What is Nonduality
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#2779 - Thursday, April 5, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz
Nondual Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
Featured is a chapter from Stephen Wingate's book, The Outrageous Myths of Enlightenment. You may read more about Stephen's books and CD's at http://www.atmapublishing.com/index..htm. It is a very good website with lots of audio samples so you can hear this dude speak.
Thanks to Gloria Lee for the beautiful review of my book.
You and Me Are the Same One: This is Love
Question: Ive been reading about Advaita and non-duality. Its very clear when I read it, but in daily life it gets a bit confusing. Of course the question is always related to me versus them.
Stephen: Yes, of course. At the root of personal confusion, and questions in personal relationships is the belief in the existence of a separate me, a separate ego who has power to exercise his own will. If there is the unexamined belief that you exist as an independent, self-directing entity, then naturally youll see others as independent, self-directing entities, too. Therein lies the potential for personal, egoic conflicts in relationships.
Seeing there is no separate, independent entity there in you, it is also seen there is no separate, independent entity in another. Challenges, differences and conflicts may still arise, but they are not experienced as personal conflicts. There is no personal me versus a personal you; there are just conflicts arising.
You and me are both appearances of the One Mysterious Source. If theres conflict between you and me, its part of the play of the One. You and me are the same One in essence. Seeing you and me as the same One can be called Love.
Q: This isnt a big deal, but it gets me wondering. Should I be worried about how I behave in relationship with others? Im always thinking that I could do better than Im doing. I should be more giving, and say more kind words with other people. Should I contemplate this or should I just let it work out naturally?
S: Its already working itself out naturally. Everything is working itself out naturally and spontaneously. You are not the source of the kind words or of the giving. If more giving and kind words are to happen through you, you couldnt stop them. Theres no separate you there to take credit for the giving or the kind words; nor to take the blame for the lack thereof. And if theres worrying about how one should behave in relationship, then theres worrying. Who can stop it? Can a volcano stop itself from erupting? Can it take any credit or blame?
Q: Sometimes when Im talking to my father and he begins to talk over me, I sense this frustration. My body starts to shake and I begin to defend myself. But, I must admit, it has gotten better after my realization.
S: You may notice the sense that youre watching these frustrating interactions with others happen rather than being a participant in them. You are the witnessing presence of the conflict; you are not the person involved in the conflict.
Q: Does it really matter if one doesnt believe in the mind? Though Im not choosing any thoughts I could be controlled by thoughts unconsciously.
S: Who is this I that is controlled by thoughts? Isnt it just another thought? Everything is happening, no doubt, but is there an I to whom its happening?
Q: My shyness troubles me sometimes because I want to be more alive in relationship with other people. But I find myself being dull or too simple. Im aware that this is only based on some random thoughts in my brain, but they keep circulating.
S: Some people are quiet and shy; others are loud and gregarious. Is it your doing? Is one right and the other wrong? Yes, your analysis is correct: your concerns are only based on some random thoughts circulating in you.
Q: Should I drop all my hopes of how I want to be, or should I try with ambition to be more alive in human relationship?
S: You can make an effort to be more outgoing and expressive in your relationships, but theres no need to suffer over it. If its causing you to suffer, then drop it if you can. Its not your doing in the first place.
Q: Another example: my mother is a master at getting me worried that Im not giving enough to other people, and that I should visit my brothers more often. But I dont feel a strong motivation to do it. Because of this, I always doubt that I understand non-duality. Its seems that sometimes I do understand, and sometimes I dont.
S: Understanding non-duality is completely unrelated to the concerns youve posed. Whether youre motivated to take certain actions, or if others are pleased with your actions, have no relation to the fact that your essential nature is awareness, and you are not the ego. Realizing this in your own direct experience, there is a sense of peace and acceptance of whatever is happening. You are the witnessing presence of all that arises. You are not the doer.
Q: This questioning of my understanding is especially apparent when Im around people. I get shy with people that I feel are superior to me. Its a silly thought, but sometimes I dont find it effective to just drop the thought. It seems to be deeper in me than just my thoughts. There must be something deeper than transient thoughts that control me.
S: Yes, there is something infinitely deeper. In fact, so much deeper that its an absolute mystery. The same Mysterious Source that makes the flowers bloom, the sun shine, and the earth turn is controlling this puppet called Gerri.
Q: What is it that stops me from doing whatever I want? Why do I feel shy and hesitant around some people? Why dont I express myself freely, and not worry about what others think? Maybe its just the way my body and mind was made? Is my nature in the dual world to be shy and insecure? Or should I just let everything be as it, even if Im shy to some people? In the end its all just thoughts, but Ive been living my life and believing those thoughts for some time. How am I supposed to drop those beliefs?
S: Is Gerri in control or is everything just happening?
Q: The fact that I am simple awareness has done more good for my mental state than any other spiritual or religious system. I now feel this deeper connection when Im reading all sorts of spiritual writings. It feels odd that all these people are looking for something that is always in front of them.
S: Yes, stop for a moment right now and just be aware of your own existence. Do you sense this presence of awareness? There is seeing, hearing, feeling, and thinking all happening in you. No effort is required. You are this simple presence of awareness. Just stop again now and be aware. This awareness that you are can also be called Love. This Love that you are loves to laugh and it loves to cry. It loves to win and it loves to lose. It loves to be at peace and it loves to be at war. It loves to accept and it loves to reject. It loves to love and it loves to hate. This awareness that you are is unconditional Love itself. Everything that arises in it is soaked in Love. This Love is what you are.
Q: Another concern of mine is when Im at work and I meet all these new people. Some people I find easy to speak with, and others I dont. Is it normal for a non-dualist to continue to feel uncomfortable sensations and emotions? Should I just feel them and dont think about it? Sometimes the present moment is uncomfortable. Even if Im not consciously thinking about it, I just feel uncomfortable.
S: This puppet called Gerri along with his family, friends, and co-workers (all puppets, too) appear in your awareness. They all do their special dance, and then they part. Sometimes Gerri is comfortable and sometimes hes not. So it is.
Q: Can I be conscious of every thought I have? That just cant be. There must be some hidden thoughts and motives that keep causing me to do what Im doing.
S: Everything in existence, including all thoughts, feelings, motives, and actions are caused by the One Mysterious Puppet Master. Gerri is a puppet, not the Puppet Master.
Q: Well, as you can see I can be a bit doubtful. This must explain why I feel an affinity to non-duality because Im really good at seeing some flaws in other systemsbe it religious or spiritual. My mind is always looking for some flaws to think about. Will my mind change if I stop worrying about it?
S: Gerri has no mind of his own. Thoughts appear and then they disappear. Where is Gerris mind?
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