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Non-Duality: Meaning & Clear Explanation (Advaita)

Non-Duality: Meaning & Clear Explanation (Advaita)

Here you will find everything about Non-duality, also called Non-dualism or Advaita : you will find here the meaning, examples and a clear explanation. Read on to discover everything.

Contents of this page:

Let’s start simple with explaining non-duality: did you know that opposites need each other?

To start explaining non-duality as simply as possible, let’s look at polarity  and the example of a magnet. Take a magnet. If a magnet does not have a negative pole, then the positive pole will not work either.

These separate poles cannot exist if one of the opposites had not been there. They go together. You cannot have one without the other. This is the first piece of the puzzle to ‘understand’ non-duality.

First, listen to this song about non-duality

Turn on the song below and return to this song after reading this article. How do you see it differently afterwards?

Non-duality teaches us: conflicts do not exist, only ‘opposites’ exist

The second piece of the puzzle in our discovery about non-duality is that opposites do not conflict, they are just opposite. Like the poles of a magnet, things are never in conflict with each other. Things can be poles of each other: the opposite of each other.

There is a minus pool and a plus pool. There is Yin, and there is Yang. There is no problem.

Non-duality goes even further: the opposites are even each other! We are all one

The previous sections were still quite simple, and now we are already going a lot deeper … Non-duality teaches us: good is also bad and bad is also good. Ying-yang. Everything in the world is fundamentally yang and yin. If you understand that, you don’t have to understand anything else.

  • Life and death
  • Black and white
  • To be and not to be
  • Good and evil

All the above things imply each other. This is scientific. We will discuss this in more detail later.

You are me.

Nothing is separate from each other – This applies not only to opposites, but to everything

non duality

We are not separate from each other, but we are connected to everything. The separate things you seem to see are illusions: there are no separate, separate things. The universe is one process. The word universe literally means: one song.

Self and others go together.

Let’s explore this idea further in the next section …

Everything you do does not stand alone but is always related to something else

The first ‘proof’ for non-duality is that you can only have knowledge of something if you can compare it with something else.

  • There is no knowledge of ‘voluntary’ without knowledge of ‘involuntary’.
  • There is no knowledge of ‘can’ without knowledge of ‘not being able’.
  • If dirty dishes did not exist, I would never appreciate clean dishes as I do now.
  • I know how I behave when I know how you behave.

Everything you do does not stand alone, but in relation to something else. If I want to describe my behavior, I have to know / describe your behavior. So there is one system of behavior. So what I am has to do with what you are. I don’t know who I am unless I know who you are.

Een wijze rabbijn zei ooit:
‘If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you!’

‘Self’ and ‘other’ are as inseparable as ‘in front’ and ‘behind’. There is no knowledge of self without knowledge of ‘otherness’. They go together.

You cannot have knowledge of yourself except in relation to others.

In other words, we are not separate. The external world is just like you as your own body. Self and other are the same. You find out that ‘yourself’ is everything that you thought was something or someone else.

But how are we connected with everything?

non duality

How do we come to the conclusion that we are all one? Let’s  look at the big bang for this  . If all things started like this, from that one point , what could it all mean? The law of ‘quantum entanglement’ already provides an answer to that …

The law of “quantum entanglement” teaches us that since the big bang we are still energetically connected with each other, because we all came from that one same point. That is why prayer also works: even though two objects (people) are no longer spatially connected, at an energy level this is still the case.

Non-dualism elaborates on this: you are not a result of that process: you are the process. You are the big bang. We will go into this in more detail, but if you understand this, you will see everyone as the same. Then you see no differences: there are no separate things. Everything is still that one big bang even now.

Physically, there were loose parts after the big bang. Energetically, all those particles still remain connected.

How does the Big Bang explain that we are all one?

From the very beginning there was a plan: we would be there! It is not that organisms came into this world by accident. Thus organisms emerge from a seed, while the seed was there before. From the moment our universe came into existence, organisms like us were involved in it.

Think of an electrical circuit. The flow never starts unless the point of arrival is there. The endpoint must be closed before it can begin. It also takes a while for the power to make the round and arrive.

Likewise, billions of years pass between the creation of the most primitive form of energy and the subsequent arrival of intelligent life. But the plan was already there.

It takes time for the acorn to turn into an oak, but the oak is implicated in the acorn. So in that one rock that floated in space and would cause the Big Bang was implicitly human intelligence, somehow.

The Big Bang … a pinhead in time and space in which everything and everyone you have ever known resides.

Who we are doesn’t stop at the boundaries of our skin

We don’t just live in our skin, but we think so through our logical mind and through our language (“me and you”). We have learned that we stop where our skin ends, but your skin does not separate you from the world!

We don’t stop beyond the boundaries of our skin. People who lose their arms and legs do not feel less ‘me’ afterwards than when they had twice as much mass …

Why does this seem such an ‘unusual’ thought? Doesn’t our skin clearly indicate the boundary of where we stop? Doesn’t it separate us from the rest of the world? The next section answers this.

A human is a part of the whole , sometimes referred to as the ‘Universe’. However, the part is limited in time and space in a way. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical illusion of his self-awareness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, limiting us to our personal desires and to giving affection to only a few closest to us.

Our job must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion so that we embrace all living things and all of nature in its beauty . No one is able to achieve this fully, but striving for such an achievement is itself part of liberation.

– Albert Einstein

Our language makes it impossible to see that we are connected to everything

non duality

Why don’t we see that we are connected to everything and everyone? Our language (symbols) alone is to blame for that. For example, we created nouns

A noun is not part of nature, but it is part of our speech, which allows you to label something or someone as separate from other nouns. But in the real world there are no separate, separate things.

In the gap between subject and object lies the misery of humanity.
– J. Krishnamurti

There are actually two lives running simultaneously: reality, and symbols and language that represent reality. Symbols and language are secondary, as explained from the biological point of view in this communication model . What you are deep down is the dust and fabric of existence itself.

