Tag Archives: nonduality

In Your Final Moments…

Some comments by the great teachers make me pause − and ponder. This is one I came across from a ConsciousTV interview of Francis Lucille by Iain McNay.

The question being asked was, what would you do if you ate a poisonous mushroom and had just 2 hours to live?

Francis Lucille’s answer:

“Wait peacefully.”

How many of us, I wonder, have embraced non-duality so thoroughly, so deeply and so fully that we would not instead be reaching out to loved ones for goodbyes? Or jotting down our final notes on that life’s work Theory of Everything?

Makes me pause.

“Wait peacefully,” he said.

Imagine that!

 

The Siren Song of Duality

Mother and baby

(c) Depositphotos.com, Baldyrgam

The world exists only as it is revealed through our senses.

And my senses are so believable.

I’m missing something when I think about consciousness, especially when I try to make the leap from duality thinking to non-duality understanding. My life is so real to me, so definable, touchable, feelable. And consciousness, that divine non-duality consciousness, is something I vaguely know, occasionally touch in meditation, and which I define mostly on an intellectual level as I listen to sages and philosophers.

Meanwhile, my slice of life – the feelings and events of my own days – are deeply imprinted in my mind and body. Let me give a small example.  Dad called last night. I’ve come to admire him over the last few years, though it wasn’t always so. Growing up, I was Mom’s pal, her biggest fan, still am. For the longest time Dad was just that man in the house who annoyed me with his conservative politics, his hunting and his assumed male privilege – if he sat, someone female would come by and serve him a cup of coffee, someone like my mother, who never fully embraced the equality of women. Not me, except under duress, and then I’d make sure the coffee arrived with a frown. I begin to digress, but do you see my point? We had a great deal to argue over, and we did.

He called last night after spending the day with my mother at rehab, helping her through her fourth stay, her fourth repaired bone in three years, this one a hip; they’re 90 years old now, and he takes care of the household for the most part with mom doing as much as she can but not nearly what she did for all those years before. I see the layers of their marriage these days, layers hidden to us kids for most of our lives, layers of caring for each other, of knowing each other completely and loving each other all the more because of it.

He called to give me an update on Mom’s progress – slow but coming along; she’ll be home in a few weeks, but it was a rough day at the rehab facility. Mom was feeling low, tired, wanted him to take her home, didn’t have the motivation to do another day of therapy, another day of not being able to walk to the bathroom without help. Dad and I talked, but mostly I listened as he went through the day, and especially, his concerns that Mom might give up. And that, we all know, is the end for someone 90. That giving up. I reminded him of her previous stay in rehab and how she, as anyone would, had ups and downs as she got through that. Our conversation roamed a bit to other things, to Dad’s charity work, to my garden, and to my niece, his granddaughter, enjoying the truck he just gave her. All good things in the world.

“Thanks,” he said as he was hanging up. “I was feeling low, and I feel a lot better now.” I could hear the change in his voice, sense the truth of it.

How often do you have a chance like that, to give a gift of comfort, to someone you love? Maybe more often than we know. Maybe not.

But that’s our slice of life, that love, that bond, and it is powerful. It fills the heart. It’s definable, touchable, feelable. It’s real. And when the feeling is good, I want it with all my being. I want to hold it, capture it − I reach out for it.

And divine consciousness of non-duality?

Can it offer something equally as palpable? As compelling?

Sometimes I think it can, and I want it, too, non-duality with its limitless knowing, and also my world, so limited by the senses.

Notes from a Lecture by Wayne Dyer

I go to see Wayne Dyer to hear his latest thoughts on the oneness of all; along the way, he shows us our own individual sparks of possibilities, while all the while helping us to see that we are one.

He never uses the word, non-duality, but Wayne Dyer paints a picture in a day of lectures and meditation that brings me closer to a sense of nonduality, of something I might call universal consciousness. I watch this man who has spent a lifetime studying, thinking and teaching us, the masses, and who’s come to a place of spirituality in his 70th decade. How did he get here? And where is “here”, I can’t resist asking.

It’s April 19, 2015. We sit in the Portland Convention Center on marginally padded chrome chairs and begin the day with Wayne Dyer’s daughter, Skye, singing “I am Light”, an India Arie song. Music sets the tone for the day, becomes a refrain and hums in the background of the hours. Skye will return to the stage after lunch break and sing the song again. It’s a nice touch, I think, but I soon find it’s more than a “touch” because, as we’ll see, Wayne is attempting to take us beyond intellectual understanding of his topic. He wants us to feel it as he does, and what better way than to immerse us in beautiful music?

He follows up the music with a video of a NASA Hubble image reaching deep into Andromeda Galaxy and with that, he has hold of the two threads that he is tying in a bow for us.

NASA photo-segment of the Andromeda Galaxy

Courtesy of NASA – a small segment of the Andromeda Galaxy from a Hubble photo.

Here is what he sees when he looks at the billions of stars in these pictures of the galaxy:
he sees limitlessness.
He “sees” Infinity, if one can see that.
Or better said, he feels it.
He grasps the oneness of it all. And simultaneously, he feels the immensity of it.

“This is who we are,” he says, standing beside the big screen with the Andromeda Galaxy spread above him and the camera revealing more and more stars as it dives further and further into the panorama photo. We are this “infinite nature.” There’s no beginning and no end.

I’m mesmerized by the millions of stars in this one small segment of this one single galaxy in a universe of millions of galaxies – and more – billions, I have no doubt.

But Wayne Dyer does not leave us floating in the unimaginable stretches of space, time and universe. He moves on, connecting the dots he’s laid out for us.

What a privilege, he says, to be incarnated in this body and to be able to explore such depths![my paraphrase]

We Are Light

Wayne Dyer has the gift of carrying us along with him as he tells his story. “We are light,” he says, and we agree. The audience of almost 1,300 souls relaxes into their convention floor chairs. “We are infinite,” he says, and we grasp this, too. I follow him as he talks and I capture a glimmer – just a twinkle − of my own feeling of nonduality.

He quotes William Blake, one of his favorite poets:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
[William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell]

Throughout the day, Wayne will return to these thoughts again and again. He’ll have several more quotes from several other authors and poets. We’ll meditate. We’ll also listen to Anita Moorjani tell her riveting story of awakening. Wayne will present us with metaphors and stories. I’ve heard many of these before. I’ve heard his metaphor of the clay pot – it is the space in the middle of the pot, not the clay, that makes it a pot. I’ve heard most of his stories and jokes. And I’m not alone in the room, as very few people in the audience are brand new to Wayne Dyer.

But I do not go just to be entertained by stories; I go as I would to a good friend, to walk alongside him, to attempt to dive as deeply into the world of life as he has − to have him lead me into Blake’s cavern so I sense my unwanted creation of that dark cave, so my desire – my need to see more than what the narrow chinks in the wall show − will demolish the cavern and along with it, the illusion in which we spend our days.

Many philosophers talk of non-duality, and they explain the concept clearly; I read them and I appreciate them. But for me, understanding the philosophy and feeling the oneness are not the same.

As I metaphorically walk with Wayne through the day, I catch a glimpse of what he wants us to achieve − the complete acceptance, expanse and joy of being. Capture that, I think, and you have captured the meaning of life. Or, no. You have captured life itself.

I ask myself. What is consciousness?

(c) DepostPhotos.com -njnightsky

(c) DepostPhotos.com -njnightsky

I watch a seagull dive into the calm surface of the Columbia River. Are we connected, this bird and I? Are we entangled in the folds of eternal consciousness?

∼∼∼

What are these ideas of consciousness that the world of physics and spirituality talk about so much and that I understand so little?

I come to this discussion acutely aware of my own materialist understanding of the world. I am Western-educated in the old-school sense of the words, and I question all things that whiff of spirituality unless I’m presented with tangible validation of their factual existence—material evidence. This matter-based view of mine is deeply engrained, imprinted even, and I struggle to catch glimpses of the world as it exists in its deeper realms.

Sometimes I think I see it, or feel it, or tangibly sense consciousness. And my world is akimbo with this evidence, off-kilter as I analyze what I saw, felt or sensed. I stand, off-balance and teetering, because, you see, just recently I began to know on an intellectual level, that it’s there, or here—that an intangible consciousness is at work under, around and above all material aspects of the world; this is a new knowing and it pinches my mind.

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I seek out explanations of what this consciousness is.

I like the simple ones, those easy to grasp. “Consciousness is awareness: the two are synonymous….Consciousness is the potential for all creation.” says Deepak Chopra in The Book of Secrets.

So, I ponder his clear, simple statement: Consciousness equals awareness. Yes. We get that.  But then comes his zinger: it “is the potential for all creation.”  And later: It is “pure potential”. My challenge is not just to understand this intellectually but to really “get” it. I struggle.

Consciousness is a “field of pure potentiality,” and we, as part of consciousness, tap into that field, either intentionally or not.  Clearly, to be intentional about it is preferable.

In reading Peter Russell’s From Science to God and listening to his talks, I come to see his view that consciousness is in all things; all creatures and all systems down to the atomic simply have varying experiences of it. We humans like to believe ours to be the most evolved, but is it? I’m not sure if Russell thinks that it is, and I’m no longer so sure that I can believe it either, or that it matters who’s king of this particular hill.

∼∼∼

This change has happened rapidly for me. It was not so long ago that I looked for consciousness in my body; maybe my mind created it or, somehow, my heart, I thought, and I meditated on that. I could not find it.

I should have just picked up a book by Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle or Peter Russell or Francis Lucille or so many others. They would have told me in a heartbeat that the spirit of all, consciousness, is not in a body, that it is instead nonlocal, everywhere, that it is not a thing residing in time and space.  They might have used terms new to me, like non-duality, as they explained the complexities of this realm. And my head would have been akimbo.

My sister told me the same thing, by the way, and she does not consider herself a philosophical scholar. She just knows. She told me that Sunday School misled us all those years ago. There’s no soul sitting cross-legged somewhere inside our chests, she said.  Consciousness is nonlocal.

As I read and study, trying to grasp this mind-altering change from matter to consciousness, from a mechanistic view of the world to one in which the intangible realm of consciousness creates all, I am often stopped in my tracks by the beauty of it. Of course, then I start up again.

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The vision slips.

The seagull swoops away, white against a pure blue sky.

And I yearn to see it again.

Knowing Arises in Stillness

“Be still and know…” The knowing arises in the stillness, until it gets established and then it is there all the time.

~~Jac O’Keeffe