Nondualism is not only a way of thinking and living, but a response to often simplistic overgeneralizations of our lived experience. Indigenous and traditional spiritual teachings, as well as philosophical derivations, have leaned on monistic, dualist, and non-dualist teachings to attempt to give meaning to what we experience as humans.1 What is our purpose? What are we experiencing? Many adopt the principles of nondualism as a means of liberation, and awakening one’s consciousness.2 A way to connect deeper to yourself and your surroundings. A way to find true peace.
Monism and Dualism
The oldest traces of nondualism are in Hindu thought, found as “Advaita” in the earlier Hindu texts.3 The Sanskrit pronunciation Advaita, or “Advaya,” literally translates to “not-two-ness.”4 In Buddhist tradition, nonduality is called no-self (anatta), emptiness (shunyata), or rigpa.5 Nonduality points to the essential oneness - wholeness, completeness, or unity - of life.6 This is different from other schools of thought, such as monism, which posits that everything is “one” or of the same experience; that difference is not necessarily real. Scientifically, this idea of monism is relevant to the argument that all we can be sure of is the existence of matter, which everything is made of - the only real, tangible thing we can confirm as humans. Then there is dualism, which follows the idea of two-ness. One example of this is the idea of both thought and extension (“res cogitans” and “res extensa” coined by Rene Descartes7). This idea of mind and body, mind and matter, are principles central to many spiritual practices, thus this idea of two-ness in everything becomes central to dualist teaching.
The problem lies in how rigid these philosophies become when interpreted by different people. Philosophies such as dualism were used to expand our understandings of ourselves, but as writer and Zen teacher David Loy discusses in this interview, this often becomes a binary mode of seeing the world and operating within it. Two-ness then becomes the answer to everything, and seemingly the solution. Male and female, rich and poor, the experiencer and the thing being experienced. This dualistic way of life can simplify some of life’s greatest inquiries down to just two options. So why nondualism?
More than a Dichotomy
Nonduality preaches the idea that life is not two things; that our life experience is much more than a dichotomy. It’s described as a mature state of awareness. In this state, one understands that we are all connected, but that does not mean we all exist in the same way. We understand the multiplicities of our experiences, but we don't constrain ourselves to a dichotomous way of thinking. More than a philosophy, nondualism is a mode of spiritual awakening, enlightenment, and divine realization. Because of this, many discuss that meditation is an essential part of nondualistic teaching. Meditation helps one to see the truth of nondualism; the simple, yet complex ways that we experience life, the spiritual interconnectedness of our different experiences.
Kriston Jackson, a spiritual influencer, shared a post stating, “Embodiment is felt, not thought.” That is to say, we can read and learn what nondualism teaches, but the goal is to live by that truth, to fully embody it and experience first hand how it can create a paradigm shift in everyday life. Our Evolutionary Mission at Alter8 is based on this core principle; we are one and interconnected with a living, loving universe. We believe that by expanding our awareness, we bring forth the opportunity to forge meaningful connections and serve as a platform for enriching exchange. This understanding - that we are the co-creators in our journey towards higher consciousness - is the underlying force behind our Visionary Eco-Market and our Community Hub.
Need a little more inspiration for how to apply these teachings in your daily life? Here are some spiritualists who have shared their experiences online about their awakening thanks to non-dualism:
Join us in the exploration of expanding our consciousness by checking out these books from our shop to learn more about Nonduality.
Sources1, 4 & 7. What is Non-Dualism? (Video)
2. What It's Like to Have a Non-Dual Awakening (Video)
3. What is Nondualism? Explain Nondualism, Define Nondualism, Meaning of Nondualism (Video)
About The Author
My name is Efua! I’m 22, and I’m a sagittarius sun, libra moon, and taurus rising. I recently graduated Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, with a degree in African & African-American Studies, and a minor in Communication Design. I'm also a Content Creator and Strategist with Tablö Creative, a digital creative agency dedicated to helping small businesses leave a lasting impression online with our service offerings including content creation, copywriting, branding, social media marketing, web design and development. Our dream clients are brands whose core values are rooted in conscious & mindful operations. We believe that it's our responsibility to protect our planet from the climate crisis, not just through our personal lives, but also through our work. Our communication style supports creativity and freedom of expression by creating meaningful connections.