitchment by our senses and possession by the beliefs of our culture. Only if we die to that old mode of thought and activity and are re-born as persons with the ability to think and act for ourselves, the capacity to discern truth and goodness, are we capable of the requisite virtue and understanding which make Unitive Being possible.

     Plato made it clear that the ultimate attainment of Unitive Being is possible only through muesis (literally, "closing of the eyes"): turning away from external sense-data and discovering truth through an introspective process of contemplation and meditation.

     What we first experience in the unitive state is the essence of wisdom: illumination. This makes it clear why Plato said that the ultimate goal of human life is the search for and the love of wisdom (philosophy). This experience of illumination--an inner light making all things clear--is attested to by a great number of mystics and teachers:

  • Apuleius: "This knowledge sometimes shines forth with a most rapid coruscation like a bright and clear light in the most profound darkness." On the God of Socrates

  • Plato: "On a sudden a light, as it were a leaping fire, will be enkindled in the soul, and will there itself nourish itself." Letter 7

  • "When thou seest a Fire without Form,
    Shining flashingly through the depths of the World.
    Hear the voice of Fire."    Chaldean Oracles

      It is beneficial and necessary to experience moments of Unitive Being, epiphanies, ecstasies, and inspirations. Through their inspiration, we gain the desire to enter the path leading us from death to the old sense-world to Unitive Being.

      We are grateful that the loam of our mortal life has matured the seeds of immortal being. And we know that if we remain as we are--seeds within the sense-world--that we will never experience re-birth into the Unitary Quintessence. Consciousness of our earlier being in the transcendent realm came to an end with birth into the terrestrial plane. Now, earth life in the sense-world must move on to re-birth into the higher realm, by dying to our present earth-seed state of existence.

      One way of conceiving of our terrestrial life is as a means provided by the Creator to understand precisely what eternal being consists of. The Creator brought us into being in the supersensible realm, as eternal, evolving beings. To fully understand our eternal being it's necessary that we experience another form of life different from that. Terrestrial, mortal life could hardly be any more different, it appears evident, as we experience it and reflect on it. Even during earthly existence, we still retain our eternal state of being, and it is possible--as Plato, Iamblicus, and other Perennialist teachers have made clear--to come out of the stupor and bewitchment of earthly sense-consciousness to re-awaken to our primordial, eternal being. Earth life, then, can be seen as a gift from the Creator, to help us realize precisely what kind of being he has created us as in his infinite understanding and beneficence. And it makes clear what an unbelievable gift eternal being really is and what the essence of the Creator is who loves and cares for us in bringing us into being as eternal, evolving persons.

"Only by collecting a group of your dearest, going forth with your heart among them, cementing, as it were, a collective entity, and continually enlarging it, putting forth the substance among you, can you start toward comprehension of the Universal Consciousness."

Betty White, Across The Unknown

The Quest for Connective Consciousness

     It is possible to become what we might call "ecstasy junkies," persons who exult in the unitive life but feel no responsibility to others on the earth-plane. Our liberated powers must be applied to assist persons in the world of the senses. As we saw above, we gain permanent higher essence only as we allow ourselves to become conduits of higher knowledge to others on the terrestrial plane.

     Previously, it was our responsibility to seek our own release. But now, having attained the first stages of Unitive Being, we're required to share whatever insight we've gained with others on the earth plane. Other teachers and prophets were our liberators, and we must now add to the common heritage of knowledge of the higher unitive state.

     Until now we've striven as individuals, but now we must seek to coordinate ourselves with the whole, so that we can bring into the supersensible world not only ourselves, but everyone existing in the world of the senses.We must now share with our fellow humans the powers which we've acquired. Entry into the higher regions of the supersensible world is barred so long as we haven't applied all the powers we've acquired to the liberation of our earthly companions.

Dialectical (Shared) Meditation

     A most effective process for learning to enter Connective Consciousness is Dialectical (Shared) Meditation. 4

     Participants in Dialectical Meditation should be at the highest possible level of discernment of Dialectic, Higher Consciousness, and Unitive Being.

Illustrative Themes and Structures for Dialectical Meditation

See yourselves, outside your bodies, in a huge natural ampitheater in which an immense crowd of spiritually advanced beings (existent and transcendent) is in a state of Connective Consciousness.

Everyone is thinking the same thoughts and carrying out the same acts simultaneously.

    An advanced being thinks: "Gratitude, humility, and self-surrender constitute the essence of worship of the One Quintessence."

   Immediately a silent, confluent, pulsing, psychic "cheer" goes up--in a manner superficially manifested on the terrestrial plane by a cheering crowd or a musical choir.

    The participants in the Dialectical Meditation respond to and spark off each others' ideas, questions, and suggestions as to the direction the meditation takes. All participants, by being in touch with their Higher Selves, are able to discover and create new ideas, questions, and suggestions. All thoughts and actions blend within the confluent consciousness, while complete individuality is maintained throughout.

     Fortunately, the highest reality of humans is their participation in the One Quintessence--which is referred to as God, the Oversoul, the One Mind, Unity, Infinite Love and Goodness. If a human works assiduously, she can cast off the illusions with which she is programmed, and regain her essential oneness with her Higher Self: the Unitary Quintessence.

