Tag Archives: paradox

“Show me the paradox!” The Nondualist Phone Call

Question: “In Sri Nisargadatta’s talks the world is only in the perceiver’s mind. So would the person I am perceiving also be aware of me perceiving him?”

Answer: The question, as far as enquiry goes, is, “Who is the ‘me’ perceiving him or anything else?”

The “me”, like the world, is in the perceiver’s mind.

If it should become seen that the world is in the mind, then the questions of “me” and “him” dissolve in that seeing. There is only what is arising now and it is what it is.

All things are made of the same “stuff”, yet all things appear individualistic. The question of how things interact becomes moot at the point of seeing that all is exactly what it is in this instant. All questions dissolve in that moment.

Still, from the point of view of parapsychology and quantum theory and other disciplines, it is an interesting question about how perceivers are aware of each other. I don’t have all the theories and studies at hand to relate or summarize, nor are they the point of this response.

There is the day to day way of addressing questions, in this case by talking about parapsychology and quantum theory. And there is also the absolute way of addressing questions, in which questions are revealed to dissolve into that out of which they arose, like a wave out of the ocean.

Nisargadatta is sometimes “day to day” and sometimes absolute in his responses. Questions dissolve into the Absolute and get addressed at the day to day level, both.

The answer to the question is that there is no question, no “me” asking the question, and, at the very same time, there is an interaction between perceived and perceiver that quantum theory, parapsychology, psychology, physics, sociology, and other disciplines study and address.

There is no answer and there is an answer. Discussions about nonduality are presentations of paradox. Where the materialist (you and me?) calls out, “Show me the money!”, the nondualist gets on the phone and shouts, “Show me the paradox!”

Neo-Advaita and the Silk of Paradox

A reader of the Nonduality Highlights writes in reference to teachers who approach nonduality in the neo-advaita style:

I always wonder why these people are called teachers as most of their students do not understand their teachings or leave any way different. I always wonder is any of them “enlightened” or just selling the nonduality belief system. All of their stories can easily be dismantled and shown to be based on thought and copied from others. I always wonder this. One even said to me privately, “I worry less about death!” Certainly despite reading their books and going to their lectures I only left with ideas in my head.


For me, these guys are reminding the reader or listener that he or she exists. If someone picks up on that and values it and pursues it, then they may find they don’t exist!

That’s paradox, to exist and not exist non-separately. If inclined, that one may spin claims, confessions, declarations, assertions, reports about … that. Whatever it is.

It’s true that it’s easy to copy the neo-advaita way of talking without ever having actually spun the silk of paradox. A few may be doing that.

Since so many people don’t realize they exist and don’t value and pursue that, or are hesitant to talk about it, they will consider the one who does have a familiarity with his or her existence, and who speaks confidently about it, to be a kind of guru, even if that familiarity isn’t very deep or stable.

It comes to be seen that every atom is the guru. Then in the seen suchness of the guru, the guru falls away, and what remains is … what? What to call it? Out of the silk of paradox spin something.

Walt Whitman: Living the Paradox of Nonduality

In Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, he begins Song of Myself:

I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease … observing a spear of summer grass.

These lines describe the paradox of nonduality and how to live.

The paradox is that while we are the same — “…what I assume you shall assume.” “…every atom belonging to to me as good belongs to you.” — everything is distinct: “observing a spear of summer grass.”

And how to live through the paradox? “…celebrate…” “…lean and loafe…” leaves-of-grass_mm

“I … invite my soul,” Whitman says. The soul is the paradox. It is who he is. Paradox is “myself.” “I celebrate myself.”

Read the second part of this treatment of Song of Myself.