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Duality is the idea that 'self' and 'other' (experiencer and experienced) are objectively separate concepts — that the "external world" exists independently of the self. Nonduality is thus the idea that there is no separation, only oneness.

The manifold universe is, in truth, a Single Reality. There is only one Great Being, which the sages call Brahman, in which all the countless forms of existence reside. That Great Being is utter Consciousness, and It is the very Essence, or Self (Atman) of all beings.

Georg Feuerstein

Defining nonduality (also called nondualism — though this word also has other meanings) is difficult without having experienced nondual awareness. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (2002) has this definition:

nondualism (n.)

  1. a doctrine of classic Brahmanism holding that the essential unity of all is real whereas duality and plurality are phenomenal illusion and that matter is materialized energy which in turn is the temporal manifestation of an incorporeal spiritual eternal essence constituting the innermost self of all things
  2. any of various monistic or pluralistic theories of the universe

Existence vs. experience vs. perception

As Immanuel Kant famously observed, we never know the noumenon (the thing-in-itself); we only ever know the phenomenon (the thing-as-perceived). In other words, we don't see the world as it is, we see the world as we are. Nonduality teacher Rupert Spira observes the nature of perception/experience/existence:

The Nature of Perception - Rupert Spira (Science & Nonduality Conference 2013)

Alan Watts puts it in other words:

You are the Eternal Universe - Alan Watts


In Vedanta (one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy), especially in Advaita (which means nonduality), the illusion of separation has a word. Maya is the illusion of the duality of Atman and Brahman, and the resulting delusion that the "external world" beyond the skin is separate from the self — that reality is objective.

Maya or Māyā (Sanskrit माया), literally means "illusion" and "magic". However, the term has multiple meanings depending on the context. In earlier older language, it literally implies extraordinary power and wisdom, in later Vedic texts and modern literature dedicated to Indian traditions, Māyā connotes a "magic show, an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem". In Indian philosophies, Māyā is also a spiritual concept connoting "that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal", and the "power or the principle that conceals the true character of spiritual reality".

In Buddhism, Maya was the name of Gautama Buddha's mother. Maya is also the name of a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of "wealth, prosperity and love", in Hinduism. For these reasons, it is a popular name for girls.

Maya in Vedanta school

Maya is a prominent and commonly referred to concept in Vedanta philosophies. Maya is often translated as "illusion", in the sense of "appearance". Human mind constructs a subjective experience, states Vedanta school, which leads to the peril of misunderstanding Maya as well as interpreting Maya as the only and final reality. Vedantins assert the "perceived world including people are not what they appear to be". There are invisible principles and laws at work, true invisible nature in others and objects, and invisible soul that one never perceives directly, but this invisible reality of Self and Soul exists, assert Vedanta scholars. Māyā is that which manifests, perpetuates a sense of false duality (or divisional plurality). This manifestation is real, but it obfuscates and eludes the hidden principles and true nature of reality. Vedanta school holds that liberation is the unfettered realization and understanding of these invisible principles – the Self, that the Self (Soul) in oneself is same as the Self in another and the Self in everything (Brahman). The difference within various sub-schools of Vedanta is the relationship between individual soul and cosmic soul (Brahman). Non-theistic Advaita sub-school holds that both are One, everyone is thus deeply connected Oneness, there is God in everyone and everything; while theistic Dvaita and other sub-schools hold that individual souls and God's soul are distinct and each person can at best love God constantly to get one's soul infinitely close to His Soul.

Advaita Vedanta

In Advaita Vedanta philosophy, there are two realities: Vyavaharika (empirical reality) and Paramarthika (absolute, spiritual reality). Māyā is the empirical reality that entangles consciousness. Māyā has the power to create a bondage to the empirical world, preventing the unveiling of the true, unitary Self—the Cosmic Spirit also known as Brahman. The theory of māyā was developed by the ninth-century Advaita Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara. However, competing theistic Dvaita scholars contested Shankara's theory, and stated that Shankara did not offer a theory of the relationship between Brahman and Māyā. A later Advaita scholar Prakasatman addressed this, by explaining, "Maya and Brahman together constitute the entire universe, just like two kinds of interwoven threads create a fabric. Maya is the manifestation of the world, whereas Brahman, which supports Maya, is the cause of the world."

Māyā is a fact in that it is the appearance of phenomena. Since Brahman is the sole metaphysical truth, Māyā is true in epistemological and empirical sense; however, Māyā is not the metaphysical and spiritual truth. The spiritual truth is the truth forever, while what is empirical truth is only true for now. Since Māyā is the perceived material world, it is true in perception context, but is "untrue" in spiritual context of Brahman. Māyā is not false, it only clouds the inner Self and principles that are real. True Reality includes both Vyavaharika (empirical) and Paramarthika (spiritual), the Māyā and the Brahman. The goal of spiritual enlightenment, state Advaitins, is to realize Brahman, realize the fearless, resplendent Oneness.

