Non-duality is “a term
and concept used to define various strands of thought,” typically associated
with the Eastern tradition of meditation or spiritual awakening. To attain or
experience non-duality is an undefinable experience, but one where the self
becomes realized and the surrounding world and the self, become
indistinguishable and inseparable.
We live in a world
convoluted and dominated by media, technology, and distraction that forces us
to plan for the future rather than live in the now. How easy it is to be caught
up in this fast-passed world and forget to sit back, enjoy, and relax,
forgetting the importance of silent reflection. Technology, while attempting to
bring us together and make the world a smaller place, has in turn also
negatively impacted our ability to communicate amongst peers but also within
our own mental capacity and stability. By constantly denying our minds to sit
back and reflect, we live in a constant world of division. It is then important
to train the mind, and exercise the mind, as you would any other muscle, to
attain or recognize this non-duality.
can come in many shapes and forms; one could attain non-duality by experiencing
something awe-inspiring or humbling. Non-duality can also be attained by
experience it’s opposite, or by experiencing the “bad” of this world.
Individuals of all ages can be said to experience non-duality in a multitude of
ways, but the universal truth about non-duality – if a universal truth can be deduced
– is the cognitive recognition of some larger scheme than the self; the self
plays a mere part in the grand cosmos of the universe.
This past summer, I
experienced what I consider to be a non-dual moment. After spending a week in
Canada in total isolation from any source of technology, I went kayaking with a
close friend at midnight. The world around me was so dark, it was possible to
see the Milky Way. I had not seen the Milky Way since I was a little girl, so
the experience was remarkable. My friend and I sat in silence as we shared in
this non-dual moment. Without words, we were able to communicate a mutual
feeling of respect and admiration for the scene around us.
Now, whenever I feel
overwhelming or stressed, I think of that non-dual moment, and try to once
again attain that feeling of freedom and infancy.
“And in that moment,
I swear we were infinite” ~ The Perks of
Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
"a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation" (Webster).
As much as we search for a definition of "zen," the harder it seems to pinpoint exactly what "zen" is; definitions seem to only raise greater questions: What is meditation? How can I achieve "zen"? How do we know when we have found "zen."
All of these questions and more are hoped to be addressed throughout the following blog.
Enjoy, and peace be with you.
“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.” ― Ray Bradbury