Do you find yourself drawn toward mindfulness-based or contemplative wisdom practices? Have you had one or more confusing spiritual insights? Are you still trying to make sense of it all? Does it still feel like something is ‘missing’? What if all that’s really missing is just a shift in perspective – one that clearly illuminates what’s always already here…
A quick primer on nonduality.
Non-dual means “not two” or “one undivided without a second”. It is a way of expressing the fundamental nature of reality as a singular whole, in a manner that is beyond the ability of the human mind to fully comprehend. It is something that is only made directly and experientially apparent when one sees beyond the illusory limits of the conceptual, mind-made self and conceptual, mind-made world – a process often referred to as ‘awakening’.
Non-duality is not a religious or spiritual belief system – it is the nature of ‘things’, seen clearly as they are. In fact, all such belief systems have arisen in the wake of one who has experienced this basic truth and tried, to varying degrees of success, to share it with others. Indeed, the seeds of non-dual reality can be observed as the core foundation of all esoteric mystical transmissions; including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, Sikhism, Yoga, and several other lesser-known wisdom traditions. Modern-day research in the fields of physics, neuroscience, transpersonal and experimental social psychology, linguistic anthropology, and more, are also providing a rich body of evidence that further reinforces the truth of these realizations.
The preeminent quality of nondual realization is the direct, experiential recognition that ‘you’, as you think of yourself, do not actually exist in the way that you ‘think’ you do. It has to do with the nature of our conditioned minds – at least at first. We’ve been taught to see the world a certain way – to see it as separate or apart from ourselves; to see ourselves as separate or apart from it. We’ve been drawn into a story about the way things are that simply isn’t true. We’ve become so immersed in, and identified with this story that we’ve lost ourselves to it. Nonduality is the clear seeing of things as they are, without our conditioned filters. It is to see through the illusion of ‘self’ and into that which exists ‘before’ the mind comes into being; into that which is ‘prior’ to the mind. There are many other things that can be said about awakening from the dream of duality, but no point is more fundamentally important than this one – everything hangs on this single premise: “for as long as you see yourself as isolated, separated, and apart from the whole, you remain caught in the net of duality. When the illusion of a separate self has been seen through, everything falls into place on its own – just as it’s been doing all along“.
When beginning to explore the ‘pathless path’ of nonduality, it is often advised that one find a realized teacher, guru, or sage who can provide guidance and clarifications along the way. There are many different types of teachers and many different teaching styles. What’s most important is that you find someone who can speak from an embodied realization – who can guide you through the awakening process at the levels of mind, heart, and body; who can help you find balance within the paradox and ambiguity of the awakened state. Toward this end, there is a large and growing community of nondual therapists who combine direct nondual realization with contemporary psychological theories to smooth out the process, address trauma-related wounding, and treat the variations of anxiety and depression that are common throughout awakening. In our modern society, these types of teachers are well-positioned to bring a great deal of clarity and tenderness to the awakening process. This is the kind of work that I find myself doing as a Contemplative Coach. I offer individual and group sessions that are geared toward earnest inner exploration and Self-discovery.
If I can be of assistance to you on your own journey, please don’t hesitate to contact me.