About non-duality


Advaita, or non-duality, is an intelligent mental concept about Unity behind the human experience of and in duality. It is a paradigm, a framework within which humans interpret reality. This paradigm has been developed by humans over the centuries and its truth cannot be proven, as the human mind with all its powers cannot transcend its own boundaries. However, without any ‘proof’, the non-dualistic principle of this paradigm, the unity behind all duality and polarity, can be experienced. The experience shows itself (possibly ultimately) by learning to see and follow unity in every aspect of life. Knowing the theory of the paradigm is not the same as experiencing it. Many ‘know’ the paradigm, but only with the mind and then it is nothing more than an anthropocentric standpoint.

Realizing ‘non-duality’ (making real / self-realization) means making unity real internally in our manifest dual state (or in our earthly existence). This means we face duality within ourselves and, where we are able, dissolve the non-True (the lie, the illusion) within ourselves (you can also say: leave behind) to thus become a True human; essentially a human as it’s ‘intended’. And this means that a human will have evolved in a certain sense. It means becoming sustainable in our perception of ‘ourselves in the world’ and experiencing that essentially no ‘two’ exists. Then you still live fully ‘in the world’, from an unchangeable (sustainable) ‘I and will’, but you are no longer ‘of the world’. These principles were articulated centuries ago in the Advaita Vedānta.

What we call the ego is the dual division in our personality that we refer to as ‘I’. We bind ourselves to many limited things by identifying with them and this creates the ego as a false identity. As soon as the ego binds to one thing, something else becomes an opponent to it and we lose the experience of unity. Identification with a soccer club is a good example, but so is identification with ‘being right’. And of course, this includes identification with the non-duality paradigm.


P.D. Ouspensky already talked about realizing a sustainable I and Will, by stopping inner lying and imagination on one hand, and no longer believing that we would be all those opposing ‘selves’ (fighting for priority within ourselves) on the other hand. By seeing them, continuously observing them whenever they present themselves, and transcending them. This is possible by living and acting according to the real knowledge that is already within us. We do this by consciously observing everything. Our optimal attention to the situation we are in, to our actions therein, and to our own inner state in this regard (mind+feeling) is necessary. Self-remembrance therefore. Attention, after all, is the conductor of consciousness and sheds our inner light on the shadow causes.

In (awake) sleep, our usual inner state and thus actually accepting unconsciousness, none of this can happen. Practically realizing inner unity depends on our genuine desire to be present in the Now. In a mechanical sleep state, we only partially experience our potential possibilities because we are mostly not in the moment, but in an illusory world that our mind creates by playing with thoughts of before and after Now. “Hey, I’m at work, but how did I mentally drive here?” can then occur to us in a moment of wakefulness.


In the awake state (awareness), in our experience and perception, the world and we become much larger. Then we experience more and more unity behind all those manifestations we deal with, and thus also behind all the division within us that the ego (as it’s fashionably called nowadays) can maintain in sleep. The ego dissolves (dies) in an awake state of complete devotion to action or non-action in the Now and so all the ‘selves’ that this ego consists of will resist this tooth and nail. Mechanicity through unconsciousness is therefore the ego’s best friend.

In Self-remembrance – i.e., full attention in the moment in the situation you are in, including observing your own inner mental state – identification is impossible and so the ego simply cannot exist. We then realize ourselves (make real). Our personality then serves our essence entirely.

All of this is therefore practice! It requires a disciplined application of what we know. First, we need to align our thinking with what we truly Know internally. Then we align our expressions with our thinking. Next, our actions align with our expressions, and in the moment, we then see our action in line with our Knowledge. This gives rise to the following beautiful perpetual motion principle: “I think what I Know, I say what I think, I do what I say, and I know what I do.”

Non-duality / Advaita is only a mental concept and thus theory. However, the unity behind everything is observable in practice, so non-duality / Advaita can, by applying the above, eventually be experienced and realized, and this theory, this mental concept, or paradigm, suddenly becomes True Knowledge. Before this realization through experience, it is only a theory that doesn’t “improve” us just by knowing a lot about it and remains mental baggage. As humans (with an undeniable psychology), it doesn’t bring us any self-realization, just entrenched dualistic thinking because every opposing theoretical opinion will take us out of our self-proclaimed fake unity, lead to a discussion, and thus drive us out of our inner peace. Do we feel opposition? Then there’s no practical non-dual experience and we need to come into unity with ourselves in the Sattvic non-dual space behind the movements of mental and emotional turmoil. In peace, for peace knows no opposition.

For this, it’s important that our head, heart, and body align: they experience an equal development. Because the head gets excessive attention, the heart gets neglected, and we don’t know what to do with our body. Relevant articles on this are:

  • Our story
  • Thoughts and feelings
  • Open or closed
  • Willing or answering

Find the third point, then duality disappears

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© Michiel Koperdraat