Non-Duality Is Not Psychotherapy
Non-duality is a description of reality. It is not a therapeutic model, or a self-help school, or a religion. In fact it undermines all religious thinking: seeing reality via the filter of beliefs. Those that come to it (only) to feel better may be in store for some difficulty (in the short run).
And it’s not just a matter of “tempering one’s expectations”, but in fact having no expectations at all. In other words, not coming with an agenda. How can the totality – all that is – have an agenda?
There is nothing to fix, gain, control, manipulate, strategize about, maintain, get rid of, analyze, or complete. It is frustratingly elusive, yet in front and behind the eyes at all times, even when asleep or dead. What to make of it? What to do?
For example, to think that a separate entity can surrender or do anything on its own is a delusion – some say arrogant. But I wouldn’t say being delusional is not necessarily arrogant per se, just a hiding: a hiding from facts. As Karl Renz put it, “salvation” as it were, if it ever happens, is experienced more like:
“an absence of a tendency of avoidance.”
which is experienced as an openness, an ease, a not-hiding, a just Being. We call this peace. There can be joy too. A very simple joy – one not dependent on objective measures.
And it seems that it can be helpful for many seeing that what is called “Thought” in spiritual psychology (such as the Three Principles model) or as “mind” in non-dual circles, forms the parameters of one’s experience. This seeing can loosen or shift experience, such that it is no longer taken as seriously, as the final word (as the culture would have you think and believe). A wedge is placed, so to speak, between one’s experience of a world, of feelings, of persons, of circumstances; a question of reality is opened that paves the way for insight:
Am I this thought, this mind, or am I what is aware of it?
That is the beginning of wisdom.
In the long run, non-duality as a model or philosophy, can be a “no choice” non-refuge refuge, in the sense that, having come to see there really is no other option “at the end of the day”, you just have to accept it, like you accept that 2 + 2 appears to be 4, whether you like it or not. In other words, insights pave the way to see what can’t be seen, to knowing what can’t be known: absurd propositions like “I don’t exist as a person”, as a separate entity, despite what everything in the world is telling me, take on a new clarity. It is seen as simple and self-evident that no separate entities could possibly exist in the totality. But how to explain that? Not so easy.
And despite everything appearing to happen, what Is is still what Is. Human drama will always be just human drama, and what Is always what Is, absolutely and completely untouched by absolutely anything.
It is a kind of wearing-away of what is “real” and “not real”, of what is “mind” and all the questions and issues and fears and worries … a lightness of being emerges on it’s own, because – face the facts – it was there all along, but you were avoiding it. Your real nature is just what it is, always was, and always will be: timeless, effortless, peaceful, “a movement and a repose”. And “us” funny humans, like to pretend we are not what we are. It appears this whole game is kind of like that: a hide and seek of Reality from itself.
You are not what you are not. That’s what the “non” in non-duality is (about).