GOD, REALITY, AND
Getting in Touch with
Who You Really Are,
as Based on the
Spiritual Revelation of Adi Da Samraj
D. B. Sleeth, Ph.D.
to the self rarely speak of the self in terms of God. However, an orientation to the self that
seriously considers God and self to be the same runs through both Eastern and
Western spiritual traditions: nondualism. Yet, even to speak in these terms is to
commit blasphemy in certain spiritual traditions. Nonetheless, a compelling account of the
identity between God and self exists: “Radical” Non-Dualism, the spiritual
revelation of the nondual sage, Adi Da Samraj.
Traditional accounts of nondualism provide no means whereby manifest
beings can be understand to emerge from the underlying ground of unmanifest
divinity. But two crucial mechanisms
appear in “Radical” Non-Dualism whereby God can be said to transform into human
beings: the Illusion of Relatedness and the Grid of Attention.
This paper attempts to answer an extremely
perplexing question, which most people would say is pretty important: “Who am
I?” Psychologists believe that
somewhere around the time people reach their adolescence, they begin to ask
this question. Up until then, they really
aren’t too concerned about it. More
pressing concerns occupy their attention, like school and friends, getting
their hands on candy, finding more time for play, especially by getting out of
doing their chores; things like that.
However, as our intelligence begins to develop to the point where we can
look down the road and consider our future, we start to wonder about other
things—what’s in store for me, especially after I die; where did I come from
and how did I get here; and, most of all, just who in the world am I?
this very same inquiry first appeared in the West among the profound works of
the ancient Greeks, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Yet, other great minds also grappled with the
fundamental nature of human beings at this time. Along with the important centers of learning
civilizations existed on the other side of the world:
more impressive and subtle account of human nature, which, unfortunately, seems
to have been unknown in the West at the time.
These texts have come to be known as nondualism.
extremely difficult spiritual doctrine, nondualism can be summarized this
way: as people become aware that there
is some larger, spiritual reality within which they live, it is possible for a
two-fold discovery to be made:
they feel that they are in some way intimately
connected to this larger reality, and
they then feel that they literally are this larger reality—so much so that their ordinary sense of
being a separate self disappears completely.
As can be seen,
one is more inclusive than the other. The
difference could perhaps be illustrated this way: whereas the latter is a diamond, the former
is a diamond in the rough. Although, to
an ordinary stone, the distinction might not seem like much, to a jeweler it
makes all the difference in the world—it is precisely the former with which one
fashions a resplendent jewel. Transpersonal psychology aligns with the
former: “in which an individual’s
sense of identity appears to extend beyond its ordinary limits to encompass
wider, broader, or deeper aspects of life or the cosmos—including divine
elements of creation” (Krippner, 1998, p. ix).
Maslow (1964) spoke of this as “peak experiences,” in which one’s
awareness of reality is suddenly heightened and ecstatic experiences begin to
appear. Other accounts, such as the
Judeo-Christian spiritual tradition, speak of the divine rapture possible in
one’s relationship to God.
clearly, the second position goes beyond even these extraordinary levels of
experience. In fact, the first position
might even be called pseudo-nondualism, or transitional to nondualism. Consequently, it makes sense to augment
transpersonal psychology with another field entirely: transcendental
psychology. The difference between
the two could be described this way:
This does not mean
that the mystic lost all sense of separation from ultimate reality or was so
united with ultimate reality as to feel dissolved into it. Some mystics have spoken in this way,
claiming that all difference vanished; but other mystics have not… (Carmody & Carmody, 1996, p. 12)
is often spoken of as if a single state of being, the same for all fortunate
enough to enter it. Nonetheless, there
are two realms or stages to the mystical state, with the latter even more
inclusive than the former. In the case of
nondualism, no sense of separation exists whatsoever between the person and every
other part of reality. This is precisely
why this spiritual realization is called nondualism, because reality is no
longer experienced as being split up into parts, or consisting of a duality of
difference pieces—such as self and other, for example. There is only one single reality in
nondualism, and this reality is literally who we are. Nondualism can be defined this
way: “Nondual wisdom refers to the
understanding and direct experience of a fundamental consciousness that
underlies the apparent distinction between perceiver and perceived”
(Prendergast, 2003, p. 2).
