Nondual Philosophy


Dream of Opposites

Image – Anita Avent

Our human brains are amazing in the ability to name, claim, and label appearances and to compare one appearance to another.  We are convinced we are separate beings in a tangible world of eight billion other separate beings.

In Truth, absolute Truth, not relative truth, there is only edgeless, empty, awareness appearing as this and that.

This realization, this awakening, shocks the human perception and brain and plunges the long-held belief of being and existing as a separate human down the drain.

It appears we live in a world of others, of objects, of time and space.  When humans awaken to what simply is — there is a deeper seeing….that the many are only an appearance of the One, the undivided, edgeless, seamless unicity that appears to unfold as the ten thousand things.





TAT Retreat Sept 11-12, 2021

I’m passing along this announcement for the upcoming TAT virtual retreat. 

Love, Friendship, and the Return Home

A Virtual TAT Spiritual Retreat Weekend
September 11-12 2021

“Intentional self-inquiry is a conscious attempt to get congruent with what life’s trying to do for us. This could be described as going Home…So how do you go “Home” when you don’t know where it is…?”     ~Art Ticknor, Beyond Relativity, p. 107


Where did we come from?
Where are we going?
How do we find our inner Home—the place we live from—if we don’t know who or what we are?

Spiritual teacher Richard Rose advised helping others in a spirit of friendship and allowing ourselves to likewise receive help, as a way of finding lasting, satisfying answers to these fundamental existential questions. He called this kind of active friendship “The Law of The Ladder” and, relatedly, “The Law of Love.” Join us for a weekend of breakout groups, presentations, and panel discussions as we join together in a spirit of friendship and look for the source of our deepest inner calling.

Join us for a weekend of insightful talks, small group dialogue, and panel discussions as we seek true self-knowledge through the theme of “Friendship, Love, and the Return Home.” This event is VIRTUAL.

Meet our featured presenters:

Anima Pundeer is highlighted in the documentary film Meetings with Remarkable Women. She is a super busy mother of two who lives with her family in Houston, Texas. Her garden these days only has weeds. Anima is the co-author, with Art Ticknor, of the recently published Always Right Behind You. She had to pull out her rusted tool, her mind, that she has not used in a long time … sharpen it, oil it somewhat … and after months of trying to figure out what could she say that has not been said already, and much more eloquently, she decided to say whatever she thinks would have been useful to a younger Anima in her words. She salutes Art for his patience and acceptance. She still has a lot to learn from him. She strongly feels that if she hadn’t come across TAT, meeting her fellow seekers, she would still be a prisoner of her ignorance. Gratitude is not just a word but is an overwhelming feeling that consumes her heart.

Art Ticknor worked first hand with numerous psychological and philosophical systems during years of intensive research. Twenty-six years of effort toward self-definition paid off in 2004, when the final nail was driven into the ego’s coffin during an intense Realization. Art is the author of the books Beyond RelativitySolid Ground of Being, and Sense of Self: The Source of All Existential Suffering?, invaluable guides on the quest for self knowledge.

Art currently lives the life of la dolce far niente and is involved in the Gainsville Florida-based Philosophical Self-Inquiry Discussion Group. For more information, visit Self-Discovery Portal.

Norio Kushi was born in New York City to Japanese parents. At age five, while his mother was breastfeeding his younger brother, she said to Norio, “Always trust your feelings, your feelings will guide you through your life.” Many years later, he discovered that the world in which we find our self is a world that is continually being created from the way we’ve been programmed. Norio refers to this current programming as a “linear time-based reality.” In 2003, he inadvertently, without effort, shifted from this programmed way of seeing. With this perceptual shift—the attention no longer fixated in this programmed reality—the true nature of being human began revealing itself, finally unveiling the cosmic joke, that we’re never lacking, always whole and complete, always at home in our bodies and in the world.

Norio currently drives a truck throughout North America.

