We sentient humans live and believe in a state of duality. Duality means two. Everything is related to me. In spiritual terms, consciousness is always relating to something. Me and other. This is so ‘normal’ for humans that we do not notice the actual reality of non-duality – the reality of empty consciousness – pure consciousness.
Ordinary consciousness relates to things, feelings, thoughts, people, places, stillness, and even meditation. It is this relating that created a ‘me’ and ‘mine’; a separation between object and subject. This relating awareness is relative truth, our conventional truth. It’s all we know … so we think.
We do not notice that we are, first and foremost, consciousness, before things or thoughts arise. That first instant of consciousness is pure consciousness, pure perception, absolute truth, non-duality. It is from this that everything is known. Before “Oh, how lovely!” on seeing a flower or “Oh, how awful!” on seeing a dead rat, there is just seeing, just perception, just consciousness. It is that which we constantly miss. We scoot over that moment now, and land up in our feelings, thoughts and emotions about that thing which has become so precious or abhorrent to us. We have just lost our sanity – our sound mental health – and we have become irrational. Whether we feel that life is wonderful or life is hell, these are both just temporary states of duality.
Being spiritual is more like being a scientist, a psychologist, a detective, an objective observer: one who knows when and how to be impartial, take care and apply love.
Being the ultimate observer, there are not two. Actually, there isn’t even an observer, as that entails relating to observation. There is just observing. We could call that the pure observer, which is none other than pure consciousness. Reality has to be constant, and never changing. If a thing changes, then it has no reality – just a seeming reality. It is because we think this seeming reality is real that we suffer. The word ‘suffer’ is a heavy word and may sound extreme, but we get so involved with the seemingly real that this isthe cause of our suffering – when it hits us in the face!
Incidentally, time is only related to things that change. Universal space and the space of pure consciousness can never change and, as such, are timeless.
We just need to balance duality and non-duality. Of course we need to relate to things and one another, but this doesn’t mean that we do not have to forget our prime source – non-dualistic consciousness.
It’s a sort of double act. Me and my shadow. It’s like wearing two hats, one for the relating to the world and the other for pure reality. Sometimes, if we are skilful, we can wear two hats at the same time! This is living in the unity of the two truths.
If we remain divided, we remain partial, and so cannot love.
In emptiness, there is impartiality, and so we can love.