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#4041 - Monday, October 11, 2010 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nonduality Highlights -  


Non-Dual Me, Baby!


I’ve been checking out my bookmarked “non-duality” sites again and I’m always amazed at the self-absorbed and self-interested bloggers advocating that we all follow their lead and sink into ourselves in attaining the insight that we are not a ‘self.’

If you spend 10 to 20 years in self-absorbed meditation (and these are the authentic zenners and advaita jockeys, as I no longer read the 'instant-awakening' folks) you will eventually attain the insight that there is no subject/object division.(yet, in the meantime, your experience of a regressing and eroding world will continue to regress and erode as usual)

Here’s a quote from Ken Wilber’s "Spectrum of Consciousness":

"Similarly, the dualism of subject vs. object is as illusory as that of the past vs. future, and its illusory nature can be as easily demonstrated. For, at this moment, can you actually find a separate self, a separate “subject” apart from its “object”? When you hear a sound, can you ever hear yourself hearing? When you taste something, can you taste the taster? Smell the smeller? Feel the feeler? When you see a tree, can you at the same time see the seer? As you are now thinking about all of this, can you simultaneously find a thinker who is thinking about it? Is all this not the clearest demonstration that there exists no separate subject apart from objects? Invariably, the sensation called “yourself in here” and the sensation called “objects out there” are one and the same sensation. As we said in connection with Yogacara, at this moment you are this page reading itself!

This type of teaching ignores an existential aspect of living referred to as “facticity.”


In the works of Sartre, "facticity" signifies all of the concrete details against the background of which human freedom exists and is limited. For example, these may include the time and place of birth, a language, an environment, an individual's previous choices, as well as the inevitable prospect of their death. For example: currently, the situation of a person who is born without legs precludes their freedom to walk on the beach; if future medicine were to develop a method of growing new legs for that person, their facticity might no longer exclude this activity. Wiki.

Non-dualism denies the "facticity" of the human experience by deconstructing that diverse experience into an anonymous cauldron of homogeneity, in which experiencing the deep joy of intimately engaging with others is minimized against an anonymous subject/object clumping together of all experience.


Why do we hate the ‘self’ so much? Why do we so deeply wish to experience homogeneous anonymity?

Non-duality seeks to escape authentic existential experience by deconstructing that experience down to nothingness rather than reconstructing it in discovery of what it could be together in our diversity. The intimacy of two or more becomes nothing but a mere aspect of the dualistic "illusion," even though it gives us more joy than any other existential experience.

Non-duality is not so much an escape from self as it is more an escape from other selves. It is a way to offset guilt for the collective experience we all partake of and that the ego-collective constructs.

Non-duality seems to inform that since we have done such a lousy job of constructing our collective experience, best to just trash it all and seek anonymous bliss through an equally anonymous mass of subject/object merging. In other words, fuck the self and give me the bliss of anonymity. Now I can deny that I hate you for all that I’ve done wrong and completely disassociate from you as the vehicle I must seek to engage with in order for us both to know the ‘self' fully in an enlightened evolved state.

Meditation, with the goal of non-duality, is a defense mechanism against reality and attempts to deny our mutual "facticity."

Insight is available for experience, but only through others and the world.

However, these non-dual teachers and advocates are certainly an interesting lot. With all their non-dual principles, ideologies and practices, they still seem to get a big kick out of engaging with others in constantly discussing the theory of non-duality.

I just hope this type of consistent engagement with others doesn’t mess up their practices in achieving the non-dual state.

; )


  [Ed note: Apparently, as the true identity of Jed McKenna is up for grabs, anyone who cares to might study his books and claim it.]

Populist Gurus and Spiritual Cowboys

Spiritual populism is certainly on the rise in the west and the cowboy-gurus are poppin' out of the woodwork. I imagine that as empirical reality begins to severely bite folks in the arse, many will begin turning to these circus masters.

It's interesting that we seek for new, more sustainable ideas for evolving the empirical world, but continue to accept the same old spiritual claptrap from the
spiritual cowboys and 'action-heroes' of "awakening."

Consciousness clearly exhibits it’s resistance to evolution in its compulsion to repeat and idolize the same tired old stories over and over again.  

  PS. Before anyone writes to ask when I lost my mind (or I get fired...), it just seemed a fair idea to take a look at some critics of nonduality. And to be fair to Mike, he does have more thoughtful and more insightful writings on his blog. If you have the time, his whole series on "ego" describes very well the survival strategies the ego takes in the course of most spiritual endeavors. Not to pick on Jed, because Mike apparently doesn't think very highly of Tolle or even Adyashanti.  Still, there's something so basically likeable about Mike himself and his iconclastic wit, that I simply enjoyed reading him. And well, it just seemed a good idea at the time to share him. -Gloria

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