What is Nonduality?
Nonduality is an experience. It’s a principle to explain how the universe works.
You can find this philosophy in Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism as well as the New Age philosophy.
Nonduality is as old as man and as widespread as the spirit of the principle itself.
However, we can trace its first teachings in Advaita Vendata, Hiinduism, because the concept was most influential during the 8th century.
Advaita Vedanta Fundamental Nonduality
Advaita means “Not Two”.
This is entirely different from Oneness. It is not Oneness nor Duality, but “Not Two”.
It essentially brings to mind that God/Cosmic Consciousness/Absolute Reality and man’s true Higher Self/Atman/Soul are the same.
At the time, this was the only definition.
However, over centuries people begin to add their own interpretation and ideas to the original doctrine.
Each version becomes integrated to their religion, system, politics, philosophies, practices, etc.
The average seeker come to believe that Nonduality means that everything is oneness.
But originally it means that one’s Higher Self = God.
What this means is like a drop of water in the ocean.
The small drop of water is the individual self.
Yet, the water is not outside of the ocean, it is a part of it.
The ocean is water. And water is the ocean.
The Higher Self and the Journey to God Within
All the sages and mystics of the past know that the spiritual journey within is the journey toward the One.
They also realize that the physical reality is an illusion.
If we listen to the quiet voice inside us, we will find peace in grasping the principle of nonduality.
The path to enlightenment or union with God is found by fully awakening into our Higher Self.
This is the path which the Buddhism, Taoism, and Advaita agrees as Enlightenment or Self-Realisation.
It is the spiritual aim to know one’s true self as the timeless Absolute Awareness.
Centuries of Speculations in Nonduality
As with any wisdom teachings, there are many other teachings associated with it that confuses the seeker.
For example, one might find theories about nirvana, absorption and absolute annihilation.
Whether they are corrections to the original or mistaken interpretations, it becomes increasingly harder to disentangle the web of conceptions of Nonduality.
With misinterpretation here and contradicting theories there, we find speculations upon speculations until it becomes dogma or superstition.
The New Age version of nonduality is perhaps the most harmful of all.
New Age reduced nondualism to a theory instead of a spiritual principle.
In the spiritual tradition, one must first understand dualism in order to reach nondualism.
But in the New Age and Self-Help, we see everything as nondualism and disregarded any duality which currently exist.
This bias reaches to new heights of relativism, allowing anyone to come up with random unfounded ideas while not being critically challenged because of nonduality.
Though it does resonate with people and it does help with their spiritual development, many are motivated to use it for material purposes.
Harder Than It Appears
Many appointed teachers mistake how long it actually take to reach nonduality.
It cannot be taught in a weekend or two. Or even mastered in one lifetime.
Sometimes we believe that we are further along our spiritual path than we actually are.
The increase of inner peace or an awakening of higher consciousness has overwhelmed us and makes us believe we achieved nonduality.
But actually we have just scratched the surface and confused the step with the actual goal.
This is not union with our Higher Self/Enlightenment/Nonduality.
As long as we continue on this path, we will gain new improved truth of our truths.