This Living Teaching

Nonduality is not ‘anti-duality’ – how dualistic that would be. It does not reject or deny the astonishing diversity of creation – it embraces totally those myriad appearances, just as the ocean does not reject its waves (how could it?) but loves them to death so they are no longer waves, so that in their infinite, beautiful, intimate, intricate manifestations, they are none other than itself.

And so this awakening we speak of is not detached from the world, it is not some arrogant life-denying philosophy, no, it is fully engaged with the world, even if ultimately that ‘world’ is dream and appearance. But who cares, right? For, grounded in the deep knowing of who you really are, then, my friends, then you are free, finally free, to plunge fearlessly into this awake dream, this mysterious, transparent world, free-falling head-first into the dreamy realities of this life, this precious gift of a life – into rich, intimate relationships, into work, art, family, friendship, love, adventure, sacrifice, exploration, into the mysteries of the body, and the mysteries of death itself – until there is no longer any division between ‘real’ and ‘unreal’, ‘world’ and ‘absence of world’, ‘person’ and ‘absence of person’, ‘duality’ and ‘nonduality’, even ‘life’ and ‘death’. Until there is only One, and Advaita is a living, breathing, thing, not an abstract philosophy or clever, comforting word-game for the already-comfortable.

I know no other Advaita but an Advaita inseparable from the living of daily life, from the chopping of wood and the carrying of water. I know no other Advaita but the Advaita that holds my dear father’s trembling hand as he tries to cross an icy patch of road. It is contact. It is being here. It is open. Connected, always connected, forever connected. And ready. The nondual dogmatists retort “who is open? who is ready? whose father? what road? who cares?”, and miss the whole point.