Mike Gegenheimer was an early student of Richard Rose. Mike was active in the Pyramid Zen Society in Pittsburgh during college, and resided at Rose’s farm for a year and a half thereafter. Following several deep insights, a period of about 20 years passed without significant group work until Mike became active again in the TAT Foundation in 2001. The friendship and dedication of the teachers and fellow members of the TAT Foundation have been an inspiration for him. Mike’s search ended in April 2019 during a TAT rapport session of friends, for whom he feels deep gratitude.



Bart Marshall’s Latest Book

I am happy to share the news about Bart’s (my spiritual teacher) newest book — now available on Amazon.  I’ve already ordered my copy and it sounds like a page-turner.  I am sure this book will fuel deep and earnest discussions in self-inquiry groups.

Here is a book blurb from Bart’s website RealFacePress:

This is a book about spiritual enlightenment—what it is, how it happened for me, and how you might live in such a way that it could happen for you. Few undertakings are more pretentious than writing about Absolute Truth and the “path” to it. For starters, positioning oneself as an authority on the subject is obscenely audacious, and takes a lot of chutzpah.

Second, words cannot touch it, so no matter how well you might be able to choose and order yours, the end result will fall so far short of the mark it may as well be an outright lie. And yet, to have something informed to say about Truth and not speak it is almost impossible. To have True Nature reveal Itself to Itself in “your” presence is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive, and leaves you wishing that gift be given to everyone.



Caged Thinking

We’re conditioned to perceive life/reality as unfolding inside or outside a person/body. This caged way of perceiving life is held by the vast majority of humans and is the root of all emotional and psychological suffering. It’s been said by many folks, many times…with our thoughts we create our world. This is how the brain/mind works…conceptualizing, rationalizing, and objectifying what is perceived…and this is how we are programmed and trapped in the mind’s naming, claiming, and labeling cage.

After the unspeakable perceptual shift here in 2011, I noticed the perception of reality was replaced with a simple timeless, indivisible, immeasurable, unmovable, impersonal lens. I saw clearly…our beliefs and thoughts create and inform what we perceive as reality or life.


Before the awakening, I believed I was enclosed within a body as a separate and individual anita.  After the shift, I no longer perceived life as being contained and enclosed within the edges of a human fleshiness named anita. I appeared to extend as far as the eye could see…edgeless, undivided, unbounded, still, and vast.  There are no boundaries to the anita character anywhere…just fleeting appearances of edgeless, seamless, undivided, and timeless aware presence, a metaphorical canvas of no-thing-ness and not no-thing-ness…spontaneously appearing/not-appearing as uncaused and fleeting impersonal awareness.

Seekers ask what is “seen” when my eyes are closed…since I have to use words to communicate, it like this…appearances dissolve into a brilliant-yet-inky silent and aware endless void…the same aware, silent, and inky void present when consciousness ceases and the body appears to die. The felt experience of the anita character is of unbounded and overwhelming sorrowful gratitude that anything at all appears upon the silent stillness.

I know it sounds crazy and as a character would not have believed or conceived of this shift of perception fifteen years ago. These unspeakable shifts of perception and identity appear to arise spontaneously and to no one in particular, ignore words claiming otherwise!  There is no cause and effect in play here, life seems to appear here, now, spontaneously, edgeless, and uncaused.

I understand why the misunderstood and those perceiving differently (including artists, musicians, saints, and sages) are often ridiculed, reclusive, or sedated and locked in mental institutions. Society is generally fearful of what it does not understand or what is outside the leaky edges of normalcy…and the going consensus, whatever the majority agrees upon, is labeled normal.

Perhaps we might consider, even briefly, the nature of what is… a vibrant aliveness we call reality or life…perhaps even consider the scientific evidence suggesting humans are misperceiving themselves and the world. This is a sadly funny exercise for the few who question reality. Quantum physics attempts to describe and explain the unexplainable and unspeakable shift in perception in terms of probabilities and collapsing waves and particles. Words and descriptions move us away from the essence and into our thinking brain/minds so give attention to the intimate feelings of awareness — just don’t claim awareness as your awareness!

