When I look with the lens of my mind, it seems that we are two—you and
Islands in the empty space, reaching for each other, at war or in love—but separate.
When I look through the lens of my open heart, it intuitively whispers to me, “we are not so far apart“. I sense we are closer than close.
The empty space is what is more real than the islands called “you” and “me”. There are no edges, no boundaries, no walls between us, only this open openness, full of awake presence, full of life.
My mind argues: “Ah, perhaps we are two, connected, together.”
But if I look closely, I see that even these words are not true. If I look into your eyes and see with my heart, I see myself looking back. This is not a connection—this is not two becoming one. This is a non-dual reality.
How could I have ever believed that we were dual? Two. There is only this awake love, this presence of being. And it dances as life, painting itself into many shapes and forms.
There is only one canvass, one non-dual artist, that we call life. It paints itself into many expressions of itself—with love.
“Non-duality”, “non-dual” these are words to attempt to name what is nameless, but what is closer than close. You. I.
The self as it is, pure awareness, that has the texture of love, the presence of peace, is pure open openness and can be known.
Most already have its taste, have felt the song of this truth, but have not consciously realized what it was.
Love is the texture of you—the non-dual self. Peace is the presence of you—the non-dual self.
The true self is never separate, it only appears to be separate.
And so I join the choir of voices singing to you of this natural realisation—this enlightenment.
This work is the study of non-duality and it’s my invitation to you to know this, to live this, to creatively express from this, to work
Your non-dual Self—that was never-not-this and never-not-free.
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Why study non-duality?
The true self is always calling us back home. Many have an intuitive sense that there is more to life than what meets the eye.
Perhaps you’ve felt this as well? A quiet inner whisper, that when you looked at life you noticed that what you saw was not the ultimate reality.
What called you to your path?
For some, there was a breaking of the veil of perception—a glimpse into a higher reality. For others, there is a natural questioning of reality. Suffering can also call us to wonder about the nature of life.
This can happen spontaneously in ordinary life, or as an experience during meditation, some have had a near-death experience that revealed non-dual reality. That was my first glimpse of non-dual reality when my body died during surgery at the age of 4.
Whatever has brought you here, the call is rooted in the true self—calling to itself.
So the answer to the question why “study non-duality” is always answering the call home.
It is sometimes experienced as a deep hunger, an inexplicable yearning. Sometimes as a thirst for knowledge and truth. And sometimes it’s a tiredness, feeling weary of the world and the game of life.
Why does the true self, awareness, overlook itself?
It seems to be a natural process for pure awareness to forget itself, or rather to hide from itself in order to appear as the manifest reality.
It is also a natural process for pure awareness to remember itself or rather to reveal itself to itself, in order to embody the truth of its being—as manifest reality. This process is often called spiritual awakening.
Study non-duality to honour your deep interest
So why study non-duality? Study this because you have a hunger or deep interest in the truth about who you are. Study non-duality with sincerity love and gentle curiosity. Fall in love with what you discover.
It might be disappointing to study non-duality for any other reason than to honour this deep inner call. The ego might entice us with ideas about what studying non-duality and enlightenment might bring.
The ego might be sorely disappointed to discover that it gets nothing from the process of non-dual enlightenment. In fact, the ego has everything to lose and nothing to gain—no status—no prize—no claiming—no advantage in life.
Non-dual enlightenment is closer to a dying process. It is the death of believing that the self is separate.
Study non-duality to get to know your true self.
Be courageous and gentle, for this is a process of surrendering to the truth that you discover through direct knowing.
What does non-dual realization bring?
- Studying non-duality and realizing the non-dual self, can lead to the embodiment of deeper peace, love and contentment.
- It can bring closure to the endless seeking, resolving the questions that might have haunted us for eons—all questions die when they meet their source.
- Non-dual enlightenment can come from the study of non-duality and this is freeing.
In Sanskrit, the word for the freedom that comes from non-dual enlightenment, from and as the true self is called—moksha.
As they say ‘before enlightenment chop wood and carry water—after enlightenment chop wood and carry water’.
Metaphorically, there is no freedom from chopping wood and carrying water, there is freedom from the inner struggle that haunts us while we chop wood and carry water.
What is non-duality Advaita?
The Sanskrit word “Advaita” translates literally into “not-two.”
It is the Sanskrit word for non-duality. Advaita Vedanta is the ancient study of non-duality as taught in the Indian sacred canons which include the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.
As with most traditions, there are many interpretations of the original texts that give voice to Advaita Vedanta.
What I’ve found helpful is to first directly explore and experience non-duality using intuitive knowing and with grounded ordinary direct experience. From the foundation of direct seeing and being, studying ancient teachings can be very helpful.
In my opinion, without the direct immediate validity of your own confirmed experience, all teachings are exposed to the tainting of dogma—misinterpretation.
