[From A Spiritual Journey]
While people often agree with the idea that they are one with God, many will admit to feeling separate most of the time. The experience of oneness, they acknowledge, requires much effort and intention, a letting go and seeking to bridge the gap between their senses-based ego and their soul’s oneness with God. Although this conscious unity with God is our natural heritage, it requires steady mindfulness to make it a practical part of our daily experience. With most of us, our quest for conscious unity with God takes on a kind of ebb and flow. Our awareness constantly shifts between God and worldly concerns, with the bulk of our focus on those concerns.
I relate this to the man who found the treasure in the field. Knowing the treasure is there even as we’re busy “selling” our possessions to buy that field is a great comfort. I used to fear that I was digressing in these spiritually distracted times, but now I know this is not true. The soul’s light is steadfast even if our focus on spiritual matters is not. When our attention is wandering out in some far country, we’re still aware of our true home. Despite our feelings of separation, we never lose the memory of our oneness.
The feeling of separation is not an issue to one who has never experienced some level of oneness with their spiritual Source. This feeling of inner lack is, for them, a material issue addressed through the further pursuit of material things. Though they may not yet walk on water, the spiritually advanced grapple with this feeling of separation as a spiritual rather than a material problem.
For me, it is clarifying to draw a distinction between consciousness evolution and a perceived soul development. Our self-image is out of alignment with that which is true at the soul level. This understanding eliminates all perceived degrees of soul development and places our progress squarely on our system of values rather than on the erroneously conceived fluctuation of the soul.
The more value we place on experiencing our soul, the more attention we give to reasons such an experience might seem so elusive. Even if we give it no attention, our soul’s wholeness remains intact. We cannot damage our spiritual heritage through negligence. Our wandering in the far country neither offends God nor sparks any kind of need for divine forgiveness.
We lift a huge weight from our shoulders when we make peace with the fact that we can never negatively affect the condition of our soul or of our relationship of oneness with God. We can suffer, we can experience spiritual deprivation, we can feel alone and desperate in our far country, but our soul remains one with God. We can, at any moment, come to ourselves, turn with the understanding that we will be welcomed with open arms back into our eternal home with our loving Father.