What you are…is…what you are…improvement is not possible or needed…as the “you” is simply impersonal awareness, always aware presence, appearing as a vast and edgeless field of fleeting potentialities.  Yes, most misperceive what is and believe what is to be distinct, measurable, and operating within time and space. I have seen the folly and felt the suffering of these tenacious and socially endorsed beliefs.

Our perceptions and sensory experiences are shaped by conditioning, the influences of society, science, religion, philosophy, and various tribal and ethnicity beliefs. There are many perceptual lenses and ways of seeing. For a simple example, just imagine seeing life with the fresh and clear eyes of a pre-verbal toddler…seeing life/reality as a little child sees it…undivided, spontaneous, outside of time, unmeasurable, and fleeting.



Origin of Nondual Philosophy

Nondual philosophy slowly migrated to the United States as the foundational teachings of many ancient Eastern spiritual practices for perceiving and experiencing a peaceful life. This fundamental foundation includes the teachings of Zen, Tao, Vedanta, and Sufism, along with the mystical Christian teachings of Jesus the Christ, St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, St. Teresa of Avila, as well as the Perennial Wisdom literature and teachings.

These ancient philosophies of “not two” point towards perceiving awareness, consciousness, and all appearances as impersonal and “not two.” Another way of saying this is awareness, consciousness, and appearances are not divided, do not exist in time and space, and have no elements of being personal…though awareness feels quite intimate to the body/brain.

Anita Avent

Modern nonduality teachers like J. Krishnamurti, U.G. Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, and Ramana Maharshi pointed towards nonduality by exposing the illusory veil of self-identity to the latest generations of nonduality speakers, teachers, and writers in the US and around the world.

Many are highly motivated to explore the “nondual” nature of awareness, not understanding it naturally appears spontaneously, impersonally, and completely uncaused. Awareness is not divisible so there is no possibility of there being a personal awareness or consciousness. Believing that you have a personal awareness or consciousness does not make it so.  The very fact what humans seem to notice the aliveness they feel spurs them to know more about the ‘personal’ awareness or consciousness they believe they possess.

The personal ego, forming around the age of 12 – 24 months begins the programming from parents and caregivers to name, label, and claim appearances in reference and relation to itself as the seeing.

This budding little ego continually and relentlessly works to promote itself as it grows in accumulating what it labels as facts, truths, identity, and knowledge of itself and what it perceives and labels reality. This little ego is innocently taught by parents to misperceive awareness and claim it as personal too, being clueless about the impersonal nature of awareness.

As it grows, the little ego claims ownership over the body and brain/mind, just like its parents and grandparents appear to do. In most spiritual traditions, dogma encourages and supports a personal ego or personal self to make choices towards one belief system or another to preserve the personal self after death, not understanding that all is the impersonal play of awareness in an illusory dream of itself as itself.

Truly, a personal self can never be enlightened or self-realized since the personal self is simply an illusory projection by the brain/mind to perpetuate the existence of itself. There are only momentary appearances of impersonal awareness, if anything appears at all.

First, we must first look directly at the nature of our perceiving, our perception, since it informs the nature of the light we see/perceive with the eyes. And we mistakenly believe awareness to be personal to “us” to a “me” since it feels so intimate and seems to originate within the center of the body/brain. But this is not so, it’s only a story we’ve believed and never questioned.

Quantum physics clearly shows there is only awareness and it is not personal nor limited, nor can it be located to a specific GPS location, even though it often feels close. The brain will argue otherwise, since the brain’s main task is to claim a personal ownership of awareness and claim what is appearing each moment as happening to a “me.”

You may or may not be asking these deeper questions of identity and philosophy. No worries. If you are pulled towards this path of inner inquiry you will notice you’re reading nonduality books and in a self-inquiry group peeling the layers of beliefs.