Five Comments About Nonduality
When you contemplate your own consciousness with intense awareness, leaving aside all thoughts of good and bad, you are automatically led to the experience of non-duality. How is this possible? Think of it like this: the clean clear blue sky is like consciousness, while the smoke and pollution pumped into the sky are like the unnatural, artificial concepts manufactured by ego-grasping ignorance. Now, even though we say the pollutants are contaminating the atmosphere, the sky itself never really becomes contaminated by the pollution. The sky and the pollution each retain their own characteristic nature. In other words, on a fundamental level the sky remains unaffected no matter how much toxic energy enters it. The proof of this is that when conditions change, the sky can become clear once again. In the same way, no matter how many problems maybe created by artificial ego concepts, they never affect the clean clear nature of our consciousness itself. From the relative point of view, our consciousness remains pure because its clear nature never becomes mixed with the nature of confusion.
From an ultimate point of view as well, our consciousness always remains clear and pure. The non-dual characteristic of the mind is never damaged by the dualistic concepts that arise in it. In this respect consciousness is pure, always was pure and will always remain pure. We can compare positive states of mind to water at rest and deluded states of mind to turbulent, boiling water. If we investigate the nature of the boiling water we will discover that, despite the turbulence, each individual droplet is still clear. The same is true of the mind: whether it is calm or boiled into turbulence by the overwhelming complexity of dualistic views, its basic nature remains clear and conscious.
The conclusion, then, is that we all have the capacity to move from the confused, polluted state of ego-conflict to the natural clean clear state of pure consciousness itself. We should never think that our mind has somehow become irreversibly contaminated. This is impossible. If we can train ourselves to identify and enter into the natural, unaffected state of our consciousness, we will eventually experience the freedom of non-dual awareness.
Advaita is a Sanskrit word that literally means "not two". Synonyms of Advaita are non-duality (nonduality, non duality). Advaita is not a philosophy or a religion. Non-duality is an experience in which there is no separation between subject and object; a "me" and the rest of the universe; a "me" and God. It is the experience of consciousness, our true nature, which reveals itself as absolute happiness, love and beauty. Consciousness is defined as that, whatever that is, which is aware of these very words right here, right now.
To awaken to the absolute view is profound and transformative, but to awaken from all fixed points of view is the birth of true nonduality. … Enlightenment means the end of all division. It is not simply having an occasional experience of unity beyond all division, it is actually being undivided. This is what nonduality truly means. It means there is just One Self, without a difference or gap between the profound revelation of Oneness and the way it is perceived and lived every moment of life. Nonduality means that the inner revelation and the outer expression of the personality are one and the same. So few seem to be interested in the greater implication contained within profound spiritual experiences, because it is the contemplation of these implications which quickly brings to awareness the inner divisions existing within most seekers.
Nonduality as the phrase implies, literally means not two. There are not two things. It makes reference to the presumption deeply embedded in all cultures, that experience is divided into two things, one, a knower, and two, the known. … The term duality makes reference to these two apparent things, a knowing subject, which is considered to be this body, or in this body, and a known object — other, person, world — which is considered to be outside myself and separate from myself. The term nonduality indicates the true nature of our experience, which, if we make a deep exploration of our actual experience, we find there are not these two things. There is just one. … not two. … That leaves what there is truly, completely open, unnamed, untouched, but yet absolutely present in every experience.
Advaita (pronounced aahdwaituh) is a Sanskrit compound that means ‘not two.’ Although it can refer to anything, it is a particularly important word in the Vedic spiritual tradition because it indicates an important fact about the nature of consciousness, the Self. The portion of the Vedas that deal with the topic of enlightenment is called Vedanta. Vedanta contends that reality is advaita, ‘not two.’ This means that the subject-object distinction that is the most salient feature of what unenlightened individuals consider to be reality, does not actually obtain, although it seems to. This is a very important fact about existence because it is the subject-object distinction that is responsible for much of the existential suffering that characterizes human life. It causes all manner of emotional turmoil because taking the subject-object duality to be a fact puts the individual at odds with objects.
In duality, the subject, the person I have been conditioned to believe I am, takes his or her self to be limited and incomplete. Because of this fact, he or she feels he needs objects…a house, a job, a relationship, children, etc…to eliminate the sense of incompleteness associated with his or her status as a subject. He or she must develop strategies to obtain desired objects and to avoid undesirable objects. The pursuit and avoidance of objects accounts for considerable suffering. Because both the subject and the objects are subject to change, in so far as they are in time where duality obtains, it is difficult to obtain and keep desired objects. Time, the most salient feature of duality, puts considerable stress on the subject too. His or her desires are constantly changing. When an object is obtained, a change takes place in the subject that causes his or her relationship to the object to change. The constant friction caused by the interaction between the subject and the objects inevitably leads to loss of energy and death.
Vedanta contends that duality is merely a belief brought on by ignorance of the nature of reality, not a fact. In fact, reality is non-dual. This means that the subject-object distinction does not actually obtain. The subject is not different from the objects. Both the subject and the objects are apparent manifestations of the non-dual self or consciousness. Enlightenment is the freedom from suffering that arises when the non-dual nature of the self is fully appreciated. When you no longer take yourself to be separate from the world of objects…yes, people too are objects in duality…conflict dies and the subject is free of the desire to obtain and maintain objects. Vedanta is a time tested means of inquiry into the nature of reality that ultimately resolves the subject-object duality by revealing the non-dual nature of the Self.