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What Is Nonduality? Responses from the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009. Part Three.

Science and Nonduality Anthology, Volume 3
Interviews of participants at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009.

3-DVD set, 21 interviews, 600 minutes

The following are excerpts from responses to the question, What is nonduality? They are found on Volume 3 of the DVD set:

What Is Nonduality?

Peter Russell, Author, Philosopher:

Nonduality … means the universe is not dual, there is one common essence to the universe. … Science is nondual. It’s basic philosophy is that there is a unified field, a oneness which we are approaching. In spiritual circles … the nonduality is where the essence is awareness … consciousness … a different sort of nonduality … both of them see the fundamental nature of things, the oneness behind everything.

Thomas Ray, Professor of Zoology and Computer Science, University of Oklahoma:

Nonduality involves absence of self or sense of self and the feeling of oneness or unity with everything, with the universe. I’ve believed that nonduality is just the plain truth. The universe is one thing and we’re all part of the universe and that it isn’t nonduality that needs explanation, it’s duality that needs explanation. In fact, there is a mental organ that produces duality, just one. Without the activity of that mental organ, we would experience nonduality as the normal state.

Shaikh Kabir Helminski, Author, Sufi teacher:

The way we see it in the Sufi tradition is that — particularly for mystic consciousness — we understand that everything is rooted in the divine. Everything is unified in a field of oneness. Practically speaking what that means is that my consciousness, my love, my will, my generosity if I have any, my capacity for forgiveness, all of these have their attributes in the source of the divine. … This nonduality has a kind of quality to it … that is deeply personal as well as cosmic and impersonal because we realize the human being is the ripened fruit of that nonduality. The nonduality doesn’t cancel our human individuality. … We don’t make a big deal about nonduality because we know and trust that everything comes from God. The God that we’re talking about is subtle and integral to this whole creation. … Poetry suggests it. We communicate more through poetry than through abstract theory.

John Prendergast, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology, CIIS

Nonduality, for me, points to the basic absence of difference between self and other, between subject and object, between perceiver and perceived. When the Buddha said form is emptiness and emptiness is form, this is statement of nondual perception. When nothing looks out and sees that it’s everything, this is the experience of nonduality. The apparent division between self and other is seen through. … The reality of the seamless wholeness nature of reality reveals itself. … It’s a deep understanding and knowing that there is essentially no separation.

Olga Louchakova, Director, Neurophenomenology Research Center, ITP Prof.:

Nonduality is the certain perspective on self and consciousness which makes one to experience being and consciousness as undivided and nonseparate from every other consciousness which can be perceived initially as different. It’s the experience of consciousness as being undivided, experience of your own being as being connected with the rest of the universe, and being one with the rest of the universe even though you may not have the perception of the whole universe at the moment. Most importantly, the experience of nonduality is the experience of authenticity, of authentic, unlimited, nonconstricted being, experience of being yourself, experience of living life with no fear.

Tim Freke, Scholar, Author, Stand up Philosopher:

My experience is that fundamentally reality is characterized by polarity. For me it’s not nondual or dual. It’s both at the same time. … Polarity is opposites, but they can only exist together. … They’re two and one at the same time. The paradox of our predicament is that it’s two and one at the same time. I see no reason to prejudice one over the other. In fact, I see a necessity to be conscious of both. What I’ve looked for is an image that can capture that experience. For me the image is lucid living, which is a state comparable to lucid dreaming, only now. … On the one hand I am Tim … I’m actually so individual that I inhabit this unique point in space and time and no one else can or ever will inhabit it. Then there’s the discovery of this deeper nature, the subject itself, not the object, the “I”, that which is witnessing this, and if I go deeply into that now it is a vast spaciousness in which all this is arising just like in a dream. And those two exist together, so “here” it’s all one, “here” it’s all separate. Which is true? They’re both true.

Science and Nonduality Anthology, Volume 3
Interviews of participants at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009.

What Is Nonduality? Responses from the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009

Science and Nonduality Anthology, Volume 1
Interviews of participants at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009.

3-DVD set, 21 interviews, 600 minutes

The following are excerpts from responses to the question, What is nonduality? They are found on Volume 1 of the DVD set:

What Is Nonduality?

Peter Fenner:

I can’t give you a definition of it because there’s nothing to define. That’s the definition. It’s the one and only thing that can be defined, in a way, by its absence. The nondual awareness: we can’t say what it is, we can’t say where it is. In fact, it’s going beyond existence and non-existence. That’s what it means to be nondual. If we say it exists, that’s in contrast to it not existing, that’s not nondual. If we say it does not exist, that’s in contrast to it existing. So here you can already feel that we’re way beyond the mind. The mind does not know what we’re talking about. … I don’t know what I’m talking about at this point, and that is one of the ways we can point to nondual awareness.

Stephen Wolinksy:

There’s no such thing as nonduality … Nonduality is just a word, it’s a pointer. But once you have nonduality, you have duality. So the question is, is there such a thing as nonduality prior to the word nonduality?

Rupert Spira:

Nonduality as the phrase implies, literally means not two. There are not two things. It makes reference to the presumption deeply embedded in all cultures, that experience is divided into two things, one, a knower, and two, the known. … The term duality makes reference to these two apparent things, a knowing subject, which is considered to be this body, or in this body, and a known object — other, person, world — which is considered to be outside myself and separate from myself. The term nonduality indicates the true nature of our experience, which, if we make a deep exploration of our actual experience, we find there are not these two things. There is just one. … not two. … That leaves what there is truly, completely open, unnamed, untouched, but yet absolutely present in every experience.

Vijay Kapoor:

Nonduality would be not the absence of duality. It is something which transcends duality. … In our experience we have youth, we have old age, we having the waking state, dream state, we have lots of different dualities, male, female… What we find is the very basic consciousness has no duality. It is independent of time. … Consciousness has no dependence whatsoever. … The very content of duality does not have duality.

Rabbi Hoffman:

If you name it you’ve already changed it. Our basic idea about nonduality is … an infinite light with no end that has no differentiation in it, no light or dark, no positive or negative, … or any of these dualities. … We don’t supress any question. We pray our questions. Our doubts are very holy. Out of a good question comes a lot of thinking. … The question is, “What motivated the creation of the universe?” Because there was no room in this nonduality for the so-called narcissistic ego that could choose to rebel against the nonduality and assert its individuality selfishly against the nonduality. This is the puzzle of Torah. We start from there then we go on to celebrate the existence of both. What we’re interested in is the conversation between the duality, or the left brain thinking — the “I” that strategizes — and the right side, which feels part of a unity without any differentiation. How do you give way to both sides and create a conversation between the two? What we believe is that G-d is the name of the one that cannot be named. How do you create G-d as the oscillating tension between the two that exist in the conversation. My operant metaphor for that is somebody walking a tightrope.

Science and Nonduality Anthology, Volume 1
Interviews of participants at the Science and Nonduality Conference 2009.

3-DVD set, 21 interviews, 600 minutes