What Is Non-Duality About?

A friend asked me, so what is non-duality? This was at lunch, after satsang with the (unorthodox) Advaita teacher Francis Lucille – it was her first time – and I gave a sort of basic, dictionary definition. Then later, it occurred to me she may have been asking more: after all, she’d been to the satsang and heard quite a lot of dialogue.

I’d merely said it means “not two”. We normally see things as duality: up/down, right/wrong, good/bad, and it’s about the underlying reality that is non-dual that is Consciousness. Though that is just a word.

But it’s more than that.

It’s about who, or rather, what you are: not an object.

It’s about standing alone, having the courage to do that but knowing that in that aloneness is true unity with everyone and everything. There are no others. The courage to stand alone or apart from the beliefs and demands that are false, and living according one’s inner truth, the quieter sense.

It’s about seeing what is: bodily sensations, thoughts, images – in the present – and that that is all that is happening. Being aware of what is not present, what is not now, where we are mentally in the future or past, or with habits, and realizing that is not us, that is the false self, the illusion.
It’s about accepting the illusion is the lie as it were, and being OK with it. Life is not serious. Life is an adventure, to be celebrated.

It’s about seeing limits and realizing they were not real, but projections and beliefs.

It’s not about aboutness, but about what Is. But ultimately, once that is glimpsed, even aboutness and human activity are what Is.

It’s about happiness.

It’s about spiritual maturity.

It’s about going directly to who and what we are: an awake, real experiencer, self-aware – rather than indirectly through practices. It’s pointing to that pathless path.

It’s about what Is, even though it may at times seem invisible: love, truth, beauty are the evidence of a deeper intelligence.

It’s about dying to the false and unreal, the illusory, letting go, surrendering the minuscule and realizing the extra-ordinary, a spark of the infinite.

It’s about our fundamental nature and the extraordinary paradox that’s it can seem very hard to be what we already are: effortless (infinite, boundless…)

It’s about trusting Life: that behind the appearances (sometimes to the contrary) that’s things are perfect and unfolding as they should. That all is well.

It’s about realizing how small and insignificant one is, as a bodymind, and humility towards the unfathomable power and mystery of what Is.

It’s about not identifying with what isn’t (lack, misery, and all the thoughts and feelings which constitute that illusion of separation), and identifying with what is.

It’s about seeing what is transitory, fleeting changing: all the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experience of the world and everything in the world and all relationships an anything that we call human life, and finding what doesn’t change, what is immutable present and real.

Its about waking up from the dream of life: the dream of being a body, a human being, a world, an actor on a stage, a doer and changer

It’s about Being not doing.

It’s not about any thing. It’s about no thing.

It’s about realizing there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. Though life goes on as a body and a mind and a doer and a thinker – it’s about responding, not reacting, being in harmony with the Tao…

It’s about perfecting the nature of love, though it’s already perfect, evolving the experience of life.

It’s about setting aside the noise of the world, looking within, discovering, uncovering, by grace.

It’s about going beyond ourselves, our small selves, giving and being of service, in joy and love of being oneself.

It’s about letting freedom and simplicity run your life, instead of being controlled by thoughts and feelings. Living inside-out instead of outside-in.

It’s about realizing nothing is separate.

Canary Isalnd Palm and Clouds, Photo by Eric Platt

Beware of the Spiritual Path: It’s Not About *You*

The “spiritual path”, is not about feeling good all the time, while you are on it, because it’s about seeing oneself from a true and honest perspective, which can be shocking or not comfortable… and it’s not even about changing something or fixing something, it’s about surrendering who you are, or rather think you are.
I don’t think people know what they are getting into. You get deep into it and you realized you’re on a ticket with no return trip except to go back to your old self – in other words stay stuck on the old flight or jump out the door! Then why do it? For the ego, there is no thing to be gained. There’s nothing in it for the me. Unless you want to gain a spiritual ego. Pride. Pretension. Pretending. That’s a dead end too. A cul de sac, leading to the same: ups and downs, happy/not happy, problems, solutions, setbacks, progress, delusion, enlightening moments, pain, pleasure… duality in other words.
See someone, or meet someone you don’t like, or some situation that irritates you, or makes you angry? Guess what, they are you, and it is you. They are literally you, projected form your mind, reflecting what you don’t want to see. The plank in your eye, as it says somewhere in the Bible… And that situation is you: you give everything all the meaning it has. That is an absolutely comprehensive statement. Sorry for the bad news! But it’s good news in reality. All is well and unfolding as it should.

