What is Nonduality
Experience Nonduality via Yoga Nidra
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One day the soul spoke
of the wholeness of my
broken heart, and said,
"Why leave to time
what I have healed myself?
I am a lesser
Believer in Time
than in Love."
Thanks for the Salon.
To be one with everything is enough.
To be one with everything is enough. Well, isn't it? Only
dissatisfaction, which is a mental state, claims otherwise. My own
dissatisfactions are quite unworthy of any serious consideration. I
want whiter teeth and more admiration and that is just for
starters. Some days I want the world to go away and leave me alone
(which it never does, by the way. It often runs its shopping cart
into my car and throws my newpaper into the weeds).
I also want the world to beat a path to my door, garlanding me with
love and appreciation ( Hallmark cards seem to indicate how well I
am doing). But I actually don't want to be one with everything,
because that would be downright inconvenient. There are surgeries
to be performed and bills to be paid....It's a good thing that the
world is an illusion. Now wait just a darned minute. If I am one
with everything and everything is an illusion, where does that leave
me....on Cloud Nine with a hole in it? I need a drink.
I have given myself a small metaphysical headache in just two
paragraphs, each one making a vein in my forehead bulge. If I am
one with the illusion, why am I working full-time to keep up my end
of the bargain. And who has the other end...God or You-Know-Who?
Every day I get up thinking that I have things to do. If I don't
buy food, I won't eat. If I don't put gas in the car, I can't
drive. If I don't pay the bills, I will be dispossessed.
"Less possessing--less possessed.
More possessing--more possessed.
Less possessed--more assessed."
Be still that you may be clear.
Be clear that you may clearly see the world.
When you see clearly through the world, then you will know how
very poor and powerless it is to give you what you seek of freedom,
peace and life.
The Book of Mirdad, Mikhail Naimy.
Earnest Seeker or Sleepy Dreamer?
In pursuing a path of self-enquiry such as advaita, we would be well served to keep in touch with our present state of mind, and not venture too far afield into realms of fantasy and unquestioned belief. One thing we can use to ground our search in fact, is honesty. Another is coming to know our true motivations, why we seek. These two tools help us stay balanced as we walk the razor's edge of truth and illusion, safely crossing the chasm of maya and duality. Let's take a look at aim and honesty, and their counterparts, sleep and imagination.
To get anywhere, we must have direction. To Become, we must have the intimate knowledge that we are not. A little self-observation can show us rather quickly that if we are identified with the personality, intellect, and emotions, we are not a stable entity. Observation of our desires and fears as they manifest and control our actions will show us that we also do not have a stable direction. We hear from those who have gone before that there is another shore, where the misery of instability and want are replaced by Oneness, lacking in confusion and desire. Now, if we like the sound of this heaven, we are apt to use the only well-trained tool we have to find it: our imagination, the inner movie. We have been taught to live in imagination, and to use it as the gauge for how things are, and how they should be. Thus, we have been cut off from our ability to perceive directly, and are left with only concepts, ghosts and echoes.
If our direction is controlled by our imagination, and our imagination by desire and fear, we have no direction. We are wandering in our sleep, led by pleasure, pain, and illusions of happiness, none of which last, but constantly change as we drift along the primrose path of maya. We hear from advaita that there is no person, no doer, and that nothing needs to be done, for all is One. If we are prone to laziness and ease, we may think all we need do to attain this state of oneness is to blindly follow a teacher and their words, and don't worry, be happy. If we are afraid, we may seek security in these words and safety in the ashram. If we are ambitious, we may even claim realization and become a teacher ourselves.
As the years roll by, most of us find that following our desires and fears has simply made us pay. We have paid with our time and money, not only to keep our own imagination pacified, but also to keep our so-called 'teacher's' private dream-world well funded. If we are lucky, sooner or later the bubble bursts, and we are left with only a bad taste in our mouth, an empty checkbook, and a bruised ego. The old saying, 'if it's sounds to good to be true, it probably is', takes on new meaning. Our direction was only towards desire and away from fear. It was not towards truth, at least not yet. We may find that our true aim, what we really wanted, was not truth or oneness after all, and thus we paradoxically move closer to the goal, for now we know ourselves a little better.
Here's also where honesty comes in. If we continue to observe our own mind all the while we seek and meditate, we can see that despite whatever calming thoughts of oneness we hold in our head, the mind does not really change. The catchy slogans and charming teachers do not stand up to the tests of day-to-day life, and we find we remain frustrated and unhappy. We may look back fondly on the time when we did not have to pretend to ourselves that we had 'no-mind', and did not have to put one thought up against another to keep our new spiritual ego afloat. It's hard, miserable work, being perfect. Our talents, friendships, and capabilities are ignored while we cater to an ego-god that cannot be satiated. Is this really what nirvana is all about?
The path to self-knowledge is not one of ease and belief, a quick concept-jump into karma-free bliss, but one of hard work in facing oneself. The path of self-enquiry eventually leads to the state of non-action, but only after all ties to action are broken. Action and awareness do not conflict with one another; they do not need to be at war. Our thoughts are not us, we may watch them undisturbed. If we think becoming is simply a process of getting the right thought/concept to identify with, we are fair game for anything that comes along. Honest observing of the mind gives us a new direction, one of going within, and eventually leads to That which is beyond mind. Identifying with thoughts, whether spiritual or otherwise, leads us farther outward into the mind's labyrinth, where one thing is against another, and the game is lost no matter how strong the belief or loud the noise. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing with yourself, observe yourself.
A little nondual scripture...
Hinduism: The essence and the whole of Vedanta is this Knowledge, this supreme Knowledge: that I am by nature the formless, all-pervasive Self.
Buddhism: In the transcendental truth there is no origination (utpada), and in fact, there is no destruction (nirodha). The Buddha is like the sky (which has neither origination nor cessation), and the beings are like him, and therefore they are of the same nature.
Sufism: If you think that to know Allah depends on your ridding yourself of yourself, then you are guilty of attributing partners to Him - the only unforgivable sin - because you are claiming that there is another existence besides Him, the All-Existent : that there is a you and a He.
Native American tradition: We believe profoundly in silence the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit. Those who can preserve their selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the shining pool those, in the mind of the person of nature, possess the ideal attitude and conduct of life. --Ohiyesa
Christianity: "When Jesus said `Except through me' he was speaking of the Self, not the body, but people have misunderstood this. On another occasion Jesus said, `The kingdom of heaven is within you'. He did not mean that it is within the body. This `you' Jesus spoke of is the Self, infinite consciousness.
Judaism: Do not attribute duality to God. Let God be solely God. If you suppose that Ein Sof emanates until a certain point, and that from that point on is outside of it, you have dualized. God forbid! Realize, rather, that Ein Sof exists in each existent. Do not say, This is a stone and not God. God forbid! Rather, all existence is God, and the stone is a thing pervaded by divinity.
--edited by Jerry Katz
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