Alan Watts explains Maya:

Alan Watts - Fascinated by Maya

"Out of Your Mind" Lecture on "The World As Self"

In order to come to your senses, Alan Watts often said, you sometimes need to go out of your mind. Perhaps more than any other teacher in the West, this celebrated author, former Anglican priest, and self-described spiritual entertainer was responsible for igniting the passion of countless wisdom seekers to the spiritual and philosophical delights of Asia and India.

Now, with Out of Your Mind: Essential Listening from the Alan Watts Audio Archives, you are invited to immerse yourself in 12 of this legendary thinker's pinnacle teaching sessions about how to break through the limits of the rational mind, and begin expanding your awareness and appreciation for the Great Game unfolding all around us.

Carefully selected from hundreds of recordings by Alan Watts' son and archivist, Mark Watts, Out of Your Mind brings you six complete seminars that capture the true scope of this brilliant teacher in action. On these superb, digitally restored recordings, you will delve into Alan Watts' favorite pathways out of the trap of conventional awareness, including:

The art of the controlled accident—what happens when you stop taking your life so seriously and start enjoying it with complete sincerity

How we come to believe the myth of myself that we are skin-encapsulated egos separate from the world around us, and how to transcend that illusion

Why we must fully embrace chaos and the void to find our deepest purpose

Unconventional and refreshing insights into the deeper principles of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Western philosophy, plus much, much more.

Watts elaborates even further on the illusion:

Alan Watts and the illusion of Maya

Alan Watts breaking down the mind control racket we were all born into.

Watts explains how the Theosophists understood that the Higher Self can take charge of the lower self (Physical Mind). This is what we are calling The Attractor, and has been called the Dao, the Divine Purpose, the channeling state, and many other names, and could perhaps also be called nondual surrendering. Are nondualists in the Attractor energy? When you realize that life already works, you let things happen, thus you are no longer creating ego resistance to the natural flow, the Source within you that calls you to more of itself/yourself: the teleological Attractor.

Another way to put it, as physicist Peter Russell explains, is that Maya is the delusion that the appearance in the mind (phenomenon) is the thing in itself (noumenon).

Nondual awareness

Beyond the conceptualization of the idea, the nondual quality of reality can be experienced, using any number of permission slips, such as meditation, out-of-body experiences, NMDA antagonists, the trace neurotransmitter 5-MeO-DMT, etc.

It can also be experienced during traumatic events, such as near-death experiences, or even "out of the blue". A good example of the latter is Ramana Maharshi.

Reductionism applied to nonduality

Another good example of someone who experienced sudden nondual awareness is Tony Parsons. Parsons, stumbling upon nonduality very suddenly and unexpectedly, has made a number of reductionistic assumptions, such as "no free will" and "no choice".

Nondual reductionism is a mind trap, an artifact of the objective reality delusion, resulting from excessive ontological and epistemological assumptions when approaching the understanding of nondual existence. Nonduality teacher and researcher Bentinho Massaro explains how some nonduality teachers are not getting the big picture due to fear-based belief systems:

The Non-Duality Trap - Bentinho Massaro

Is there life after Non-Duality?

In this video Bentinho speaks of his own experiences with non-duality advocates, communities and the overall non-dual mentality in general and its slippery traps.

Although not always and definitely not for all beings, the non-duality mentality can turn into a very real and long-lasting form of depression and/or repression and authority issues and projection. The slippery or tricky part about it is that this mentality tends to idolize and reinforce itself and its insights as the absolute truth, so when one starts to break free from the need for non-dual understandings, and one starts to feel its limitations on ones soul, and one's 'spirit' or soul wishes to expand further and move on beyond the lessons of non-duality, the person may keep him or herself trapped out of a sense of obedience to tradition, or simply because one has now been conditioned to believe that the ideas as advocated by non-duality, are the absolute truth.

As such, anything other than this mentality now - to such a person - starts to look like delusion, and one becomes afraid to let go of the non-dual circles and ideology out of fear of becoming 'deluded'. Which really, if we look at it, is simply a fear to be ridiculed, to be wrong, and to not be accepted or loved.

Bentinho shares how no one has to be a sheep of any kind of way, including the oh-so-glorified and sometimes full-of-itself non-dual way and its followers that tend to strongly reinforce this phenomena of 'either you're in, or you're deluded. It can be very liberating to realize that non-duality is not a final realization. It is still a way.

Give yourself permission once again, to live your life naturally, spontaneously, with desires and joys! As it was designed to be lived.

