Some 1400 years ago in China, the Empress Wu became fascinated with the relationship between the essential Oneness and the apparent multiplicity of life. She asked the sage Fa Tsang if he could give a simple practical demonstration to help her understand. Fa Tsang arranged one of the palace rooms so that eight large mirrors stood at the eight points of the compass. He then placed a further mirror on the floor, and another on the ceiling.
A candle was suspended in the centre of the room, and the Empress was invited in. Fa Tsang then lit the candle and the room was filled with the splendour of reflected light. The Empress Wu was awed and overcome by the beauty of this vision. “You see, your majesty,” said Fa Tsang. “This is the one and the many. The candle is the One Consciousness of God, and the reflections are the many individual consciousnesses of his creation.” The soul is a reflection of One Consciousness. In a sense it is individual, yet it could not be said to exist independently. Indeed, the source and the reflection are the same light.
The Complete Guide to World Mysticism, Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy.