Non-Duality and Maya
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
It might have occurred to you hearing that the reality we live in is interconnected and therefore one. This concept has started to catch on among the scientific community that believes that the Universe is an infinite field of energy that connects everything. The idea of being one with the entire Universe is not uncommon also within the spiritual teachings where it is claimed that reality is one and that the separation between subject and object is an illusion. I would like to discuss about this fascinating idea based on my personal experience and understanding.
It is our common experience that we perceive the world. When we wake up in the morning a great deal of objective information is unfolding in front of our eyes and thanks to our brain we can interact and participate in this reality. We can appreciate the taste of our morning coffee and its smell, we can entertain a discussion with our beloved ones and get ready to start our day into the world. Our experience is to consider our self a point of view, a specific and unique subjective perspective from which the external physical world can be experienced through our senses, perceptions and intellect. In a nutshell, the nature of our experiences is dualistic: I am here and the objective world is over there, separated from what I think to be myself. This model of how we experience the world seems so solid and undeniable that most of people would never question its validity. This view comes from many years of scientific studies, supported by thousands of experiments performed by influential minds and accepted by the majority of the scientific community.
The mistake most of people do is to behave and act accordingly to what has been taught to us without questioning. This behavior is due to a partial laziness and mostly by the fact that it is impossible to handle all the available knowledge and therefore is it necessary to rely on specialized branches that do the work for us. We have lawyers that tell us how to defend our self in a court, politics that take care of our society, doctors that tells us which drugs to swallow when sick, nutritionists that tells us what to eat and so on. The partition of jobs is a fundamental aspect for any society and it simplifies our individual life. Nevertheless, when we deal with our experiences, my advice is to make an effort in verifying whether or not these shared ideas match your personal experience. The way how you experience and relate to the world influences how you will act and conduct your life and it would be a pity to base your entire life on false assumptions. We have been so trained to look at the world in a certain way that it seems impossible to have an alternative but I myself realized that the alternative exists and it let me quite speechless and amazed.
This alternative is called non-duality, a new perspective on how to peek into the world that implies that the separation from subject and object, the sense of moving and doing is Maya, a Sanskrit word that means illusion. By definition an illusion is something that do not exist and that it only appears to be, something that you thought it existed but in reality it was not there. This illusion is extremely well done, it is extremely sophisticated and it has many layers to prevent the Truth to be revealed. The reason it is so relies on the fact that the Truth represents the end of the illusion, and since the illusion I am pointing to is what you consider to be your physical self, this search for the truth might turn out to be something unpleasant and difficult to accept. Whatever you consider yourself to be has to cease to exist in order to access to your true nature and even though your motivation is strong, you will be your worst enemy and obstacle in this journey.
The you that is searching, is the you that has to disappear and make space for "something" else.
Spirituality and Awakening is about waking up from this illusion to allow yourself experiencing your true self and to look at reality as it is. This realization can be “experienced” directly and it is not meant to be a theoretical or conceptual model of reality. If you will be brave enough to undergo this path, it will be up to you how far you want to go in discovering what is true and how much you are capable to take. There is nothing wrong in being part of the illusion because as someone else said: “The best part of the magic trick is being fooled, that’s where the show is. You cannot be behind the scene all the time, there is no show anymore”. So it is up to you whether or not you want to perform on the stage and being fooled, but my suggestion is, do it consciously because it will prevent you enormous amount of suffering.
What we call life is ultimately a personal journey and, I believe, it has to be enjoyed.
When I first started my journey I was pretty confused and skeptical only to open up to the possibility of such a radical claim but since I took this work seriously I wanted to really grasp what it was meant to be one with everything. Even though some of these clarifications might sound stupid and unnecessary, they will clear out specific points that will allow you to move faster towards what I am pointing here, your true nature.
First, do not expect to become a tree or any other object in any way. You, as a human being, are limited in time, space, shape, size and nothing will change that. When you are sitting in meditation or busy in contemplation do not look for a way to become or connect physically with a tree, it is impossible. Even if you could, you would just become a new object that does not include everything else and therefore you would still be separate from the rest. Since reality contains infinite objects, your attempt to become everything will turn out to be a failure.
A second misconception about “being one with everything” is comparing this claim to some New Age beliefs or to some scientific assertions. Saying that we are all made out of energy and therefore we are all intimately connected to each other is not what I am pointing to and it is not your current experience. Supporting these claims would simply mean living your life in line with something you have no direct consciousness of and therefore living a lie. Once you will awake to something higher than your current state of consciousness you will notice it, trust me.
Thirdly, many people are tempted to link awakening with the movie Matrix. In this movie it is presented a reality that turns out to be nothing more than a virtual reality controlled by the world of machines that use humans as battery to run their own city. The main character, Neo manages to wake up and to get to know the truth about Matrix and its own existence. Even though it might have some similarities and some concepts can be used as a metaphor, it does not describe at all what awakening is about. I leave open the possibility that Matrix could describe something that is occurring in this moment but also in this case our journey to awakening would not be affected.
Awakening do not require to learn magic abilities to become one with the Universe. I believe, according to my experience, that the most fundamental step towards awakening is becoming directly conscious that reality it is exactly as it look like but without a “you” that perceives it. It is by deconstructing what you think as yourself that everything else can become you. Once the boundary between you and the world will collapse, the non-duality nature of reality will be revealed. For instance, we commonly talk about the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as if they were two separate oceans divided by a real barrier. What you consider yourself to be has the same consistency and reality of the line that separate these two lands of water. By removing this imaginary boundary all that is left is one ocean. As long as you believe to be someone defined and limited, you will never be able to merge with the whole and only by removing the subject that perceives, (almost) automatically also the object that is perceived will cease to be. I say “almost” because the illusion is ingeniously constructed and many deceptions are right now working together to prevent you to discover the Truth. There is a reason why you are experiencing the world in a dualistic ways and intelligent forces are operating to keep things in this way.
Through this work the sense of ownership over a body and mind, the sense to be someone behind the eyes, the sense of control of your existence, the sense that you are a mixture of feelings, sensations and perceptions, the idea that you hold of being a physical biological entity that was born and one day will die will be challenged. I am not denying the fact the you exist because everyone can very it by itself. I am simply challenging the idea you have about yourself being something or someone.
You do exist, but as what?
Obviously this is a shocking truth to hear and accept. I remember my first reaction to this new possibility was of denial, judgmental and unthinkable to even be taken in consideration without falling into the ridiculous. There must be something fishy here. I would not be surprise if your reaction sounds similar to mine and I would accept being considered crazy or behaving non sense. Importantly, I do not want you to simply believe me. I want to stress again the fact that what I will try to do in this blog is to challenge your current beliefs and suggest possibilities that you might not have taken in consideration so far and be open, if you want, to contemplate on them.
All I can say is that it could be limiting to consider yourself a physical individual organism that was born and will die. There is much more to discover about yourself and only you can make the first step into this journey.
Thanks for reading and see you next week!