Being Number One or True Oneness: Bridging Modern and Ancient Understanding of Number

Of all of our numbers, number one seems to carry the most ambivalent messages.
Many of us seek to reach at least oneness within ourselves, whilst many seek it with a partner. The concept of two becoming one is a part of many traditional marriage vows. Then there is the idea of a Oneness with Nature, a Oneness with God and a Oneness with humanity.

If these are our aspirations, then why do few, if any, attain them? Could it have anything to do with the conflicting functions and qualities we collectively ascribe to the number one and to the quality of ‘one-ness?

Aside from the discrete counting function attributed to all numbers, the quality of ‘one’ has a decidedly competitive and self-centred flavour throughout much of our world, where it is used mainly as an indicator of rank. Whether in a sporting context, the business world, academia, or even within a family, the drive for many is to be “number one”.

Being number ‘one’ equates to elevation above others lower down the scale of ranking, to superiority, to winning and to dominance.

There is a tendency to compare ourselves to those who are ‘number one’, often with envy and jealousy; we aspire to their position of prestige, financial reward and security – it is seen as the best place to be in the social rankings. Even in schools, children want to be awarded a ‘number one’ ribbon. No one remembers who takes second place. This highly individualistic version of the number one is totally at odds with our aspirations for genuine unity or oneness.

This competitive quality of one, based as it is upon a selfish individualism, is totally at odds to the quality of Oneness to which so many of us aspire. We have strayed far from the concepts of the ancient cultures of Egypt and of Pythagorean Greece, where number was viewed as having not only a finite, quantifying function, but also “a universal synthesising power.”

These ancient views of Number are of “…names applied to the functions and principles upon which the universe is created and maintained,” where ‘One’ represents the Absolute, God, or unity. (1) Our modern sense of ‘one’ is as a measure, a quantity, or a ranking.

In contrast, the ancient sense of ‘one’ is a part of understanding life and our relationship with ourselves, others and with divinity. There is the intimation that Number, including the number one, is a part of the inherent process of life, not something set to one side as an adjunct and a measure of life, to which it appears completely separate and unrelated. In the ancient understanding, Number’s relationship within life has a sacred quality.

In spite of their intuitive appeal, these ancient concepts of Number seem far removed from our quantitative understanding, and are almost impossible to discern in the midst of the mental constructs imposed on Number by way of the individualistic and social ranking definitions referred to above.

Given that so many of us do have a yearning, or an aspiration, to experience Oneness and Unity, is there a way for us to bridge this gap between the ancient and the modern understanding of Number?

In my search, I have found the teachings of Universal Medicine on Esoteric Numerology to be the only bridging of number from both its modern, individualistic meaning and quantitative functions, to the understanding of Number in its ancient meaning and function.

Esoteric Numerology presents the number one as a new beginning or the start of a new cycle for a person, a group, a business, or a concept. By using and understanding Number in this way, we move away from a purely quantitative use, to an approach that incorporates Number as a part of the unfolding nature of life and of ourselves.

This seems to me to not only circumvent the imposed mental constructs on Number, but also to encourage us to view Number as integral to life, not merely a measure of it.

Considering and applying this understanding of the number one to calendar dates, to relationships, birthdays, events and projects, I have experienced a new relationship with this number and a sense of working with it to order my life within a universally endorsed rhythm. I consider this to be several steps closer to an experience of true Oneness. Certainly sharing my experiences with others relating to the number one in this way has a definite unifying effect upon us, one which is quite different to the competitive experience of striving to be ‘number one’.

What we have to date entertained as modern concepts of ‘one-ness’ have not, and cannot, deliver a life of inner and outer unity, since they separate rather than unify us. The esoteric understanding of Number must surely offer a more solid foundation upon which to base our aspirations of oneness with oneself, with a partner, with God and with Humanity.

With immeasurable appreciation of Serge Benhayon, who has resurrected the true meaning of number, allowing all of us to connect with the absolute and divine meaning.


1. Sacred Geometry, Philosophy and Practice, (pg. 12) Robert Lawlor, Thames and Hudson, 1992
2. Serpent in the Sky, John Anthony West, The Theosophical Publishing House, 1993.

By Coleen Hensey

Further Reading:
The Universal Medicine New Year’s Message for 2013
The History of Sacred Esoteric Healing
Co-Creation – Liberation from Creation

625 thoughts on “Being Number One or True Oneness: Bridging Modern and Ancient Understanding of Number

  1. Esoteric numerology is truly unifying – it supports us to understand ourselves and life more clearly and deeply and to appreciate the part we play in amongst all of us – how the way we live has an effect on everyone else…

  2. I love the absoluteness of numbers. Numbers do not lie, we have to distort and fudge the figures so to speak to make them present a different picture but they still do not hesitate to show the truth if we look deeper.

  3. When we feel that connection with ourselves oneness is inevitable, in the same way that we will all at some time return to knowing that we are deeply connected, indeed one with, God.

  4. Thank you Coleen for sharing the huge difference between the ancient and modern version of numbers… the modern version is quite abstract whereas the ancient wisdom of number is very practicable and can be a huge support to us in life, if we live in harmony with their true meaning and reflection.

  5. Since I began studying and using esoteric numerology my relationship with numbers has completely transformed. I now understand number 1 as the only number and an absolute blessing this is as it reveals how ridiculous it is to strive to be it. We are all one.

  6. If the number “one” in truth means being absolute, then it offers us that we are all whole, and need no fixing. Not surprising that number has been twisted to mean instead we are better than others. At every company I have worked for there is a drive to be number one, if that company truly understood what that meant, it would work and act with absolute integrity for the good of all.

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