If one starts out with reductionist assumptions, such as physicalism and thus mechanistic determinism (no free will), one may end up oversimplifying the message by missing the middle part of the picture: the structure of consciousness.

Suddenly shifting from 3rd density awareness to nondual awareness (i.e. from the perspective of the Physical Mind's focus in physical reality to the highest perspective of the One Being infinitely experiencing itself) while having a reductionist belief system may lead to a "misdiagnosis" by fundamentalist-materialist pathologizers of behavioral patterns of that of "depersonalization disorder", which might be difficult to logically refute by the "patient" due to a lack of metaphysical understanding.

.... So if the receiver of the experience starts to assert truths about the one that is realized, he gets into these tricky waters of thinking that it experiences union, but it's actually experiencing its own definition of separation between the lower self and a bigger self. And then it starts coming up with these statements—and at some point they become limiting—, such as, "I'm just being moved", "this is just happening", and, I've met many people that are stuck in that state for years. So the next stage is to free yourself from that. By realizing that is the context. And the truth can never be captured by feeling that you're the receiver, like you're at the receiving end of the state of creation. You have to understand that the one that's giving the experiences somehow is also you, and it's not even the creator, it's still you on an individual level giving it to you on an individual level on a lower scale. ....

Bentinho Massaro


Meditation is the primary tool for experiencing oneself as one with All That Is (3rd Law of Creation). Alan Watts explains how meditation leads to nondual awareness:

Alan Watts - Teaches the Art of Meditation [FULL]

So when you see that that's nonsense [division of self and other], there naturally comes over you a quietness. In seeing that you cannot control your mind, you realize there is no controller. What you took to be the thinker of thoughts is just one of the thoughts; what you took to be the feeler of the feelings — which was that chronic muscular strain — is just one of the feelings. What you took to be the experiencer of experience is just part of the experience.

So there isn't any thinker of thoughts, feeler of feelings; we get into that bind because we have a grammatical rule that verbs have to have subjects. And the funny thing about that is that verbs are processes and subjects are nouns, which are supposed to be things — how does a noun start a verb? How does a thing put a process into action? Obviously it can't. But we always insist that there is this subject, called the knower, and without a knower there can't be knowing. Well that's just a grammatical rule, it isn't a rule of nature. In nature there's just knowing.

Alan Watts

Who am I?

As Aletheia Luna writes in her article 6 of the Most Powerful Questions to Ask for the Awakening Soul:

Six of the most powerful questions you can ever ask yourself in any moment are to do entirely with who you “think” you are. They include the following:

  1. Am I this emotion?
  2. Am I this thought?
  3. Am I this physical sensation?
  4. Am I this circumstance?
  5. Am I this body?
  6. Am I this personality?

At first these questions might sound strange, overly simplistic, and even bizarre. But the more self-aware you become of your thought processes which give birth to your feelings, perceptions, assumptions and beliefs about the world, the more you will come to see how closely you identify with all of these six elements.

When I first started asking these questions, I was immediately uncomfortable and unwilling to completely follow through all the way to the end with such self-inquiry. I thought, “If I’m not this emotion, thought, physical sensation, experience, circumstance, body and personality because they are all transient and subject to growth, change and decay … what am I?”

My conclusion was, “I am none of these things – I am nothing!” And because of my dark and miserly associations with the word “nothing,” I have neglected to ask these questions seriously.

But I have recently experienced otherwise. I have discovered the truth which is that being “nothing” is paradoxically being everything. Being empty of your fabricated identity is paradoxically being completely full and whole again. Far from being desolate and void, being “nothing” is existing in a state of immense rest, of endless peace and profound liberation.

Once you investigate the true depths of the question, “Who am I?” you come to a fascinating realization: “you” are not who you think you are, what you assume you are, what you have been taught you are, or what you have come to believe you are, and you never have been. Why? Because all of these things are temporary, passing and transient.

For the awakening soul, this opens the final door to liberation; from the belief of “I am this or that,” to the realization of “I am.”

What nonduality teachers would want to watch

Bashar's The Voices In Your Head 2014-09-06 transmission describes the archetypal "voices in one's head" one may experience in 3rd density physical reality. Once one realizes that the "voices in one's head" are no more "the self" than the clothes one is wearing or the screen one is reading, a whole new assessment of reality can be created by defining the types of voices, such as the Neutral voice, the Critic and the Deceiver on the negative side, and the Nurturing Mother and Supportive Father on the positive side — along with the "voices" of intuition, archetypes (encoded in the Major Arcana of the tarot card deck), higher-dimensional beings, the Higher Self, and the non-physical levels beyond that.

