What Is Non-Duality?

“A quiet mind is all you need. All will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

As a suffering teen I sought peace and found the words of Nisargadatta Maharaj in the Eastern Philosophy section of the local university library. I got the simple message and wrestled with life for a few more decades. The way he went on about was a wonderfully simple and direct form of ‘non-dualism’ – like a slap from one of the most simple and direct Zen masters for being lost in the mind, which is the opposite of this natural state. I like to think that I struggled with the truth so you don’t have to.

The term ‘non-duality’ comes from the ancient Sanskrit word ‘Advaita’ and means not-two. There is no separation, and no oneness either, because everything is not-two. You are and you know that you are, and in the light of this ancient wisdom of the present being not-two, the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything is revealed to be What Am I?

What is the ‘I’ that you are? In the beyond-oneness of everything, the person you take yourself to be – the living thing, the individual, the person, persona, mask in the play – is an illusion of separation where there is no such thing. Life is a living dream, and both the subject and the object, the separate self and the world, are beyond one and the same. This is the present, consciousness, the knowledge of presence, the sense of aliveness, the love to be; and this non-dual wisdom points to that which is aware of this present, that which knows the sense ‘I am’ without words, this conscious presence in which this first-person experience of being a thing appears. A fully immersive present thanks to chasing and claiming every thought, feeling and sensation of the mind, each looped through the idea of being the body and the mind. You are not what you take yourself to be, so simply shift your focus to abide in being, the sense of aliveness, and repeat, day after day, more and more, with the foundations of a quiet mind in place, and that quiet mind will show the way to the truth of life, the universe and everything, or the ‘I’ or whatever you want to call it that this reality is.

You are not what you take yourself to be, life is not what you think it is, and quiet mind is all you need, because life is meant to be easy.

Recommended reading: I Am That, Nisargadatta Maharaj.