I believe in recognizing every human being as a human being–neither white, black, brown, or red; and when you are dealing with humanity as a family there’s no question of integration or intermarriage. It’s just one human being marrying another human being or one human being living around and with another human being.
– Malcolm X

For example, we wouldn’t know the concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ if we couldn’t label things as good or bad with language. In reality these kinds of definitions do not exist: there is only experience.

There is a voice that does not use words. Listen.
– Rumi

We must never forget that the highest appreciation is not evident in the utterance of words, but by living them.
– John F. Kennedy

Non-duality is a blind dive into the mystery that words cannot reach.
– Jeff Foster

Reality is {hits singing bowl} … the wind along your cheeks, the sounds in the distance, the sun’s rays on your skin …
– Alan Watts

The truth is quite clear. It is so painfully obvious that words are totally unnecessary. Words don’t take you to where you already are: Love. Now. This. Everything. Link. Unit.
– Jeff Foster

Only in language are separate things created, namely nouns, an action and an executor of the action. There is an illusion of separate, isolated things, events and individuals. In reality, however, this is not the case and everything is one whole.

In the here-and-now just feeling, seeing, thinking and breathing take place as one process. During his world record , Max Verstappen became the car and he was driving. It is one process. 

You are not suffering. There is only suffering – and even that sentence doesn’t get it right and isn’t even true. Things are seen, felt, heard, thought and smelled, but there is no one with whom all that happens. No one at the center of it. The ‘I’ as the center of your life is – partly thanks to our language – an illusion.

There is no subject and no object. There is only reality: that which happens. And that too is said too much.

There is pain and there are thoughts, but no one thinks or hurts except in grammar / language. I breathe, I hear, I see …” They are all just stories.

Also ‘I’ only exists in language. It’s a concept. No matter how hard you search, all you will find is a pronoun, first person singular. There is the sound of me and the thought of me. There is nothing else . That is liberation.

We have systematically unlearned ourselves to acknowledge non-duality

Perhaps after reading these sections you are starting to feel that you are connected to everyone on Earth. The problem is, we haven’t learned that. We have learned systematically to look at the differences in the world. We are used to being separate beings. That is the only reason we do not see that we are all one.

What we’ve been cautiously taught is to ignore that we are, fundamentally, deep down, the same manifestation of love: the work, the whole shining cosmos that goes on and on forever and ever. We have been systematically taught to ignore the fact that each of us is an opening through which the entire cosmos looks through, through which the Fundamental Light shines.

Honesty and dishonesty, light and dark, good and evil, joy and sorrow … These are all characteristics of the mind, not Yours.

We have learned that we are separate and separate. We have learned that we stop where our skin ends. The knowledge that you are the universe is not taught to us. But the truth is, we need to know that we are the infinite universe.

Society says: you are an individual. But we are all connected.

In fact, there is no divorce at all. Separation is an illusion. There are no separate things, because there is only Oneness / God.

So, for example, there is no separate me doing things and finding things … although it seems that way . That story of ‘I’ seems to exist so lifelike, but it only exists as a thought. Can you let him / her die so that you are life itself?

In fact , we are each other. This sounds sentimental and silly, but it is very factual: I am you and you are me. As you learned at the beginning of this article, I cannot be without you and you cannot be without me. We are stuck together. Not just a few people or something, but everything and everyone.

Do you choose to believe in distance and separation? Or in the oneness – the non-duality?

non-duality not separate beings

If you choose to believe distance and separation, you will also live separate life. What you believe will happen. As long as you insist that you are separate, you will live a life of separate isolation. A life of loneliness, when life is not meant to be lonely. A life in which it feels like you are fighting against life itself and everything that you encounter.

Do you choose to believe, “I am different, better, worse than others …” Or do you feel that you and others are the same?

We sometimes do terrible things to other people that we would never do to ourselves because we imagine that we are separate from the other. But we would never do anything to anyone that we wouldn’t do to ourselves, if we imagine that the other was us, but only in a different form.

There is differentiation, but no separateness. The fingers of a hand are different from each other, but they belong to the same hand. Thus we are part of the body of God, although we are differentiated enough that we can experience as if we are separate from one another.

How would we interact if we really felt that we are all one?

If we truly understood and felt that we are all one, how differently would we interact with each other in the world?

Every spiritual teacher has proclaimed the message of non-duality throughout the ages. Why haven’t we embraced it yet?

The practical application of ‘we are all one’? Meditate, pray and step into the world model of the other. What if I were him / her? Suddenly we begin to see ourselves everywhere, as part of everything, in everyone and in everything.

Do you see someone on the street who is dirty and begging? You are him. This is unity in action : If you truly experience yourself as that person, what would you like to experience from the man facing you right now? That he sees me, that he doesn’t just pass by, give me attention – and maybe something material he has in his pocket. That he talk to me for a moment and not just pass by

Exactly, that’s exactly what you want. Are you willing to give yourself what the part of yourself that sits on the curb wants? Or shall we just pass by? The other day I ran into a genuine homeless person – so not a criminal or an addict. Of course I sat down next to him. Of course I took some money out of my pocket and put it in his hat. Of course I had a short talk with him. “Hey, how are you really? What’s going on with you?”

– Neale Donald Walsch

Understanding non-duality? Gain insight into ‘the wave motion’

non duality

Let’s explore a completely different part of non-duality. Wave movements are all around us: the most famous examples are sound waves, recession and economic boom: ‘positive’ moments are sooner or later always followed by a downward trend, and sooner or later that line will also rise again.

Everything in life is a rhythm, a vibration. Nowhere is there half a wave. That is simply not possible. There is always an interval. No sound is produced unless there is both a peak and a trough in the vibration.

This happens at all levels. There are very fast waves of light and slower waves of sound. There is the rhythm of the heart, the breathing, the rhythm of sleeping and waking up and the rhythm of birth to death.

Happiness and sadness go back to the average after their peak, so don’t be surprised if you go back to sadness after happiness.

The world is always improving in this way. It even improves when it deteriorates. The world is in a wave movement. And so it is with everything: it goes up and down and up and down.

