What is Nonduality?

The philosophy of nonduality is also known as the Perennial Wisdom Teachings. Other teachings under this umbrella include the nondual teachings of the ancient philosophy shared by Jesus the Christ, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, and many others. Fortunately, this philosophy is becoming mainstream America as the teachings point to the illusion of a separate self.

Great Blue Heron in the Gardens –  (c) Anita Avent

I first heard of this Perennial Wisdom philosophy in 2010 when a friend at my church mentioned that I might be interested in attending the Raleigh self-inquiry group.  This was a new arena of learning for me. These self-inquiry folks and their meetings changed my life, so much so that in 2011, all psychological suffering and fear suddenly evaporated when I perceived objective reality as a misperception. Many cultures call this falling away of the belief of being a separate self an Awakening or Enlightenment. To those new to the Perennial Wisdom Teachings, this may sound odd.

At awakening, there was a deeply direct and clear knowledge of what I am – what you are, and everything is…a perfectly spontaneous appearance of an unknowable, unspeakable, primal, edgeless, infinite, nothingness.  Some call this energy Oneness, One without a Second.

Many seekers incorrectly label and acknowledge this appearance as being a relative and relatable energy.  It is not relative, it is Absolute. What is seeming to appear as Life is a consensus belief, not Truth.  We humans feel more comfortable naming and claiming appearances as energy, as God, Source, Eternity or Cosmos.  It is scientifically proven that (God) wholeness is appearing as separation into this or that.

The concept of believing in a relative God keeps many stuck in unexamined beliefs about the world and what God is and isn’t, and what they hope God will provide upon the body’s death.  Many assume there is a heaven and a hell at death. A belief in time perpetuates an unfolding universe across a continuum of past, now, and future.  In truth, linear time is a mental concept, a consensus belief.  A belief in horizontal or linear time allows God, Source, Reality, or Life to appear relative and relational to a personal self also living a horizontal or linear timeline.  At awakening, there was a complete understanding that there is only vertical time, only NOW.

Since 2011, I’ve been writing about and pointing towards the ancient, nondual philosophy of living. There is seeing, but no one is seeing. These words will likely seem crazy and upside down to almost everyone reading these words except those few who are quite weary, those quickly approaching death, or those finally realizing their utter frailty and lack of substance.

“You cannot possibly say that you are what you think yourself to be!
Your ideas about yourself change from day to day,
and moment to moment.
Your self-image is the most changeful thing you have.
It is utterly vulnerable, at the mercy of a passer-by.
To know what you are, you must first investigate
and know what you are not.
The clearer you understand that on the level of mind
you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker you will come
to the end of your search and realize your limitless being.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj  in “I AM THAT”

I encourage you to deeply explore WHAT your beingness actually is.   It seems we live in a culture driven by beliefs and concepts of fear and conformity. Nearly all humans swallow the traditions, facts, rules, and ideas they have learned or been instructed to learn. Yet, very few humans, probably less than two percent, have ever deeply explored or asked penetrating questions about the impact of these unexamined consensus beliefs.

It’s counter-intuitive NOT to believe our teachers, parents, professors, friends, spiritual leaders, and all those we esteem in higher education, religion, science, and philosophy when they tell us, over and over, we are separate and distinct human beings…and yet most of these folks never inquire about what they actually are. 

It’s challenging to fly against the prevailing winds and beliefs of society, but I encourage you to be brave because you are precious and unique just as you are, a reflection of the light and mystery of the Unknowable.