Nonduality in spiritual traditions

Many peoples and cultures have understood the true nature of reality to be nondual, and have attempted to explain this idea in their own ways. Fundamental language differences — such as between Western subject-verb-object languages and Eastern "free word order" languages — have made these concepts exceedingly difficult to understand for the Western logical mind.

“Advaita” in Sanskrit means “Non-Duality.” This is a difficult concept for most people as we look about us and see multiple objects. But what we see are only transformations, not permanent forms, whether we are speaking of a chair, a tree, or a human being. Each exists provisionally, but is certainly not lasting. One day the tree may become the chair and the human body will be eaten by worms. The “I” that observes all this may disappear and become another “I”.

Justin Stone, T’ai Chi Chih and Non-Duality

Nonduality as the core of Vedanta

The Vedic texts are not so much a philosophical or religious creation myth as they are a description of the structure of existence. They are (along with Hermeticism) the closest to Bashar's description of any ancient human texts.

In the following video, Vedanta is explained for children:

Evolution of soul/consciousness

Nonduality in Buddhism

In the Zen experience, a certain unity happens, subject and object become one, and we come to realize our own self-nature. This self-nature cannot be seen, it cannot be touched, it cannot be heard. Because of these characteristics, we refer to it as "empty" (in Japanese, ku) but its activities are infinite. So, we say the Zen experience is the realization of the empty-infinite of our self-nature or our essential-nature, as it is often called. When this happens, the fact is accompanied by a great peace of mind. At that moment, we feel as though the heavy burdens we have been carrying in our heart or on our shoulders, indeed all over our body and soul, suddenly disappear as if thrown away. The joy and happiness at that time is beyond all words. And there are no philosophies or theologies attached to it.

Yamada Roshi

In Japanese Buddhism, a term that denotes the idea of nonduality is esho-funi (依正不二) (e[ho] environment, sho[ho] life; being, funi "inseparable"; "[two but] not two").

Environment is like the shadow – and life, the body. Without the body there can be no shadow. Similarly, without life, environment cannot exist, even though life is supported by its environment.

Nichiren Daishonin

Nonduality applied to Christianity

If "authority" is seen as what it is then a nondual interpretation of the Bible seems to make more sense:

Kenneth Wapnick - The two inner voices and the body

Nondual understanding explained in Christian terms!

Nonduality explained as scientific concept

The Prime Radiant is a concept introduced by Bashar that helps to conceptually bridge particle physics (i.e. empirical observation) with nonduality.

Bashar - There's Only One Thing and One Moment in Creation

Every moment is the same moment but from different point of view. Everything is made of the same one particle.

If there is no separation, then there are no opposites; only relationships. In the subjective reality ontological metaparadigm, it thus follows that the "fundamental forces" (gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear "forces") are geometric relationships within one whole, as Bashar explains:

Bashar on non-locality and the forces/interactions (theoretical physics)

Nonduality and densities

Nonduality teacher Bentinho Massaro helps bridge nonduality teachings with Bashar's more advanced and more self-empowering ontology:

The Seven Densities of Evolution - Bentinho Massaro LIVE (4.6.15)

In this session, Bentinho will take us on a journey through the evolutionary densities that the beings that comprise this universe go through, what humanity's place is in that, how the focus of our spirituality is changing as a result of the shift from 3rd to fourth density that is presently occurring to our planet and our civilization. This meeting is meant to give a meta-perspective on the metaphysics of our universe and our place in the greater scheme of things.

A lot of this talk's evolution-perspective, such as the seven densities, is consonant with the view of evolution as laid out in "The Law of One", by Ra, 'an humble messenger of the law of one' Densities among other recognized material as channeled by other entities around the world.

As Massaro explains, densities are frequency ranges of consciousness that an individuated consciousness travels/evolves through in a cycle of self-discovery (duality) from new points of view. Higher densities are also higher-dimensional in the Euclidean sense.

Bashar has a more literal way of explaining what Rupert Spira, Bentinho Massaro, and Alan Watts explain in the videos above. According to Bashar, the One (the nondual being) is "one unchanging structure", which experiences itself subjectively from different points of view as All That Is, infinitely, within itself:

Bashar – The One, All That Is, Trinity, AI

From Bashar's transmission: Jupiter, The Eye of the Storm & The Watchful Father (2013-06-16) (1of2) [54min].

Nonduality vs. duality vs. trinity

Duality means the idea of "self" and "other" (or "experiencer" and "the experienced") — the fundamental distinction that is required to have an experience.

It can also mean the duality of positive and negative energy. Positive energy is integrative, collective, expansive, connective (spirals upward/outward); negative energy is segregative, disconnective, contractive (spirals downward/inward). In the objective reality metaparadigm, this can be stated as good vs. evil.