You simply forget that they are all vibrations because our five senses they translate into something non-vibrational seems .

The waves seem to have gaps (intervals) – Those gaps are the most important!

Everything has holes, and those holes are incredibly important. Take music: what you really hear when you hear a melody is the interval between one note and another. The interval is the important aspect. Let’s take a look at more such wonderful examples:

  • The interval between last year’s and this year’s leaves must be there: without the autumn and winter season, new leaves cannot come.
  • The interval between previous relationships and new relationships.
  • The interval between this generation and the previous generation is just as important as where the interval lies between. They go together.
  • The chainsaw cannot have teeth if it has no troughs.

We happily continue with the examples of this phenomenon, because it returns all over our lives. We leave things out. Just like ignoring other keys on a piano to create beautiful music.

  • Sound is a vibration that switches on and off: it does ‘tap, tap, tap’ against the eardrum, which in turn is connected to a sound nervous system. But it happens very quickly so that it seems like a continuous sound.
  • God created the world in six days and rested the seventh (metaphorically).
  • A net is: holes connected with wires.

Think of it as a game of hide and seek: hide and seek. Lost and found. Now you see it, now you don’t. There is no such thing as pure sound. Sound is sound – silence – sound. Light is light – dark – light. There is a dark pulse between each light pulse.

We go to sleep in the evening with tears, in the morning we get up cheering.
– Psalm 30: 6

We are so convinced, enchanted and absorbed by this game of hide and seek that we often forget that the valley implies the peak and the peak implies the valley.

Because things are the way they are, they won’t stay the way they are.
– Bertholt Brecht, German writer

It belongs to the laws of football that success often follows a great disappointment.
– Johan Cruijff

We only see the tops, not the valleys: the connections (between people)


Likewise, we have very visible gaps between us that make it seem like we are separate from each other. But we are the same song, the same work. We just don’t see the connections. How did that happen?

Take the analogy of weaving. The threads disappear at the bottom and come together again at the top. They are explicitly different, implicitly they are one. That is the secret. There is a connection between apparently separate events and forms.

How come we only see the tops and not the underlying connections (troughs)? This has to do with selectivity: we choose to ignore the connections. But we are secretly one.

Mountains are differentiated, but they are all based on the earth, so things in this world are differentiated but have a basis, as it were.

The problem is that we only see the wave of life when it is at the top and not when it is in the valley. Only the top seems to count. And to us the peaks seem to be all that matters. After all, the tops of the chainsaw are the elements that do the actual cutting, and not the valleys between the teeth. The tips of the teeth seem to do the job. But the Chainsaw has no teeth if it also has no valleys in between.

We are one, blooming as two.

But we ignore that. We don’t notice when it’s in the valley. We ignore the valley aspect of many things. We think that is bad. We leave the valley outside. We are not used to it. But secretly we know that after each peak comes a valley aspect.

I dance like you.

For example, we all have the same struggles. Our problems seem exclusive to us, but we are all connected , including in our challenges.

The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, seemingly two, in reality one, are looking for unity, and that is love.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

Do we fear the valleys?

non duality

The valleys represent the unknown. Perhaps we fear that the principle of the valleys will overcome, and the peaks will become overwhelming as a result. Therefore, we resist change, not knowing that change is life, and that nothingness is the face of something.

Most people are afraid of nothingness and space. They ignore it and think space is nothing. While space and form are two ways of talking about the same thing. You cannot find form without space and no space without form. Space is relationship. It always goes with form, like front goes with back.

The low moments are just as important as the high moments.

But the mind ignores space, thinking that form does all the work, that form is all that is real. And we have learned in biology class how much space there is between molecules and atoms and how all forms decay.

There is no one to be found who is just always criticized or just always praised.

You can only know ‘positive’ moments because something ‘negative’ happens

non duality

The positive line can’t just go up all the time because if it did, we couldn’t know it was up. So sometimes it goes down so that we can also know that something is going up.

Life is not a linear process.

If we couldn’t know what is right and wrong, it would be like a space where everything would be light. There would be nothing to recognize. Completely perfect white paper. You don’t know something is black unless you have some white. You don’t know something is white unless you have some black.

So failure is also important. Also when you train your muscles you are creating micro tears in your muscles which is a ‘catabolic state’. Why do we do that? So we can get anabolic. Catabolic is the down process, steroid is the up process. And as you have learned before, the up process is implicitly the down process and vice versa.

You must break down to build up. Every wound is a womb.
– Robert Bly

While the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.
Helen Keller

Happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
– Matthew 5: 3-10

You can only become as happy as the degree to which you are also willing to be sad. This is true everywhere in life: yin and yang, day and night, fall and spring … Even The Hero ‘s Journey is an example of this.

That ends well, all right.
And if not, then anyway.

Silence is noise and noise is silence. Often we want the silence but not the noise. We don’t want worry but silence in our heads. We want the meditation room to be quiet. We don’t want noise to disturb our meditation. You want the nice thoughts but not the bad ones.

We are at war with ourselves. Thinking makes war with thinking. Stop that war, then all thoughts may be there. Noise is no longer rejected. There is love.

Evil always loses but has never been defeated: the world is okay

The world is fine. There is no problem. Chaos and evil, of course, is there. Otherwise there can be no order and goodness. This is the game of order against chaos.

There is order behind the chaos.

You need to have some chaos to play the game of order against it. If order wins, there is no more game. When chaos wins, there is no more game. What happens is this: Chaos always loses, but is never defeated. That’s a game worth playing.

Let’s take chess: if you get an opponent that you can always beat, you stop playing and vice versa. As long as there is a certain amount of uncertainty and you sometimes win, it is a ‘good game’.

Do you like TV shows where the good guys are always good and the bad guys are always bad? You soon don’t like a series like that anymore, because it doesn’t fit reality at all. No one is always good or always bad.

We (the universe) are a whole organism that works together and is harmonious. This also applies, for example, to bacteria in the bloodstream that eat and fight each other. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t be healthy.

