Oneness: perhaps the master key to the meaning of life. It is not an intellectual construct, but an experience.
For some reason I found myself thinking a couple of days ago about my experience living with an Awakened Master.
This Master of Present Moment Awareness was my dog Jorg (pronounced George). He went to Nirvana, heaven, or wherever it is that saintly people go on July 2, 1994. And yet I still miss him. Everyday. I still have his ashes.
Have you ever had an animal change your life forever? For me, there was a “before Jorg” and an “after Jorg.” He changed my life because he was the embodiment of unconditional love and compassion.
I remember the day he found me. And he did find me. I was not looking for a dog. One day I came to school, and he followed me to my car. I sent him back and the next day he was there and followed me to my car again. So, I opened the door, he jumped in, and we were connected from that moment forward.
I can share two powerful experiences of many. Once, during a horrible depression I was laid out fully on my back in my bed. My side of the bed was close to the wall. It made it difficult for Jorg to come to me because he could not turn around but had to back out!
So, I am laying there and basically praying for some sense of meaning and love to continue down the path of life. My eyes were closed and then suddenly I felt his head on my chest. He had crawled into this tight space to be near me and share his presence. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. He probably saved my life. Dogs have such a great emotional intelligence…especially when they are a Doggie Lama.
In the past, my experience of dogs is that they do not like to be stared at. I suppose they see it as a threat. But Jorg would hold my eyes for long periods of time. Once, for over 15 minutes I looked into his eyes, and he looked right back. Eye gazing like that is difficult for most people. But as we gazed into each other’s eyes I had a profound sense of unity. I did not know where he ended, and I began. We were one.
Oneness, as taught by all the great non-dual philosophers, is the nature of Ultimate Reality. Separation is an illusion, the primary illusion that brings so much misery to our lives. Humans have a need for connectedness that is very important. Unfortunately, most of us struggle living in the present moment, where can act from a place of mindfulness and compassion. This disconnection is one of our constant companions.
Once Oneness is experienced, however, it becomes easier to let go of separation and return to Love, the only place where I think we truly know reality as it is. It is a grace, I feel, and Jorg channeled this grace.
A professor friend of mine got to interview the Dalai Lama a long time ago. He picked his questions carefully. One of them was: “What is the purpose of life?” A great question! The Dalai Lama stated that humans are meant to “embody the Transcendent.” And that is what Jorg did. He was the living embodiment of the Transcendent.
It was a great blessing to live with this dog for a few years (he was older when he found me). He broke my heart when he passed away. But he broke it open rather than breaking it down.
For that, I will always be grateful.
Do you live with a Zen master? Perhaps you do. If not, then find one soon!