It can also be expanded to mean anything that is two but is also one, or the idea that one would not exist without the contrast of its polar. Black and white would thus be a duality, in that sense. The appearance of this general motif in creation myths has been labeled dualistic cosmology:

Dualistic cosmology is a collective term. Many variant myths and creation motifs are so described in ethnographic and anthropological literature. These motifs conceive the world as being created, organized, or influenced by two demiurges, culture heroes, or other mythological beings, who either compete with each other or have a complementary function in creating, arranging or influencing the world.

There is a huge diversity of such cosmologies. In a Chukchi example, the two beings do not compete, rather collaborate. They contribute to the creation in a coequal way. They are neither collateral nor consanguineous relatives. In many other instances the two beings are not of the same importance or power (sometimes, one of them is even characterized as gullible). Sometimes they can be contrasted as good versus evil. They may be often believed to be twins or at least brothers.

Dualistic motifs in mythologies can be observed in all inhabited continents. Zolotaryov concludes that they cannot be explained by diffusion or borrowing, but are of convergent origin: they are related to a dualistic organization of society (moieties); in some cultures, this social organization may have been ceased to exist, but mythology may preserve memories in more and more disguised ways.

Bashar – Sun & Moon astrotheology, Jesus, God and the Devil archetypes

From Bashar's transmission: The Black Box (2014-12-06).


As Bashar explains, the duality that the One Being experiences is not actually a duality but a trinity, because the One Being is (or can be) in the balance point in the center, from where it can choose what it prefers. Thus, Creation is ever-so-slightly biased toward the positive.

Duality, oneness, or both?

In an article entitled In Enlightenment, Does Duality Dissolve?, Chris Bourne writes:

Some spiritual teachings would tell us that the full state of Enlightenment is to be beyond the perception of duality completely, that there is only the experience of oneness or pure presence. In my opinion this is not Enlightenment. Although we might realise that multiplicity of form within the relative universe is an illusion and experience oneness, to me, Enlightenment is being able hold the apparent duality of being the absolute and a finite expression of the absolute simultaneously in every moment…

In other words the absolute is expressed uniquely through each of us. We experience the eternal unchanging nature of existence which cannot be affected by the illusionary phenomenal world and yet we can be deeply engrossed in all the feelings of being human without attachment.


True enlightenment (as far as Openhand is concerned) is to be able to experience the all of it, pain, pleasure, joy, love, fear etc. and yet be attached or identified with none of it.

Many spiritual teachings speak of non-duality between that which is experiencing and that which is experienced. However there is still a sense of duality (even if illusionary) because the absolute is expressed in a unique way through us. So for example, we still feel pain even though the pain is an illusion.


Continually seeking the empty clarity of oneness may cause us to think we have not reached it while there is still thought and feeling of the separated self happening. In truth, the two exist side by side. When we stop seeking absoluteness, the Observer within us dissolves and we truly experience being at one with everything – the duality dissolves.

However this is far from the end of the story. Every master who has reached this state of Enlightenment can still be identified by a consistency in their action. The consistent action builds an identity – but not within themselves. Rather others observe their consistent action – this is the action of the soul – a unique and authentic expression of the absolute expressed spontaneously in the moment.

In my truth, experience of the absolute is not possible without the perceived separation of the soul, for if relativity ceases, there can be no experience at all.

Therefore long live the apparent experience of duality!

Chris Bourne

This is contrasted by the pure nonduality view of other researchers like Cameron Day, who think of the duality game as a demiurgic deception. In an article entitled Why I Am No Longer a Light Worker, Day writes:

The corrupt demiurge is an entropic system of artificially-induced separation consciousness that is slowly dying, and it depends on harvesting the energy from the souls incarnated within its system in order to preserve its existence. In order to harvest the largest amount of soul energy possible, it created the dark-light duality paradigm to ensure that every being incarnated on a world that is under its spell would serve as a “soul battery” to help keep the demiurge energized. The “good” souls would seek out the (false) light team, and the “bad” souls would seek out the dark team, but unknown to most of those souls, they are all serving the same system.

In order to keep the duality game interesting for its participants, the demiurge set up densities of existence that “initiates” on the dark and light paths could ascend through. This gives the beings moving through these densities a feeling of accomplishment, when in fact they are navigating through a labyrinth of demiurgic illusion. The players at the higher levels of the hierarchies know that they are in a self-serving system, but they are fine with the deal, because they get to wield power and receive the energy of worship from beings further down the ladder.

Cameron Day


Integral wisdom involves a direct participation in every moment: the Observer and the observed are dissolved in the light of pure awareness, and no mental concepts or attitudes are present to dim that light.

