My Experience of Oneness
Written by Rev. Dennis Shipman (c) 2010
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It was a beautiful spring morning in April 1969. Sunrise lifted leisurely into the sky, shining its reflecting rays of light onto the ocean waters like a huge citrus orange in a pink sky. The sweet scent of ocean air filled my lungs, and the waves broke nearly perfect at Huntington Beach pier, inviting me to forget the day's work and go surfing. However, I couldn't linger too long. I had been promoted to crew chief in the fiberglass mold department at a catamaran factory in San Clemente, California, and had a thirty-minute drive to work.
I arrived at the shop about 8 am. A co-worker was waiting. I unlocked the door, and we began preparing the molds for production. Two more employees would soon join us. Shortly after I began the task, a headache came on. Waves of tension flowed over my brain. I felt dizzy, light headed, and couldn't understand why. I hadn't been drinking the night before or doing anything which might bring it on. It puzzled me, because I rarely got headaches.
Rather than use aspirin, I decided on a technique I learned at a non-traditional church in Fullerton Ė my home town, where I occasionally attended a church that advocated meditation. During a Sunday lecture, the minister explained how to rid oneself of a headache. It was a simple, unorthodox method.
"Close your eyes, and gently lift them upwards to the point between the eyebrows", he said. "Then gently massage the forehead in a circular motion with your fingertips. Think about the headache, and it should dissolve away." 'A radical solution', I thought, but I tried the technique. It worked. Surprised and delighted, I returned to my tasks. However, the headache soon returned. I tried the remedy again. With my left hand, I stabilized myself, holding onto one of the fiberglass molds; and standing upright with eyes closed, I massaged my forehead with the fingers of my right hand. And, thatís when my life changed forever.
Suddenly, a brilliant light illuminated the darkness in my mind. It was as if a huge searchlight had been turned on, and blazed through the center of my vision, like a radiant full moon bursting forth into the night sky. I gasped and physically felt the breath rush out of my lungs. A wave of energy rushed up my spine. I immediately went on alert, ready to spring into action at any sign of danger. But, I was not in control any more. The Light was. As I observed the vision, fear dissipated into astonishment, and astonishment into childlike wonder. Where a moment before there was darkness, now there was inner light. White light. I couldn't understand it, and I couldn't deny it.
Once the acknowledgment had taken place, it allowed me to enjoy an experience of endless pure pleasure. A full range of indescribable feelings of bliss and joy swept over me like waves on a beach. There was no sense of striving or competition any more. There was no lack of anything. The yearning for greener pastures which had occupied my life was gone. It felt like everything had been accomplished; nothing more was to be done. I had come home. Fear and loneliness ceased to exist. In fact, all negative qualities were gone, annihilated. This caused an overwhelming sense of relief. Into the void came perfect contentment, profound peace, an overpowering sense of infinity, eternity, immortality; oneness, unity, liberty, freedom, holiness, bliss and unconditional love. It felt as if the whole of creation was contained within the Light, and I belonged to the Presence.
In that vision of awesome power and magnitude, I witnessed a splendor I had never seen before Ė a luminous pearl white light, perfectly circular, like a communion host at Catholic Mass, surrounded by a deep blue background.
The Light was contained within the circle, and did not radiate into the blue. Its edges were razor sharp, making an unmistakable contrast of white Light against deep blue. The Presence of Light displayed three distinct qualities: Invincible Power, Ineffable Love, Radiant Intelligence, and It was mysteriously alive. Its center palpitated ever so lightly to the rhythm of my heartbeat. My eyes were still closed, yet the upper room within my forehead was filled with inner light. I was in the bowels of Eternity, with no beginning or end.
The Light was not a harsh light like the noonday sun, but like soft lightning, up close. It filled my entire inner horizon. I responded mentally, 'Oh! Is that the answer! You are so beautiful!" Indeed. No beauty in this world exists that surpasses the Presence of Inner Light in the mind's eye. It is the Answer that answers all questions.