There is no problem. God created the world without problems.

What is disturbance on one level of your being is healthy and harmonious on a higher level. Even what is a disturbance on a level of the universe is a healthy and good thing. And the world is really okay.

“Trump has become president, a new world war is coming!”
‘It does not matter.’
‘Because it doesn’t matter.
In the big picture of God, the billions of years that exist, the infinite universe, it doesn’t matter if Hillary or Trump becomes president. Everything will be fine.’
– Michael Pilarczyk

Everything is yin and yang. The world is always improving, even if it seems to be moving slowly. In fact, the world is improving when it is getting worse.

It’s like a wave. It can’t always go up because if it did, we wouldn’t even know that that’s up. So sometimes it goes down so we can know when it goes up.

If there was only absolute light or only absolute darkness in a room, nothing would make a difference. You don’t know what black is unless you have some white, and you don’t know what white is unless you have some black.

Nothing is superior and nothing is inferior


In the spring landscape nothing is superior and nothing inferior. In the process of growth, the Oak is no better than the acorns, because what does it do? It produces acorns. The oak is the acorn’s way of becoming other acorns. The chicken is the egg’s way of becoming other eggs.

There is no problem. You can’t fix it. It is annoying. Negative things are part of life: you learn from them.

You are omnipotent: you are not just what you are aware of

Time for a different aspect of non-duality. The obvious and learned definition of ‘self’ is what we are aware of. However, let’s explore the next idea …

In our experience, we distinguish between what we do consciously and what happens to us (what we do unconsciously). What we do consciously does not include:

  • Our heart beats
  • The blood circulation
  • Our breathing
  • The growth of our hair
  • Etc.
Read this next:  Perception is projection: The world is your mirror! [Explained]

We just do all those things ourselves, but unconsciously. If we don’t think about breathing, it will continue. Are you still doing it or are you not doing it? You are not doing these things consciously, and yet they are completely you. Complete unit!

And you have never had any education in it. YOU do all those unconscious things yourself! As soon as you realize that you are circulating your blood, you also realize that you are letting the sun shine, for your physical organs are a continuous process with everything else that happens: the entire energy network of the universe.

Huh? Do I let the sun shine?

non duality

Let’s zoom in on the word ‘omnipotent’ first. This word means: not knowing how to do something. You just do it. You don’t have to translate it into language or think about it. Suppose you get up in the morning and intentionally have to turn on your brain and turn on all the circuits in your body. You would never be ready: you would then consciously think about all the steps.

Likewise, you have no conscious attention to how you let the sun shine. How does a centipede move all its legs? Because it doesn’t think about it. In the same way you unconsciously do all the activities of your organism. You don’t need to know how to make the sun shine. You just do it. Just like how you breathe!

The distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior disappears. You realize that what you see as things under your own will feel exactly the same as things that happen outside of you. You see other people moving and you know that you are doing that. Just like how you breathe and how you circulate your blood.

You are everyone and everyone is ‘God’ (metaphorically speaking)

You cannot have the experience of nothing: after you die you will have the feeling of being born. People die and other people will be born, and you are each one, but you can only experience them once at a time. Everyone is I (I am, the title of God). Only you don’t have to know that, you just do it (just like breathing).

Scientifically and physically, every organism is a continuous energy with everything else that is going on. Only … we learn that we are something in “that single, separate body”: the ego – and the ego is actually ridiculous.

If your father had not met your mother, would you have existed? Of course someone would have been here, because then your father would have met someone else. Was that you? Of course. You can only be you by being ‘someone’. And every ‘someone’ is you. Every ‘someone’ is ‘me’. You say, “It’s me.” “I am here” and everyone feels that “I” the same way. It is the same.
– Alan Watts

Every ‘I’ comes from the Central, Universal I. Each self is modeled on – and is an expression of – the One Self. That is why everyone feels like the center of the world. Our I comes from the Central I, like so many legs of a spider. That is why the images of the Hindu Gods are depicted with so many arms or so many faces: for all arms are the arms of Deity. All faces are His masks.

If you hadn’t existed, nothing would have existed. Appreciate yourself first.

Like all world religions, the Bible is also non-dual – Jesus also saw our creative power

Check out the bible quotes below:

For while we are still in this world, we are like Jesus.
– 1 John. 4:17

Verily, verily, I say unto you, whoso believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these, for I go to the Father.
– John 14:12

Jesus said, “You will work greater miracles than I have done.” “But no,” said the church. “Jesus is the one and only. We just can’t have that, a democracy. The economy would crash. He was the boss’s son. Follow him. He could do all those miracles.”

But what if the miracles are metaphors, and what if what is true about Jesus, the Son of God, is true about us? But only a few of us know this.

However, this does not mean that you should suddenly play Jesus. This simply points to a sense of complete oneness non-duality. If you don’t feel that, you feel your separateness from everything. A stranger. And when you feel like a stranger, you feel hostile. So you start bulldozing other ideas and submitting others to your will.

Do you choose the non-duality and creative power that Jesus also referred to?

How then do we ‘create’? How do we let the sun shine?

Every object and person you see is the brilliant light of the cosmos, for the source of all light is in the eyes. You lure the light out of the universe. You do it. If there were no eyes on the world, there would be no bright sun.

You create hardness through your soft skin. A piece of wood is only hard in relation to your soft skin.

Your eardrums create sound from the air.

Everything you experience happens within you.

Sadhguru once asked, ‘Do you see me? Am I visible? Use your hands and point to where I am. You are completely wrong.

  1. Light falls on me.
  2. The light is reflected.
  3. The light passes through your eye lens.
  4. The image is flipped in your retina.

So where do you see me? Where am I now? In you. Where do you hear me? In you. Where do you see the whole world? In you. Have you ever experienced anything outside of yourself? ‘

It is not that you are here looking at what is there, as if you are photographing it with your eyes. But the thing is, if it weren’t there, you wouldn’t be there either. The outer thing that you see and the inner thing that you are are poles of the same magnet.

