Is Non Duality The End of The Spiritual Journey?
by Stephen Williamson
I was a spiritual seeker who came across non duality. Reading the books and listening to speakers on non duality, it seemed that in all the speakers and authors there was a revolutionary moment when they ‘got it’, when non duality ceased to be an intellectual theory and became a reality.
Then one day I too ‘got it’. There was no self, no separateness, no doer. My state was recognized by one of the leading speakers on non duality in the UK. I had joined the elite few who no longer sought awakening, but were actually awake! I felt important.
As I adjusted to my new state I began to observe in myself and others an inconsistency. I got to know many non duality speakers. Whilst some of these speakers claimed to come from a space of no self, their actions seemed to come from the self. Character traits of self-importance, ambition and indignation, usually associated with the ego, were seen. This indicated a lack of freedom rather than the liberation they talked about when speaking. If I challenged this, I was told that importance appears, ambition appears, but it has been experienced by no one because there is no one, the self does not exist.
I was not too sure about this. All I could do was investigate and reflect on my own experience. I came across writings on Tibetan Buddhism where non duality is regarded as a stage along the way to full enlightenment. This resonated with me. I had previously thought that non duality was “the end of the spiritual journey“. It was the top of the spiritual mountain. No where else to go.
I now see that my coming to non duality was the end of one journey called spiritual seeking —but it was the beginning of another. What is the nature of this journey? It is the integration of the non dual perspective into every day life. I do feel insecurity, ambition, self importance and all the other effects of the appearance of a separate self. But, as the process of integration continues, these characteristics have less and less hold on me.
What is this process?
It is the development of non-discriminating, non dual awareness from moment to moment. It is resting in the emptiness of being from where all the thought and feeling energy of the mind ceases to have importance. This is done without effort. It arises spontaneously, but not all the time.
Is there anything that I can do?
Yes I can get out of the away, allow the process to happen, not get entangled in the illusion of reality that the mind creates.
A year or two ago I started a blog called What is Non Duality? to explore the non duality perspective. I have recently started another one entitled LifeField, which looks at why we get caught up in separateness, how to see non duality, and what to do with that realization.
Stephen Williamson is from England. He spent many years as a spiritual seeker. He was a Theosophist and member of the Esoteric School before spending time in India studying under various spiritual teachers in search of the truth about enlightenment. He later became interested in self-development but found himself asking the question: “Is there a self that needs developing?”
This led him to non duality because it seemed to answer the question. After understanding non duality he made the video What is Non Duality? starring Tony Parsons [and others] which has been seen by over 30,000 people on You Tube (you can watch this video in our player on right hand side – ed). Stephen lives a quiet life in Lancashire, England. So far, he does not teach or speak formally on non duality.