However, nondualism is not merely a description
of what happens to one’s sense of self in this profound state of
consciousness. More to the point is the experience of this state of consciousness,
or what it feels like. Indeed, for many, this feature of nondualism
is the most important. Adi Da Samraj
speaks ecstatically about nondual spiritual reality:
True God Is
Love-Bliss, Unsupported, Free…. Stay
with Me, and you can afford to be quiet.
Do you ever get quiet—just quiet?
Talking the cool blueness, the full moonlit night, consciousness
attendant to the Divine, all energy flowing, even running out of the top of the
head like a fountain.
What you would have in Communion
with Me is a cool, watery, full moonlit night, cooled of stress, and desire,
and consolation, Awake to “Brightness”.
On that basis, visions of clarity and peace. And then moving beyond them to My Love-Bliss
Itself, without the slightest image, without the slightest object, without the
slightest fear, without any “other”—not even yourself an “other”.
Be still. Be washed….
Be mindless. Bodiless. Sublime.
God Only…. “We are Home now,
Lord”…. That is it. Do not leave.
(1994, pp. 271-278)
One way to describe this nondual awareness of
reality is by paraphrasing the old story of Robinson Crusoe, who suddenly found
himself shipwrecked on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere—not unlike
our own shocking realization that we have been unexpectedly born into this completely
unknown world we call earth. Over time,
Robinson Crusoe had to learn how to survive in this strange new land, setting
up a shelter and managing to grow and catch food to eat. However, one day, he noticed footsteps in the
sand on the beach and became aware that he was not alone on the island. Soon, he began to notice other signs of this
presence on the island, and he kept a close eye out for the impending
encounter. When Robinson Crusoe’s
finally meeting the other person, whom he named Friday, is analogous to the
first position mentioned above—feeling part of some larger reality. However, with nondualism, or the second
position, a slightly different outcome would be the case: during the meeting, Robinson Crusoe discovers
the other person is actually himself—and so too is the island, and the ocean,
and even the entire universe! And more,
all of it is awash in the delight of love-bliss!
this changes the meaning of the story entirely.
Now, Robinson Crusoe exists in a state of happiness and awareness beyond
anything he could otherwise have ever imagined.
Of course, the fact that this extraordinary state of consciousness is
our fundamental nature does not mean it is something of which we are typically
familiar. Quite the contrary, in fact! Many of us rarely even have peak experiences,
much less the extraordinary rapture of love that comes when we get in touch
with the deepest part of who we are.
Such resplendent states are typically realized only by accomplished
spiritual masters, or else profound spiritual aspirants. Yet, this fundamental nature is still the
case anyway, despite our typically being unaware of it. It is for this reason that the doctrines of
nondualism recommend specific spiritual practices, in order to help one develop
an awareness of who they really are.
because this extraordinary state of consciousness is so unfamiliar for most
people, it is necessary to spell out exactly what nondualism is, especially
“Radical” Non-Dualism, in terms that can be easily understood. Yet, it should be noted that nondualism is a
very difficult spiritual doctrine, precisely because it refers to a level of
reality so unfamiliar to most of us.
Consequently, this paper uses a particular methodology. Nondual reality cannot be comprehended by
reason, but only apprehended through intuition.
Therefore, this paper suggests or alludes to nondual reality through the
use of imagery and argument, engaging reason for the purpose of awakening intuition. Once awakened, reason can drop out altogether
and intuition followed to its source:
the sublime nature of God, or nondual reality—one’s own ultimate
presence. Something in the way of a
blind person seeing color, it is one thing to know of the existence of
nondualism, but you cannot really understand it until you have had a direct
experience of it.
