...but, I can certainly be confused as to how you see and define 'All One' - if you'd care to elaborate. How could I or anyone NOT be All One?
I generally do not use these words, unless they are posed to me by others. But let's just take a look at that phrase and see what comes up...
What is the Meaning of 'All One'?
All One would seem to imply that separation is impossible. After all, if something is All One, it cannot be divided. And yet, looking into the world, this beautiful planet we live upon, all we see is separation; the nationalistic ideas causing war, the religious activity tearing us apart, the 'racial' ideas that keep knives at each others throats, and so on. It is easy to see separation at every turn. So human beings are NOT All One.
We could also say, if there is no separation in this thing called All One, then humanity is not All One.
It is so easy to use these phrases, and I hear it quite frequently through talks and dialogues and so on. And whenever I question these phrases, I consistently receive puzzled looks or responses from those present. Perhaps it is because they have read that we are All One, so they find it strange that I question it at all. But I find it strange that they do not.
Those phrases are meaningless for Takuin, but even if someone brings up the phrase, one cannot just assume they are wrong. So there must be investigation at each and every turn. "Those phrases are meaningless" cannot be held like a story to be used again and again. That is just more dead living.
Effort to Conquer Oneness
The short aside post, To The Student, is an small excerpt of a talk I had with someone in Tokyo. He was a businessman working for an electronics firm. He was complaining about the stresses of his life, the severity of his position socially, politically and so on, but in the next sentence he would say, "I know I am supposed to be All One. I should be All One so that is what I will pursue. I AM All One"
The listener kept saying he knew he SHOULD be All One, and that he would pursue that end. As the two of us went further into it, his confusion became clear: he ignored the seriousness of his life and condition - which was real - in order to find the state he thought was better - which was not.
We can say it was 'confusion arising in oneness' or some other nonsense, and it might have been true, but he was trapped, not willing to look at his condition. He wanted what someone else told him was better, and he seemingly had no way to touch it on his own. So he built All One-ness into an idea of something to have, to pursue, and to conquer.
He was not pursuing Oneness, but his IDEA of oneness.
I might have written things like, "Start with what you have." This means that if you are miserable or confused or angry or greedy or whatever, you begin with that. You investigate the root of those conditions.
Those conditions are real, you see; immediate. If you are angry - not angry - if you are anger, you do not begin with a condition you think is better than the anger (better than the fact). Nothing is a better teacher than the fact.
Perhaps in your travels you have run across a strange kind of permissiveness in this area. Some people seem to think that All One, or Oneness, and so on, means that anything is permitted because it is All One. But this is dangerous and a very lazy way of living.
This limited 'knowing' generally follows an intellectual understanding of written/spoken material. The reader might 'understand' what is being said, but it does not touch them in the deepest way. And so this idea of permissiveness arises saying, "Anything I do is fine, because anything I do is 'All One'." And from here, investigation stops, but not because of a deeper understanding or a 'cellular' understanding, but because they have a new idea to hold onto. A new kind of security that solidifies the 'self'.
It is a strange game. They think they have given up themselves to pursue enlightenment, but it is no different from pursuing money, sex, power, or whatever. The quest for enlightenment might be the greediest, most selfish quest of them all.
But we could look at All One in a number of different ways. For example, there could be a person that is All One. A creature of no separation. And it is possible to live All One. But it is an understanding of what you are, and not what you think you should be, that will allow curiosity to reveal your own 'aliveness', if I can put it in that way.
You are No Idiot; Just Far Too Timid
Please try to understand, I am not saying that any of this is wrong or right, or that a person on a spiritual path is an idiot, because I do not mean to say that at all. It may well be true that I am less sympathetic with the guru than I am with the searcher, and less sympathetic with the searcher than I am with a layperson, but if someone chooses this path it will take strength to see themselves for what they are.
I am not going to sit by the fire of Oneness, holding the searcher's hand, and tell them stories of, "Enlightenment is THIS or THAT." I'd rather take them by the hand and throw them into the fire. Let them see it for themselves.
Can you let the fire completely consume all that you are and leave the ashes to the mercy of the wind?