What is non-duality? Non-duality means not two, or not separate. It really seeks to answer the most terrifying but interesting question we can ask, what the heck is THIS? What is this world, the fact that it and we exist, the whole Big Picture of all pictures, what is this consciousness that I am experiencing right now? Most of us have asked this question at some point or other and many of us have been met with such an unsettled feeling that we were driven to find some lesser “this”, or a thought of something more familiar and tangible to focus on immediately. However there really is nothing more familiar than awareness itself. It is so familiar that it is what we really are, but it seems foreign to thought and the thought of what we are and what we believe we already know. It is where the Known and the UnKnown merge, dissolve and are... not two.
Non-duality points to the fact that the exploration of this is not at all scary, but unbelievably wonderful, mind-blowing and so already true, mundane and intimately our experience that we can begin to laugh at this cosmic joke. It turns out that there have been a lot of misunderstandings about who we really are and what we think we are.
What we experience as "our world", (no you, no world) is created by ideas of twos and opposites, light and dark, male and female, good and bad, true and false, real and unreal, past and future, and so on. "Our world" is only ever experienced as experience itself. When we define, believe or know what something is, we posit an idea and if we take it back we negate it. We feel things to be positive and negative, and we apply connotations to words, forgetting their roots.
The true “root” of all duality and all separation is in thought and the thought and belief in oneself as an object that experiences itself as separate from everything else. By using thought it draws a line, that with one simple action, both includes and excludes. One single thought, one separation, creates two. This is the nature of thought. This belief or concept of self is what is often referred to as ego. Language itself, which is the form that thought takes only when it is focused, has many pointers to this, for example, “conceive” means both to think and to create new life. We create with our thoughts.
What we really are is not a thought. We are not two and so we can not think of ourselves. Likewise, you cannot see yourself without the use of a mirror, and what you see in the mirror is not the actual “you” but only a reflection. There are not actually two of you.
In your direct experience there are no borders, and no definitive lines separating you from outside you. There is no inner or outer, only in thought. Is there a border of your entire visual field? Can you find it? Is there a border in the actual sensation of your hand touching an object between you and the object? Or is it one sensation? What is your direct experience?
There are, as far as thought as concerned, radical implications to non-duality, of the realization of what already is. Understanding what we really are can be incredibly freeing and can allow us to reclaim the use of thought for the purpose of creation, love and joy. By going back to awareness, and back to the present moment we learn to negate our thoughts using the guidance of feeling when the thoughts feel as if they are separating rather than creating. We realize that we can return to the borderless freedom and love that we really are, that precedes the thought and has no beginning or ending. There was no separate “us” that could have ever left, only a thought that arose within what we truly are. By believing and feeling ourselves to be separate we build our house upon the sand. All concepts we create of ourselves will eventually fall and collapse, thus the fear of death.
Life is a gift, but if we claim that gift as something that we are, something we own and can lose, we do not see or appreciate it as such and so we do not allow ourselves to be free to create with it. We become like the lottery winner who quickly forgets his great fortune when an object he purchases with his winnings becomes lost or damaged. In that moment he seems to forget the pure joy that he has been given in his sense of ownership of an event he believes happened in the past. However this pure joy or pure light, has always been inherently ours, inherently us, beyond any condition we may place upon it, even birth and death.
It's a funny thing, that when there's nothing to lose and nothing to gain, one is truly free to become the inspiration that they inherently are made out of and create freely. We knew this fully when we were children. Artists for the most part are people who never forgot, at least in that one expression of their lives. We can love fully, create fully and live fully when we realize that there is nothing but... this. There is nothing to separate the full, wholeness of this unless we think it, unless we create it. This moment and your very Self have never been anything but both a beautiful innocent beginning and a happily ever after.
On some level all of us know this and have always known it, but paradoxically, what is inherently timeless takes time to realize. I'm passionate about sharing my own journey of learning to embody this understanding and helping others along the way. If you're interested in living Happily Ever Before check out my youtube channel below for more resources, information and most importantly in my opinion, inspiration.