Lao Tzu

Do not think about yourself, but be aware of the thought, emotion, or action that makes you think of yourself.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

The observer is the observed.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Across the board, the sense of being any sort of Seer or Witness or Self vanishes altogether. You don’t look at the sky, you are the sky. You can taste the sky. It’s not out there. As Zen would say, you can drink the Pacific Ocean in a single gulp, you can swallow the Kosmos whole–precisely because awareness is no longer split into a seeing subject in here and a seen object out there. There is just pure seeing. Consciousness and its display are not-two.

Ken Wilber

You are not a soul, you are not a mind, you are not a body. You are the controller of all three.

Yogi Bhajan

It means that light and shade, long and short, black and white, can only be experienced in relation to each other; light is not independent of shade, nor black of white. There are no opposites, only relationships.

The Lankavatara Sutra

Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its original nature. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.

Gospel of Phillip

Related concepts

Duality vs. dualism

The reason to use the term nonduality over the term nondualism is because this word already means a lot of different things to different people in different contexts. As Wikipedia explains:

Dualism (from the Latin word duo meaning "two") denotes the state of two parts. The term 'dualism' was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been more generalized in other usages to indicate a system which contains two essential parts.

Moral dualism is the belief of the great complement or conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work, independent of any interpretation of what might be "moral" and independent of how these may be represented. The moral opposites might, for example, exist in a world view which has one god, more than one god, or none. By contrast, ditheism or bitheism implies (at least) two gods. Bitheism implies harmony, ditheism implies rivalry and opposition, such as between good and evil, or bright and dark, or summer and winter. For example, a ditheistic system would be one in which one god is creative, the other is destructive.

Alternatively, in ontological dualism, the world is divided into two overarching categories. The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism, both as a philosophy and as a religion (it is also discussed in Confucianism).

In theology, dualism can refer to the relationship between God and creation. The Christian dualism of God and creation exists in some traditions of Christianity, like Paulicianism, Catharism, and Gnosticism. The Paulicians, a Byzantine Christian sect, believed that the universe, created through evil, exists separately from a moral God. The Dvaita Vedanta school of Indian philosophy also espouses a dualism between God and the universe. The first and the more important reality is that of Vishnu or Brahman. Vishnu is the supreme [nondual] Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of dependent but equally real [dual] universe that exists with its own separate essence.

In philosophy of mind, dualism is a view about the relationship between mind and matter which claims that mind and matter are two ontologically separate categories. Mind-body dualism claims that neither the mind nor matter can be reduced to each other in any way. Western dualist philosophical traditions (as exemplified by Descartes) equate mind with the conscious self and theorize on consciousness on the basis of mind/body dualism. By contrast, some Eastern philosophies draw a metaphysical line between consciousness and matter — where matter includes both body and mind.

In philosophy of science, dualism often refers to the dichotomy between the "subject" (the observer) and the "object" (the observed). Another dualism, in Popperian philosophy of science refers to "hypothesis" and "refutation" (for example, experimental refutation). This notion also carried to Popper's political philosophy.

In physics, dualism also refers to media with properties that can be associated with the mechanics of two different phenomena. Because these two phenomena's mechanics are mutually exclusive, both are needed in order to describe the possible behaviors. An example of using two different physical models to describe one phenomenon is wave–particle duality.


Epoché (ἐποχή epokhē, "suspension") is an ancient Greek term which, in its philosophical usage, describes the theoretical moment where all judgments about the existence of the external world, and consequently all action in the world, is suspended. One's own consciousness is subject to immanent critique so that when such belief is recovered, it will have a firmer grounding in consciousness. This concept was developed by the Greek skeptics and plays an implicit role in skeptical thought, as in René Descartes' epistemic principle of methodic doubt. The term was popularized in philosophy by Edmund Husserl. Husserl elaborates the notion of 'phenomenological epoché' or 'bracketing' in Ideas I. Through the systematic procedure of 'phenomenological reduction', one is thought to be able to suspend judgment regarding the general or naive philosophical belief in the existence of the external world, and thus examine phenomena as they are originally given to consciousness.

Descartes' "epistemic principle of methodic doubt" is the simple observation that every single idea/concept can be doubted, except the fact of one's own existence. As he observed, "we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt", or cogito ergo sum ("I think, therefore I am", or better "I am thinking, therefore I exist"). What the "I" is, however, is not addressed by epistemology, but rather by ontology. Ontology preceeds epistemology, because knowledge can be doubted, but existence cannot.


A related concept in mystical Western monotheism is kenosis:

Kenosis, from the Greek word for emptiness κένωσις (kénōsis), is the "self-emptying" of one's personal will to become entirely receptive to divine will, often referred to as the will of God or Allah, or the way of Brahman, Nirvana, Tao, Dharma, Cosmos or the All. Concepts involving it are prominent in some forms of Christian theology, Stoicism, Sufism and many other forms of mysticism, and considered controversial or even heretical in others.

