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What Is Nonduality? Definition and Meaning


You have probably not heard the word ‘nonduality’, unless you have been reading about spirituality, meditation, Indian philosophies, or about ways to expand your consciousness.

If you have been reading about the philosophies of the East, you might have come across the term Advaita Vedanta. In the West, it is called Nonduality, Nondualism, or Non Duality.

To understand the meaning of this word, we first need to define it.

What Is Nonduality and How to Define It?

Nonduality is a philosophy that says that there is just One Eternal Spirit in existence and that everything in the Universe is an inseparable part of it.

At the same time, nonduality also says that the world is not real. From the nondual view, the world is an illusion created by the mind and the senses.

Nonduality is derived from the Sanskrit word Advaita, meaning not two and non-separation. In other words, Oneness.

The nondual perspective says that all things are interconnected. You are one with everything in the Universe, part of the whole, unlike Duality, which means two, not one, the world and you, other people and you.

The mind finds it difficult to accept the concept of nonduality, because it does not accept that the world is a creation of the mind and the five senses and that it is not real. It also finds it difficult to accept the concept of Oneness.

To understand what nonduality is, you have to be in a state beyond words and thinking. This requires the ability to silence the mind. In this silence, you realize the real meaning of non-duality.

It is not an altered state of consciousness. It is an expansion of consciousness and living in the present moment. It allows you to know the true nature of reality.

It is beyond good – evil, subject-object.

You need concentration to focus your mind, and you need meditation to help you clean the mind of thoughts, so you can focus and become aware of the essence, the Spirit, the life force, beyond the mind.

Gradually, as the mind becomes calm and peaceful, you arrive to the experience of non-duality. In this state of being without thoughts, you realize your Oneness with the One Spirit, and you experience pure consciousness.

Your Mind Prevents You from Seeing Reality

Wait a moment before you stop reading and go somewhere else. This is a most simple and most rewarding process, though not easy. When you realize this state, your point of view on life and who you are would completely change.

With its thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and habits, the mind prevents you from seeing what is beyond it. It is as though it envelops your consciousness and obscures your vision. It lets you see the world only through the eyes of the mind and the five senses.

People regard themselves as separate units, separate from the world and from other people. Only after removing the veil that the mind creates you will be able to realize the Oneness of everything and, thereby, realize what nonduality is.

If you wish to improve the quality of your spiritual life and find answers to life’s questions, it will be a good idea to learn about nonduality.

It would also help you gain inner peace and become aware of nondual awareness.

Understanding and Experiencing Nonduality

Imagine that clouds of different shapes and sizes hide the sky. These clouds constantly move and change their shapes, and only when they disperse and disappear can you see the blue sky.

The sky, on the other hand, never moves or changes. It is always up there, but sometimes, it is hidden by clouds.

The sky is permanent, and only the clouds are transitory, coming and going.

Thoughts, people, and events constantly come and go, just like the clouds, while the background is the One Eternal and Formless Spirit, which is always here and never changes.

If you wish to understand the One Spirit that exists everywhere and within everything, you need to understand nonduality.

While dreaming while sleeping, you go through all sorts of pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Everything seems so real in the dream, but when you wake up, you realize that these experiences were just a dream. They were not real and lasted only while you were sleeping.

You are the same person before, during, and after the dream, living in the same conditions and circumstances. However, in your dreams, you go through all kinds of experiences that seem real but don’t really exist.

It is like watching a movie and identifying yourself with the main character. When the movie ends, you forget about it. It seemed real for a while, but when the lights went on and you stopped watching the illusion on the screen, everything disappeared.

In all these situations, you – your consciousness – spirit is the stable factor, and all else just comes and goes.

This means that there is an ongoing sort of reality, and everything else is like a projected movie on the screen of reality. This means that the only reality is your Consciousness-Awareness, and all other things are images on a screen.

The best way to understand the experience of nondual and ultimate reality is to experience them, not just read about them.

Though the world might be an illusion created by the mind and the five senses, it does not mean that you need to give up on everything.

You can accept this point of view, understand it, and live it, and at the same time, go on with your life, work, love, and achieve goals.

What prevents you from realizing and understanding what nonduality is?

These are the restlessness and nonstop thinking mind, the belief in the reality of the ego, of separate individual existence, that prevent you from becoming aware of what is beyond them and understanding nonduality.

What can help you realize and understand nonduality?

Looking within you, searching for the source of your mind and thoughts, where they come from, and discovering who and what you really bring the knowledge and understanding of what nonduality is.

How to Live in Nonduality and Realize Its Meaning?

The first step would be reading about it. However, true experience and understanding are gained through concentration and meditation.

Real understanding becomes possible when you can silence your mind and when you can raise your consciousness above the mind.

1) Find someone with experience to teach you. It is possible that there are some teachers in your country, or you might travel far away to find them.

2) Learn to silence your mind and through concentration and meditation practice. As the mind becomes quieter, it becomes easier to realize the meaning of the concept of Nonduality-Nondualism.

As for meditation, you might find it useful to practice the Self-Inquiry Meditation and the Who Am I meditation.

“All separation, every kind of estrangement and alienation is false. All is one.”
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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