« Phenomenology can deconstruct religious dogma | Main | The beauty of "We don't not care" rather than "We don't care" »

June 13, 2023


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

“It's a neuroscientific fact that we don't see the world as it is, but as we experience it.”

Amen 🙌

We all need to get comfortable saying to ourselves “I don’t matter”.

It’s the Whole that matters.

Stop thinking about yourself and think about humanity as a whole.

Serve others. That’s all that matters.

We live in such a me-centric world that it’s no wonder so many are miserable.

Think about the Oneness and serve others. That’s where you’ll find your greatest joy.

I… I… me… myself… doesn’t MATTER.

I am not important. The Whole is ALL that matters.



Whoa! Couldn’t resist a few early comments to add to these others.

There is no ‘we’ to experience.
There is no ‘I’ or ‘we’ who matters.
There is no whole.
There are no others.
There is no joy – when there is someone looking.

Which of the countless "non dual experiences" are y'all referring to?

From the blog author's and others comments, it appears it is one of the many intellectual "non dual" understandings.

Ahh, that most inconsequential and useless of "non dual experiences".

This blog is the epitome of multiple blind people discussing what a pink unicorn looks like.

All intellectual speculation and emphasis on appearing knowledge despite being entirely devoid of substance, genuine insight or experience.

We all get the results we deserve, and it seems most of us deserve mere words and concepts, and the mere appearance of wisdom, experience and insight!

Good luck with that.

If even 1 commenter had mentioned there are literally countless types of experience and understanding which could be labelled "non dual experiences", then I know I'm discussing with someone who at least has a clue.

All the intellectual wordiness, merely trying to appear knowledgeable and wise, betray the vacuousness of these discussions.

Blind people discussing rainbows, of zero power or authenticity.

IMO of course, I understand some people find this empty intellectual posturing and delusional ideation regarding how the brain generates conscious the entire point of this subject, as if reading a cookbook is the purpose of hunger.

Strange way to live your life imo ;)

To understand the tricky issue of self, of identity (who we are) is said to understand impermanence and emptiness. All things, being a composite of innumerable other things (both mentally and physically) and finally decaying atoms – are emptiness. Yet paradoxically it is this emptiness that explodes with things, giving us form. Is this the ultimate oneness that we hear of from some sources? And, can we experience this oneness for ourselves? Well, no, because to experience something there has to be an experiencer, a self and emptiness says there is no 'self', no witnessing other.

Apparently, enlightenment is seeing this futility, this emptiness from moment to moment and possibly, on occasions seeing everything as though for the first time – no names, no things, no identities – just things arising from endless emptiness and dissolving back into it – dust to dust, ashes to ashes!

Emptiness points to the times when thought is not demanding conscious attention, (physical and mental) when such sense objects appear as they are, that is, without the naming, without explanation or analysing. A split second later the realisation has gone and is replaced by the experiencer – but without any knowledge of it, because at that moment there was no experiencer to register anything.

I’d call that non-duality, emptiness or impermanence. I’d also have to say that in a sense it is an act of faith, not the faith of believing in something or someone, but the faith that is constantly reminding us that just being ‘this’ is what we are – ‘this’ is all there is.

Maybe it’s possible that we have some inkling of being emptiness, of not having any enduring essence – as apparently no-one has – or anything else. So, is the ‘search’, our desperate pursuit for fulfilment in one form or another, merely the pursuit of a dualistic self-structure to find something that proves its validity?

I can understand why satsangis might leave sant mat. The same goes for people disaffected with whatever religion they had followed.

What I don't understand is why a satsangi would renounce their belief in Sach Khand as a fantasy, but then go on an endless quest for "non duality." Sometimes to absurdity.

"This gets us into the nonduality of duality of nonduality, where it must be realized that as appealing as nonduality may be for us, a genuine nonduality encompasses the duality of objects that exist, or fail to exist, independent of our experience of them."

SantMat64, Sach Khand, or heaven, almost certainly is a supernatural fantasy. Nonduality, almost certainly, is a physical certainty. For nonduality is akin to flow, a well-researched state of awareness where we and what we're doing become so closely akin there's little difference between action and the actor. Athletes describe this state of flow all the time. So do musicians, artists, and ordinary people doing ordinary things.

Last weekend I spent several hours mowing the fields on our property with a John Deere "lawn" tractor, though the fields are much different from a lawn. Because tree limbs fall down with regularity when winds are fairly high, I have to pay rapt attention to what's ahead in the tall grass. There also are obstacles to miss, high patches of ground, rocks, small trees and bushes. I get so absorbed in steering the mower and adjusting the speed of it that I lose track of time. It's a bit of a stretch to say that the mower and I become one, but it's also quite true, since my attention is so tied into the activity that I'm doing.

That's nonduality. Nothing mysterious about it at all.