What do you want? Where you focus your attention grows. And in that way you create the world the way you want it to. Read all about this in the article about Perception is Projection  and the law of attraction. Byron Katie’s method also points out the non-dual nature of everything you experience on the basis of her reversal question.

Am I the only one who creates the world? Do others create me too?

The colors of the room you are now in are at the back of your nervous system. What you are seeing is a neurological experience, so you might think that the external world is all within your skull. But you have to correct that with the fact that your skull is also in the external world: it is in me, and I am in it. The external world is in my skull but my skull is also in the external world.

The answer is: they are simply one process. This is ‘transactional’: when something is bought, something is sold at the same time. The environment allows the organism to grow, and the organism creates the environment in its neighborhood. The organism creates light from the sun, but there must first be an environment containing a sun at all, so that there can be an organism at all.

The answer is simple: they are all one process.

You are something the whole universe is doing, in the same way that a wave is something the whole ocean is doing. You are a continuous process with the total energy network of the universe, only you play the game that you are only a part of it. But there are no separate events in physical reality.

What does ‘duality’ mean? It means split


What does duality / split mean? This means that you do see two or more different, separate things, instead of seeing them as one process.

Doesn’t it make sense that there is only one you? There simply are no two yous. That split is an illusion.

The reason we don’t notice ourselves is that ‘the self’ doesn’t have to look at itself. Let’s take some examples for why this is problematic:

  • You cannot smell your own nose.
  • Fire doesn’t have to burn itself.
  • A knife doesn’t have to cut itself.
  • A light does not have to shine on its own.
  • You cannot know yourself. You are yourself.
  • You can never appear to yourself. You are yourself.

When you are in duality, you experience a split: me and myself. You then try to know yourself through your thoughts. That is also a thought: that you are ‘split’. The idea that you are the thinker is itself one of a thousand thoughts.

I cannot relate to myself. I am myself. A fire cannot burn itself on itself.

Just as you cannot consciously know with your thoughts what your pineal gland is doing and how it is doing its job, you cannot know with your thoughts the connections that connect us all, not just here and now, but forever and always. and always. This is the problem of being aware of yourself.

Awareness of yourself has to happen on a deeper, non-dual level: awakening. Awakening is knowing that you are aware of yourself in the deepest sense: knowing that you are the totality. Liberation from the hallucination that you are just a ‘pathetic little me’ .

Before Eckhart Tolle went through his awakening, he seemed trapped in the depressed thought that he could no longer live with himself. Suddenly he realized something: ‘If I can no longer live with myself, then there must be two’ me ‘: the real’ me ‘and the’ self ‘that’ I ‘cannot live with.

One of these two ‘selves’ can only be real.’ That other ‘I’ seems real, but it is the ego. He suddenly stopped thinking and could breathe a sigh of relief / relief. And immediately he felt enormous energy in his body.

Eckhart Tolle simply could no longer live with ‘myself’ – the personality, the pain body with emotional pain. How did he get rid of this? He surrendered to it. However he wanted to cling to his persona, he couldn’t help but surrender to this energy. No more resistance.

He felt like a different person, filled with peace. The world no longer looked hostile, but beautiful. He realized: you just have to be yourself. You don’t have to live up to that image you have of yourself or that other people have of you: that other, fake, little self (ego). Otherwise you don’t live authentically.

Non-dual awakening is knowing that you are being ‘done’ by a vast, indescribable Self (God), which has no beginning and no end, does not continue and does not stop, which is beyond any categorization. It has no beginning or end.

We cannot say what God is. Just what it all isn’t. “It’s not this, it’s not that.” It will not be anything you formulate or visualize. When you want to know it, you have to get rid of every idea in your head and see that you are everything. That everything goes together.

Why can’t we know God? Because he’s inside us. Fire doesn’t have to burn itself.

Get out of the split (duality) by not having a ‘relationship with yourself’

twee ikken op zoek naar mezelf

Don’t relate to yourself, just be yourself. A relationship implies that you have divided yourself in two. That duality is the root cause of all unnecessary complexity, of all unnecessary problems in your life.

If you could lose yourself (with a small letter), even if only once, the secret of secrets would reveal itself to you. The Face of the Unknown.
– Rumi

If you are just yourself, accept it now. That means that you are literally enlightened – have become a bit lighter. You have let go of that heavy relationship with yourself.

  • You are then yourself.
  • You don’t judge yourself.
  • You don’t feel sorry for yourself.
  • You are not proud of yourself.
  • You don’t love yourself and you don’t hate yourself.
  • There is no more self to protect, defend, nurture.

There is then only love: the love that you are. If you have given up on yourself, all the relationships you will then have will be love relationships.

There is no ‘you’ … to be precise: ‘you’ with a lowercase letter

The separated individual does not “exist”. There is no ‘you’. Never been. We are talking about the image of ‘you’ here. The personality. Past. Summarized in one word as ‘ego’.

The Buddha was never enlightened. Jesus was never crucified. How is that possible? If there is no one , so if everyone is one whole, then no one can do anything, let alone be enlightened or crucified.

There is awareness, but no one is aware.

There is consciousness, but no one is aware.

There is presence, but no one can be present.

There can only be Presence, and no one to know that presence is there.

– Jeff Foster

The ego stubbornly thinks it actually exists and does all those things. You don’t have to feed the ego. Your personality – or your ego – is not special. That freedom you are so looking for has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with the absence of you (with a small letter). Its destruction.

You have to lose yourself.
– Jesus

Unless you become children again, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
– Jesus

Die before you die.
– Mohammed

Die and be reborn. Until you learn that, you are just a dull dude on this dark planet.
– Goethe

There was no i, and no bubble, just ringing.
– The old Zen master after hearing the bell ringing

You relinquish yourself little by little. The conditioning – to be precise. When I hear someone say, “I’ve lost myself,” I say congratulations!

Do you live in fear? Don’t strive to be free from fear. Become free from “the person who lives in fear.” Does a man die of cancer? Don’t strive to be free from cancer. Get free from “the man who dies of cancer.” Are you a seeker? Do not strive for awakening / enlightenment. Get free from the viewfinder.

