Nondual but dismissing the human?

Some nondual or neo-Advaita folks seem to dismiss or downplay the human aspect of what we are and say things like “I am not this human”, “there is no self”, “I don’t exist”, and so on.

I understand where they are coming from. As our nature, we are not primarily this human self. There may be a human self in a conventional sense, but there is no inherently separate self here in my own experience. As capacity for the world as it appears to me, I don’t really exist.

They may want to emphasize the capacity and oneness aspects of our nature and downplay the human aspect, perhaps to compensate for others (or themselves!) viscerally over-emphasizing the human aspect out of habit.

At the same time, it does seem one-sided and perhaps a bit like an ideology. It can be quite misleading to others not familiar with that terrain. And it’s not terribly nondual. They seem to mentally create a split where there isn’t one and where it’s not strictly necessary.

HOW IT APPEARS TO ME

I find myself as….

Capacity for the world as it appears to me. As what allows it all to happen within my experience. As what forms itself into any experience.

As oneness. As what the world, to me, happens within and as. As the oneness the world, to me, happens within and as. (And with “the world” I mean any content of experience, anything seen here, heard, smelled, tasted, sensed, and thought.)

A part of oneness is this human self, as he appears in my sense fields including my mental representations. He is as much part of it as anyone and anything else that’s here.

And there is a special connection with this human self. This oneness has inside information from this human self in the form of all his sensory input. Others take me as him. And this oneness plays the role of and as him in the world.

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No self?

I have familiarized myself somewhat with neo-advaita approaches, and see what many point out: it’s easy to get hung up on ideas and concepts, and invest these with a sense of reality – perhaps in an attempt to find a sense of safety and security. (And avoiding feelings that appear uncomfortable.)

For instance, some folks – both teachers and students – talk about no self and emptiness as if these are real and somehow inherent in life. There is identification with these ideas. Sensations are velcroed to words and images, giving them a sense of reality, solidity, meaning, and a charge.

If I look for no self, or emptiness, or awareness, what do I find? Can I find it outside of words, images and associated sensations? (And what do I find if I look for their companion ideas…. Can I find a self outside of words, images and sensations? What about reality? Solidity? Matter?)

Also…. can I find a self that sees through this? A self that “gets” it? Someone else who don’t?

Where do I “land” to find a sense of solidity or security?

Whatever I “land” on, can I find it? What do I find in words, images and sensations? Can I find it outside of these?

The gift of advaita

There are lots of tools out there to invite in healing, maturing and even awakening, and they can all be very helpful.

But it is also good to notice that what we seek is already here, and that is the gift of Advaita.

That is what Advaita – more than any other tradition – reminds us of. It gives us a reminder of how simple it is, and an invitation to notice here now.

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Advaitatoons

advaitatoons1

I found Advaitatoons, a collection of advaita-themed cartoons made by Bob Seal.

In addition to being well done, cute and sometimes funny, they are – as all teachings – questions and pointers.

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