Nobody can fool me anymore: I am as big as the cosmos, there is no duality.

Volume 9, Number 1


Everything is a miracle in the light of endless Being.


During the Open House of Advaita Center, Gouda May 12, 2006

Meditative Introduction – Non-duality

What is Advaita?

We start at the beginning, which is inevitable for everyone, even for those people who consider themselves to be well advanced, because it’s always about the beginning. That start is non-duality, the absence of twoness. The Sanskrit word is advaita. Already in the old Indian Upanishads (8th century BC) advaita was mentioned – ‘a’ is absence, from ‘dvaita’ from which comes our words dual (two) and divide (separation). In the Upanishads non-duality is seen as the origin of everything. From it arose the splits and divisions that led to the multiform cosmos and the separation between self and the other. However, the non-dual is the foundation of everything.

It can be recognized. You can have a sense that you are so wide that other people and everything come together, that there is a universal non-duality as the essence of yourself and the universe. In the Upanishads it is expressed that Atman (the individual self) is identical with Brahman (the foundation of the world).

The body is one whole

In order to recognize it more clearly, we start with a simple examination of your own body.

When you look at your body, there is usually a duality. Take a look at your hand. Then there is a separation between yourself and the hand. The hand is an object, a thing that I see. “I see my hand”.  In this statement ‘I’ is the subject and ‘my hand’ the direct object. With this attitude I can, for example, take a splinter from my hand. There is a separation between myself and the hand and between the various parts of the hand.

But now go within and experience your hand.  Find out how your hand is from the inside. Search for separations … Are there separations?

Someone: Yes and no.

Where is the separation?

With the skin.

Okay, but first inside the skin, is there a separation? Go look inside the skin, internally, in your own sphere.

I experience there different places.

Yes, you can distinguish that. But is there a real separation? A gap?

Yes, I meant that actually, when I said ‘ yes and no’. I experience individually different places; they also flow into one another.

Is there a real gap?

No, from head to foot, I experience the body as a whole.

What sort of a whole is that? Why are you then one whole? Because there, you are yourself. That is your life, so you are yourself.  So, in that life, in your bodily self-being, there is no separation. This is an extremely important discovery. If in your life-sphere there is no separation, because it is a unity, though you can make distinctions within it, then there is no real separation between one part and another. Organically seen: in an organism, all parts share with one another. If one part is sick, the whole body suffers. Internally, you can determine that, in your own sensory body. It’s important to recognize: life is a sphere of self-being and within it there are no separations.

The self sphere is infinite

Does your life-sphere stop at the skin? Are you trapped inside the epidermis?  From within, do you experience your skin as a border?  Is there a limit?  Go and look. Begin once again with the inner experience of your body and let your attention go to the right. You have learned: somewhere there is a skin, it holds my body in and there, the outside world begins. As you examine your inner bodily self, you observe that the image of your body with its skin is a fictional representation in your thinking.

You can now agree to release that thought, you can rely on your own experience, not on what you know. Then go with your attention again to the right into the realm of  your bodily-sensory-self-being. Then go even further to the right. How far can you go to the right without that sphere of the bodily self-being falling away?  Stay practical and experience sensibly: the sphere of your sensory self. Make no cognitive picture of your body, but go with your feeling sense to know more. How far can you go? Where is there a border? Then go to the left in the same way … How far can you go?  Then go with your attention forwards and backwards, upwards and down … How is it now?  Can you establish that your own bodily sphere is infinite, as big as the entire cosmos? Is there anybody who still experiences borders? Apparently not.  I have not yet encountered anyone who still experiences them.

Thus that self-sphere appears to be infinite space, as you from the inside very definitively and very clearly go to determine how it is. You do not use your cognitive knowledge, what you have learned, but you experience how it really is. Explore your own sphere experientially, experimentally. You go to the right, left, forwards, backwards, down, up…

You confirm that there are no real separations in your bodily self-sphere. In the entire cosmos there is not a real separation to be found. It is a cosmos of being-self-being. You experience it very clearly, like you experience your sensory feeling. In that sphere no border, no separation, no duality is to be found.

What about the things of the world?

In the universal being-self-being, all material things may arise, all sorts of things that you experience with your senses. But how do they appear? They appear in that sphere of universal self-being.  They appear in the sphere in which there are no separations. So the things that appear are not different from yourself. They are yourself, in the same way as your hands and your feet belong to your self-sphere. When you experience that your physical sphere is infinite, cosmic, these things are included within it. They occupy a particular place without causing a separation. There remains an air of unseparated self-being. It is your own sphere where everything is received. So, then nothing remains totally ‘different’ there. The ‘other’ people who are there, are not really ‘others’, because they are included in the sphere of your self. Their self-being is also your self-being. See that all kinds of conflicts between people no longer arise. When the other is recognized in the sphere of self-being, a tremendous amount of problems disappear automatically.

The practical realization of the natural situation

Try very practically to confirm what there is to confirm. Then it will also be established: there is no limit to the Self. That is that.  It is abundantly clear from your own experience of being. Then there is no separation any more. There will also be no real conflict. It means an endless relaxation. In the return to the experience of your own sphere, all otherness disappears. This brings an infinite relaxation.

You experience it very concretely: all dualities originate from duality, since you set up your own distance. The dualities are secondary. The non-duality is the basis.  It is the origin. Separation comes secondarily.

You see how practical it can be, you can experience it very exactly: from out of a limited sense, you can expand to the universal, and that is the outflow of love. It is all lovingly included as yourself. You can confirm that it’s not necessary to go back and create borders to distinguish between ‘I am this’ and ‘they are other’. As relaxation returns, it is the unity once again that is obvious. That unity is apparently a natural situation. You must organize everything quite artificially, this in this box, that in that box, in order to separate things. That takes effort; it is artificial. As the artificial falls away, there is relaxation and unity. That is the natural situation.

Because you have seen this very clearly, you say “no one can fool me any more: I am as big as the cosmos; there is no duality”.

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