Lotus and Rose

Unity Has Nothing to Do With Unicity

By Guy Smith

That which is called “unity” and that which is called “unicity” are absolutely unrelated. “Unicity” is oneness that is indivisible and limitless. “Unity” is a wholeness that is both divisible and limited. It is a thing, a unit, formed of smaller units uniting together. “Unity” is synonymous with words like “wholeness”, “integration”, “harmony” and “grouping”. Perhaps the easiest way to comprehend the absolute differences between “unicity” and “unity” is to think in terms of space and nothingness. A unit is a thing. For example, the human body is a unity of flesh, blood, bones and so forth, or of legs, arms, torso, or of systems, respiratory, reproductive, etc, or of organs, of cells, or atoms. The unity can be measured; it is here, above the toes and from the head downwards, and not there, where, say, a different body, or a radiator is. It is a definite form and holds a definite place in space. Even a “comm-unity”, supposedly composed of immeasurable units called “humans”, is here - where lips proclaim “I am a sannyasin”, and not there, where the words “I am not a sannyasin” or “I eat Big Macs” happen.

“Unicity”, on the other hand, might be thought of in terms of “nothingness”. You are just about to go to bed and the room in which you sit is illuminated by a bedside lamp. What is seen is divisible, made up of unity - there is a bed, furniture, a lamp, a body and so on. Switch out the light and all that is gone. All units, all objects, all demarcation and division has vanished. There is not even a room left - no walls, floor or ceiling. The “blackness” or “nothingness” is without limit, and indivisible. This is a reasonable analogy as to what unicity is. However, it is decidedly imperfect, the reasons for which will become apparent shortly.

The reason this difference between “unity” and “unicity” is being cited here is that many so-called nondualistic expressions erroneously speak as if these two were the same thing, or at least related. For example, the communication may be that living harmoniously, without conflict, has some relevance to enlightenment, to unicity. Or perhaps, that living in a particular community, with what are called “a master” and “fellow disciples”, has something to do with it. Both cases are highly compelling. In the latter, for example, something that is often called “communion” can come about, and which is more likely to come about here than in other settings. “Communion” is where a unit is formed - say, by lots of bodies sitting silently together with closed eyes, or, by “the master” and “a disciple” making eye-contact - and as a result a certain “energy” is felt; an energy that seems to dissolve the room, to lie before the room, that feels both ancient and perfectly fresh, that is timeless and, like the “blackness” of the analogy above, placeless, limitless.

So, it seems that a specific arrangement, a certain form of unit or unity, can bring about an emergence of unicity. This is the fallacy. Backed up by the emotional intensity of the emergent experience it is the most convincing and therefore hindering fallacy one can come across. First and foremost, unicity is not that experience of energy. Unicity is absolutely unavoidable, it is right here in the feeling of separateness, it is the mundanity of reading a book. It is in confusion and the mistaken belief that this isn’t it: it is that belief! And yes, it is in blissful energetic states, but no more so than at any other moment. The simultaneous sensation of ancientness and freshness in such special experiences convinces one that this is the timeless, this is the omnipresent, the absolute, and yet one moment it is there and the next moment comes the sense of separateness and frustration. What kind of absolute is here one minute and gone the next? The absolute, unicity, is unavoidable and always the case. Energetic sensations come and go; they are but limited units of the appearance.

The transcendental state is the most powerful mechanism for keeping the illusion of separateness alive, since the sensual impact of it is so impressive. It happens, and the belief occurs, “This is unicity!” It is not. The experience vanishes and, because the arrangement was so specific, so formal, so idiosyncratic, the belief arises, “It must have had something to do with that peculiar setting I was in, with "the master", or "the ashram", with my eyes being shut, with the silence of everybody, or the prolonged eye-contact with the important looking fellow on the pedestal”. Unicity has nothing to do with these specifics. It is everything; it is unavoidable. You are that right now - you have always been, and you have never missed it. There is no need to look for what is already seen.

This selection is from Guy Smith's book, This is Unimaginable and Unavoidable

Copyright © Guy Smith 2005
Published by Non-Duality Press
Reproduced here by permission from the author and publisher