By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
This is a part of The Teachers Speak, a series of articles on the Culture of Awareness.
According to various spiritual teachers, the material world begins with duality. Higher stages of spiritual growth reveal to us that everything is one; we’re all on this journey together and to focus only on our differences is to impede societal and spiritual evolution.
At a certain point, we realize we all share this experience we call life and we can create amazing things if we create them together.
When we become aware of our unbreakable connection with all living things, tension fades and discomfort toward others is replaced with empathy, understanding and the willingness to work together to improve the world.
It’s a natural result of the evolution of the soul, and it brings with it peace of mind and good will toward everyone.
Sri Ramakrishna tells us that when we attain ‘perfect knowledge’, we see one consciousness everywhere we look.
“As long as a man associates himself with upadhis (the physical body and related associations) so long he sees the manifold…; but on attaining Perfect Knowledge, he sees only one Consciousness everywhere.
“The same Perfect Knowledge, again, makes him realize that the one Consciousness has become the universe and its living beings and the twenty-four cosmic principles.” (1)
According to Paul Ferrini, judgment and separation form the foundation of the world of illusion.
“Time and space exists only at the level of two, of comparison, judgment, separation. My body, your body. My idea, your idea. My house, your house. This is where the body begins. Without male, there would be no female. Without parent, there would be no child. Without black, there would be no white.
“All things exist in relationship to their opposites and are indeed defined by them.
“The mind that engages in comparison, engages in separation. Knowledge, in this sense, is based on separation. That is why it is impossible to ‘know’ God. As soon as you ‘know’ God, you lose the experience of unity.” (2)
Unity with God can only be felt, not known, and trying to know the Source will separate you from it because you’ll forget in that moment that you’re already one with it.
There’s nothing to know, and in fact, there’s a lot we need to unlearn. To this end, meditation might be the best form of ‘study’. It doesn’t require the pursuit of knowledge or facts; it requires us to feel what’s been here all along.
It requires us to slow down the overactive mind so we can tap back into our connection with the Source, and our effort is rewarded with blissful vibes and valuable insight.
Bodhidharma tells us that the ‘shore’ of duality only exists when forget our true nature and delude ourselves.
“When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake up, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. Those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores. Those who see the other shore as different from this shore don’t understand zen.” (3)
‘Kabir’ tells us that the perception of a ‘second’ or separate aspect of reality leads us astray because there is only one eternal being.
“Behold but One in all things; it is the second that leads you astray.” (4)
According to John Ruusbroec, we strengthen the barrier between us and our creator when we try to intellectually examine life.
“At the very moment when we try to examine and observe what it is that we are experiencing, we slip back into the activity of reasoning, at which we become aware of distinction between ourselves and God.” (5)
The Upanishads tell us that our false sense of separation from the Source creates fear.
“So long as there is the least idea of separation from him, there is fear.” (6)
To be one with God is to be free of fear, because we know we can do anything with the Most High by our side.
The hesitation with which we previously approached life will be replaced with love for our existence and determination to help others, and any fear we have toward others will vanish when we see God in everyone.
With this perspective, we can replace fear with openheartedness and judgment with compassion.
Dattatreya tells us that duality brings grief.
“Those who see duality are always submerged in an ocean of grief.” (7)
According to Lao-Tzu, non-duality eradicates fear and limitation.
“Once grasp the great Form without form, And you roam where you will With no evil to fear, Calm, peaceful, at ease.” (8)
The moment we try to define ‘goodness’ is the moment we invite in ‘wickedness’, Lao Tzu tells us, because they’re both a part of duality.
“Since the world points up beauty as such, There is ugliness too. If goodness is taken as goodness, Wickedness enters as well.” (9)
Da Free John encourages us to free ourselves from fear by embodying God.
“Abide as That which does not, when scrutinized, show any duality in the form of these various objects or the least trace of cause and effect, That in which, when the mind is absorbed in It, there is no fear of duality at all.” (10)
We can enter into this transcendental state with meditation, and the best way to feel it is to embody it. The best part is that we already embody it, and all we need to do is invite it to appear. In a way, we don’t have to do anything at all.
So enjoy life and accept the vibes you feel in any given moment as a part of you and a part of this infinite creation. Instead of judging others, remember that you have a lot in common and wish them the same love and joy you’d wish for yourself and your loved ones.
Be at peace with the world and with God, and know that you aren’t foolish for embracing peace and non-duality. You’re evolving and slowly awakening to the oneness of every living thing, and right now, nothing could be more crucial.
- Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 319.
- Paul Ferrini, Silence of the Heart. South Deerfield, MA: Heartways Press, 1996, 34-5.
- Red Pine, trans., The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma. Port Townsend, WA, Empty Bowl, 1987, 25.
- Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy. New York, etc.: Harper and Row, 1970; c1944, 10.
- James A. Wiseman, John Ruusbroec. The Spiritual Espousals and Other Works. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1985, 176.
- Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester, trans., The Upanishads. Breath of the Eternal. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1957; c1948, 56.
- Swami Chetanananda, Avadhuta Gita. The Song of the Ever-Free. Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1988, xxi.
- Lao Tzu, The Way of Life. The Tao Te Ching. R.B. Blakney. New York, etc.: Avon, 1975, 88.
- Ibid., 54.
- Da Free John, ed.The Heart of the Ribhu Gita. Los Angeles: Dawn Horse Press, 1973, 20.