Outside it is raining. Who hears the rain? When you listen, you only hear the sound. Tap tap tap. And the person listening? You can never find it. There is only the sound that happens.

And there is another split in the above story. The rain doesn’t happen outside: everything actually happens here. And there isn’t even one here because here implies there is one there too.

If that split also disappears, all that remains is tap tap tap . And that probably doesn’t even exist.

– Jeff Foster, free translation

How do you wake up from duality, into non-duality? Do not seek: ‘achieving awakening’ does not exist …

non duality

How do you wake  up in non-duality? How can an individual, who has the impression of being a separate, separate, detached individual, limited by – and locked in – his skin, effectively realize that deep down he is one with everything? The short answer: it cannot be achieved . There are no “awakened” or “enlightened” people.

Don’t fall for the countless pitfalls like ‘my ego has disappeared and I am now liberated’ … It is an illusion . We must leave appearances and see that everything is an appearance. So also ‘my liberation and my striving for it’.

There is no ‘how’ when it comes to being free.
– J. Krishnamurti

By constantly wanting to achieve the ‘more spectacular’, the ‘better’, the ‘lighter’, you miss the ordinary … with which you actually miss the utterly special.

This article on spiritual awakening starts right away with this message: don’t strive for awakening. Just find Unconditional, Infinite Love right here, now. The article about the here-and-now  and the following sections also discuss this in detail.

Yesterday you may have had “an experience of awakening,” but this easily turns into today’s ego trip.

The pursuit of awakening is as much an illusion as the pursuit of material wealth

Don’t make that million euros in your bank account the goal – but certainly don’t make ‘awakening’ and ‘detachment’ the goal. Awakening and non-duality is not something you do .  Hard is not it?

Whether you are looking for something material or spiritual, it is and will all be seeking,  while the here-and-now is subordinated. It is the same search movement of thought for a non-existent future.

That striving ensures that you as a person – a self – are separate from everything. A sense of not being whole, incomplete, fragmented, alienated, lost … When the search ends, the sense of ‘being a separate seeker’ stops.

There is nothing higher or more spiritual than getting out of bed in the morning, brushing your teeth, changing clothes, making tea, walking out and breathing the morning’s fresh air – or walking out into the rain . And yes, there is no guarantee that you will be alive in 2 seconds. But you will get all of this, in this present second.
– Jeff Foster

Just let the unsolved mystery be there. Stop looking (for lighting) and solve. The lifelong quest can stop completely if you immerse yourself in the sense of Connection, Non-Duality or Unconditional Love.

When the search is absent, the mystery reveals itself.

And don’t even give up searching. Do not search for the end of search , because that is more searching than ever. You don’t have to change anything. You don’t have to give up anything. Nothing to reject. Your life is already perfect, even if you don’t recognize it as such yet.

Liberation is the disappearance of the quest for liberation.

Any attempt to end the search only lengthens the search. So even if you hold on to ideas of no-self and no-striving, you still fall back into duality.

Giving up spiritual practices is just another spiritual practice.
– Jeff Foster

Many people actually believe that there is no ego / person / self anymore. Their belief is the problem. Because once something has become faith, there is conditioning / stillness. There is then again a personality that is believing something, and is susceptible to ‘my belief against your belief’.

Get rid of not only ideas of your self and other selves, but also all ideas about the non-existence of such ideas.
– Buddha

And if you also start to ‘advise’ and ‘help’ others with awakening …. When someone who is ‘liberated from his personality’ says to you that you are not present, so that he can still feel your personality , then that other person … is also a personality. Because only one person can experience the presence or absence of another person. When there is liberation, it disappears completely.

The less you search, the more you will find.

Do not pick up a new belief system, refine your old belief systems, discover a new path or method to some destination, increase your personal efforts, or try to learn more. Don’t strive. Need equals lack.

Let go of the feeling of lacking something, instead of wanting what you are striving for. If you get what you want, that feeling is only briefly dealt with. So let wanting disappear completely. There is nothing you have to do.  You will do many things … but nothing is required to do. God / The Universe demands nothing, wants nothing, orders nothing and needs nothing.

Don’t be “spiritual”: The more common, the more spiritual

non-duality the more common the more spiritual

Consider the possibility of liberation and absolute freedom in the here and now, in the midst of this seemingly ordinary life, right where you are.

The world is ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. We can be ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. The extraordinary had been hidden in the ordinary all along. The secret was in ordinary life all along.

Freedom is nothing special. It is never far away. It is always present everywhere in everything in so-called everyday and ordinary life. In the smells, the sounds, the passing traffic … Liberation is everywhere, and we just don’t see it. It’s the great joke of the universe.
– Jeff Foster

Everything we need is provided in this moment. It’s grace. What arrogance when we think we should have more. “I deserve more! I!”

There is nothing to do, because this, here, now is already complete. Who would have thought that Liberation, Awakening, or whatever you want to call it, would be so obvious, mundane, and simple?

Unity is disguised in a simple chair. They are all miracles: something as simple as the chair you are sitting on. It supports you unconditionally. Your clothes give you warmth and protect you. You breathe without any effort. Even your thoughts are miracles. Your heart pumps blood. Just like everything else: without asking for anything in return. Free and for nothing. You didn’t have to meditate for 50 years and become ‘fully present’ first to receive the love from the chair in this moment.

The paradox – the quest – is solved here, in the maximum simplicity, the great wonder and gratitude for what this is : the warmth of my glass of tea, the sounds around me, dusting my closet … Nobody drinks the tea, nobody dusts and nobody writes this article. That would otherwise mean seclusion.

Its liberation and love cannot possibly be put into words. Impossible to communicate. Impossible to be possessed. And at the same time it is all there is, always and everywhere. It is unconditional and embraces you every time. It is the only miracle: life itself.

