Nonduality (or nondualism) is a way of living life, whereby, in each moment, you feel your interconnectedness with everyone and everything around you. It's not just a philosophy or an experience, but a way of being in the world.
Nonduality is a term from Sanskrit that means ‘not two’ (advaita: a = not; dvaita = two). It reminds us that our sense of being a separate entity from everyone and everything - the sense of ‘I’ - is a misperception created by the mind. The term nonduality also refers to the direct, first-hand realization and experience of yourself as undivided nature, or Essential Nature, in which the misperception of being a separate ‘I’ has dissolved.
While nonduality is derived from the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and Saiva Nondualism, it is also found within spiritual traditions around the world, including Western Christian and neo-Platonic traditions, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
iRest and Nonduality
The teachings of nonduality underlie the practice of iRest. Comprised of ten steps, iRest is one part of a larger 38-stage process of meditation, which is derived from the ancient teachings of nondualism as found in Kashmir Shaivism. Shaivism incorporates the word ‘Siva’, which, in this case, refers to a person who has realized Essential Nature (Si = awake; Va = true nature).
iRest retreats, courses, and in-depth workshops are designed to help you discover and embody Essential Nature. iRest is highly experiential, giving you first-hand experience of nonduality through a variety of practices. This can help you integrate your understanding into all aspects of your life, work, and relationships, as a form of enlightened living in the world.
Nonduality refers to our direct, first-hand knowing of the nature of our true self. Throughout evolution, humans have developed an ego function within the brain that gives rise to our ordinary sense of self and our belief in separation. This function is designed to divide the world within and around ourselves into separate objects, where in fact, no separate objects actually exist. The nature of our true self, world, and cosmos is beyond all sense of separation.
While Essential Nature gives birth to the entire cosmos in a holistic manner, the universe has the appearance of unfolding incrementally as:
- Sense of separate self
- Body, Senses, Mind
- Objective world of objects
Essential Nature is the underlying essence (Mystery), from which, and in which all content, throughout the cosmos, is arising.
Awareness is the impersonal, non-local field of Essential Nature in which consciousness and all objects arise. Awareness is without center or periphery, and pervades everywhere.
Being is both the personal localized felt-sense of Essential Nature that we all experience in our body, as well as a non-local field of presence, that unfolds within the vaster field of awareness.
Body, mind, senses, and emotions are all unique expressions of Essential Nature.
The objective world is comprised of an infinite variety of expressions of Essential Nature.