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

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