Adi Da (2000, 2004)
refers to “Radical” Non-Dualism as the immediate and direct condition of Divine
Existence. In this state, all
conditionally manifested events and objects are spontaneously and inherently
recognized to be illusory or merely apparent
modifications of the Divine Fullness of Being Itself. However, this account can be contrasted with
the way in which nondualism is sometimes regarded as it is imported into
Western cultures from the East, especially in terms of psychology: “In time and without any conscious effort or
intent we become like stained glass, more adequate forms for the transmission
of light. Our individuality is liberated
and enhanced as we knowingly share this common ground with all beings” (Prendergast,
2003, p. 10).
Yet, speaking in terms of “liberating or enhancing one’s individuality”
is misleading, for this is precisely the illusory state that is actually at
zero in nondualism. Likewise, becoming
“stained glass” is also an inadequate way to account for nondualism, as the
point of such imagery is to suggest some type of form or definition for the
individual—as might be illumed by the light.
But the state of nondualism is better understood as this: the
very Light Itself (Adi Da, 2004).
Indeed, according to Adi Da, rather than illuminating the glass, the
process can be thought of as Outshining
(see Adidam, 2004, p. 1340). In this
case, body, mind, and world are no longer even noticed—but not because Divine
Consciousness has withdrawn or dissociated from manifest phenomena. Rather, the ecstatic recognition of all
arising phenomena (by the Divine Self—as
a modification of Itself) has become so intense that the “Bright” love-blissful
radiance of consciousness now simply Outshines all phenomena. As a result, phenomena become immediately and
directly recognized as not other than the Divine Condition Itself.
In this way, the
ultimate nature of the relationship between God and human beings can be put
this way: they are the same. Of
course, for many spiritual traditions, to even make the suggestion amounts to
blasphemy. Indeed, only the spiritual
tradition of nondualism seriously considers the possibility that human beings
are God. Yet, all of the axial religions
have nondual adherents among their mystics.
For example, a notable Christian monk, Meister Eckhart, exhorted
spiritual aspirants to the following realization: “In this impulse I receive wealth so vast
that God cannot be enough for me in all that makes him God, and with all his
divine works. For in this breakthrough I
discover that I and God are one” (1980, p. 218).
But Meister Eckhart was
severely chastised, indeed, even condemned by the Holy Roman Church for this
spiritual revelation. Clearly, equating
human beings with God represents a provocative claim. However, the difficulty does not reside so
much with its impudence as its inability to provide any convincing account of
how it could be the case, especially given how contrary to our ordinary
intuition it seems to be. Although
Eckhart, not to say all other nondual sages preceding him, was unable to offer
such a convincing account, the “Radical” Non-Dualism of Adi Da Samraj does. That is, “Radical” Non-Dualism does not
merely make the observation that these
realms of reality exist—divine and human—or even that they are in fact the
same, but offers an account of how they
get from one to the other: the Illusion of Relatedness and the Grid of
The Illusion of Relatedness
It is often remarked that
spiritual reality is ineffable. Indeed,
the famous Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching,
begins with the following line: “The Tao
that can be told is not the eternal Tao” (Tsu, 1972, p. 1). Certain Hindu texts speak of reality as “neti, neti,” which means, “not this,
not this.” This is ineffable in the common
sense of the word, by which two meanings are expressed: simply that something exists, and what it is
not—yet, not what it is. Nonetheless,
ineffable can be understood in an entirely different manner. It is not the case that speaking of spiritual
reality is impossible (clearly, even the Tao
Te Ching does that), but something else entirely: no one will understand what you are talking
about when you do—unless, of course, they already know. In another sense, being ineffable is
something like pointing to the moon with your finger; it is the moon that is
the point, not your finger.
put, the God is comprised of discernable attributes: “This is the term saccidananda…. The ultimate
reality, the ultimate truth, is ‘sat’—being, ‘cit’—consciousness, and
‘ananda’—bliss. This is as near as we
can come to an affirmation of the nature of the Godhead” (Griffiths, 1973, pp.