The body is involved too. It’s not just the mind that is in the spotlight. If you were living from the mind, and that starts letting go, the body gets involved, in the play of life.
I’m just starting to see what that is about …

The good news is that, at some point, someone can swap out the old “Life’s a Bitch, Then You Die” bumper sticker with, “LIFE IS FUN AND YOU NEVER DIE”.

The Final Frontier Is The True Self

Joy arises, and astonishment, spontaneous freedom… then you discover you got more than you bargained for, or rather, less than you bargained for! You thought you could take “you” with you, be a new and improved self, get recognition, love, real love for being enlightened, wise… but here now, having to face the fact there’s no luggage allowed on this flight. Not even the clothes on your back.

And even though you’re being served champagne on this airline, it turns out you’re invited to sky dive without a parachute.

But you know in you’re heart it’s OK, there’s nothing real to hit. But the illusion sees illusions.

Have fun on the fall …

If someone were to ask me, “How are you Eric?” I would say, or could say, “However you are, is how I am.” with conviction, because whether it’s from the mind or from the self, it’s true: they are seeing themselves, and I am seeing myself.

So as one of my wonderful teachers – Laura Lucille – has said, “no one can help you”. Meaning, in absolute terms, especially on that final mile, that ultimate jump. You have to step off that plane yourself and fly through the air yourself. The baby hawk has to step off the branch and actually fly for itself. And thank God for that, since as long as there are persons to help that need help, and helpers, you’re helpless.

You don’t need anyone because you literally are everyone, and whatever you need will come along, in perfect synchrony with true need, love, Consciousness, or life, however you want to say it, saying, “I am here. Have no fear, I am near. Nearer than near, I am you, already.” It’s pre-destined.

And also true, the body does what it does, but it’s not a problem, because it’s just happening, whatever it is, now, and takes care of itself, through whatever means necessary now, including using these arms and brain and eyes and legs… it’s very intelligent. Or using other people, who are not really others. Funny how that works.

Everyone wants to be special. And everyone is, but only as themselves, the same as everyone, canceling out a special specialness above any other specialness. I’m being treated very well, or ignored, or even spurned, “rejected”, in my mind at least.

But what is exposed is this investment, an unwise investment. And the more unwise the investment, the greater the pain perceived when the inevitable loss is perceived to occur. As another teacher once said – George Pransky – pain is a measure of ego, of who you are not, and are trying to be – that which is of true value can never be lost or gained. Gain or loss are ideas predicated on a game of desire and fear.

My teachers were telling me all this all along, but I wasn’t hearing it, or rather able to really take it in, see it as fact, with the “filters” of the mind guarding, holding court, holding out, safety straps in the face of the unknown…

The Direct Path: What It Isn’t and Is

It’s not about a mental state; it’s the clarity of seeing What Is. Since there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do, a description is offered.

It’s not about psychology: the absolute subject is eternally free from psychological activity.

It’s not about experiences, it’s about the one experiencer that exists.

It’s not about being spiritual, it’s being natural, open and accepting of what is real.

It’s not about knowledge of the known, it’s about living knowing knowingness.

It’s not about becoming enlightened, it’s dissolving the illusion of there being someone to enlighten.

It’s not about gaining anything, it’s life in it’s natural rhythm refreshed, cleared by stillness.

It isn’t a serious undertaking; it stands alone: an earnest cosmic lark masquerading as you and a world.

It isn’t about love, it’s love itself: infinite and ungraspable.

It isn’t about changing anything, it’s about uncovering what’s changeless.

It isn’t about peeling away layers to uncover a true self, it’s selflessly surrendering a will that never existed.

It’s not about living a better movie, it’s seeing that it’s a movie and enjoying it all the same.

It’s not about finding a balance, it’s letting go of the branch, finding your wings flying free.

It’s not about togetherness or community, it’s standing alone in the family of the unknown.

It’s not about anything, it’s no thing writing this and reading this now.

Poem: My Head Is Gone

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My Head Is Gone

Went home and discovered
My Home is everywhere
Sand blasted through time
My foot is a radio
Picking an Infinite line
Zero definition
But so sublime
Quiet body, Quiet mind …
Love is an Atheist
Utterly blind
To conditions
Right left forward or behind
Scriptures flow fast away like rain
God only knows
I have no brain
Images lightly seen
Space creating
An empty happy peace
No need you see
Self existing
Timeless
Free