Manjit, in accord with Buddhist and mindfulness teaching/principles, my experience is that thinking isn't a problem. Unhelpful thinking is a problem. Likewise, emotions aren't a problem. Unhelpful emotions are a problem. Same is true of the body. It isn't a problem as long as it is working well.

David Loy talks about how Vedanta, Buddhism, and Taoism look upon thinking in his Nonduality book. Here's an excerpt.
If one also considers the emphasis on meditation in the nondualist Asian traditions, one might conclude that the act of thinking is nothing but an interference that distorts reality; therefore we should strive to eliminate or minimize it. But this inference would be just as wrong as believing that sense-perception or physical activity must be "transcended."

None of these should be rejected, but their actual nature must be realized. The linkage between perception/conception and action/intention may be explored from either side. If concepts veil the nondual nature of percepts, and if intentions do the same for nondual actions, perhaps percepts and actions also obscure the true nature of thinking.

When the thought-forming activity of the mind is used primarily in a system of representation and intention, then something fundamental about the nature of thoughts is obscured too. Our thought-processes are usually preoccupied with creating and maintaining the apparently objective world, with physically and psychologically protecting the sense of self, and with obtaining desired objects, but we should not assume that these indicate the limits of thought processes.

Perhaps such dualistic activities tell us nothing about the nature of thinking in itself.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for your reply, but I struggle to relate this to my comment.

I never suggested "thinking" was a "problem", in the same way thinking isn't a "problem" when one is hungry. A problem would be to think that thinking can satiate one's hunger, and even then in the grand scheme of things, not really a "problem" at all.......that will just have to be one somewhat dopey person who died from hunger, but that's not a "problem" per se.....death is a natural part of the cycle of life.

Thanks also for posting an excerpt from Loy, who's apparently synthesised the "non--duality" of Vedanta, Buddhism and Daoism into one generic singularity. As somebody who has, extensively & exhaustively, spent decades researching all 3 of these traditions, as well as engaging in their practices, and having received experiential "results" to some degree or another in EACH one, I find that most intriguing.....even if ridiculously simplistic & misleading.

The original point of my comments was simple and twofold;

1) There are, literally, countless types of thought, insights, a-ha moments, and far, far deeper EXPERIENTIAL states which a wide variety of traditions and persons would label "non-dual realisation". I know this because I myself have had numerous such experiences, and whilst that most flimsiest of tools, language, can only label ALL of these "non-dual experiences", I know with experiential certainty there is literally an infinitude of distance between the experiential value, meaning or worth of each of these.


2) Of all the many "non-dual" realisations I have had, the intellectual and conceptual one which you appear to think is the ONLY one, is by far the most useless and pointless. If one alights upon ANY other "non-dual realisation", one would instantly recognise that this intellectual, linguistic and conceptual understanding of "non-duality" is worth less than a cup of coffee. In contrast, at the other end of the spectrum, one wouldn't sacrifice non-duality for all the money, fame, power, attention, recognition etc etc in the world. Indeed, it would be impossible to do so, or desire those things....

I mean, bless you for trying, Brian....but I feel any kind of "debate" between us two (as opposed to "discussion", which is not a possibility with the egos involved in these online discussions) on this subject is an unfair "fight" so to speak, and I'd have to force myself to tie my dominant hand behind my back..........that's pretty much because I'm not only talking from an intellectual and conceptual knowledge base which is far more rounded and deeper than yours (I mean, I read Loy decades ago, and his ideas were entirely unremarkable to me even back then!), but because I really couldn't care less about these "authority" figures, religions, books, concepts, lingustic structures etc..............every comment I make is deeply grounded in direct, experiential, unbroken perception of "non-duality".

I have no interest in theorists, and their pet theories.

Peace! :)

Manjit, sorry if I misunderstood your comment. However, there is some misunderstanding on your side also. I don't believe I've ever said that nonduality is only to be understood intellectually or conceptually. In fact, I recall that I've talked about nonduality being closely akin to "flow" in which the subject-object distinction is markedly reduced, if not almost totally erased.

As I said in this post, all we have to go on is experience. There's nothing else we can experience except...experience. Reading a book, I can have a nondual experience. Thinking a thought, I can have a nondual experience. Mowing our fields, I can have a nondual experience. In fact, it could be argued (and both Buddhism and neuroscience support this), nondual experience is the only kind there is.

It just comes in different flavors. Sometimes objects seem to be very different from the subject experiencing them. But that seeming could also be viewed as part of a nondual experience, since how could it be possible that a perceiver is totally different from what is perceived, or an experiencer totally different from what is experienced?

No perceiver, no perceived. No experiencer, no experience. Subject and object are always tightly entwined, which is the foundation of nonduality.

Hi Brian - I for sure have misunderstandings about you, that is true. I cannot possibly know the depth of your being and personhood based on mere virtual script on a virtual page.

Perhaps I do over-stretch my assumptions, and I certainly reduce your magnificent & beautiful complexity to childish simplicities, and for that I sincerely apologise too.

With your comments about non-duality above, I find myself in complete agreement!


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.