Non-dualism: A new paradigm of life and the universe
Monday September 18, 2017
Non-Duality, a new paradigm of life and universe.
“Flow down and down, and down, in the ever-widening rings of being”, Jalaluddin Rumi
Rumi is teaching us that instead of reaching outward for happiness and bliss, we have to sink backwards to the infinity within ourselves, the unlimited nature of being, the essential source.
Philosophers, masters and religious teachers over millennia have spread the practical impact of non-dualistic ideas in life. Non-duality, or often called Non-dualism, is the awareness and experience that everything around us is connected to us and not separated from us. The right knowledge of non-duality can liberate us from the way we perceive the world, and give us an expanded perspective of life. Once we realize this, we would know that the inside world and the outside world are one, and what we experience is a shared oneness and connectedness to everything around us.
We have been conditioned by society with a dualistic view: a negative pole and a positive pole on the opposite side. The experience of duality wherein we see the outside world, its objects and realities as separate from us, is oftentimes the root of most problems. In the dualistic view, there are two essential ingredients: the mind and the objects around you—with a clear separation between them, such as the observer and the observed. When we become influenced by such conditioning, we are separated from the source, our essential nature, and we tend to experience undesirable feelings such as dissatisfaction, fear, hate and anxiety as they occupy our realm of experience.
In Chadogyapanishad, there’s a story of a little boy who was sent to school at a very young age and after finishing 12 years of learning, he came back to his father. His father asked him a question,
“What is that you have known that you cannot see, touch, or hear without which you cannot see, touch or hear anything in the world?”
The boy said, “I don’t know.”
Then the father answered, “It is the essential nature of our being where everything comes from. The boy did not seem to understand. Then the father took two pots of clay. He held the two pots in each of his hand and said to the boy,
“These are two different pots, two different objects. Both of them are separate but both of them come from one essential form, which is the clay. The essence of the pot is the clay. In the same way, all that we experience come from one source.”
Ashtavakra Gita also talks about the same essential and indivisible source being that cannot be separated from the outside world. Furthermore, he explains about the unity of universal consciousness and states that it is ever-present, unlimited and unbounded.
Looking at One and seeing many
is the cause of all misery.
The only cure is to realize
What is seen is not there.
I am One – aware blissful, immaculate.
Ashtavakra Gita teaches us that the outside world is only a superimposition of our mind and once we realize this truth, we will be liberated. As the pot returns to the clay, as the bracelet returns to the gold, and as the cloth returns to the thread, the universe returns to oneself. That is the true identity that can be found by simply recognizing oneself as ‘Pure Existence’ and that as individuals, we are ‘the Awareness’ of all things.
When you experience non-duality you experience love, compassion, and beauty. Non-dualistic practice starts with the investigation of our true self which is the source of happiness.
What is that phenomenon called “I”?
It is to be aware of our thoughts and the knowing that they are fleeting and constantly changing, and are not part of our essential nature. Our unchanging true nature remains the same in the background of our experience, throughout our life, the ever-present experience. What we know as background of these thoughts is that there’s an “I”, which we have been taught since our childhood.
The first step to understanding non-duality starts from turning away from the objective experience and asking ourselves the question, “What is it that I am aware of?” Our conditioned mind believes that everything that surrounds us are distinct from each other. Once we understand non-dualism we will realize a sense of being undivided with ourselves, and that our inner experience and the outer expressions of our personality are one and the same. This knowledge on non-dualism can change the way we look at the world which can bring a greater of sense of freedom and happiness in our life.
Almost all religions and spiritual practices teach non-duality in their esoteric branches, and it is believed that in order to achieve a state of enlightenment one should go for arduous practices with step-by-step approaches of duties or practices. Ashtavakra Gita teaches us the technique to quantum jump to a higher state of consciousness without having to go through many long and hard steps. The results would be that we would come to know that we are inherently happy, and we will feel an abiding sense of bliss and connectedness to everything around us.