Nonduality From the Heart
In nondual spiritual circles, we could say that there is a certain range, continuum, or bandwidth of teachings that bring the spiritual aspirant or seeker to full and final fruition. These types of teachings live at the heart of all contemplative wisdom traditions.
There is a great commonality across them – which points to an absence, a presence, and living in the presence of absence. Another way that we can imagine this is by looking at it as a journey. This journey takes us up a mountain, exposes us to the view from the top, and then carries us back down the mountain. In Zen it is said that there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is a mountain again.
In each case we are seeing a very simple arc revealing the full and mature expression of inner understanding. One cannot get caught in the net of the mind, including the net of non-duality that the mind may cling to. If we truly understand this term, and what it is pointing toward, it must, by its very definition, be a completely inclusive explanation of reality. This inclusiveness is what I point to when I use the term Love.
It has other dimensions to it as well – but they may express Love in a manner that we are unfamiliar with. I describe these dimensions as Love’s cleansing fire, Love’s compassionate embrace, and Love’s playful dance. All three are dynamic movements within the grand harmony of our Being. When we are ready to pay attention, to really pay attention, we can see these forces at work in every moment of our unfoldment.
I would advise those who are of a true heart to become aware of your suffering and study it well. Also study the suffering that you may be creating in the lives of others. Become a student of suffering. As you encounter this suffering, embrace it with an open heart and ask yourself, ‘what am I holding onto here?’. If you look closely, you will see that you are identified with a thought about a person, place, thing, idea, or experience. There is an attachment, or a clinging to views that is present somewhere within the uncharted territories of your unquestioned assumptions.
Be gentle in your examination and inquiry though. Don’t stand under the shade of any one tree for too long, or you’ll never feel the sun on your face. Recognize, right now, that this whole journey inward is taking your toward a transparency that reveals the true unitive nature of Life as completely indivisible, always and forever whole; but in a way that is beyond all manner of conceptual understanding. Here, the earnest are destined to come to rest in the fullness of emptiness. This is the place I refer to when I use the word Heart. A Heart that is open, spacious, silent, and still.
Traditionally, and empirically, those who find this place often tilt themselves in the direction of service – humble service to Love and Wisdom. It is not always so, therefore do not let this become a trap either, but it is a common occurrence. This means that non-duality isn’t ‘disengaged’ in the manner that the mind may attempt to assert. What we are disengaged from is the mechanics of the mind as the governing force in our lives, surrendering completely into the Heart of Wisdom instead.
When I say that this site, Awakening Into Life is about ‘Nonduality from the Heart’, this is what I’m talking about. I tend to keep the focus of our conversations on gently and tenderly letting go of our fear, doubt, and uncertainty – and to test the waters of our own self limitation to see if they are real, or if they have been imposed by a conditioned perception. Is this conditioned perception the truth? Or are we still in the mind? So I’m drawing us down into a deeper dialogue that prepares us to enter a wordless reality that the mind is simply never going to be able to understand.
When this becomes clear for us in our own direct, immediate, and intimate experience, and we find ourselves opening up to what’s really here, our hearts become free to honor their full expression. But we cannot bypass the shift that delivers true transcendence. Going up the mountain is indeed challenging and rewarding – and so is seeing the view from the top. But never forget that the last part of the journey takes us back down the mountain again, into the compassionate embodiment of our humanity. This is the fruition of the pathless path, where one crosses the threshold of the gateless gate, and takes their first steps on the infinite last mile.
—Bradley Bemis is an Orlando-based spiritual teacher of non-duality and Self-realization, an inner presence coach and guide, and is currently working toward his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He offers a combination of public discourses and private sessions for those who are interested in exploring the enlightened insights of nondual wisdom. Learn more at awakeningintolife.com.