Attempting to describe and conceptualize some “thing” that by nature is unnamable is almost an impossible task. For this reason, we rely on using exercises and many other “tools” to help us along during this exploration.
To understand non-duality, the person needs to “shift” its perception during all experiences, from engager to observer, leaving as result the phenomena, a nonpersonal experience where every “thing” is ONE. Thus, ending dualism.
The above suggestion might feel simplistic and overcomplicated at the same time. Still, no worries, in this article, we will explore how anyone, including YOU, can understand and apply this one simple shift.
Understanding Non-Duality using the Shifting of Perception
Experiencing the world as a separate individual is very practical; it helps human interaction. It is a vital element for us to create functional structures within SOCIETY, explore, grow, and evolve as species.
However, in this article, we will explore another realm of reality, a reality that is the foundation of all experiencing.
It is the nature of our separate sense of self that makes us oversee this “foundation”; Think of it as a person who is seeing a movie but never notices the only “thing” real, the screen.
Of course, the images on the screen can never realize that there is a screen. The witness of the movie, on the other hand, can easily do this. The witness would only need to “shift” its attention back to the screen.
When this happens, its PERCEPTION will change the experience from a separate dualistic self to a nondualistic experience where all there is, is the witnessing of the whole phenomena.
How to Shift our Perception allowing Non-Duality to Emerge
The ability which will help you to access this shift is the act of ATTENTION. Think of “attention” as the light projected from a flashlight. Wherever you want to focus on, all that is needed is to point the lamp in that direction.
Similarly, in your everyday life, your attention is the “tool” you are using to interact with the world. You can test this right now; look around you and give your attention to something of your choice, an object in front of you, your hands, another person, some music playing, etc.
The way you use this tool will represent the kind of relation “you” have with life. If you perceive the world as a separate event from you, you will live a world of HOSTILITY; if you perceive a world not separated from you, the experience becomes HARMONIOUS.
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”– Albert Einstein
This change DOES NOT MEAN that you will deceive yourself, tricking your mind into believing something that is not there. On the contrary, you will see for the first time how things truly are.
Understanding and living Non-Duality will bring about truth and peace within your experience in life.
We are not engaging in a play of words or a replacement of one neurotic way of thinking with another. The understanding Non-Duality will allow you to see things as they are, rather than how your ego wants them to be.
This “trick” we mention in this article will instead allow our perception to “rest” prior and beyond divisive concepts, which will reveal a new state of mind where thought becomes a secondary plane of perception.
The following exercises will allow us to use our attention in a new way, thus changing or shifting our PERCEIVED reality.
Attention and Perception Shifting Exercise
The following consists of TWO EXERCISE that will help you to utilize your ATTENTION, thus shifting your PERCEPTION of the world you see “out there.”
Once these exercises are successful, they will become ONE single action, a new way of relating with life, an undivided perception and interaction with the world, and all there is, resulting in an undeniable experience and understanding of Non-Duality.
These two exercises are: “The Waking Up Exercise,” and “The Merging Of Experience.”
The FIRST part of this process is called “The Waking Up Exercise,” and it will help you to train your ATTENTION to rest on itself, avoiding it to engage randomly, automatically, and chaotically with the external world.
This way, instead of being hypnotized and trigger by all stimuli, we can now reach a point where RESPONDING to life instead of reacting to illusory projections becomes second nature.
The SECOND part is called “The Merging of Experience.” This step is the last part of the exercise; Once you’ve accomplished bringing awareness to your attention, this exercise will teach you how direct your attention, changing and shifting everything that you PERCEIVE, resulting in an understanding and a direct experience of a Nondualistic world.
First Part: The Waking Up Exercise
In this exercise, we are referring to the “state of waking up” every morning, meaning the very first moment that you open your eyes.
What we want to do here is to CATCH our attention before its first movement, remaining still in pure awareness, this way beginning to train it to serve us, instead of having it bullying us around all day.
Step #1.- Set an alarm with a text that will help you to remember to do this exercise when you wake up. If you tend to snooze your alarms without looking at your phone, then try something else.
Try maybe just a piece of paper and write “attention” or “exercise time,” etc., put it somewhere you can see it the moment you wake up.
Step #2.- Once you see the reminder, immediately bring your attention back into you, into the sense of your body. Think of this as a machine vibrating; its focus is resting in itself, ready to perceive and direct its attention wherever “you” decide.
Do NOT give in to any thought, leave those alone for now. Sit there and let your attention rest.
