What is Non Duality?
Non-duality, ‘Advaita’ in Sanskrit, means “not two”, or “one undivided without a second”. It is at the heart of spirituality in a number of eastern and western traditions. The first teachings on non-duality go back to the Vedas, in particular the Upanishads, whose oral teachings date from the 16th Century BC, and which spread with the arrival of script from 5000 to 1500 BC.
Non Duality implies that we are not just a body, a spirit, and a heart affected by feelings, thoughts and emotions making up a ‘person’. We are above all spiritual essence. A timeless essence, the source from which everything springs and where everything dies, referred to as ‘Sat Chit Ananda’ in the ancient scriptures, meaning ‘Absolute Existence, Consciousness and Bliss’. Present everywhere, this essence is our real nature which if realized, brings about a radical change of perspective. What is then experienced is a feeling of deep inner peace and union with all that is.
What hinders us from experiencing this peace fully is our attachment to, and identification with our body, our thoughts and our emotions. Identifying ourselves with these, rather than with our spiritual essence, leads us to the feeling of being incomplete. This puts us on an endless quest to fill the void and provokes resistance inside if the world is not the way we desire it to be. A feeling of dissatisfaction may then be experienced, causing suffering, as we feel separated from our deep Essence, which is one with everything.
Being aware of this mechanism allows us to progressively detach ourselves from our fears, regrets and expectations, and opens us up to a greater sense of awareness which embraces and unites everything and all opposite pairings. This leads to peace, a feeling of union with all beings and all things, referred to as ‘Yug’, the root of Yoga.