Endless sky

Non-dualiteit in day to day life - and how to stay connected

Door Marcella Petrarca,

Non-duality has only very recently become a more understandable and practical term for me. Until now I was analytically drawn to it. But honestly, I couldn't do much with non-duality. An unanswered 'what's in it for me, if I do understand?', kept me there for a while.

Until I suddenly could see every step I take to separate myself from my surroundings, how I create dualism. And then I miss feeling connected. 

I found out after a fight.

We don't like fighting. We like to respect each other, always be honest and we let the other person be free. We both act from faith, not distrust. I guess I don't always manage to be like this. I feel sad when we do fight. Usually even before it happens. 

That was interesting. How could this be? And how can I learn to be better than this. Or better put, how can I feel less sad?

First, what is non-duality?

Wiki says: 'In spirituality, nondualism, also called non-duality, means "not two" or "one undivided without a second". Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is "transcended", and awareness is described as "centerless" and "without dichotomies".'

Wait, what? 

So I translate what I experience during an event - an argument with the one I love, for instance - through my filters; my eyes and my previous experiences, my character, hormones, energy. I give meaning to what is happening.

But what does this concept mean, in real life, for me?

Years ago it helped me with starting to take complete responsibility for my own words, actions and feelings. I had learned that I was the one to choose. So I started making much better choices.

Not what happens to you is what matters, but how you react to it. We say this so often, but what does this do to help me feel better, less constricted?

Because I was still often left with feelings I could not rid myself off, despite of all my practices.

To be clear, my practices consist of reading articles, books, doing Dzogchen and mind calming meditations, and talking with friends. But by far the most important practice for my self-growth has been long beach walks with my dog, spending much more time alone and making sure I sleep a lot and eat good food. But that is for another blog.

The truth in non-duality could mean more for me, I could sense it. I was slowly learning to understand, I see that now, through practice. And when a few fights started happening recently I got the opportunity to look into this mechanism further. 

Because obviously, he was not to blame. 

And this is what I noticed in the example of a fight between the 2 of us. 

When we argue I interpret that he doesn't like me anymore at all because he seems angry with me. I know by now that I cannot blame this on him. Which would sometimes feel easier to be honest. But I am still left feeling pretty bad. Then I am arguing with myself. 'He didn't say that, did he?' which doesn't help at all. Only alone time and rest helps me untangle my conflicted emotions and projections. And checking with him what he does mean also helps. Easy right? 

So why this focus on a conceptual thing like non-dualism, isn't that overly complex? 

We all have our own strategies and none are better than others. Because they don't all work the same for everyone - you have to find what works for you.

I myself always need to understand before I let go. With understanding nondualism I am liberating myself of old theories, context, interpretations hidden deep down. 

Now I am learning to notice what I do, which steps I take, almost in the moment I do it. Once I am by myself, that is. Every time I feel constricted, it is my signal that I am projecting. When I feel sad. Uneasy. Find myself ruminating. And then I realize how I am interpreting and almost instantly, I relax. My mind becomes still. 

So what are the steps I go through when separating myself?

An event happens. ->  I interpret this event. I conclude if it is good or bad. ->  This conclusion is the foundation of a thought. ->  That thought causes an emotion or feeling in my body. ->  This feeling will be the root cause of my interpretation of and reaction to the event. ->

So, I am mainly reacting to my own interpretation, not really to the other person?

Theoretically this is not new to me. But noticing this sequence of steps whilst I go through them has had a very realistic effect!

It now sometimes takes no more than a few minutes to let go and relax.

There are many examples of events like this.These strange times also show this doubtable sequence of cause and effect, I think. I am referring to Covid and our quite different reactions to the constraining measures taken. There is so much fear for loss of health or wealth which create polarized emotions. Obviously we don't completely create this event ourselves. 

However, we can influence on how we interpret and then deal with it. With the realization that we are all connected we can perhaps find a milder feeling for our current situation.

I wish everyone a lot of love and compassion, for yourself and for each other. And happy and healthy holidays.

PS if you want to learn how to do this for yourself, please let me know. I am gladly available for online coaching sessions.