The idea of "one's personal will" means the ego's will, in contrast to the Divine Purpose, which is the will of the Higher Mind and soul.

Oceanic feeling

Oceanic feeling is a psychological term coined by Romain Rolland and popularized by Sigmund Freud in his books The Future of an Illusion (1927) and Civilization and Its Discontents (1929/1930) to criticize the psychological feeling of religion, the "oceanic" feeling of limitlessness. According to Rolland's definition of the term, this feeling is the source of all religious energy which permeates in various religious systems. It is a sensation of an indissoluble bond, as of being connected with the external world in its integral form. This feeling is an entirely subjective fact and is not an article of faith. Rolland's view is that one may justifiably call oneself religious on the basis of this oceanic feeling alone, regardless if the adherent renounces every belief and every illusion. On the other hand, Freud cannot sympathize with such feeling since he admits he cannot find it in himself. It is not easy, he says, to analyze emotions scientifically. To Freud, this feeling is a fragment of infantile consciousness when the infant begins to differentiate himself from his human and non-human environment. In his opinion, there is not a strong enough need for it to be the source of all religious energy. Freud does not deny that this feeling may occur in people and offers a psychoanalytical explanation.

Unity of opposites

As Wikipedia explains:

The unity of opposites was first suggested by Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC) a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher.

Philosophers had for some time been contemplating the notion of opposites. Anaximander posited that every element was an opposite, or connected to an opposite (water is cold, fire is hot). Thus, the material world was composed by some indefinite, boundless apeiron from which arose the elements (earth, air, fire, water) and pairs of opposites (hot/cold, wet/dry). There was, according to Anaximander, a continual war of opposites. Anaximenes of Miletus, a student and successor of Anaximander, replaced this indefinite, boundless arche with air, a known element with neutral properties. According to Anaximenes, there was not so much a war of opposites, as a continuum of change. Heraclitus, however, did not accept the milesian monism and replaced their underlying material arche with a single, divine law of the universe, which he called Logos. The universe of Heraclitus is in constant change, but also remaining the same. That is to say, an object moves from point A to point B, thus creating a change, but the underlying law remains the same. Thus, a unity of opposites is present in the universe as difference and sameness. This is a rather broad example though. For a more detailed example we may turn to an aphorism of Heraclitus:

The road up and the road down are the same thing. (Hippolytus, Refutations 9.10.3)

This is an example of a compresent unity of opposites. For, at the same time, this slanted road has the opposite qualities of ascent and descent. According to Heraclitus, everything is in constant flux, and every changing object co-instantiates at least one pair of opposites (though not necessarily in simultaneously) and every pair of opposites is co-instantiated in at least one object. Heraclitus also uses the succession of opposites as a base for change:

Cold things grow hot, a hot thing cold, a moist thing withers, a parched thing is wetted. (DK B126)

As a single object persists through opposite properties, this object undergoes change.

Unity of opposites is the central category of dialectics, and it is viewed sometimes as a metaphysical concept, a philosophical concept or a scientific concept. It defines a situation in which the existence or identity of a thing (or situation) depends on the co-existence of at least two conditions which are opposite to each other, yet dependent on each other and presupposing each other, within a field of tension.

Dialecticians claim that unity or identity of opposites can exist in reality or in thought. If the opposites were completely balanced, the result would be stasis, but often it is implied that one of the pairs of opposites is larger, stronger or more powerful than the other, such that over time, one of the opposed conditions prevails over the other. Yet rather than 'stasis' the identity of opposites, there being unity within their duality, is taken to be the instance of their very manifestation, the unity between them being the essential principle of making any particular opposite in question extant as either opposing force. For example 'upward' cannot exist unless there is a 'downward', they are opposites but they co-substantiate one another, their unity is that either one exists because the opposite is necessary for the existence of the other, one manifests immediately with the other. Hot would not be hot without cold, due to there being no contrast by which to define it as 'hot' relative to any other condition, it would not and could not have identity whatsoever if not for its very opposite that makes the necessary prerequisite existence for the opposing condition to be. This is the oneness, unity, principle to the very existence of any opposite. Either one's identity is the contra-posing principle itself, necessitating the other. The criteria for what is opposite is therefore something a priori.

