A Way to Understand Nondual Oneness

A Way to Understand Nondual Oneness September 16, 2022

What is nondual oneness? That is a question that most spiritual teachers struggle to answer. They give vague answers open to interpretation. Scriptures offer more clarity by giving descriptions of the qualities of oneness. In most Vedantic texts, for example, nondual oneness is described as never changing and always present.

No Reference Point

Because human beings are limited by their senses and capacity to think beyond what they are able to measure or perceive, few can point to a reference point and say: “Oneness is like this” or “Oneness is like that.”

I think I’ve found a way around that because there is one aspect of the known universe that is very similar to the concept of nondual oneness. It may help spiritual seekers by providing a reference point.

Rational Spiritual Explorer

Being a rational spiritual explorer sounds like an oxymoron. But that is what I’ve been my entire life. I push to the limits of my rational capabilities to understand spiritual principles. When reason fails, I am willing to explore beyond. Still, I never discount reason altogether.

I spent decades trying to understand what the spiritual teachers and scriptures were saying. I had some personal experiences of oneness, but the overall concept still eluded me. That is why finding a reference point for oneness was an important part of my journey.

Looking at the Stars

One night, I was looking at the stars while pondering the concept of oneness. “Everything appears separate,” I thought to myself. “I know that atoms are interconnected, that separation is a mirage that physicists have unveiled, but, nevertheless, that is all I see; separation.”

But I stayed with the contemplation.

Struggled with it.

Allowed my reasoning abilities to stretch.

Then I saw it.

A manifestation of oneness that was everywhere all at once and never changed. It was so apparent, so clear. I felt like a fool for not noticing it before. Oneness was there all along. I just had to remove everything that was separate. What was left was oneness.

A New Reference Point

You may laugh to yourself like I did when I tell you what I saw. It almost seems too simple to be a reference point. But it is. And having it in the back of my mind while studying oneness has been tremendously helpful.

The physical manifestation is space. Yes, space. Think about it. Space was there before creation. It will be there after creation. Without it, there is no creation. Space is everywhere. Space never changes.

How Space is Like Nonduality

I am not saying that space is nonduality. It could be. I don’t know. What I am saying is that space has all the same characteristics as nonduality.

Imagine a room. If you put objects in the room, space is still there. It is both inside and outside of every object. Remove the objects and space remains. Remove the walls and space remains. It is everywhere all at once.

Space is also beyond time. Only when objects are introduced into space does time become relevant. How long will an object last in space? How long does it take to go from one object to another? Those questions only apply to objects, not to space itself.

And when people say that change is the only constant, that is only true about objects in space, not space itself. Space never changes.

Nonduality in Practice

When I began using this reference point and meditating on space in me and how I am related to space in the entire universe, my sense of nonduality became more pervasive.

I had been looking for nonduality in creation, in myself, in others, in my feelings… all the other things that were always changing. By shifting my attention and having a new reference point, the experience of nonduality became more tangible.

So, if you are attracted to nonduality—which you probably are, otherwise you would not have read this far—sit with this comparison and ponder its implications. Nonduality is omnipresent. Nonduality is unchanging. Both statements are also true about space.

Gudjon Bergmann
Author and Mindfulness Teacher
Amazon Author Profile

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