There within my mindís eye, beamed an amazing bold brilliance, hauntingly familiar to me. It felt like we knew each other, like we had been introduced and become great friends a long time ago, yet become separated somehow. This was our reunion. For the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to be utterly free, to feel ineffable joy, to be totally accepted, and to be in the presence of unconditional Love.
Sin Does Not Exist!
I'd never seen anything so pure or perfect. Like a luminous radiance blazing in the morning dawn above the earth's horizon, a pure shining sun glistened within my consciousness. It was the most exquisite splendor I have ever witnessed--beyond compare. Words and language fail miserably to portray its potency and significance. There wasn't a hint of criticism or rebuke or judgment. I was witnessing evidence of a higher Intelligence that did not behold me as subservient, inferior or sinful Ė rather an equal, a partner. It was the ultimate in sharing.
As I gazed at its lustrous beauty of absolute purity and wisdom, my whole being merged with the Presence in unity. I felt naked before it, as if it could read my every thought, knew my every secret, yet welcomed and accepted me with open arms as I was, regardless of all my faults and weaknesses.
Suddenly, a voice called out. "Dennis! Are you alright?" It was my co-worker. He didn't know what was happening. With my eyes still closed and standing frozen in the upright position, I answered, "Yes. I'm fine." I was delighted to discover that I could verbally communicate, though barely, while in this state of being. It wasn't until much later that I realized the irony in my friend's remark.
At that precise moment, I was standing in perfection, experiencing the supreme freedom of pure bliss. I was there, in the land beyond my wildest dreams, where I believe all of us yearn to be, though we might not know it. Every time I remember this episode, a hearty laugh bubbles up inside. It's one of those cosmic comedies of Oneness.
Then, as if a dear friend had to leave, the Presence of Light faded from my view Ė like the ending of a motion picture. It didnít leave a name or signature or a business card, though it did leave an irrevocable impression for the rest of my life. The whole experience lasted only a few brief but precious moments. Thatís another peculiarity of the Inner Light experience: Time stands still. It ceases to exist as we know it. There was no past, no future. Only the eternal now exists. Within the presence of its motionless tranquility, only It survives.
At the time the vision emerged within, I was a non-practicing Catholic, who grew up in the religion from the cradle, and once believed that the Catholic religion was the only true religion. But, the vision of Oneness was an earthshaking revelation.
Oneness is our Natural State of Being!
The rest of the day passed in a flash. A very strong afterglow of joy and bliss permeated my entire body that lasted all day. I didn't discuss the experience with anyone at work, and went about my tasks quietly, reflecting on the event of that morning.
A truly magnificent, benevolent power revealed itself within my consciousness, yet I found myself totally incapable of explaining it. The powerful vision captured and riveted my mind. All of my senses were bathed in its beautiful, loving energy. The vision transformed all of my preconceptions about God, religion, and the mystery of life, yet left me with an entirely new set. What was It? Where did the Light come from? How can I get more of It?
It clearly communicated several messages at once. The most profound was that an Indwelling Spirit of radiant light and boundless love exists within our being. Its intrinsic nature is fearless, invincible, changeless, eternal, infinite, stillness, formless consciousness, omnipresent, omniscient, profound joy and peace, all-powerful, unconditionally loving, innocent, and sinless. No name was given to identify itself. In this writing, I refer to the nameless vision simply as Oneness.
Oneness is not dogma or a belief, and not a new religion, yet it can be known. Each person possesses this intrinsic greatness of Oneness within them. It is our natural, true identity. It has always been with us, all through our human experience, ever since and before the dawn of humanity on earth, though we might not recognize its Presence. It is with us now, and will never leave us.
There is no difference between the intrinsic nature of Oneness within you and your real identity. (Genesis 1:27)
About the Author:
Rev. Dennis Shipman grew up in the Roman Catholic religion. He attended Catholic elementary and college-prep schools for 11 years, and volunteered as an altar boy for seven years. His search for God began in the fourth grade in an environment of devotion and prayer. By the time he graduated high school, he had developed a powerful quest for proof of Godís existence. Five years later, as a non-practicing Catholic, he experienced Oneness.
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