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Non Duality made simple

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No easy task
This is likely to be the most difficult (and long) post I will ever write. And at the same time, the most important one… So please grab a nice cup of tea and have a quite moment for yourself:)
Difficult because the concept of non-duality can be explained (and may be understood) on the level of mind, but cannot be experienced by the mind.  And therefore, it is tricky to introduce someone to non-duality if they are used to only rely on their mind to decide what they believe or not.
I find it however important to write this down, as it is fundamental for anything else I share on this website…
There is an abundance of books, videos and websites explaining non-duality, and all (spiritual) teachers of today talk about it. Everyone uses slightly different words and ways to explain it, and some make it sound even more mystic and complicated than I feel it is. 
I will try to be as close as possible to my own experience and will try to make this as practical as possible.
Also, as my journey continues this explanation might evolve and become clearer and simpler. The best way to test if you’ve really understood something, is to try to explain it to a 8-year old, right?;)
Most of us at some point during our lives start wondering about the Meaning of Life and many believe to find it in our families, our children and our professional fulfilment. Still, we might find ourselves feeling that ‘there is something bigger than us’ and that maybe ‘there is more to it than we can see’. And sometimes, life presents us with a situation that challenges our status-quo so profoundly, that we start questioning everything we thought we understood about the world. And then we become curious again, like a child experiencing the world for the first time…

In my case, the status-quo was challenged abruptly more than 7 years ago when my I-thought-a-happy marriage fell apart in a matter of hours. Something that at the time seemed a major personal crisis turned out to be a major blessing in my life, start of a personal transformation… The insights came later, but the heartbreak opened me up to try a different way, because at that moment I felt I didn’t understand anything about life, love, myself and other people anymore. As a rational person from a very rational family, I had spend 39 years of my life in a complete identification with my body & mind. I had been baptised but had no deep connection to Christianity. And I had practiced yoga as a physical exercise for years, without understanding what yoga really is about. 

In the course of next year or so, things started to happen in my life that were new and seemed like miracles at times. Those were the first glimpses of non-duality, its just I had no idea about this concept back then;). 

Chances are, many of you have already experienced non-duality without realizing it, here are just a few examples:

1) You think about someone you have not been in touch with for a while, and at that moment your phone rings or you get a WhatsApp message

2) You are going somewhere by car, knowing the parking isn’t always easy there, but you are hopeful and positive – and it’s there waiting for you when you arrive

3) You have a dilemma for which you’ve been trying to find an answer for days or weeks, and then all of a sudden you get a clear answer from ‘nowhere’ while in the shower.

Recognisable? How does it make you feel when those things happen? Would you like more of them in your life?  

Why bother

So if it’s all so complicated, why should you bother reading?
Well, I think if you are content with your life, have no open questions and not in search for anything, then indeed you should not bother.

If, however, you are having more than ‘fair’ amount of life challenges that you can deal with, you don’t feel at peace unless on a happy-island vacation or simply ‘can’t get no satisfaction’, you should bother.

Why? Because the moment you become spiritually awake (I will explain that next), your life experience will radically change for the better, and will continue to improve ever after.

‘There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path’ – Buddha.

How it works
So what are we talking about here?

The concepts that are pointing to non-duality, non-dual awareness or non-dual experience (or the lack of them) are amongst others: Consciousness, Presence, Beings, Soul, Self, Higher Self, (Spiritual) Love, Observer, Energy, Universe, Awakening, Synchronicity, Source, Law of Attraction, Universal Laws, Ego, Pain body… Let me try to explain the main ones as I describe the essence of this post in 2 steps:

Step 1. Spiritual Awakening is the moment when we realize that there is ‘Something’ Beyond our Body and Mind.

Our Body and Mind (including Emotions for simplicity though they are not the same) are the attributes of our human life experience.  But we are not them – not our Body and not our Mind. Yes, we have the Body and the Mind and we need to take care of them the best we can for an optimal human experience. But we are not Them. We are the Observer/Soul/Self/Presence/Energy/Consciousness where the Awareness of the Body and Mind happens. 

Anyone who has ever done meditation and has experienced being an Observer of their own thoughts and feelings, has had a non-dual awareness. Mind chatter coming up from nowhere during a mediation and dissolving in nowhere again, has nothing to do with who we really are, the Self.

Awakening can be spontaneous or triggered by some dramatic life events, which was the case for me few weeks after the break-up. All of a sudden I was able to create some inner space, some distance from my sad thoughts and emotions, I could ‘observe’ them….and very soon after they had dissolved! I realized I had a choice in how to feel and what to think,  things started to fall into place and I started to trust Life…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” –  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Step 2. From the moment we ‘awake’ and know who we really are, everything changes. Consequent insights start to present themselves to us and at some point we realize, that on the level of the Self (so beyond our Body and Mind) we are all part of One energy field, which is constantly Changing.  We experience One-ness with the world, which is what non-duality means literally. 

That One-ness is often referred to as Universe/Source/Energy/Collective Consciousness/God. Some of these words might resonate with you more than others – choose your favourite:)

This is the essence of the Buddhist teachings (and to a large extent of many other religions). Buddhism encourages the followers to seek experiential confirmation that the Buddha’s teachings are true, rather than simply rely on faith and testimony of others. 

I can show you the path, but you need to walk it yourself” – Buddha.

Different people on the ‘spiritual path’ (= your life after the awakening) experience those moments of feeling the one-ness at a different pace and intensity, some continuously and some only every now and then.  Once we get a glimpse of it, we want more of it. And more it will become overtime as life unfolds. Some popular settings to experience one-ness are for instance the Vipassana meditation retreats or the controversial Ayahuasca sessions, but also (good) yoga & meditation practices are aiming at the same. ‘Opening your heart to the World and inviting the world into your heart’. Being present and enjoying nature for a longer time might have a similar effect, and even being intensely in love provides a similar (but foregoing) experience.

Once we experience those non-dual moments we just know that this is how it is. Then all of a sudden things like Synchronicity (=meaningful coincidences that mysteriously occur in life), Law of attraction (what we think about/give energy to/wish for, positive and negative, we also get) start to make total sense and not be a surprise at all. 

The implications of these realisations are huge, and I will come back to them later. You are connected to a powerful source of energy and wisdom, the Universe…You have all the answers, you just need to ‘remember’ (because we came from that source ) how to listen to them. Intuition, a term very commonly used by everyone, in essence is the information/signs that we are (mostly unconsciously) picking up from Universe. You can learn to ‘surf” the flow of life rather than try to go against it. And you can realize how you can co-create your own life…

There is only one Truth that all spiritual paths lead to’ – Marianne Williamson, ‘A Return to Love’

It took several years, many yoga & meditation sessions, many books and inspiration videos for me to come to the same conclusion. And once I have realized it and have connected all the dots in my mind, the urge to read and see more has disappeared. In its place, there is longing to live & experience that awareness day-in and day-out.

The moment you stop constantly thinking and worrying about who, what, how, why etc, you might start experiencing more and more of an inner stillness. Even in the middle of a busy street or in a house full of kids. And in that stillness you can be an observer of what comes and goes in your mind. 
Is it the way I go through life? Not even 50% of the time, but more and more often…
Applying non-dual lens to our dual life
If you have read until now, you are likely in agreement or at least still curious. Now is when it can start to get really interesting.
If we agree that there is Consciousness and on that level, we are all One, what does it mean for psychology and for dealing with our daily life challenges?

Lets look at couple of examples…in the next Post!:) 

And please do get in touch if you have any questions or comments on this post, whether it resonates or not!

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