I can kind of see how someone could say nothing happens and nothing is done. When you wake up from a dream in the morning, you realize it was all in your head and nothing really happened and nothing was done (in reference to the “real” world). Similarly, when you watch a movie in the theater…before and after the movie is just a white screen. The movie was a play of images, and so you could say nothing really happened and nothing was really done.
But this is an attempt to separate yourself from what is being experienced. It is a putting down of the experience. During that movie, you did experience things happening and it may have made you laugh or cry. During that dream, you may have experienced flying or being chased or whatever. For the duration of the experience…clearly something is happening and things can be done.
Nonduality is not about separation, partitioning, etc. So when you say nothing happened and nothing is done, you are denying the appearances that are clearly happening and denying being able to do things within the dream.
Some nonduality people try to objectify it…as if in some objective reality, nothing was done and nothing happened. But objectifying it is just another form of dualization. Object and subject are not two different things in nonduality. So you can not deny the experiences you are having in this thing we call life.
Sometimes I will hear people state, “what happens to the dream when you wake up?” It is not really a question, it is used to hint that everything disappears upon awakening/enlightenment. However, we do not “wake up” like that…awakening is more like lucid dreaming. Dreaming but knowing it is a dream. The dream continues after enlightenment – but you are awake in knowing it is a dream.
Now you could deny the dream and somehow try to put yourself apart by saying nothing is happening and nothing is done (like you might try with your night time dreams). It is a made up world – created by interpretations, imaginations, thoughts, and senses in our own mind by our own mind – just as a dream is. That of course is just a game being played that says the “real me” is other than this (which is fake, not real, etc.). This too is a form of duality.
Some may say that awakening/enlightenment is when dream-making or world creating stops. But as long as you are “alive”, the dream never ends. There will always be experiences. Even Ramana Maharshi and Nisargatta Maharaj, both considered enlightened, had cancer and felt it in their bodies. They experienced the pain. They were still aware of what was going on within their bodies. The dream does not end until there is no body or being. Why deny we are dreaming during the dream by saying “nothing is happening and nothing is done”?
Instead, I say accept that things do happen in this dream and there is a will (a doer) in the dream. The Self is the doer. Now I know some will say…if there is no separateness and no other…how could there be anything done or a doer? That is the problem with language and logic…it can fool you (like any illusion of the mind).
Who said that nonduality is non-differentiated? Who said there is only a homogeneity of experience? Everything is both unique and the same. In a more simple analogy, to make the point, take the ocean. Underwater…there is only water and that is the ocean. But there are currents…and there might be hot and cold spots. Now if there are two currents going in different directions…are they two different oceans? Of course not…this is all one ocean…one body of water. And yet, variation can be perceived within it. The Self wills the motion within itself…and so different currents and movements can be differentiated, but are not other or separate from the Self.
After seeing that variation within, it is an illusion of the mind to then mentally split it off and call it its own object. And so one current going one direction and another current going a different direction would mentally be seen as two different things. However, they are not separate…they are not other than the ocean. That is nonduality…non-separation and non-otherness. It does not mean non-variation or non-differentiation.
In this dream, the currents are willed. Motion is an act of will. You need to start the ball rolling…otherwise it just sits there motionless. It is this will and motion that keeps the game going…which is the whole point – to play. So I say there is a doer, but who is the doer?
Perhaps you remember when you were young a situation where you played with two dolls – one in each hand. Maybe they were having a fight. One doll would shake and you would say for him, “how dare you do that to me!” The other doll would shake in response, “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean anything by it.” You could spontaneously create a whole fight. Each would have their own viewpoint as a character. It was not scripted…so you never really knew ahead of time what would happen. It was not predetermined, fated, etc….it was ad-lib and improv.
The Self does this too, but there is no outside viewpoint (just like when you are dreaming). So instead of two dolls…two people. Instead of someone holding the dolls…just the subtle and almost invisible Self that holds all (figuratively…as there is no other) and then plays each character from its own viewpoint to the fullest.
And so what you want to do is exactly what the Self wants to do as you. In this way, there is a doer…and it is you. In this way, things are done by your will. Of course, if you have an adversary in some fight or competition…what they want to do is exactly what the Self wants to do as them.
So you can do whatever you want to do. Your will and the Self’s will regarding what you do is identical. To conclude then, there is a doer and things happen through the will of the doer (and so things are done). Just not as you may normally think of doer, will, and things done.