From Many to One to “Many”
The fun-house mirror of reality is just that — an illusion
God creates mind. Or, perhaps it’s clearer to say, God is mind.
Mind bifurcates mitotically, like cell division, producing mirror images (enantiomers) of itself. This is what mind does, by definition. So one mind becomes two, two become four, etc.
And, as they split off from each other, they look back and are confused two-fold: The mirror image does not look exactly like they thought they did (their right is its left, etc.), and, furthermore, as they look around and see more and more mirror images, like looking into the infinite regression of a funhouse mirror, each image starts to look more and more distinct to them (because they are fixating on certain parts of an image that, from a distance, causes it to appear unlike another, or else because the overlapping mirage of images starts to become so overwhelming that it produces hallucinatory effects), until they start to perceive each mirror image as a “different thing.”
This is the birth of objects.
We live in a word of objects.
We, too, are an object, in this world.
Due to the overload of witnessing this cascading, never-ending cavalcade of mirror images, mind begins to panic to make sense of it all, and creates a “subject” (concept) to fix the perspective somewhere, and not get lost in the infinite abyss / regression.
This is the birth of subject.
We think we are a subject in a world of objects.
Neither is true.
But, to unlearn, we have to unwind the process in reverse.
Which means we have to start with the subject, and gradually unwind it until we see our ‘selves’ as object, and then once again see that early-stage mind/universe view of the funhouse mirror of infinite objects, and then gradually see each of them as less and less distinct, recognize that they are mirror images, recognize that they are exact duplicates except for their mirror-like inverted quality (right being left, and so on), and ultimately whittle town the range of perception to two — our ‘self’ object, and the ‘God’ object, which is just a mirror image of our ‘self’ object.
Then, we have to allow our perception to shift from this side of the mirror to that side of the mirror, to see our ‘self object’ from the ‘God object’ perspective, to see that we, too, are a mirror reflection, an enantiomer. As we hold the gaze of our ‘self object’ from the perspective of what was, before, the ‘God object,’ we begin to dissolve the dissociation between them, until the images fold to be right next to each other — your left and right hands pressed next to each other at the pinky edge, palm-side up. Now we are ‘next to’ God, ‘walking with’ God. But this is not the final stage. Now, we allow the mirror images to fold onto each other, like your palms closing into prayer. (They want to do this naturally, so you don’t have to do anything, just let it happen.) This is what prayer is. Notice how your hands are now one, no longer mirror images. At this point, the boundaries dissolve. There are no more objects.
Now, with this mind, you are in the world.
This is enlightenment, the fulfillment of the atonement process, the end of the spiritual journey.
But now, what do we do with that central principle of mind, that it automatically (due to its nature) produces mirror image-like effects — it seeks to reproduce.
We embrace it, but we do not believe it. The enlightened still ‘see’ the illusion playing out — they still ‘see’ what we call ‘objects’ — but they don’t believe it. This is what in Buddhism is called “The Union of Samsara and Nirvana,” or else in Hinduism is called perceiving “The Veil of Maya.” The enlightened still see the veil, but they know it to be a veil, and are therefore not fooled by it.
The end of the spiritual journey is not remaining in a mystical state of ‘perceived’ “one-ness,” like some never-ending DMT trip. No — the spiritual journey is always about returning to the world of the mirror images, with the unshakable inner knowledge (faith), now, that they are just mirror images. With this knowledge at your core — note that it is no longer a ‘thought,’ but what we might call an orientation — you can be “in the world” but not “of the world,” as is sometimes said of the enlightened.
This is why, in Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, the “hero” (the enlightened) always returns ‘home.’ They do not remain in the woods, or on the ship, or in the forest. They return home with new eyes.