I encourage you to not rely on belief systems of any kind but rather to test and validate the reality of the self, for yourself, in and of yourself.
It is important to remain discerning, and it can be extremely helpful to have a reliable teacher during this process because the mind often fails to interpret direct experience properly.
The ego can also easily hijack what is perceived and manipulate it to its own ends.
Vigilance is needed, as well as a gentle compassionate love.
With some foundation of indirectly intuitively perceived reality in place, the study of many ancient texts and teachings can help to strengthen the enlightenment process.
The major religions have mystical counterparts
It seems that every major traditional religion has a mystical counterpart. As if the dogmatic religion serves the masses to teach moral law and tradition and the mystical tradition, which attracts fewer people, supports a direct experience of spirituality.
In mystical traditions, meditation prayer and contemplation were and still are the cornerstones, along with dialogue, debate and sharing with fellow Seekers.
Mystical traditions all speak about non-dual reality in their own ways—coloured by the language of their time and culture. The common thread of the voices of self-realized souls is clear to any who also directly perceive non-dual reality.
- Vedanta is the mystic path of Hinduism (some might argue that its place is not in or alongside the Hindu religion and yet it is still associated with India’s Hindu tradition). Vedanta and perhaps even more especially the ancient language of Sanskrit, clearly articulates non-duality and a path to non-dual enlightenment.
- Zen is the mystical path of Buddhism. Also expressed in different language with different surrounding dogmas, it articulates non-duality and a path to non-dual enlightenment.
- Kabbalah is the mystical path of Judaism. Again in a different language and with different surrounding dogmas, it speaks for non-duality and a path to divine unity which is another word for enlightenment, but from the perspective of the apparent separate self.
- Sufism is the mystical tradition of Islam. Articulated through the language of its time and culture, it also expresses the voices of self-realized mystics who describe non-dual reality and a path to enlightenment.
- The gnostic mystic tradition of Christianity is also filled with the voices of those who directly perceived non-dual reality and became enlightened.
How can contradictory spiritual voices be speaking about the same reality? A non-dual fable.
Imagine a hall full of people who have never experienced water. On the stage is a young Boy, a Scientist and a San Bushman. These three people have all experienced water and are sharing their experiences with the audience.
The young boy speaks about how water is fun, how you can swim in it, dive in it and throw it in the air to make rainbows—but only when the sun shines in just the right way.
The scientist shares how she has studied the molecules of water, the hydrogen and oxygen that make up the liquid that she claims can be transformed into gas or solid.
The bushman speaks about how precious water is, how you have to walk for days to find it. And how if you pray to the gods, you’ll be able to hear water calling to you from under the sand in its hidden secret places. He says if you please the gods, they might send a miracle— water falling from the sky.
The audience listens to these three talking about water. Some take notes, keen to study the strange phenomenon. Others are trying to decide which of the three is telling the truth because clearly, they are contradicting each other.
Some audience members begin to fight with each other choosing sides.
Surely the scientist is the only one that is correct about what water is? Surely the young boy can be relied upon because he is innocent? The faithful might agree with the Bushman.
In the audience, some begin to argue and fight. Some seek others who agree with them and they form smaller groups. Some decide not to side with any of the speakers, standing firm in their belief that water is superstitious nonsense, it simply does not exist.
Quietly one or two audience members, weep softly. For they too have experienced water.
They felt alone in their journey—now finally they’ve heard these three people speaking about what they already felt was true.
They don’t see the contradictions that the others see, they have no need to argue, for the truth was already alive in them.
They have found the confirmation that they were looking for. And today they’ve learned more about the water, they’ve learned of water’s fun, science and faith.
They recognize that all three are speaking the truth and they quietly leave the hall where the rest of the audience continue asserting, arguing or denying.
My message to you.
Instead of believing in non-duality or not, drink the water, bathe in it, study it.
See for yourself that all who have directly realized non-dual reality, have come to the same— self-realization.
True enlightenment—regardless of culture, era, gender, religion, belief or language—has a common origin. If you look deeper than language and cultural interpretation, to that origin, you will find the same water—the same non-dual living truth.
Non-duality is a word for reality. It is also a word for the self.
As a young child, I found myself spontaneously speaking on a stage in primary school, about a choice that we all have. A choice to trust what the eyes tell us is true, or to trust what the heart tells us is true. I invited my classmates and teacher to trust the heart above the eyes. That is my invitation to you today.
Most everyone knows love. When we love we say that we feel that we are one with the object of our love. This is an intuitive hint about the non-dual reality that lies waiting for us to discover. For indeed we are not one with the object of our love, rather, all objects arise in us and are made of love. We are the very love that our hearts reveal.
Science, ancient mystical traditions and direct experience all reveal the non-dual self to itself.
Now it’s up to you to follow your call home. For as much as you are seeking the self— the self is seeking you.