I ran across an article by Robert A. Jonas called, “Christianity and Nonduality.” I have had the privilege of meeting Robert Jonas here in Tucson during a James Finley Conference in which Robert played his Japanese bamboo flute. Robert’s talents are multifaceted and I think you will agree a prolific writer. Please read his thought-provoking article on “Christianity and Nonduality.”
Click on the link above to read the article in its entirety. Here are a few short clips that accentuate the differences between living in a dualistic versus non-dualisitic world.
Generally speaking, perceiving the world in this subject-object mode stems from an isolated ego-self that “owns” its own existence and is motivated by self-interest. A dualistic existence tends to be ego-driven, self-centered, and self-conscious. A dualistic person is always thinking – consciously or unconsciously – “What about me?” and “What’s in it for me?” A dualistic person looks out at others and nature as separate from him- or herself.
So, how would one characterize non-dual awareness as it is understood in the East? The Hindu and Buddhist traditions have been thinking and practicing nonduality for millennia. In the Advaita Hindu tradition, a practitioner seeks to realize Brahman, the universal Self. This word Self is distinguished from self, small “s,” which we in the West might name the self-centered ego.
Hindus envision a gradual dissolving of ego boundaries until one becomes united with “the All” – with everything, including ultimate Reality. The center of one’s “I” becomes everyone and everywhere. Similarly, in Buddhism, the goal is to become fully awake in non-self awareness, and therefore liberated from the suffering that comes from attachment to all objects of awareness and from craving and aversion. Many Hindus and Buddhists might say that their goal is to overcome separateness and otherness and to open their minds to Reality itself and their hearts to universal compassion.
To be sure, Hindus, as well as Buddhists in the Mahayana tradition (including sects such as Tibetan, Ch’an, Zen, Nichiren and Pure Land), also honor with devotional practices eternal archetypal gurus, Buddhas, holy deities and bodhisattvas. But these human-divine relationships are understood to be only vehicles or stepping stones on the way to the non-dual experience, where there is no longer any distinction between the person and the ultimate All, Reality or Dharma. Because in many Eastern traditions there is no ultimate distinction between the self and the All, our relationship with ultimate reality and with divine figures is not usually characterized by anything resembling interpersonal intimacy. In Eastern versions of non-dual consciousness, “otherness” is finally overcome in ultimate oneness.
Some of us may have been raised in this dualistic thinking of all or nothing, punishment or reward type of thinking when it comes to our thoughts of who is God. The transition from moving from dualistic to non-dualistic thinking can be frightening for some, giving up all the absolutes, using our ability to think freely. And once again, letting go of our ego that often separates us from God; this stands in our way of attaining the relationship that we often desire.
What are your thoughts of moving towards a more non-dualistic thinking? Join us in the process as we look at this topic more closely.