– Jeff Foster, paraphrase

Life is what it is. That is the miracle. Do you see it clearly as it is? Meanwhile, the thinking says, ‘but I want so much more than just … sitting in a chair. This is too common … ‘ Let that search fall away.  What happens then is impossible to call ‘normal’.

Maybe even all your hope is lost, really lost – the hope that there is more than this – and then you can’t be hopeless anymore. In fact, you suddenly realize, ‘Hey, it’s not that bad. This moment may not be the enemy after all. In fact, it is quite beautiful as it is now! Actually, there is nothing wrong with this moment at all! And had it been that way all along? The shocking realization is: yes.
– Jeff Foster

Want to find non-duality? You’re already there …

This paragraphs proposes a journey to where you are already. It is true: you may not know that you are already there, but you are already there. And if you take a trip to the place where you are, you will visit many other places besides the place where you are. And when, after long experiences, you find out that the places you go are not the places you wanted to find, it occurs to you that you may have been there in the beginning.

See through the search for enlightenment, awakening, liberation, awakening, spirituality, balance, detachment, self-development, self-knowledge, self-exploration, a higher dimension, peace, freedom, balance, happiness, spiritual experiences, moments of consciousness, seeing through your ego, sifting through your thoughts or any other label … which are just concepts.

No effort is required. That striving to achieve enlightenment obscures the enlightenment that is always present – and what is perfectly clear. It cannot be found because it was never lost. It’s not even an ‘it’ – not a thing. It is the ever-existing condition in which things can become possible.

In unity, everything exists in the same moment.

That is the method that the teacher teaches you: they do not chew you but let you search. Even though you are already there. There is no method (Dharma) to arrive where you already are. There is no journey there, no amount of searching will lead to it. For all seeking implies the absence of the Self (the Great Self).

Monk: “I meditate to become Buddha.” Whereupon the master took a brick and started rubbing it. ‘What are you doing?’ I rub the brick to turn it into a mirror. The monk said, “No amount of rubbing on the stone will turn the stone into a mirror.” Master: “No amount of Za-Zen (meditation) can make you Buddha (title).”

You don’t have to do anything for non-duality: you are already in the middle of it. You are already looking at the brilliant light. It is already there now. Suddenly you see it. The experience that you have which is just daily consciousness while pretending to be “it” is “it.”

And why would you strive for ‘awakening’ if you cannot even see this, here, now ? Just the wonder and grace of sitting in your chair in the here and now? Want to see with some clarity what is right in front of you? Start with this first. First see this once again. And now it comes: if you see this, here, now, you do n’t even want that (for example ‘awakening’) anymore.
– Jeff Foster

The moment you are in conflict with the universe, in conflict with your ego, you don’t know that you are the universe. If you conflict with it, you don’t understand it is you. You think there is a real difference between yourself and another. But what you call ‘self’ and what you call ‘other’ are necessary for each other, just like ‘in front’ and ‘behind’. Just as a magnet polarizes itself in north and south, experience polarizes in self and other.

Note: meditation, praying and developing virtues is still necessary


The previous section was about how this awakening can already be achieved in the here and now . Let’s take the metaphor again …

Monk: “I meditate to become Buddha.” Whereupon the master took a brick and started rubbing it. ‘What are you doing?’ I rub the brick to turn it into a mirror. The monk said, “No amount of rubbing on the stone will turn the stone into a mirror.” Master: “No amount of Za-Zen (meditation) can make you Buddha (title).”

This does not mean that you should not meditate, but this means – simply put – that you should not strive for a goal through meditation . The meditative state itself is the goal.

Moreover, this does not alter the fact that no development is possible. That is separate from it: be already awakened in the here-and-now and meditate, pray and develop your virtues (Divine qualities) to invariably get in touch with The Source.

It is a lifelong exercise. Just like maintaining your health. So it is just as important to maintain your soul.

Non-duality is close to Solipsism – What is Solipsism?

Solipsism means that you believe that you are the only person who really exists and all other people are your dream. No one can prove that this is not the case.

I would like to see a conference of soloists in which they discuss who is the one who really is there.
– Alan Watts

The idea behind Solipsism is: everyone is one. Just as the senses are fundamentally a sense organ: they are different forms of touch. The most delicate form of touch is the human eye, then the ear … Millions of nerve endings (‘selves’) send all the impressions of the world back to the central nervous system.

In the same way every being is connected, only the connections cannot be seen. Therefore, it is very easy to see my self as separate from another self. And thus we are all fundamentally unfortunately not connected to each other.

Why is it called ‘non-duality’ and not just ‘one (ness)’?


Non-duality, or the Sanskrit word ‘advaita’, has the following meaning: ‘the absence of duality’.

‘Non-duality’ (a-dvaita)

Then why is the word ‘unity’ not simply used? The reason is as follows: One ‘is exclusive language. The opposite of one is many or none.

Non-duality is therefore referred to as “totally inclusive unity.” It has no opposite, there is nothing outside of non-duality, so you cannot say one. ‘One’ excludes ‘two’.

Logically, non-duality is a dualistic word: it is the opposite of dual, but mainly see it as a finger pointing to the deeper dimension. We can’t actually get to that dimension, but we make an effort.

Actually, there is not really a word to describe ‘non-duality’, because words are meant to be able to distinguish. It is difficult to talk about this even while it is extremely simple in its nature.

We are not two. We are not one either. Because just saying those words doesn’t make that right anymore. And again that last sentence is too much said.

You cannot draw in three dimensions on a flat surface. Everything we draw is in two dimensions. But why can we still see three dimensions on paper? A two-dimensional line is used to imply a third dimension that can never be pronounced on a flat surface. Thus an illusion of a third dimension can be created. Likewise, non-duality points to a dimension that is beyond all logical categories.

The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
– Thomas Paine

Non-duality within different schools of thought

The non-dual philosophy is also present in various movements, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Jewish and Christian mysticism. Take the teaching of Jesus: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” With that He refers to non-duality with ‘as yourself’. You are essentially the other too. Einstein’s theories are also based on non-duality.

