A child isn’t born into duality, but rather, the experience of duality begins some months into a child’s journey. It begins at the time the child accepts the externally imposed identity on it, and agrees, albeit unconsciously, to the idea that it is a separate being with a name (a “Sundar”) and form (“my body”), that is different and distinctly separate from the other (the “mom”, the “dad”, the “brother” etc.).
The acceptance of identity is the beginning of separation from the One. What was a natural experience of the child as continuous non-labeled experience, now is based on this identity and consequent separation from the One.
With this, two foundational ideas are born.
1. Fear of death. The acceptance of a separate identity is the birth of an apparently separate being. With birth, death has to come with the package – such is the nature of duality. In duality, no one attribute stands alone … like for an ‘up’ to be there, a ‘down’ has to come with it; for a ‘cold’ to be there, a ‘hot’ has to be present too. So it is with birth, that death comes with the package. The separate-I fears death. This is the foundational fear. Out of this fear, all other variant fears are born.
2. Sense of lack. The birth of the apparently separate being, creates inherent separation from the infinite, eternal One. The experience of One is of unending abundance, of undivided love, of unbroken peace, of causeless happiness. From that, there is a severe crash into the realm of the finite, temporal, limited separate being. God became man, so to say. The loss of connection with the One is huge. And it registers as a foundational sense of lack, the deep sense that something is missing, that wholeness is not to be found. And this sense of lack, drives all acquisitive behaviors.
The combination of these foundational traits, drive a bewildering array of psychoses in the apparently separate-I. Those in turn, drive absurd behaviors of anger, fear, possessiveness, pride, guilt, judgments, resentments, greed, and more. Lunging into the past and future, the mind drives the present moment to irrelevance. The Grace of the One is barely experienced, for that can only be experienced in the flow of the present moment, here and now. Irrational behaviors ensue, unsustainable habits take root like drinking, smoking, drugs, and innumerable addictions, all attempts to feel that peace, that happiness that seems to have gone completely, faded into oblivion.
And yet, the One never did leave. The apparently separate-I never did really separate from the One. Because the apparently separate-I is not real.
The Masters use the analogy of the Sun and the fog or clouds that can obscure the Sun, to illustrate this.
Something as wispy as the fog appears to hide the Sun, but the Sun remains shining as it is. Something as fluffy as clouds appear to obscure the Sun, but the Sun remains shining as it is. Your real nature is like the Sun, and the apparent fog or clouds are like the experiences of the separate-I.
The Masters use the analogy of the wave and the ocean to illustrate this further.
The wave begins to rise from the ocean, and in rising, she experiences apparent separateness. In the rising to the peak of her life, the wave experiences the joy of the rising. And then the falling begins, and with it the wave is gripped with the fear of dying. But all along, the wave was not just the wave as she mistakenly assumed. She was also simultaneously the water, and thus the ocean itself. She was BOTH the water/ocean and the rising/falling wave. As only the rising/falling wave, she has birth and death. But as the water/ocean which ALWAYS IS, she is ever present, immortal, beyond birth and death, abundant, flowing, at peace. If the wave recognized that she is simultaneously the infinite (water/ocean) and the finite (the rising/falling wave), she would be free of the fundamental fear of death and sense of lack. Her suffering would end. She would be liberated. For there never was a separate ‘she’, the separate rising/falling wave that was disconnected from the ever present water/ocean.
This is what the Masters are leading us to experience. We are never separate. There is only the illusion of separation. Behind that apparent fog/mist that seems to cover the Sun, the Sun is always shining. And that Sun is who we are. The infinite eternal water/ocean is who we are. Not the apparently limited fearful, lacking, finite, temporal separate self we’ve assumed ourselves to be.
In practical terms, what does this recognition bring to life? When we experience fear, worry, anxiety, depression … we can take one or more deep breaths, step back to notice the unfolding experience, and relax … and remember that the one experiencing those things is NOT who we truly are. When we experience financial issues, lack resources … we can take one or more deep breaths and relax … and remember that the one experiencing those things is NOT who we truly are. In the moment, we can choose to return to the Truth, and in that moment, so choosing, we can experience the end of suffering.
It is not just the sense of identity of a separate self that is not real – i.e. that is an illusion. But it is more profound than that! The very duality that the apparent sense of separate self occupies and experiences, that very duality itself is not real – i.e. that duality is an illusion too. This is what the Masters meant when they said that in its ultimate form, the ultimate truth is that there is only One and everything else as conceived by and through the illusory separate-self is an illusion.
However, if one feels like they are a separate-I, and try to embrace the Masters’ sayings conceptually and intellectually, they will be doing themselves a dis-service. For their mind will concoct some weird belief around illusion and add to drive new psychotic behaviors based on this new belief. i.e. This teaching is not to feed the mind and to strengthen beliefs. This teaching from the Masters is to shine the light, so the fog of the apparent separate self is dispelled, and the recognition arises that one is the Sun itself! The Masters are drawing you into an experiential recognition that you are the One. As that One, the illusory nature of all phenomena would be known not to exist. The Masters’ teachings in this way are pointers to Reality.
You were not born into duality. Your earliest experiences as a child were not dualistic. With the guidance of the Masters, and Grace, you can recognize your true nature and abide in that before the end of this mortal form. You can experience the eternal dance of the formless and form, and in so doing, be free. This is your gift. Be That.
Self-Inquiry (also known as Self Enquiry), as pointed by the great Master Ramana Maharshi, is a direct path to the recognition of your true nature.
Who are you?
You are that One without a second.
The infinite, eternal.
Peace, love, happiness without opposites.
The Tao, Brahman, the Great Bright Light.
You are That!
* The No-otherness Series of books are resources for your awakening and living awake.
* Check out the book, “What is Enlightenment? A Simple Guide“, which demystifies Enlightenment, and brings you clarity on preparatory practices vs direct paths to Enlightenment.
* Available now, “Awaken: An Experiential Exploration of Enlightenment” – a resource that guides you to the direct experience of Reality, the One without a second. It is a guided form of Self-Inquiry, for those who find the natural self-exploration in the form “Who am I?” to be challenging.