10-12). Adi Da
puts the nature of the Godhead in terms of “Radical” Non-Dualism:
All That Appears To Be
Not-Consciousness (or an “object” Of Consciousness) Is An Apparition Produced By
Apparent Modification (or Spontaneous Contraction and Perturbation) Of The Inherent
Self-Radiance (or Native Love-Bliss-State) Of Consciousness Itself.… All Of this arising Is (In Itself—or Separately)
An Illusion—The Principal Signs Of Which Are The Presumption Of Relatedness
(and Of “Difference”), The Presumption Of a Separate self… (2006b, pp. 374-375)
other words, the ultimate nature of reality can be put this way: there
is only God. Manifest existence
emerges into being as an utterly spontaneous contraction occurring in the pure
state of consciousness that is
God. As a result, this activity is
acausal, without cause or reason. Yet,
it tends to persist and to be repeated.
If consciousness identifies with this act of self-contraction, it will
falsely presume to be other than or separate from itself. Further, consciousness will tend to resolve
this discomfort through attention, falsely presuming to be related to itself, across the non-existent gulf of this apparent
separateness. This tension of separation
goes both ways, like a rubber band stretched taut, simultaneously pulled both
toward and away. As a result, the individual
can feel their inherent feeling of love-bliss only when they relax this contracted state, thereby,
releasing the Illusion of Relatedness into what is its own, true state of
consciousness—as God, meanwhile (not other than one’s own true self), continues
to merely exist in a Blissful state of Awareness of all that is arising.
differently, God consists primarily of two attributes: love-bliss awareness—all of which existing as
a single living presence. In a sense, this pristine state can be
likened to a zygote, which is to say, a cell as it appears just prior to
splitting into two. The “cell” at this
point exists in a state of pure, undifferentiated Oneness. Love-bliss awareness exudes a living presence
of being, in the manner of light, radiating “Brightness” to infinity. However, this native state is eventually disrupted
by the emergence of a cleft within it, refracting the light and seeming to
split it into shards, creating thereby the Illusion of Relatedness. Yet, this split does not actually occur. That it seems so is nothing but an illusion,
indeed, arising spontaneously, without cause or reason. Like a
bing cherry with two plump sides and cleavage running down the middle, the split
is merely imprinted upon the berry, but without actually rendering it in
Consequently, the appearance of these
conditions within “Radical” Non-Dualism could be diagrammed this way:
THE ILLUSION OF RELATEDNESS
Consciousness is usually thought to be about something, or directed
toward some object of attention. But
consciousness can be understood in radically different terms. In and of itself, consciousness is not aware of things. It is more primal than that. It simply is
awareness—whether the objects of mind arise within its field or not: “Consciousness is not attention, it’s not the
mind. Those are objects of
Consciousness, merely Witnessed.
Consciousness is just That, Consciousness…. Finally you Realize that attention is
object to you as well, where you’re merely in the Witness-Position” (Adi Da,
1996, pp. 35-36).
It is by virtue
of the Illusion of Relatedness that one has the sense of being a separate self,
over against and a part from objects and others. Even at the most profound depths of being,
this sense of separation occurs: “The Presumption
(or Idea) Of the Separate ‘I’ (or the ego-‘I’) Does Not arise Independently—but
It Always (Necessarily, and Inherently) arises Coincident With The Presumption
(or Idea) Of the Separate ‘other’ (Related To the Separate ‘I’)” (Adi Da, 2006b,
p. 370). From here, the entire expanse
of manifest existence emerges. Adi Da
(2002) refers to the unavoidable co-occurrence of these two features of
manifest existence as “Klik-Klak,” not unlike the old story of the Siamese
twins humorously named Pete and Repeat, in order to suggest the endlessly
replicating nature of reality once this primordial pair comes into being.
underlying substrate of all existence takes the form of self and other. As can be readily seen in looking out at the
world, the creative fecundity of this simple state of twoness is
extraordinary. Like the binary code of
computer programming, all that exists can be seen as just some combination of
the two, no matter how intricate or complex the combining: “It replicates, shifts, changes, that’s
it. It’s built on a fundamental torque,
in other words, two and that’s the basis for multiplicity. As soon as there is torque, or two, there’s
everything…. It’s force of shift is
inexorable…” (Adi Da, 2002, track 4, 7:55 min.). Indeed, it even appears as if it cannot be
stopped, although it can be modified.