In his criticism of Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher Hegel who tried to systematise dialectical understandings thus wrote:

The principles of the metaphysical philosophy gave rise to the belief that, when cognition lapsed into contradictions, it was a mere accidental aberration, due to some subjective mistake in argument and inference. According to Kant, however, thought has a natural tendency to issue in contradictions or antinomies, whenever it seeks to apprehend the infinite. We have in the latter part of the above paragraph referred to the philosophical importance of the antinomies of reason, and shown how the recognition of their existence helped largely to get rid of the rigid dogmatism of the metaphysic of understanding, and to direct attention to the Dialectical movement of thought. But here too Kant, as we must add, never got beyond the negative result that the thing-in-itself is unknowable, and never penetrated to the discovery of what the antinomies really and positively mean. That true and positive meaning of the antinomies is this: that every actual thing involves a coexistence of opposed elements. Consequently to know, or, in other words, to comprehend an object is equivalent to being conscious of it as a concrete unity of opposed determinations. The old metaphysic, as we have already seen, when it studied the objects of which it sought a metaphysical knowledge, went to work by applying categories abstractly and to the exclusion of their opposites.

In his philosophy, Hegel ventured to describe quite a few cases of "unity of opposites", including the concepts of Finite and Infinite, Force and Matter, Identity and Difference, Positive and Negative, Form and Content, Chance and Necessity, Cause and effect, Freedom and Necessity, Subjectivity and Objectivity, Means and Ends, Subject and Object, and Abstract and Concrete.

Coincidentia oppositorum

Coincidentia oppositorum is a Latin phrase meaning coincidence of opposites. It is a neoplatonic term attributed to 15th century German polymath Nicholas of Cusa in his essay, De Docta Ignorantia (1440). Mircea Eliade, a 20th-century historian of religion, used the term extensively in his essays about myth and ritual, describing the coincidentia oppositorum as "the mythical pattern". Psychiatrist Carl Jung, philosopher and Islamic Studies professor Henry Corbin as well as Jewish philosophers Gershom Scholem and Abraham Joshua Heschel also used the term. In alchemy, coincidentia oppositorum is a synonym for coniunctio. For example, Michael Maier stresses that the union of opposites is the aim of the alchemical work. Or, according to Paracelsus' pupil, Gerhard Dorn, the highest grade of the alchemical coniunctio consisted in the union of the total man with the unus mundus ("one world").

The term is also used in describing a revelation of the oneness of things previously believed to be different. Such insight into the unity of things is a kind of transcendence, and is found in various mystical traditions. The idea occurs in the traditions of Tantric Hinduism and Buddhism, in German mysticism, Taoism, Zen and Sufism, among others.[citation needed]

The great strength of alchemical thinking, and the way in which it is completely antithetical to science, and in fact why science has so much contempt for it, is because the alchemists had the wisdom to see that everything occurs in the presence of its opposite. That, it's not "either or", it's both; and. They called this the coincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of opposites, the union of opposites. This is a great truth, because I think all of us live under the rubrics of "Am I good? Am I bad? Am I lazy? Am I obsessed?". And the answer is, that it is never one or the other. It does a tremendous injustice to being, to ignore the union of opposites.

Now science in order to do its work (which is essentially a technological work, not a deep philosophical work — it's a minor art, science, that's all it is, it's a minor art; it's the art of the physical possible) — but it has presumed to be the arbiter of all thoughts, all feeling, all word. My god, the hubris of René Descartes, to divide the world into the primary and secondary qualities... And what are the primary qualities? Motion, mass, spin, momentum... And what are the secondary qualities? Color, feeling, taste, tactility... it tells you that you're nothing; you never touch reality; you live in that world of sense, and therefore can only aspire to the real world through some kind of mathematical disembowelment, of what your own body, what your own feelings, are telling you.

Terence McKenna [source]

Remember, it's this and that; not this or that.



I have no Name or Form but Appear as All Names and Forms - Rupert Spira

Clip from Rupert Spira's talk at SAND'12.

From an early age Rupert was deeply interested in the nature of Reality. For twenty years he studied the teachings of Ouspensky, Krishnamurti, Rumi, Shankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta and Robert Adams, until he met his teacher, Francis Lucille, twelve years ago. Francis introduced Rupert to the teaching of Jean Klein, Parmenides, Wei Wu Wei and Atmananda Krishnamenon and, more importantly, directly indicated to him the true nature of experience.

Rupert's first book is "The Transparency of Things," subtitled "Contemplating the Nature of Experience,". His second book, "Presence Volume I The Art of Peace and Happiness and Presence Volume II The Intimacy of All Experience" has been currently released by Non-Duality Press. www.rupertspira.com

When Attention is one with 'is-ness', all your life flowers! [Mooji]

[Published on Jun 13, 2014] A video extract from the satsang dvd 'The illumined mind is the true light of this world' (Open satsang in india 3rd february 2014)

* If you keep the natural sense - I AM.... just the natural way in which you know you are..... the untaught way of being..... without allowing it to connect up or create relationship with any thought or any activity. When you do this - you'll see what your mind is and what you are not.
* When your attention recognises and is one with your IS-NESS..... All your life flowers... All your life blooms.... Becomes radiant.

Food for thought