What does ‘we are all one’ really mean?

Yes, I have heard the phrase too.  My understanding is that you and I are literally not two.  Not two is the direct meaning of nonduality.

I am not denying that there are two patterns in the one manifesting as two body/minds.  However, it is only within the mind that we separate into two and this illusion is maintained through ignorance.  Because there are discernible patterns within nonduality does not mean that there is separation.  Like a magnet, there is a north pole and a south pole…this can be discerned…however there is never a north pole without a south pole.  You can’t really divide or separate them.  The one implies the other…they go together. Continue reading What does ‘we are all one’ really mean?

Does the experience of self-realization or awakening naturally give rise to a nondual understanding?

Or is it the other way around – that a nondual concept of reality conditions the very nature and experience of self-realization?

This is a very interesting question.  It is true that our experiences tend to conform to our expectations and concepts.  There is a well known idea in India that God appears to you in the form you expect and conceptualize.  So if you are Christian, God appears to you as Christ.  If you are an ISKCON memeber, God appears to you as Krishna.  If you believe/conceive a formless God, God appears to you without a form.  The experience of the Divine tends to conform to our concepts of the Divine. Continue reading Does the experience of self-realization or awakening naturally give rise to a nondual understanding?

The Self has always been free. The Self is always awake. Right?

This is really a nasty question.  If I say “yes”, then you will think there is nothing to realize and remain stuck in suffering.  If I say “no”, that is not correct and limitations on the Self could be inferred.

You see…it is not as simple as saying “the Self has always been free.”  While true, the question is do you feel free?  Also, are you free from suffering?  If you do not feel free and are not free of suffering, then you are not awake and are not free.  However, it is a figment of your imagination.  An illusion of the mind.  You are hypnotized…and hence asleep…within a prison of your own thoughts.  As long as the illusion is attached to and believed…it is a delusion of being trapped and that delusion has effects. Continue reading The Self has always been free. The Self is always awake. Right?

Where is the responsibility in nondualism?

Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.”  Likewise, for me, love says, “100% responsibility for everything” and wisdom says “0% responsibility for anything.”  Between the two, my life flows. Continue reading Where is the responsibility in nondualism?

Where are the ethics in nondualism?

Many nondual teachers don’t put much attention on ethics.  Unless asked…I often don’t talk about ethics either.  Usually, it is assumed you are already fairly ethical.  I don’t know of many people with an interest in nonduality who are not ethical, because nonduality is not the first stop of the spiritual journey for most people.  Often, people have been spiritual seekers for years before they encounter nondualism.  In my experience, spiritual seekers tend to have higher ethical standards than the rest of the population. Continue reading Where are the ethics in nondualism?

Where is compassion in nondualism?

Advaita / nondualism often gets heady and dry, but compassion is very much included.  Love brings togetherness in unification.  The Self is love.  Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.”

With love, there is compassion.  Nondualism does not mean a homogeneity of experience….only that you realize it is not the experience of separate things.  So although it is Self-love and Self-compassion, it may be expressed through acts done for an “other” person.  There can be a recognition of that is a dog, that is a tree, that is my friend, etc.; and yet still not be fooled into thinking those are separate others.  There is only the Self. Continue reading Where is compassion in nondualism?

What does “when I woke up”…exactly mean?

I woke up in November 2005. I simply mean that a happening occurred…a realization. A kind of aha moment when the illusions of the mind are clearly and deeply seen through…in particular this idea of “me”. This is not just a mental realization, but undeniably through the whole being. I sometimes say it hits you to the core or in your bones. Continue reading What does “when I woke up”…exactly mean?

Isn’t the Self unchanging?

Yes and no.  If you say the Self is unchanging, then whatever changes is not the Self and that would be duality.  The Self is all there is.  Of course, the Self has changing and unchanging aspects.

Many teachers and teachings point to the substratum behind all experience and that is unchanging…that which is behind all changes and the comings/goings of things. Continue reading Isn’t the Self unchanging?

Is there such a thing as living in pure nonduality?

What do you think that would mean?  When people speak of pure nonduality, they often talk as if there would be an absolute nothingness/oneness or absolute non-differentiation.  That they would not be aware of the appearances of the world or something or other.  They don’t seem to catch the fact that the idea of “pure nonduality” is just another form of duality.  There is not such thing as pure versus not-pure nonduality.  There is just nonduality.

Life and the world itself is not dualistic…it has always been nondual.  It is our minds that believe in separation.  It is a mental fiction.  There never was otherness.  There is only the mistaken idea of otherness, because there is a perception of many things (that we then assume are separate). Continue reading Is there such a thing as living in pure nonduality?

Is nonduality all about getting rid of this separate wave?

Not at all.  Nonduality is about seeing through our identification with this separate wave we call “me.”  Even after awakening, the separate wave will still exist as a thing.  But the “separate wave” has clearly realized that it is the ocean (which includes all waves).  It is realizing that the separation existed only in the mind.

I have a question, what is a “thing”?  What are we talking about when we talk about “things”?  I recently spoke with a young man and asked him this question.  He quite rightly answered that a “thing” is a noun.  A noun is a convention of speech.  Usually, it is used when we want to talk about a part of something. Continue reading Is nonduality all about getting rid of this separate wave?