For most of us, we view the world — in its most basic terms — as “me” and “not-me”. The things that are “not-me” are categorized by our brains automatically, which is a carryover from humans’ earliest days of existence in this world. Back then, a person needed to be able to quickly ascertain whether something that was “not-me” was friend or foe. Was that noise in the trees in front of us a friend or a bear? Were we going to be welcomed to lunch or for lunch?
But our experience of living today is quite different. The categorizing isn’t always helpful to us in achieving our goals as it once was, where simple survival at the end of the day was enough. Today, fortunately, our survival on any given day is pretty much assured. Instead, the overwhelming influx of stimuli is what threatens us — and if not our survival, then the clarity we need to make good decisions and determine a peaceful path for our existence. By turning our attention to non-duality, we can let go of antiquated ways of looking at the world and achieve meaningful purpose in our lives.
What is Non-Duality?
While at first the concept of non duality seems abstract and difficult to understand, it’s simply the idea of one-ness. You attain a state of consciousness where there is no more “me” and “not-me”, there is only being or “us.” We are no longer separate from the universe but of the universe at its most basic level. Through non-duality, we can gain an advanced understanding of our place in the world and the world’s place in ourselves. It’s not limited to any one particular faith tradition; in fact, many faiths around the world acknowledge some element of non-duality. And even if you have no faith tradition, you’re still welcome to explore this life-changing self-awareness that brings with it an understanding of how we are all connected. Non-duality is for everyone.
Non-Duality for the Modern World
By embracing non-duality and truly giving ourselves over to the idea of unity and connection, we may be better able to resolve conflict, make decisions, and alleviate stress and anxiety. There is a freedom in realizing we are all part of the same life force. The push and pull of our daily obligations can weigh us down and distract us from all but the most pressing tasks. We are so focused on work deadlines, running children around town for sports and extracurricular activities, and filling our days with all of the have-to-do’s that it’s easy to lose sight of our soul or inner life force and what it needs to be sustained in a healthy way.
Non-duality offers a way forward by which we understand that none of these things are truly in conflict; instead, a little bit of the divine is in each of them, and ourselves. Then, instead of working at cross-purposes, we can better identify ways in which to harness these forces in our lives in working together towards a unified goal. We are no longer the center of our awareness but in service to it. Our actions become less about “me” and more about “us.”
Through the practice of regular habits like meditation, we can free ourselves of the thought patterns that inhibit our happiness and growth. You may have already had moments in your life where you’ve experienced a feeling of non-duality. Meditation can guide you toward strengthening and improving your ability to tune into that higher level of awareness with increased ease and effectiveness. This can help increase your ability to consider yourself as part of a greater life force and live your life accordingly. It doesn’t mean that all your problems go away or that every day is the best day ever. But it can offer an important shift in perspective that guides you toward a more fulfilling path in life.
Developing your meditation practice in pursuit of non-duality isn’t quick or easy; however, it can be rewarding, especially as you realize you’re improving over time. Participating in the events and training available through Shanti Sadan Centre of Non duality — including guided meditation sessions available virtually — supports understanding, learning, and practice in a way that is inclusive and welcoming. Embracing non-duality in your way of looking at the world can release some of the everyday tensions you may feel in navigating all of the diverse demands on your time and energy and allow you to focus on what’s truly important in life.