Awakening Into Life: 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. 

~From the Heart of Bradley


—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.

Working Together to Explore Nondual Wisdom

I am what you might call an open-handed spiritual teacher.  There is nothing in my hand.  There is nothing hidden from you.  You may not like what I’m saying, or prefer a different lens to see it through, but it’s all right here – sitting right out in the open, right in plain sight.  

When we first meet, I am likely to ask what books you’ve been reading and what teachers you’ve been listening to.  This often helps frame our dialogue in terms that are already familiar to you.  It also helps me get a sense of where you are in your journey and whether or not I can be of assistance. 

We may talk a bit about your journey; what you’ve seen and what you’ve realized.  I may also ask what you really want out of this journey, what you’re really hoping to gain or achieve.  Based on what you say, I should have a pretty good sense of what’s required in the immediacy of our time together. 

Please keep in mind that when you are working with me, you are working with a nondual teacher who is essentially emphasizing Jnana Yoga – the yoga of wisdom or the yoga of the mind.  The central tool’s used within this approach are self-inquiry work and neti-neti (not ‘this’, not ‘that’) discussions with a living master.  The entire model is deconstructive in nature so that the fog of the mind may lift to reveal a tender heart in need of attention.  

Nonduality, at its core, is a dissolving of the conceptual mind and a relinquishing of everything that is bound to it.  The teacher knows this and understands how the mind is perceiving the situation, and so the teacher works to guide the mind toward contemplation, observation, and examination until the mind is thoroughly convinced that it has exhausted every avenue except the one being presented. 

You see, the beauty of Jnana yoga can be summarized in this manner.  We are talking about a return to our natural state, and yet we are also saying that this natural state is ever-present – that it’s just about realizing what’s always been true.  The question is, what’s getting in the way?  If there is something getting in the way, then that some-thing is called mind. What if we show the mind the Truth?

If we show the mind the Truth, then the mind becomes a willing partner in the process of awakening.  If the mind can see, directly and experientially, without any doubt, it’s true nature and origin, it won’t be getting in the way anymore.  It won’t even bother to try.  It’s like allowing the compassionate heart to tame the wild mind so that it can be turned in Love’s direction.  

This kind of awakening is very stable because all potential for instability has been dissolved in seeing things as they are.  This kind of awakening can also be very challenging to the mind – especially minds that are already filled with spiritual concepts, notions and ideas.  We need to make room for ‘not knowing’ – which goes against every instinct of the mind.  Its purpose is to know! 

One of the main points emphasized, again and again, is how the mind is always trying to control everything.  Haven’t you noticed that it’s your tendency to want to be in control of everything that is the greatest sources of suffering in your life?  It’s really scary isn’t it?  The idea of not really being in control?  The mind has to ‘know’ what’s going to happen at all times!  That’s its job!

What does the mind need in order to ‘know’?  It needs information.  It needs to learn everything it can about every possible angle of interest so that we can feel safe; always protected from harm.  The mind must also be on alert for threats and potential dangers.  It must be wary of deception.  It must have a firm foundation in a belief or an idea that it uses to orient itself.  And it must protect it all! 

This is, of course, an exhausting way to live one’s life.  It is wrought with anxiety, disappointment, and depression; with bitterness, anger, and resentment.  You may indeed be a very nice person – and you are perfect just as you are.  But if you look closely at the subtle nature of the mind, you can easily see the churning ocean of thoughts that are filtering every aspect of your perceivable experience. 

Everything is labeled and categorized, given meaning, and acted upon through this lens of thought – through this lens of mind.  But what is the mind and where does it come from?  And more importantly, who is it that is aware of this mind?  Over and over again we will draw you back to this primary point of incursion.  Who is aware of mind?  Who is aware of body?  Who is aware of experience? 

Who is aware?

~From the Heart of Bradley


—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.