can be seen, such accounts of nondualism attempt to resolve the paradox from within the various levels of
manifest existence, but not the greater circumstances that is the “Brightness,”
or God. However, God can only be
understood on the other side of these
levels of being, prior to their formation:
[T]he “radical” approach to Realization of
Reality (or Truth, or Real God) is…to Realize Reality, Truth, or Real God In
Place (or As That Which Is Always Already The Case, Where and As
you Are, Most Perfectly Beyond and Prior to ego-“I”, or the act of
self-contraction, or of “differentiation”, which act is the prismatic fault
that Breaks the Light, or envisions It as seeming two, and more). (Adi Da, 2000a, p. 276)
It is by virtue
of the Illusion of Relatedness that the nondual state of “Brightness” is
corrupted, and transmuted into the
form of a spectrum (Cook-Greuter, 2000; Wilber, 2000a, b)—as if by a
prism. But traditional accounts typically
describe the unity of nondualism from within
the prism. Although witnessing reality can take place prior
to the Light transmuting into a spectrum, it does not necessarily occur prior
to the Light entering the prism. In other words, such accounts focus on the
mechanics of the prism—rather than the nondual “Brightness” itself. In this latter case, however, the Light is
not transmuted into the spectrum, although the forces are perhaps building by
which it will do so. The divine reality
of “Brightness” exists prior to the formation of the prism, before its dreadful
mechanics of incarnation even comes to exist—and, indeed, remains after the
fact, in the event that they do.
The Grid of
Adi Da refers to the disruptive activity of the
Illusion of Relatedness as self-contraction, a spontaneous occurrence in which
awareness seems to separate from love-bliss, and attempts to cross the apparent
gap between them through the only means available: attention.
In other words, as awareness becomes aware of love-bliss, rather than simply being aware as love-bliss, awareness focuses on love-bliss—thereby becoming attention. It is only at this point that the conventional
idea of consciousness comes into play—that consciousness must be about some
object, which is put attention on some object.
Indeed, the focusing of awareness that is attention can build to a point
of tension, ultimately erupting into the menagerie of colors, odors, flavors,
and different kinds of touch that we commonly associate with life and
But, again, this is all an illusion. It is not that these shards of light do not
appear as reflections within the mirror.
Rather, they merely appear as
reflections within the mirror. The
focusing of attention produces a Grid of Attention (or screen) upon which every
appearance of existence is not only displayed but initially generated. In other words, it is not simply that the
body and world interact, thereby sending nerve impulses to the brain, whereupon
the mind interprets the experience and displays it to awareness. The reverse is also true: by focusing attention, experience is displayed to the mind—which
is precisely the body and the world in the first place. Indeed, even the entire apparatus of the mind
is itself a feature of the grid. The
notion that the world exists “out there” and exterior to the body is an
illusion, for the body and world are nothing more than permutations taking
place within the grid. This blending of
mind and experience is what Adi Da calls the body-mind, or psycho-physical
It is for this reason that
shamanistic and mystical practices allow one to voluntarily and intentionally
affect their experiential register (Eliade, 1974; Krippner, 2000)—these
spiritual masters are able to influence their experience by way of the very
imagery taking place within the grid (Achterberg, 1985). Nonetheless, conscious awareness exists outside of the confines of the grid, and
the multitude of objects and experience appearing to take place there:
You can think of
attention this way, then—an unmoving point on a grid, a grid of infinite
size. Or, in other words, made up of an
infinite number of possible points. If
attention appears to move, or is willed to move, it’s the grid that moves. The point of attention is the same, it never
moves. And apparently, then, attention
has shifted to another point on the grid….
Fundamentally, then, in terms of the mechanics of attention, that is all
there is—the point of attention and this grid, apparently modified energy
taking on the form of apparent objects, or points in space/time…. (Adi Da, 1995)
In other words,
it is not attention that creates anything.
It is the mechanisms that are in the grid—i.e., mind—that make the
changes, generate the thoughts, the feelings, the sensations, the ideas, and
the perceptions. All the “objects” or
“entities” appearing in the grid, including human beings, are nothing more than
the patterns that appear among these experiential sensations and
perceptions. It is for this reason that Adi
Da (2002) refers to these dynamics as “patterns patterning,” to indicate that no
objects or entities actually exist, just the incessant maneuvering of the
patterns as they engage in the patterning.
