This is a cursory overview of nonduality.
What it is, why it’s important to consider, and how to start your investigation.
This topic may be new and radical for some. Simply remain open as you read and enjoy the consideration as a possibility.
For others, the nature of self and reality is apparent. No matter how deeply you understand, there is always more.
For most, life and mind unfold somewhere between these two possibilities. If this is you, use this article to clarify the non-dual concept, reify its practical value, and download what is useful for your current stage of development.
My intention here is to incite huge insights and breakthroughs in you.
You experience yourself to be a person. And as this person, you suffer life’s unending vicissitudes.
What if this ‘person’ is not what it seems? And what if this suffering isn’t necessary?
This is the suggestion made by nondual teachings and teachers throughout human history. It has been represented and described in many ways and can be seen in the core myths of many major religions.
Non-duality literally means ‘not two’, and is a statement about the nature of self and reality.
Because reality is not two – not separated in any way – you are reality itself. Because you are the whole of reality, the experience you seem to be having right now is an illusion.
An illusion is something that appears to be one way but is actually something else. In the case of you the illusion is as follows:
- You experience yourself as an entity, separate from the world in which you live, with an independent will of your own (you create your thoughts, emotions, and actions).
- Your choices arise on behalf of an internal character with a past, life story, and psychosocial qualities.
- This entity is what you are existentially. The death of this person is the death of what you are.
Consensus reality also assumes, and so you experience, that the world is material.
Matter refers to a substance or reality outside of experience. It is as distinct from mind and consciousness. This material world is the context in which a separate self ‘person’ appears. Materialism is the paradigm under which modern science operates. It is also the paradigm you unknowingly use to interpret and understand reality.
According to nonduality these beliefs and experiences are mistaken, existentially untrue. Despite the appearance of such an experience, the truth is quite different.
The Truth is that reality is a unified field of Consciousness or Being.
This is also what you are. The word consciousness points to the experiential and subjective nature of reality.
The experience of a separate self does not refer to something that actually is. “l”. rather, is a thought and feeling that consistently arises within your body-mind perception. There is no ‘person’ outside of thought and emotion.
This truth is readily available for you to personally verify. It is already the case, always was, and always will be. All you need to do is ask the question and intend to experience the truth.
It is important to consider the nature of reality and realize non-duality for several key reasons:
- Suffering is the result of a disconnection from the truth. Freedom from suffering comes only as a result of deeply realizing non-duality in your own experience of self, life, and reality.
- Your understanding of reality is severely limited, even corrupted, when it is based upon ungrounded assumptions such as separation and materiality.
- The greatest joy, love, beauty, meaning, and fulfillment is possible only through the realization of your true nature. What follows is a set of stories about self, suffering, and non-duality that may help you understand these dynamics.
Self is a function of survival. When a self exists as you in your experience, it operates in accordance with the survival principle.
Suffering is the ‘tool’ used by survival to orient and manipulate the self into activity that ensures the persistence of that established form. As long as self-survival is active you will suffer.
Suffering tells the self what to do. The self (your character, person, identity, ego) is in a constant state of suffering, whether it is so mild as to be unnoticed or so severe as to dominate experience. So long as it (self concept) is the focal point of your consciousness you will suffer on its behalf.
It is only by uprooting this self-function, and living as non-dual consciousness that suffering is put to an end.
A sense of wholeness is not possible when you exist exclusively as a fragment.
When life is lived under the impression that separation, materialism, and self are immutable truths of Being, an unending search for resolution inevitably ensues. This sense of separation creates a need for reconnection (social, existential, internal).
Realizing your oneness with the whole of existence re-contextualizes and re-textures experience in a positive, fulfilling, and intelligent way.
Do not deny your individuality, merely be aware of the extent and depth of your identity. Be both the fragment and the Whole for maximum enjoyment, intelligence, grace, and reflection of truth.
Small self story
The truth is that you are infinite Being. Part of you knows this to be the case, and feels trapped within the illusion of small self. Being a person is massively limiting, as you are forced to be a specific thing day in and day out. There exists in you a deep intuition that you are more than the persona thing. It can be uncomfortable to have this intuition in the midst of seemingly contradictory experiences.
As a person, your death, whether social, conceptual, or physical is always just around the corner. This is the condition in which a self lives.
Realizing your immutable deathless nature changes this condition by re-contextualizing these deaths. The non-dual context takes the pressure out of death in all its forms by showing you that no matter the circumstance you exist as untouchable perfect being.
Identity maintenance story
Having to keep up the appearance of you is an endless and unfulfilling endeavor. When that identity is clearly seen through, your need to devote yourself to it is reduced.
Being aware of your formless and infinite nature grants you freedom from the self contraction.
How to get woke
Contemplate, “what am I?” until you are directly conscious of what you are beyond doubt and before experience
Learn to feel and be unconditionally happy. In the process of becoming happy you will inevitably have to become more conscious. Think of truth as the north pole and true happiness a compass.
Master your body mind. develop yourself towards greater levels of empowerment, freedom, health, mastery, love, beauty, Truth, etc. This helps you build more accurate, inclusive, and powerful models.