One of the core activities of the human mind is labeling of and distinguishing between “things”. Thought creates the apparent duality or difference between “here” and “there”, “this object” and “that object”, “mine” and “yours”.
It does the same with experience.
Imagine “tasting an apple”. Most people presume that because there is the experience of tasting an apple, there must also be an “experiencer”. And simply said; that is how the idea of “me” is created. The separate “self”. Thought tends to constantly project the presumption of duality onto whatever if reflects upon.
The big question here is; does reality actually exist like this, or is it only how we perceive things? Notice for instance how when you meet someone, your mind tends to create the sense of “me” and the “other”. Notice how this implies separation. Once you start to see the dualistic nature of thought, you’ll see it everywhere.
Most religions are duality based as well. Many they state that reality should be called “creation” and therefore there must be a “creator”. Once we believe this we start looking for that creator. Could it be that this idea is just that, an idea only? It seems our whole world consists of infinite series of separate parts and opposites. This could be called the “drama” of our interpretation of existence, which creates suffering. There is “Me” and then there is “everything / everyone else”.
So what about “non-duality” then?
Well to begin with; it is not a philosophy, nor is it a belief or a theory. It could perhaps be described as a word which attempts to point to the limitations of our way of thinking about Existence. It actually implies that duality doesn’t exist, except in your mind! It could be said that it implies that only boundless Wholeness exists and there is no ultimate need for “thought” to put labels, distinctions or limitations onto that. Thought is said to act like a veil which filters reality down into the illusion of “ten-thousand-things”. (Tao Te Ching)
The non-dual nature of Existence doesn’t require any thinking or figuring out. Paradoxically it is actually already present in and as “your experience” right now. This is magnificently obvious when all the thinking, worrying and seeking come to rest and the veil starts to fade away.
Finally what is realized is what some call “Nirvana” or “Kingdom of heaven” or “Liberation”. It is the end of perceiving and experiencing Life as duality, as separate. It is the end of duality and the beginning of recognizing everything/everyone as sacred.
In a way it is like coming home and realizing you’ve never left home..