In an earlier post I introduced what I call The MetaStory, hinting at some of the personal history that led me to seek it out. Now I’d like to describe this grand scheme in more depth. So, drawing on sources I’ve come to trust—including my own experiences in profoundly altered states—here’s how I see the basic truths that underlie this cosmos and shape our lives.
All that exists is a single, indescribably vast, entity—let’s call it Source. It is alive, limitless, essentially formless, and it comprises reality in its entirety.
Source is characterized by two contrasting abilities or ways of being: it can experience itself as a unity; or, it can divide itself into parts, each of which feels as though it lives and dies separate from the rest.
Now what’s hard for us to grasp in our human state, is that because time is an illusion, both of those modes take place simultaneously. In other words, Source, on the one hand, is knowing itself right now as a whole, in much the same way that you, rather than knowing yourself as a brain, heart, arm, or leg, experience yourself as all these (and more) in combination.
And at the very same “time,” Source, in separation mode, is exploring quite a different sort of existence: it is tasting reality as a single-celled amoeba, as a lone seagull surfing the wind, and as me, writing these words.
As to the logic behind this dual-mode scheme—well, for starters, it’s easy to grasp Source’s motivation for tasting reality as a whole. In this state, It lives without want, without fear. Source contains everything it could ever wish for within its own unimaginably rich self.
What’s more, Source has no fear of dying, since there is no death. That’s just a game it sometimes plays. Death, after all, implies a past and a future, and precognitive dreams (among other clues) show that linear sequence is a mirage—convincing from one perspective, but ultimately, an illusion.
Bottom line: in oneness, Source is free to dream, to create, to love. In fact, as Source exists in its all-embracing state of completeness and unity, you might even say that it is love.
The game of parts.
Now, perfect as the above scenario might seem, something is missing. Or would be, were it not for the existence of oneness’s polar opposite. For in Source’s other mode, it partitions itself into smaller units. How? By forgetting. By creating within itself regions of non-remembrance, subdivisions that no longer recall their true identity—at least, not in full.
You and I are two such fragments, as are trees, whales, and ants. Each differs with regard to the specifics of its amnesia. For example, if I’m still in touch with the finer points of the audible spectrum, you may think of me as a musical genius. And if you’ve never lost touch with the visual, I may admire your gift for painting.
Likewise, we may both stand in awe of cats, who seemingly retain, in large measure, Source’s tranquility.
So why, you may ask, would Source do such a thing? Why leave behind a state of perfection, only to descend into lesser versions of itself, existences subject to limitation, suffering, and even death? (Even if “death” is only a temporarily frightful illusion.)
Let’s talk about that.
Multiplicity and its gifts.
Helping us to understand Source’s motivation is the fact that we are Source. We are its component parts. So while Source’s experience (in wholeness) is in many ways different from ours (here in the realm of separation), its needs are achingly familiar.
For example, just as you and I would tire of the same meal served daily, delicious as it might be, mightn’t Source grow weary of an existence that’s blissful but unchanging? In fact, isn’t it likely that ecstasy loses its ecstatic quality unless subject to influences that re-color and re-define it?
If so, it’s easy to see how individuation provides opportunities for self-renewal, newly-coined potentials that are truly without limit. For just a moment’s reflection on the vast array of Earth’s living forms points up the enormous range of experience made possible by physical embodiment. Not to mention the likelihood that our universe is but a grain of sand on a beach encompassing countless other universes, both physical and non-physical.
What I’m saying is that each of these manifestations—these infinite worlds and their inhabitants—is an aspect of Source that has in some ways lost touch with its true nature, while in other ways, remains aware of it. And that through these endlessly varied schemes of self-division, Source, over the course of its eternal existence, keeps itself interested, challenged, surprised.
And perhaps none of the separation-induced potentials is more important than this: when the One splits itself into two (and more), a new concept is born—relationship. Suddenly, one living being is able to explore itself, to savor its strengths and grapple with its limitations, through interaction with another.
Relationship is a fascinating game, is it not? Since neither you nor I are (by definition) whole, we are drawn to each other through an urge for self-completion. Though as we all discover sooner or later, fulfillment on Earth happens only in degrees. For we are fragments from the instant we leave Source, and wholeness—true wholeness and the peace it brings—is not in the cards until we return to Source once again.
The journey home.
For the temporarily estranged portions of Source that you and I are, much of life’s meaning arises from the hero’s journey that is our quest to overcome our spiritual amnesia. As in countless movies (The Bourne Identity comes to mind), we find ourselves thrust into an intricate plot knowing tantalizingly little about ourselves. Gradually, or sometimes suddenly, as in the case of Ebeneezer Scrooge, we are re-introduced to our own backstory, and to the truth of our origins in love and perfection.
This aspect of the MetaStory captures perhaps its most rewarding feature: the opportunities it offers for experiencing the ecstasy of self-remembrance. For within the life trajectories of each of Source’s countless split-off units, this glorious homecoming happens again and again, eternally, throughout space and time. (More precisely, it happens by virtue of consciousness’s moving beyond the illusions we call space and time.)
And for readers who object to this hypothesis because they feel it leaves unexplained the nearly unbearable suffering that makes earthly life, at times, so challenging, here’s a quote from Rasha. The following, she tells us, was spoken to her by what she calls Oneness (also the name of her book):
You have chosen to give yourself the experience of reawakening. You have chosen to taste, once again, the thrill of discovery of who you truly are. You have opted for the experience of all that you fear that you are in order to awaken from that dream and to recognize it as all that you are not. There would be no exultation in the discovery of the first tastes of limitlessness, were that experience not preceded by massive doses of the experience of limitation.
How we know this.
Perhaps nowhere is the scheme I’ve been describing more evident than in what’s come to be called the near-death experience. Those who’ve taken this journey describe it, again and again, as moving beyond the small self, and rejoining an infinitely larger one, a being that manifests as a loving light.
Tellingly, this radiance is often described as encompassing reality in its entirety. It feels, above all, like Home. We are told that the light represents a state of being in which our struggles can be seen for what they really are: dream-like imaginings that are rich with meaning yet paradoxically unimportant.
Furthermore, experiencers consistently describe this reunion as, above all, a remembrance. They are unanimous on this point, often making statements like: I was astonished at how I could have forgotten these truths.
What, you might ask, happens after we rejoin Source?
These days, I’m reluctant to give much weight to metaphysical questions involving an “after” or “next.” Because, as I’ve said, with regard to the biggest of pictures, linear sequence is a red herring.
And this sort of trickery is exactly what we should expect. Because time (along with space) was designed to deceive. It is, as it turns out, one of the devices Source employs to temporarily keep itself from remembering its limitlessness, its true nature. Time is a cornerstone, in other words, of our spiritual amnesia.
Still, it’s hard to resist pondering the “what’s next” puzzle. Because though time may be an illusion, it’s a thoroughly convincing one. (At least, at our level of reality.)
So I’ll say this. There’s a concept often mentioned by near-death experiencers, a notion they likely once dismissed out of hand: reincarnation. Its specifics are debatable. But at its heart is the idea that Source recycles itself into an endless array of forms, each representing a journey conceived and undertaken for the purpose of exploring Source’s vast potential.
In this sense, reincarnation is one half of the MetaStory. It represents the cosmos’s need to individuate, the complement to its urge to simply be.
Put the two together, and we see the truth of our existence. For our need to know ourselves as the Whole, combined with our determination to savor the unique adventure lived by each of its parts, is the essence of our shared, eternal, narrative.