"May not you and I be confluent in a higher consciousness, and confluently active there, though we now know it not? We finite minds may simultaneously be co-conscious with one another in a super-human intelligence."
William James A Pluralistic Universe

     What we are referring to as Connective Consciousness, William James described as the state of being "confluent in a higher consciousness." We are able to achieve Connective Consciousness because we are--in our highest reality--aspects or expressions of the One Quintessence. We've fallen into illusion by thinking that our body or mind is our self, when we are in reality our Higher Self, the Soul.

Sensing Connective Consciousness

     We can get a sense of unitive being by contemplating images such as the one at the beginning of the essay and by reflecting on common experiences in which we have a feeling of merging with others in a shared event.

     While sitting in an auditorium or stadium as part of a large crowd, you experience an elementary form of group consciousness while joining in collective cheering or waving. Ordinary "crowd consciousness" is a lesser embodiment of a higher form of connective consciousness as delineated in this essay.   
         I use the word "higher" to indicate that unitive being occurs in the supersensible domain unlike ordinary experience which takes place in the everyday perceptual, sense world of people, places, and things. In Connective Consciousness, our awareness is actually merged with that of others in a Great Ocean of Unity--the One Life.

     Crowd consciousness is a neutral factor; it can be used either for good or bad effect. A propagandist can use crowd consciousness to entrance a group into ideas and actions which the people would not ordinarily fall for in their usual state of consciousness. Conversely, a well-intentioned speaker can move an audience to lofty moral ideals and beneficent actions.

    We also get a genuine sense of connective consciousness when viewing a transformative piece of art or listening to a transformative piece of music, such as:

  1. Listening to Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain, arranged and conducted by Gil Evans, we recognize that Miles and his band entered into a higher realm of consciousness when they created this piece of music. And listening to Sketches of Spain in a receptive mood allows us to enter that same confluent world of higher awareness.

  2. The most authentic--and exalted--example of connective consciousness in a musical composition is Beethoven's 9th Symphony , in both the orchestral and chorale symbiotic synchronization.

     Humans have always sought connective consciousness at mundane as well as transformative levels. Language is essentially a tool which allows human connectedness. The invention of the telegraph and the telephone ushered in a process of two person distant-but-simultaneously-connected-consciousness. Radio and television allow for connectedness in a unidirectional mode at the mass level. Unfortunately, almost all of the content in current radio and television is mind-destroying instead of mind-expanding.

      Today, though millions of TV viewers are able to instantly hear and watch events happening thousands of miles away, there is no interaction, no feedback. The Internet has introduced an additional dimension, providing both bi-directional and multidirectional modes of communication. The Internet allows thousands of people, including complete strangers, to share experiences and emotions without ever coming together spatially.

     Thus far--except in a single modality--the "connective consciousness" made possible by the Internet has not been used in a transformative manner.

Attaining Connective Consciousness

     Connective Consciousness is best represented by the Platonic Form of Commonwealth, as first represented by Plato, and by the Supersensible Archetype represented by the the contemporary New Commonwealth. The salient features of the modern archetype community are:
  • Screening and training of applicants before admission to the community

  • Community ownership by members of the means of production

  • Democratic control: policies and actions decided by consensus of all community members

  • Production solely for use, not profit: community-regulated production of goods and services relative to need without the intervention of a buying and selling market mechanism

  • Replacement of capitalism one community at a time, not nationally as a whole

    Connective consciousness in the cooperative commonwealth community can be visualized as a group of people engaging in dialectical interchange while simultaneously receiving inspiration and energy from the supersensible realm.

          Those among humankind who can understand the enduring importance of the higher knowledge and values embodied in such Forms as Commonwealth, must preserve this priceless heritage and assist humankind to return to the right path. These few (about 5%) will have to carry out cloaked operations to safeguard and disseminate the hidden wisdom. This essay constitutes a call to action in this regard, and will resonate with those who have developed advanced powers of discernment.

"It is necessary, in the first place, to turn our attention constantly and continuously to the higher ideal which we wish to realise; to the highest ideal we can form of truth, goodness, and beauty. In proportion as we can do this we shall find truth, goodness, and beauty becoming realised in our nature. The practical outcome of an intelligent realisation of the existence of our higher divine Self, is the opening up, as it were, of a channel of communication through which the higher can flow into, and manifest in, the lower. There is an actual structural alteration in the physical body and nerve centres. Every thought conditions a definite physiological change. We shut out the higher possibilities by thought alone, by thinking ourselves separate. Just in proportion as we think of ourselves as divine, in proportion as we realise that the divine is within us, shall we come to a conscious realisation of our divine nature and powers. Nor is there any other path by which this may be accomplished."

William Kingsland, Scientific Idealism


1 Primordial: having being at or from the beginning

2 We have recently explored how we can learn to live in the supersensible realm.

3 My own translation from the original Greek

4 Some material found in this essay originated in a Dialectical (Shared) Meditation between the author and his wife.