Yet within many religions there are differences in the way in which non-duality is experienced. For example, many religions keep God out of their experience of non-duality. We will discuss this in the next section.

For many people, God is the only thing that is dual: the notion of the ocean

the notion of the ocean

For many religious people, non-duality does not reach God, but the scope of non-duality stops  before God. The statement ‘I am God’ does not apply to them and is even seen as blasphemy.

You will realize that what you describe as things under your own will feel exactly the same as things going on outside you. You watch other people moving, and you know you’re doing that, just like you’re breathing or circulating your blood. And if you don’t understand what’s going on, you’re liable to get crazy at this point, and to feel that you are God in the Jehovah sense.
– Alan Watts

In many religions everything is non-dual, but there is one thing that is dual: God as in Jehovah. A creator so far beyond us that it would be slander to say that we are also Him.

But also in religions, that dual God, who is outside of any category, is described in a non-dual way : a vast, indescribable Self ( God ), which has no beginning and no end, does not go on and does not stop going on. It has no beginning or end. So it includes us. That is a non-dual description!

When these religions talk about “We are God,” it is metaphorically : what is meant is that the attributes of God are in us. That way, we can say that our Higher Self than metaphorically God is .

Because if we look hierarchically at different levels of consciousness and dimensions,  then many religions argue that one thing is truly dual: God as in Jehovah.

The mineral kingdom has no knowledge of the plant kingdom. The plant kingdom knows nothing about the animal kingdom. The animal kingdom is not aware of the human kingdom … Who has ever seen the cartoon ‘Flatland’? The dot doesn’t know about the line. The line does not know about the three-dimensional shape. The line does not know that it exists. This is a three-dimensional world. We do not know about the higher dimensions. Those higher dimensions experience complete oneness.

The analogy of the drop in the ocean – the notion of the ocean – is also often used by both groups. We are all drops of an ocean (God) .

  • In a sense we are all ‘just’ parts (drops) of a greater whole (ocean) (God / Infinity). In this analogy, God (the greater whole) is infinitely times greater than we (the drops). So we are not God, but we are parts of God, have been given a glimmer of His attributes and therefore we are at most metaphorically God.
  • But when the drop makes contact with the ocean, it actually becomes one with the ocean . So when your smallness as a human being is merged with the infinite and immeasurable power of God, you become one with God and you become infinite and omnipotent. This happens during meditation and prayer (bhakti yoga). You then experience: ‘I am Divinity itself. I’m not different from God. God and I are one. ‘

Many people believe that non-duality reaches as far as the second bullet in the above story (‘God and I are one). For other people, Jehovah (God) is still an unattainable level above us: God is indeed the all-knowing, the all-controlling. We are not, because we are just human beings.

You are a drop from the ocean. Not the ocean itself. You are part of God. Not God himself. With all the attributes of God – in potential and proportion – present in you.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Drugs (Ayahuasca) to experience non-duality?

non duality

Ayahuasca is a hallucinatory drink known for giving you a specific experience of non-duality. It is not necessary to use this in your spiritual development, but it is available as an option.

Book tips on non-duality

Alan Watts and Jeff Foster’s books are steeped in Non-duality. The 50 non-duality insight cards are also recommended.

The conclusion of the philosophy of non-duality

You are completely free to draw your own conclusions, but now that you know what non-duality is, you could use it in different ways. For example, you could conclude:

  • Everything is fine.
  • There is no problem.
  • Implicit in stress and depression is happiness.
  • I wish peace and love to everyone.

Non-duality is excellent to use to find peace and tranquility in yourself or for meditation and coaching. But above all, draw your own conclusion. Leave him in the comments!

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!


  1. amieke

    hi Rubin,
    I want to get in touch with non-dualists and not online but in living reality … in Noord-Holland!
    Do you know how to find them? Even if I only found one! man or woman, as long as she or he loves the non-dual worldview just like me!
    And why do I read NOTHING about Rupert Spira on this very large site? And NOTHING about Mooji? Or Ramana Maharshi?
    Anyway, THEY are my great teachers. But my simple question to you is: how am I finally able to establish contact with a like-minded person?

    • Rubin Alaie

      Hi Amieke,

      I don’t happen to know people who explicitly call themselves non-dualists. Until now I thought it is just a teaching that is taught in multiple schools / religions.

      Unfortunately, I cannot help you with that.

      Thanks to your thoughtful message I immediately created 3 concepts so that I can write about Rupert Spira, Mooji and Ramana Maharshi. The reason they weren’t there yet is that there are a lot of teachers I haven’t written about yet.

      Thank you for that!

  2. Roy

    Hello, I think this is a nice, light-hearted, but correct explanation of non-duality. Thanks for this! What I regret is the use of “Jehovah” in this article. If some people use this name in their thinking and acting as the article states, then a reasoning error will occur if the article itself uses it exactly as it is. Such use of “Jehovah” is the stepping stone to anti-Semitism. What I also regret is that the article does not mention that non-duality arises neuropsychologically when the right brain hemisphere becomes dominant in conjunction with the left hemisphere. And that with some practice it is not at all difficult to switch that dominance back and forth the moment you choose to do this. Advice: delete the use of Jehovah and thank you again for the nice, clear explanation, hi, Roy

    • Rubin Alaie

      Corrections like this are super useful. Thank you Roy.

      If you have an article somewhere with more information about the neuropsychological effect in front of me, I can process it here.

      I adopted the word Jehovah from Alan Watts – the original quote is also included. I had no idea that the term is a stepping stone to anti-Semitism when used in a certain way. Thank you for the tip.

      What do you suggest as a substitute for the word Jehovah?

      When I write “We are God” in this article, I mean that metaphorically, not literally. I just don’t write that every time.
      So it is true that this is a colored article because there are also a lot of people who do believe that we are literally God.

  3. Jay

    Hey Rubin,

    Thanks for this post, it was very insightful.

    What are the 50 non-duality insight cards?

    • Rubin Alaie

      Oh, that is a Dutch production that has not been translated…

      • Anonymous

        Oh cheers