Further, the term Klik-Klak is a play on words that suggests the
operation of the grid is as automatic and impersonal as a machine, uncompromisingly
rattling down the track. Like samsara
and maya, the patterning of the grid operates according to its own principles, utterly
devoid of concern for any particular condition or being.
Perhaps more to
the point, like the traditional Buddhist concept of impermanence, there is
nothing but endless flux on the grid, utterly indifferent to anyone who happens
to appear there:
Well that’s not
Klik-Klak’s business, you see, it doesn’t care about that concern of
yours. You don’t belong there anyway,
you see. You’re from Consciousness land. This is Klik-Klak land. Klik-Klak doesn’t care about the illusions of
those who wander from Consciousness land, because all Klik-Klak deals with is
the material of Klik-Klak….
has no notion of permanence, has no permanence in itself whatsoever…. [Y]our desire to be loved, to be permanent,
to have your desires satisfied, and so forth, that’s your interests. Klik-Klak
doesn’t [care] about egos, you see…. Your
complaints are of no interest, they are not registered in the pattern. It keeps Klik-Klaking, regardless of your
pleas and your complaints. (Adi Da, 2002,
track 3, 11:18 min.)
In a sense, the
philosophy of scientific materialism has a basis in reality, although only as
it applies to the realm of Klik-Klak.
Unfortunately, such views usually equates reality with Klik-Klak,
overlooking the very essence of what it is to be a living being, actually
residing in the deeper realm of consciousness.
describes human existence as being “thrown” into the world (i.e., grid), from
God knows where, and forced to make life and death choices without any base of
expertise. Being in such a situation is
usually thought to be disconcerting (Morris,
1998). Indeed, existential
writers typically refer to this circumstance as absurdity, meaning there is no
ultimate rhyme or reason to existence. Yet,
absurdity is sometimes mistaken for being
capricious or frivolous, but the two are not the same. To be without reason does not necessarily
mean to be unreasonable. After all, the
conditions taking place in the grid often appear congruent or consistent with
one another, creating the impression that the machinery is meticulously
constructed—even suggesting to some the presence of “intelligent design.” But the best that can be said in this regard
is that there is a bigger picture to reality, beyond one’s present
understanding. That is, the issue for
existentialism is probably better said this way: thrown from
As can be seen,
this involves a subtle shift in perspective, depending on which end of the
question one puts their focus. However,
people are often attached to the outcomes taking place in the grid, which
usually strikes them as perfectly ordinary and reasonable. Yet, the arbitrary nature of the pattern
patterning suggests these outcomes are, in reality, meaningless—nevermind how
attached to them we might be. Indeed, it
is precisely for this reason that existential writers claim one of the most
important objectives of human beings is to provide meaning to an otherwise
meaningless existence. Even so, Buddhist
spiritual masters are likely to recommend otherwise: “So try not to…achieve anything special. You already have everything in your own pure
quality…. We do not emphasize
anything…. Because we put emphasis on
some particular point, we always have trouble” (Suzuki, 1986, pp. 61,
In other words,
meaning cannot really be provided by human beings. Or, perhaps better said, there is a meaning for
both—the divine realm and the grid. Yet,
even so, the two are not equal, for the latter arises out of the former. Even more to the point, the nature of the
pattern patterning involves particularly unsavory consequences: “The appearance of an ordinary checkerboard
is very orderly—suggesting that everything is in order, and (thus) ‘all
right’…. However, the seeming order of
the checkerboard…is suffering. It
is not merely a matter of how any particular game of checkers works out” (Adi
Da, 2006c, p. 98-99). That is, the
seeming order that comes out of chaos is still nothing but a random pattern
appearing within the grid, endlessly replicating itself, indeed, perhaps even
from lifetime to lifetime (e.g., karma and reincarnation). This is why it is important for one to
realize that consciousness is not inherently about objects, for attention in
this case is bound to the illusions of the grid—rather than aligned to
Consequently, the underlying situation for the individual
can be diagramed as follows:
Illusion of Relatedness
can be seen, the situation is something like that of cell meiosis, in which the
exquisite delight of love-bliss awareness seems to be split asunder. Indeed, the separation of awareness and
love-bliss (via the grid) could be thought of similarly to the chromosomes of
the cell being cut in half—except that, in reality, the intimate connection
between them is never actually severed.
