On the path of awakening, the experience of Oneness is a major milestone for most serious seekers, and, sooner or later, virtually everyone who experiences Oneness also realizes that there is no real point or purpose to life. While for many, this shocking realization becomes a sticking point that requires some sort of inner negotiation, for others, the desire to live in a state of Oneness leads to a practice commonly known as non-dualism.
Through the practice of non-dualism, a practitioner learns to release attachments to all desires and outcomes, and, ultimately, by observing life as it is, without judgment or interference, the practitioner enters a state of presence where Oneness is experienced.
By personally “living in non-duality” for an extended period of time, I can honestly say that it’s a beautiful place to call home. Indeed, when every moment is full of love and peace, non-duality can feel like taking a euphoric drug that never wears off.
Having said this, I also discovered that non-duality has a hidden downside that no one ever talks about, and, in fact, this downside can result in unforeseen consequences.
While the practice of non-duality can make for a smooth and easy life, non-dualism can sometimes be an excuse for escapism or a reason to remain detached from life. You know, present, but not really present.
Believing that non-dualism represents higher consciousness, some non-dualistic practitioners have no awareness that they might be using it as a means to avoid emotional pain or intimacy, and in doing so, bypassing deep and meaningful experiences and relationships. Although it’s wonderful to “be in the world, but not of it,” it’s also easy to unknowingly cross a thin line where we’re no longer in the world - and we don’t even know it.
Furthermore, since one must be fully conscious in order to experience higher consciousness, a chronic state of detachment can unknowingly border on unconsciousness. For instance, many years ago, I had an interesting experience with a famous non-dualism teacher. Surprisingly, while she was a live guest on my radio show, “Chai with Nanice,” she could not remember my name nor keep track of our conversation.
Unfortunately, “escapism” is only the tip of the non-dualistic iceberg, and, in fact, non-duality has the potential to stunt human evolution!
Non-Duality and Evolution
According to the nature of non-duality, practitioners allow life to be as it is without preference or interference, and, needless to say, without the ability to consciously create one’s life, the practice of non-duality inevitably maintains the status quo. Although there is nothing wrong with this way of life, if we’re not consciously creating, how can our current world evolve in a positive manner? Indeed, when we allow life to unfold without preference or interference, the strongest intentions always dictate the course of history.
When we consider ongoing planetary devastation and the global disempowerment of humanity, what might this mean for the next generation? Indeed, without conscious participation, the world might otherwise be doomed!
Return from Non-Duality
While living in a non-dualistic state, my life was quite blissful, and yet, I could still sense that something was missing. So, one day, while perched on the peak of Wayna Picchu, over-looking Machu Picchu, I silently spoke to the Universe, “What is the point or purpose of life and how am I meant to live?” Of course, I didn’t have to go all the way to South America for the answer, but, nonetheless, it could not have been any clearer.
“The purpose of life is your choice and the point is to do what you love to do!”
Since this is another way of saying, “follow your heart,” that’s exactly what I did from that moment on, and once I tuned back into my heart and reignited desire, life took on a multidimensional richness, and before long, I discovered life beyond non-duality and even pointlessness.
Moreover, once the Universe opened this door to greater understanding and I walked through, I discovered something quite unexpected…. we might really have a purpose after all!
The Love of a Dream
Although we each have the power to choose our individual purpose and we’re meant to do what we love to do, we must wonder why we love certain things and not others, and we must also wonder why we’re rewarded with joy and fulfillment when we do what we love?
Could this dynamic be by Grand Design, and, if so, might it imply that there’s actually a purpose to life after all?
What if we are each born with a special intention, mission or purpose, and to ensure success, we’re implanted with a natural desire that makes us gravitate toward this pre-chosen path? If so, by following our hearts and doing what we love, we naturally fulfill an intention, mission or purpose.
So, even though there may be no point or purpose in the Grand Scheme of things, there could very well be a point to life and a purpose for each individual existence.
Cells in a Greater Body
As you probably already know, trillions of cells in your body work together for the sole purpose of keeping you alive. Now, imagine if all your cells suddenly decided to practice non-dualism and they stopped doing what they’re intended to do….no doubt, you would quickly die.
Just like your cells can’t “see” you, consider that you may be a cell in a greater body that you can’t see, and when you fulfill your purpose (like your cells fulfill theirs), you support that greater body.
Similar to how your cells have a blueprint to follow, maybe you do too, and maybe your dreams and desires are that blueprint. If so, this would mean that if you ignore your dreams and desires in lieu of non-dualism, you could accidentally bypass your purpose altogether and miss the reason for your life – talk about a spiritual bypass!
The Grand Design for a New Dream!
For whatever reason, and no matter the nature of reality, we’re here (wherever here is), and there appears to be a Grand Design with a Grand Orchestrator. Personally, I happen to believe that we’re on the brink of a New Dream for humanity, and since the evolution of this dream is based on collaboration, we are each here to play a part in its manifestation.
Imagine that the New Dream for humanity is represented by a Giant Puzzle that is composed of billions of pieces, and by fulfilling your specific dream, you fulfill your piece of the puzzle.
However, although the New Dream is designed to move us out of the “dark side of duality” and into harmony, if we don’t actively participate in co-creating this new reality, we’ll remain stuck in our current reality indefinitely. Sure, that’s fine too, but you might want to consider that anyone who chooses non-dualism for themselves could be choosing a dualistic world by default.
Once again, if we allow life to unfold without conscious participation, the strongest intention will dictate and the most powerful current will carve the course of history, and, right now, it’s fairly clear what this could mean. No doubt, as a byproduct of non-duality, complacency has consequences.
It’s Okay to Be Human!
Although I don’t profess to have all the answers, it’s safe to say that we’re having the human experience for a reason (even if that reason is merely experience itself), and since we’re probably going to return to Oneness upon our final exit, why not engage in the full human experience while we’re here?
As for me, I discovered that rather than being the ultimate destination, non-dualism was simply a bridge (albeit one with a grand view). So, even though non-duality (aka Oneness) is a place I often visit, I no longer call it home. Instead, I have chosen to embrace the full human experience with total consciousness.
You see, by integrating the best teachings of non-dualism into the human experience, I’ve learned to consciously participate in life with absolute presence every day, and because I now have the power to observe circumstances without judgment, I’m able to witness divine beauty in everyone and everything. And, as a surprise bonus, I also discovered that whenever I am fully present in any experience, I am always greeted with bliss. Who would have thought that the secret to feeling bliss is simply being present?
Of course, while it’s rather easy to stay present when we’re not invested in outcomes and void of desires, being present during life’s roller coaster ride is quite another story! Indeed, life can be quite messy and emotional, and with frequent ups and downs, every day is full of surprises, but it’s also incredibly rich beyond measure - and nothing’s more fulfilling. Instead of having an “empty cup” or no cup at all, my proverbial cup is constantly overflowing with love and joy – even on challenging days. It’s sad to think that if I had remained in non-duality, I could have missed the best part of my life altogether.
The Dance of Duality
As non-dualistic practitioners practice presence without participation, most of the world lives in dualism without presence, but what might happen if we brought presence to duality? Imagine living in duality with full presence, and while making conscious choices and taking conscious actions, the difference we could make by participating in world change. Indeed, “living in dualism with presence” just might be the next step to humanity’s evolution!
So, yes, take the time to explore non-duality and even make Oneness a place you call home, and then, come back to the Dance of Duality and fully embrace life with purpose and joy!
No doubt, by walking your path consciously, an incredible adventure awaits!
With grace & gratitude,