The Nonduality Movement: Part 1

The Nonduality Movement

The earliest use of the phrase “nonduality movement” was, to my knowledge, October 25, 1999, on the Nonduality Salon email forum, by myself.

The context was one of humor since, while it was clear there was both the energy present for a movement and the actual expansion of online communities, it was not yet clear that there was indeed such a movement as a social/spiritual/cultural phenomenon.

To play down the boldness of such a claim as a nonduality movement, and to thereby reduce the possibility for a ground of cultishness, I couched my announcement in humor. Also, that’s just my personality, to sometimes use humor when I’m not sure how else to approach an issue or topic:

“I think it would be cool if the Nonduality movement made it into the list of cults to watch out for. Any way we can push for that?”

This comment reveals three things: One, that a nonduality movement was perceived. Two, that I wanted to point it out. And, three, that I wanted to acknowledge its potential degeneration, but not in a serious way, lest seriousness feed the possibility of such degeneration.

Though I was preparing for the breaking down of the movement into cultishness, eleven long Internet years later it has not happened. In fact, the movement has no center, so cultishness of the movement as a whole doesn’t seem possible.

The movement has kept itself honest by inviting all voices and by encouraging the formation of new communities and welcoming the strongest criticism.

My way of encouraging the movement was by encouraging people to form their own email communities and to “steal” members from my email community, Nonduality Salon. That makes no sense in any world of business, but if you want to start a movement you have to give up your own position, the fruits of your work, and your own life.

Now, you don’t give anything up for a higher cause. You don’t give up anything for any reason at all. You let happen what needs to happen and later on you, or others, might look at what happened and describe it as having given something up for some purpose or some good.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “movement” as “A course or series of actions and endeavours on the part of a group of people working towards a shared goal.” I’ll talk about that definition in the next part of this series and give my modified definition as, clearly, I don’t think a movement has to be as intentional and organized as the OED implies.

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