At some point prior to one’s birth, the unity of awareness and
love-bliss undergoes its unfortunate and merely apparent sense of
separation. In a sense, as the meiosis
of this separation occurs, instead of the chromosomes pulling apart a “bulge”
takes place in the sphere of awareness, pushing toward love-bliss. This bulge is the focusing of attention
toward love-bliss. In doing so a tension
emerges at its tip, ultimately erupting into the Grid of Attention. In a sense, the point at the tip of attention
is like a phonograph needle, pressing into the living presence of love-bliss,
thereby eliciting the apparent movement of the spinning record that is the
grid—which is, all the while, comprised of love-bliss.
This set of
circumstances could also be compared to a T.V. set, in which the evening’s programming
is transmitted to the viewer—except that in this case, the programming consists
of holographs with which the viewer feels they are actually interacting. The sense one has of a concrete reality is
nothing more than images appearing ephemerally within consciousness, not unlike
the way that images flicker across a T.V. screen. It is only in this sense that it could be
said that the world was “created,” whether by God or clever network executives. Therefore, creation does not issue forth into
an actual world of reality. Better said,
it splashes up onto the grid, as if from a rock plummeting into a pool of
water—and then projected out as if into a world of reality. Indeed, the splashing water is the grid, and the various patterns
simply ripples following the course set by the initial impact. But none of this is intended to be taken
seriously. Each of the functions and
various levels of mind present in the grid can be thought of in a similar
manner: “All of this is a dream, if you
like…. If you awaken…[w]hat happened
within the dream is suddenly not your present condition. It is of no consequence any longer, once you
are awake” (Adi Da, 2006a, p. 18).
dream world is usually taken very seriously by the dreamer, it actually has no
substantive reality, and all efforts committed within its domain are only more
actions of the dream; and, therefore, of no consequence to the spiritual
process of awakening. Only one’s own
divine nature can serve as a useful means to disrupt the deluding influence of
the dream—which is precisely the case, for God is actually in the process most
auspicious for your awakening: trying to reach you. This is why spiritual masters manifest within
the grid and disrupt its usual operation, which is to say, appear in the dream
and alert you to the truth—for the sake of your awakening. Such is certainly the case for Adi Da Samraj
(see Adidam, 2003a, b). In this way, it
could be said that the living God is truly alive, appearing within the grid in
human form. “Radical” Non-Dualism is not
merely another theory of spirituality—it is God’s own revelation about God.
The nondualist approach
dramatically reverses the usual understanding of sin and the relationship of
God and humanity. More to the point, only
“Radical” Non-Dualism can account for the three issues most pertinent to
spiritual discourse: the problem of the
One and the Many, the difference between reality and illusion, and the nature
of the relationship between God and human beings, especially as it manifest in
terms of the problem of good and evil.
Indeed, it puts the real issue underlying these issues on its proper
footing: the separate self arising
within God as an act of self-contraction (i.e., sin). In nondualism the essential nature of the separate
self is understood to be an impediment to love and happiness, a false and
misguided illusion. Loy puts the
situation this way: “the nondualistic
systems also agree that our usual sense of duality—the sense of separation
(hence alienation) between myself and the world ‘I’ am ‘in’—is the root
delusion that needs to be overcome” (1998, p. 178).
Yet, this depiction runs
counter to certain appraisals of what is of value in being a human being. In fact, such appraisals sometimes impose their
own untenable interpretation of nondualism:
Love does indeed come
from beyond us, from pure being, from the absolute source that shines through
us and those we love. And the essence of
love does involve a dissolving of the boundaries of separation. Yet, defining love purely as a mutual
recognition of transpersonal being is incomplete and unsatisfying in human
terms…. Nondual teachings that mainly
emphasize the illusory quality of human experience can, unfortunately, serve as
just another dehumanizing force in a world where our basic humanity is already
under siege at every turn. (Welwood,
2003, p. 145)
As can be seen, this passage
speaks of nondualism in terms of the first meaning of spirituality offered at
the beginning of the paper: feeling part
of some larger spiritual reality; yet, not the defining feature of
nondualism: enjoying the complete
cessation of the boundary of separation.
