I have noticed how many “nondual” teachers and teachings often take a surprisingly onesided form. It is almost as if in emphasizing the nondual, they miss the transdual. They emphasize one end of a polarity and ignore or give short shrift to the other end of the polarity. And the effect may be either comical or bewildering, or both.
Absolute & Relative
The Absolute – capacity for the world of phenomena, space & awareness, the Formless Unborn – and the Relative – the world of phenomena, arises simultaneously. At least in our experience, there is not one without the other. They are two aspects of a whole that is beyond and embracing all dualities – of existence and nonexistence, experiencer and experienced, formless and form, mind and matter, etc. Awakening to/as both, we awaken to/as Big Mind – beyond and embracing all polarities.
At the same time, some nondual teachers seem to over-emphasize (and glorify) the Absolute and de-emphasize (or even put down) the Relative, possibly in an attempt balance the opposite view which is more prevalent among those exclusively identified with the small self . The effect may be – and often is – to just reinforce a view of duality.
Fluidity in relationship to God/Big Mind
In a balanced an healthy awakening process, we can fluidly shift between 3rd, 2nd and 1st person relationships with God and Big Mind. We can relate to it as an “it”, for instance when talking about it. We can relate to it as a “you”, for instance in prayer. And we can relate to it as “I”, when I awaken as (typically “drop”) God and (“drop”) Big Mind.
Some teachers here emphasize just one or two of these relationships, and overlook the other – thus missing out of the richness and fluidity of the process.
Perfect As Is & Room For Improvement
Existence is God expressing, manifesting and exploring itself perfectly and completely in the present. Confusion and clarity, delusion and awakening, is God manifesting and exploring itself perfectly and completely in each instance. There is nothing missing.
At the same time, in one instance there is a manifestation as confusion and delusion, and in the other as clarity and awakening. There is room for differentiation within this seamless whole. And there is room for seeing that one brings with is suffering and the other the relief of suffering, and that there is a natural tendency from the former to the latter. In short, there is room for improvement as well.
Again, some teachers emphasize one or the other instead of presenting them both within the larger picture.
Illusion & Reality
The separate and fixed existence of the small self is an illusion, and it is also an illusion when we exclusively identify as a small self.
At the same time, the suffering we create for ourselves through this mistaken identity, and the existence of the physical/emotional/mental/behavioral patterns of this small self, are very much real.
It is not all illusion, nor is it all as it may seem.
Duality Before Transdual
We start out our lives as a small self with an undifferentiated nondual view, which is also nonfunctional. Then, we learn to differentiate and identify as a small self. Through this, we learn to function effectively in the world. And finally, we awaken as Big Mind, able to differentiate within the seamless whole, and function effectively in the world with a transdual view.
A nondual view in itself is not so great, as it can leave us nonfunctional as well – in this world. But a transdual view is different as it is a functional awakening as Big Mind.
End & Beginning
Any awakening is an end as well as a beginning. There is always the integration work – bringing it into daily life, and there are further awakenings.
To only emphasize the completion, leaves out the integration process and further awakenings (for instance from “drop” to “ocean” Big Mind). To only emphasize the beginning aspect is to overlook the very real transcendence of the awakening.
A sidenote: I have noticed to my surprise that many current teachers seem to have a “drop” awakening, a “local” Big Mind awakening, but talk about it as if it is complete, final, no further to go. This is clearly not accurate. Even just imagining the view of the whole/totality of Existence, and comparing it with the (much more limited) view these teachers have awakened to, makes that quite clear.
Immediate Shift & Process in Time
Awakening to ourselves as capacity for the world, as space & awareness, just requires a little shift and it is sudden. When we awaken in this way, we see immediately that nothing is missing – nor can anything possibly be incomplete.
At the same time, there is a process involved – in bringing this view into daily life, and into more and more situations in daily life. This takes time and is a lifelong practice.
The shift into clear seeing is immediate, while the process of bringing it into daily life has no end.
Ease & Difficulty
As Douglas Harding points out, and many of us experience for ourselves, awakening as capacity for the world is easy – with the right pointers. It is simple, easy and always available.
At the same time, it can be difficult to bring this into situations in our daily life. In some situations, it is easy. In others, it appears difficult. In some situations, I can say “yes” to the “no” (the dislikes of the personality), and in others it takes time to find my way into this.
It is both easy and difficult.
Remarkable & Unremarkable
Awakening as Big Mind is remarkable, as it turns everything upside-down compared to when we are (mis)identified with the small self. From being an object in the world, we find ourselves as space for the world.
And it is also completely unremarkable. It is just what is. We are only awakening to what is – what is so remarkable about that? I also see that this “I” that I find myself to be – as capacity for the world – is completely unremarkable, it is just what everyone already is.
Special & Ordinary
It is special as the awakening to Big Mind is not commonly expressed through human beings. And it is ordinary in that it is just an awakening to what is – to what we all and everything already is. Also, it is special when we awaken as Big Mind, and it is ordinary as we become more familiar and comfortable with it.
Effort & Grace
On the one hand, awakening and integration does require a certain amount of effort. On the other hand, the awakening itself occurs through “grace”. As Robert Baker said, “awakening is an accident, and practice makes us accident prone”.
Sidenote: Before the awakening, while we are still identified as the small self, there may be an idea that “I” as this small self applies this effort to awaken. After the awakening, we see that there is only Big Mind and no separate entity to take credit for anything. It was just “drop” Big Mind awakening itself to itself, and it happens to function through this small self (which it temporarily misidentified with).
Transcendence & Healing
A certain amount of healing of the small self seems neccesary for it to be a functional vehicle for Big Mind. And awakening as Big Mind allows for a healing of the small self which is quite different from that of regular therapies. At the same time, the healing that takes place through regular therapies (focusing on any level) seems also essential. One supports the other.
Both are important and complement each other: The healing of the small self through regular therapies (on any level), and the healing of the small self through awakening as Big Mind.
Awakening & Integration
Awakening to ourselves as capacity for the world and Big Mind is one thing. Integrating this into our lives another entirely. It takes practice. It is a continuous exploration process. And both are essential. The awakening clarifies through integration. And the integration is dependent on awakening.
Big Mind & Small Self
Awakening as Big Mind, we still function through this small self (at least for as long as it is around). And an important part of the process is to become familiar with ourselves as Big Mind, as the small self, and with the relationship between the two. Only one or the other is equally imbalanced.
Onesided & Transdual
Onesidedness has its function in some situations. The listener may be attached to a onesided view, and the speaker finds that emphasizing the other side seems appropriate, maybe to shake the person out of their temporarily stuck view. Or a onesided approach may be the hook for a particular person, who can then find a more transdual view. Or it may help simplify it for the recipient.
And a more transdual view is more appropriate in other situations, maybe where the recipients already are quite familiar with the terrain.
Both are medicines, appropriate at different times and for different people.
There are many other examples, although they all have in common the interplay between the Absolute and the Relative. Leave one out, and we have only half the story.
Leaving half the story out is inherently unsatisfactory to us (there seems to be a natural seeking of completion), and in addition – we create confusion and suffering for ourselves.
In acknowledging only one end of the polarity, we create an “other” out of the other end, and it will come back to haunt us in various ways until we acknowledge and familiarize ourselves with/as both ends of the polarity. And this is true of every polarity.
When I attach to one end of any polarity, the other end will come up and attract my attention as a “disturbance” until I find myself as the polarity itself, beyond and embracing both ends.