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.