Indeed, this passage suggests that the eradication of separation is in
some sense inappropriate, perhaps even dehumanizing.
Unfortunately, speaking of
nondualism this way takes away the very essence of what is valuable in being
nondual. Speaking equivocally about the separate
self only undermines the ability to address its limitations. Yet, it is understandable how this objection
might occur. Attaching meaning to
experience is usually thought to be extremely important for human beings,
perhaps even the most important part of life.
Nonetheless, this activity can be understood in a larger context,
whereby it is rendered meaningless.
Simply put, meaning making puts the emphasis on the wrong
end of the equation—human, rather than God—and thereby has the tail wag the
dog. Indeed, it is precisely in putting
our basic, egoic humanity under siege, ultimately even to the point of eliminating
it, that the reality of nondualism makes its appearance—and in so doing,
replaces egoic humanity with the resplendent delight of Divine Love-Bliss.
There is an intimate—nondual—relationship between love-bliss
and awareness. They are utterly inseparable
from one another, except under the illusory conditions of the
self-contraction. Awareness can be
thought of as the living presence of the human being simply because the human
being is literally made of love-bliss. On
the other hand, attention results as the self-contraction operates in the midst
of love-bliss awareness, mistakenly directed toward its surrogate objects of
interest and intention. In this latter
case, one is not able to enjoy the present and ongoing reality of love-bliss
awareness, but degenerates into obsession over ever more futile substitutes for
And so it’s not a matter of
finding out that [Reality] Loves you.
It’s a matter of understanding yourself, Realizing Reality, being
Love. If Reality is Love, it’s not a
matter of It Loving you. It’s a
matter of you being Love. You
see? Because Reality being Always
Already the Case, the “you”—however it might be described—is That. And if you’re not being Love, that’s your
problem. That’s what you have to
understand. You must transcend your
impediment, the “you” that’s looking to be loved…. It’s not that you shouldn’t, however,
luxuriate in love and being loved. You
should. But you’re seeking it. And you are not being it… (Adi Da, 1997a, p. 41)
This is why being loved
by God is ultimately beside the point, and so, too, even loving God. Of real concern is being the Love of God. Yet,
obviously, doing so is no easy matter.
The curious nature of our situation could be put this way: although love is in this world, it is not of
this world. Perhaps no single principle
more fully captures the distinction between the sacred and the profane than
this: love comes from elsewhere than
this world. Therefore, it is not
properly said that love is in us; rather, we literally exist within and as love.
spirituality is not about being better adjusted or espousing a better social
ideal—even if for the admittedly useful purpose of getting confused and willful
people to behave better. Indeed, the
point of manifesting on the grid involves a perhaps surprising turn: “The purpose of existence, then, is to
transcend conditions.… The physical is
not there for its own sake. It is there to help you purify the deeper being,
the deeper personality, to the point where you can Realize What Transcends even
the deeper personality” (Adi Da, 1997b, pp. 55, 60). And, as a result of that process, eliminate
karmic propensities—at every level of the grid.
recommendation of “Radical” Non-Dualism is to put attention on God, for this is
the very source of love-bliss. As one
surrenders and releases (i.e., transcends) their identification with the grid,
the contents of the grid simultaneously align with their underlying substrate
of love-bliss. In this way, love-bliss naturally asserts its own influence,
aligning the contents of the grid accordingly.
As one releases their hold on the grid, the tension within the rubber
band snaps them back into place, as it were.
As a result, one’s native state is simply revealed: “Real God Is Reality, and Truth, or
That Which Is Always Already The Case” (Adi Da, 2000a, p. 141). It is in this way that one’s well-being is
most directly connected to their greatest succor.
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