After some time practicing this exercise, you will notice that it will become easier to wake up peacefully without your attention drifting away. It might take some practice, but for sure, it is possible.
Step #3.- Now calmly place your attention on your breathing. Feel the air in your nose while inhaling and exhaling. Do this for a minute or two.
Step #4.- Try remembering if you dreamt about anything; if you did, do not go into the story or context of the dream. Instead, REALIZE that the attention given to your dream while asleep is the SAME attention that is now entirely present and relaxed at this very moment.
If you cannot remember any dreams, you can use your last memories before falling asleep.
NOTICE that the difference between both is that during the dream, your attention got lost, while now, you are fully aware of your attention.
Step #5.- Now that you have noticed that bringing awareness to your ATTENTION is possible, you can release your attention and project it into your daily tasks. Maybe you need to take a shower, prepare breakfast, check your phone, etc.
Regardless of what the next thing is, and every other activity, you take upon the day, TRY remembering this simple act of bringing awareness to the function of ATTENTION.
Tip: You can use reminders during the day, to help you break the hypotonic trance of daily life. Use the same message you used during the morning: “attention” or “exercise time.”
We’re now ready to move to the second and final part, “The Merging of Experience” exercise.
Second Part: The Merging of Experience Exercise
In the previous exercise, we took the first step for the process of understanding and experiencing Non-Duality by bringing presence and awareness to our ATTENTION.
In this second and last part, we will invite this ability to be attentively present all the time during our waking state. This new experience will bring the essence of the understanding of Non-Duality.
Please consider that it is CRUCIAL to be able to complete the previous “Waking Up” exercise successfully.
If, for any reason, you haven’t been able to achieve this, keep in mind that, as with anything in life, practice and repetition is the key for success, be patient, rinse and repeat and don’t give up.
Once you’ve conquered it, come back and continue to this step below.
At this point, you’re able to relax your attention to its source, resulting in a peaceful and contemplative state of awareness. In other words, you are no longer reactive to every single thing you perceive, regardless of them being objects or thoughts.
You are now able to RESPOND attentively and calmly to life rather than reacting from a self-centered point of view. Another way to say this is that you have become responsive instead of reactive.
With this new quality, now you are ready to apply this One Quick Simply Trick, which consists of SHIFTING your perception of your life experience, helping the source of Non-Duality to emerge as an ever-present field.
Let us begin with the exercise.
Step #1.- During any part of your day, be attentive for a moment where you find yourself alone and uninterrupted. As we already established, at this point, you should be able to consciously rest your attention into itself or direct it in any direction at ease. Look around you and choose an object where you wish to direct your attention.
Step #2.- Allow your attention to engage fully on the object. Try imagining what it would feel like to be that object. Look at its textures, imagine what temperature it might have and what vibration it is projecting within its field of existence. Now, forget about you, the observer, and lose yourself in the object.
Step #3.- Close your eyes, and bring your attention back to yourself, the observer. Feel your body and rest your attention in it. Remain silent and attentive.
Step #4.- Open your eyes and give your attention to the object once again. Do this for a minute or two.
Step #5.- Close your eyes and bring your attention back to your body one more time.
Step #6.- In this step, we will rest our attention on another field, a new realm that is present all the time, but it is not easy to see. This field is the foundation of Non-Duality; it IS nonduality itself.
This is a field that is ever-present and allows truth and reality to emerge to those who are fully present.
The first thing needed is to NOTICE it. Realize that during this exercise, you’re directing your attention to an object and back to yourself. We could then say that the exercise consists of two elements, the object, and the observer.
However, there’s another element missing, THE ACT OF OBSERVATION, which includes both the object and the observer.
Step #7.- Now that you’ve noticed this new element during your exercise, finally, go ahead and REST your attention to the ACT of observation. When this happens, duality has disappeared; there is no longer an individual(you) looking at a world “out there.”
“Give your attention to the experience of seeing rather than to the object seen, and you will find yourself everywhere”.– Rupert Spira
Non-Duality has revealed itself; it was always present. You will realize that there’s no you and no others. When you live with this knowledge, how could you hurt other people? How could you feel insecure or fearful? How could you feel anything other than love, compassion, and empathy?
“YOU” will see everything as the ONE source, finally understanding that all is ONE. THIS sweet experience and understanding are NON-DUALITY.
“Questioner: How are we to treat others?– Conversations with Ramana Maharshi
Ramana Maharshi: There are no others.”
Try these 5 Minute Meditation Exercises inspired by methods & teaching from Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, Adyashanti, Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba, and many other truthful and honest teachers.