How we see the world, the assumptions we make, typically all unconscious, are game changers in our lives. Teenagers coming of age are usually busy (unconsciously but quite successfully) challenging the assumptions of their parents, rebelling, being annoying perceptive about all the things the family doesn’t want to discuss, and trying to find their own way in the world. And often, it stops there – not just the rebelling, but the whole enchilada. It doesn’t have to be this way, of course, and I have spent almost my entire adult life unpacking the closets of my soul, examining the contents, sometimes running away for a bit, but mostly dealing with one thing after another and bringing more and more awareness and intentionality into my life. Which is why I now want to talk to you about Nondualism.
The Hidden Bias: Nondualism
Nondualism is a cosmology (a way of seeing reality, or the cosmos, or the Universe, or all that is) that essentially says we are all one, and division as we perceive it is an illusion. The word literally means The Way of Not Two, but it’s not really about ‘two’, it’s really about ‘anything more than one’.
Why bring this up? Well, I’m in a semi-nondualistic place in my life, and I’m working hard to get to pure nondualism. This is pertinent to the conversation of Migraines and TruDenta, because this is my most major bias. This is the way I look at the world, and it affects very deeply what I see.
What the hell do I mean by semi-nondualistic and nondualistic? Read on!
Jesus, in the Gospel of John, tended to go on nondualistic rants, and whether or not you think that such words carry even remote historical accuracy (which most mainstream biblical scholars don’t, they think John was written much, much later, and is the first attempt at Christian theology, or an explanation of God, but since nothing can actually be proven, it’s always good to occasionally imagine that Jesus might have actually said that, so what does that mean for our lives), and nondualism was a complete nonstarter two thousand years ago.
I am in the Father, and the Father is in me.
I say nothing but what the Father gives me to say. Don’t imagine I say things on my own.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and nothing was created but was created with the Word.
One major problem with taking a nondualistic world view (there are several major problems, but we’ll address them one by one) is that words fail us in trying to describe it. Metaphors work best, descriptions less well, and in the effort to communicate what nondualism is, the best thing is an experience of it, which has nothing to do with words. But words are largely what I’ve got on this blog, so let me try.
The moment you first hold your child. Or your puppy. Or your kitten. Or the most beautiful sunset/sunrise/forest/ocean you’ve ever, and I mean ever seen. The first moment you walk over the threshold in your own home. That feeling that is deep inside of you and floods out and fills your being and seems to spill outside of you that perhaps you had no words for, and perhaps you weren’t even thinking about because you were way too busy being completely awe-struck. That feeling. If you explored it deeper, if the next time you had a moment like that you held onto it and dug down deep, you might realize a sense that words couldn’t describe anyway, even if you tried to tell someone else. A sense of crazy connection. A sense of profound peace. A strange and abiding sense that everything is already okay. A sense that in this moment, everything is absolutely perfect.
That is an experience of nondualism.
They’re usually quite fleeting, for the most part, for most people. Some people, those who have become enlightened masters, have reported living inside of those moments, those moments of joy, oneness, connection, and the peace that passes all understanding, for the rest of their lives.
Nondualism: Just a state of mind?
Which begs the question – is nondualism just a state of mind? Yes. And no.
It’s complicated, and the explanation of it is something for more than one blogpost. The short and simplified version is this: nondualism explains this world we live in with all of its coffee, sex, movies, children, anger, toenails and death, and says this world that seems so real is actually an illusion. It’s a dream. Behind the dream is God, and Oneness with God. And that every living thing – you, me, the dog, the tree, the squirrel, the little green alien, everybody – is actually part of the dream that the one dreamer is dreaming.
So. When I insult you, I’m actually insulting myself. When I’m frustrated with you, I’m actually frustrating myself.
Brings a deeper sense of meaning to Love your neighbor as yourself, doesn’t it?
So, nondualism is realizing this truth that the world of form is just an illusion, and living accordingly. Semi-nondualism is accepting the truth in theory, without being able to actually put it into practice in the deep marrow of our minds. The truly nondualistic are enlightened masters. the semi-nondualistic, bless them, are getting there.
My (not-so) hidden bias is nondualism. This is how I see the world, in theory, most of the time, and getting better and better. So if this world is just an illusion – if migraines, along with agony and death – are just an illusion, why drugs? Why TruDenta? Why not just heal myself?
Because I’m not there yet. And I do believe that everything I encounter in this world is helping me to wake up from the dream. Everything is an opportunity for personal growth, and opportunity to learn and choose wisely, and everything I encounter I’m meant to encounter, even the things I judge as dreadful and tragic. And it’s as much about mind training as anything else (again, a full explanation of that would require many more words than what you see here), and you know what it’s really hard to have mental focus with? A panic attack on top of excruciating pain, in which all I can do is curl into a ball on the floor and wordlessly keen. (Which is not to say I haven’t meditated during bouts of agonizing pain (a six or less on my pain scale) and had wonderful moments with God where the pain was somehow far away. But that’s not a reliable talent of mine, especially with pain of seven or above.)
And so I see all that medical science can offer me, not as a cure for migraines, but as a way to give me the elbow room to do the deep healing I know I need to do. To change my life accordingly. This involves mundane things like body posture, muscle tone and flexibility, a lack of gnashing of teeth, proper oxigination, hydration, nutrient levels, as well as more ephemeral things like stress relief and control, emotional wellness and balance, mental stimulation and agility, personal growth, mindfulness, and of course deeply spiritual things like listening to God alone, forgiving easily, dwelling longer and longer in pure joy.
And this body? It’ll get healed along the way. (Or, it won’t, if that’s what I need to learn best and quickest. Regardless, there will come a point where I just don’t care, because I’m too happy.)
So, as I talk about the ways and means of this physical healing and the blessed release from the excruciating agony that the migraines have become, this is what is going on in the back of my mind. TruDenta, for as wonderful as it is, is not my salvation. My salvation lies in another quarter entirely.
This blogpost, The Hidden Bias: Nondualism, is part two of Sare’s Adventures with TruDenta. Find part one, The Opening Gambit: Cynicism here. Stay tuned for part three – The Historical Experience: Agony.
For more information on TruDenta, you can check out their official site here, or wait for part four of this series, entitled The Nuts & Bolts: A spa treatment. If you’re in the WNY area and you would like to have a TruDenta assessment with Dr. Wood, you can find his website here, and his facebook page here. To make an appointment, call his office at (716) 882-0800.
Finally, has Sare been compensated in any way, shape, or form by anyone for this blog series? Nope.