Of course, if (1) is the case then seemingly both (1) and (2) are true -- since either/or distinctions don't have much of a place in non-dualism.
I got to pondering this stuff after Amazon sucked me in this morning with one of their irritatingly accurate emails. (If there is a God, his name is Jeff Bezos).
Amazon apparently looks at the books I buy and then correlates them with other books favored by people with my reading habits. I was prepared to hit the "delete" button after glancing at the email, but I couldn't resist clicking on a couple of astute suggestions.
One of which was "Love's Quiet Revolution: The End of the Spiritual Search" by Scott Kiloby.
I'd never heard of the guy. I read some reader reviews of his book and came across a mention of how marvelous his You Tube videos were. So I took a look at a couple.
"Freedom from your own insights" starts off with these words:
So whatever it is you think enlightenment is, that's what it's not. And that's where you're stuck.
Well, that struck me as good news. I don't have much of an idea about what enlightenment is, so this must mean that I'm fairly free to find it.
Except, there doesn't seem to be anything to find.
At least nothing that can be described in any way. The next video I watched, "Your Spiritual Teacher is Full of Crap," started off with: Never trust a spiritual teacher who appears to believe in his own crap.
This sentiment appealed to my churchless non-soul. However, I couldn't help but wonder whether Scott Kiloby believed in his own advice about not trusting a spiritual teacher who believes in his own crap.
That's what I find irritating about non-dualism. Those who espouse it often sound a lot like anyone else who has a religious, philosophical, or metaphysical position to defend.
Yet the non-dual claim basically is that there's nothing to defend, and no one to do the defending. Differences are illusory (though not unreal).
I headed over to Kiloby's web site to see if that would help me better understand his point of view. On the home page I read:
Enlightenment is not reserved for gurus or available only after years of practice or seeking. It is your birthright. It is not a special state, experience, thought, or emotion that one has to find or maintain. The word “enlightenment” is merely a label pointing to the direct and immediate recognition of timeless awareness. This awareness holds the key to your real identity. It reveals that there is no separate self. It reveals that all boundaries are illusory including the boundaries between people, religions, programs, paths, groups, and nations.
But it took 72 pages to eludicate this thought. And this is just one of many essays by Kiloby, along with several books that he's written. Browsing through the piece, I kept coming back to my love-hate relationship with non-dualism.
I love how it focuses on awareness of the here and now.
I hate how it makes awareness into something esoteric and complex.
Now, I realize that advocates of non-dualism would take exception to my hate statement. I guess they'd argue that it takes countless books, videos, workshops, web sites, seminars, and what-not to communicate the non-dual message that there is nothing to communicate.
OK, maybe. The Buddha, though, did fine by simply holding up a flower.
If there's nothing to say about non-dualism, then why do non-dualists use so many words to say that nothing? Alternatively, if there is something to say, then why criticize spiritual teachers for believing that their sayings are more than "crap"?
I don't get it. But I have sent off some bucks to Amazon for Kiloby's book. So there is indeed a reason to talk about non-dualism, $16.99 worth of reasons.