Nondualism can be an overwhelming path to explore. Fortunately, there are endless exercises available for anyone interested in understanding this subject.
On these three Non-Duality Exercises, we will explore the nature of nonduality using metaphors, exercises, and visualizations in the attempt to bring a clear understanding and experience of the illusion of duality.
The “Video Game” Metaphor
“Everything emerges from one intelligent source”.
Nowadays, we have video games that cost millions of dollars to make, many of them passing over the $100 million mark. Although professional gamers and experts in the field might still demand better quality and features, it is safe to say that the current technology in these games is already bringing a very close to real-life experience, some more complex than ours.
Not to mention the newest generation of computer games with virtual reality (VR) technology, which enables the Player to have a first-person experience “inside” the game.
These games have the potential to give a person the illusion of emerging in, appearing on, or going into another reality, a new unknown world or universe.
People who play these games experience strong reactions of fear, anxiety, adrenaline, happiness, etc., similar to what we experience during our “normal” reality. During these episodes of sensory and emotional rollercoasters, the individual cannot distinguish between illusion and reality.
Some online games run on servers 24/7, meaning that a person could stop playing and come back a few days later to continue its adventure; curiously similar from when we go to sleep at night, “disappear” for 6 to 8 hours and wake up the next day picking up where we were left off.
All these games can be so hypnotically seductive that the Player forgets about the MOST essential aspect of the game, the Video Game Console and the Player itself, this device and the Player are the ONE source responsible for every unique experience within the game.
The character in the video game is utilized as the vehicle to interact with the particular world it created, which includes other characters and objects.
The Video Game Console and the Player are the only reality; the game is only relatively real.
Everything that happens in the game occurs ONLY within the device and the Player. The Video Game Console and the Player are all there is. The character in the game can NEVER realize this; it is an extraction movement created from the device; it is a necessary act of separation to KNOW the world created in the game.
The character in the game can’t “notice” that there are a Video Game Console and a player; it only knows the contents of its world inside the game and can feel it exist thanks to the Player who is experiencing it on his behalf.
When the Player loses itself as the character, IT CREATES AN ILLUSORY SENSE OF INDIVIDUALITY inside the non-existent character, forgetting itself as the Player and CREATING on the character the experience of an illusory separate self, the EGO.
However, it is always the player who experiences this made-up world. All there is IS the Player and the Console; the made-up character does NOT genuinely exist. That is why we say the ego is an illusion.
It is the Player, NOT the character who can remember who she/he is. The Player can realize the nature of who he is by RELAXING its attention away from the images—thus noticing the console and itself playing the game.
Now, let’s go deep into the “what if” drawer. Using the console and the Player as a metaphor for CONSCIOUSNESS and the character in the game as the person who you THINK you are at this moment.
The Console and Player = Consciousness
The Character in the game = Who you “think” you are right now
Ask yourself these questions:
What if this is what is happening in our reality?
What if we are characters in a story created by Consciousness, and Consciousness is all there is?
What if, as characters, we cannot realize that we are Consciousness because we are not “equipped” or in a position to see who we “truly” are?
But the biggest and more important “what if” is:
What if, to REDISCOVER and remember that what we are is “Consciousness,” all that is needed was to RELAX our attention back to its source?
The ONE intelligent source exercise
In this exercise, we want to deeply realize that everything which is “knowable,” must be confirmed by a knower; in plain English, we are aiming to verify that EVERYTHING not only needs to be KNOWN by you, but it also comes from you, it IS you.
Step #1.- Sit comfortably somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted.
Step #2.- Close your eyes and think of different things; first a dream you recently had, then think about the last movie or series you watched or a conversation or interaction with someone. Shuffle around different thoughts.
Step #3.- Now notice how these thoughts appear and disappear from your “mind.” Realize that regardless of the images and content of your Mind, it all starts in YOU, from and by you.
Your perception, your experience of it, even the experience of emptiness and the unknowable it is “known” by you; after all, to be able to refer to anything (even nothingness), someONE needs to claim it, which means that SOMEONE is always present in the absence of things. YOU are the intelligence source of everything. “THIS” understanding is Non-duality.
The Comparison between “Dream” and “Reality”
“One source creates everything”.
Think of a Dream, and how everything within the dream has its unquestionable reality. If we examine our dreams, we can notice some repetitive qualities during the experience:
LIGHT AND COLORS.
Think about this, while you sleep, you are most likely in your bed inside a dark room with your eyes shut. What I am getting at is that there is no light source whatsoever during your dream.
However, you are still able to see vivid colors, a shining blue sky, a bright Sun, and many other things that should be illogical to see. After all, everything that we see while awake requires a source of light; it would be impossible to see anything without light.
So how come we can understand this logic as fact but ignore the mystery of this phenomenon during our sleep? Isn’t it a copout to say, “well, it’s just a dream”? That is a lazy claim, not an explanation.
There is no source of light within the brain, or in the realm of the Mind, both are dead matter. Could it be that it is the light of Consciousness the ONE providing liveness and life to all experience?
The Light Source Exercise
The following is a quick two-step exercise; still, a compelling and powerful one.
Step #1.- Find a comfortable place where you can sit and can be uninterrupted for a few minutes.
Step #2.- Close your eyes and play with your imagination. Think about a day in the park; it is a beautiful bright, and sunny day. There are green trees all around.
There is a balloon seller near the ice cream stand; for some reason, he only has a bunch of red balloons. You buy a rainbow flavor ice cream; you look up at the bright blue sky and see a red balloon floating away.
Ask yourself this:
Where do these lights and colors come from? After all, we all know that LOGICALLY anything that we see with our eyes needs a source of light.
We could be intellectually sluggish and just say, “it’s just our imagination,” but let us be honest and objective. During this exercise, you are with your eyes closed; so, what is illuminating this experience.
Could it be that similar to a dream state, it is the LIGHT of CONSCIOUSNESS that enables this phenomenon to occur?
Within the contents of a dream state, many natural laws do not obey our waking state experience. Notice that while we dream, all rules of time and space are broken and tempered randomly.
Different from our waking state, where we experience linear continuity in time, during a dream, we can experience interacting in different space-time scenarios.
We might be sitting at the beach talking to a relative who already passed away, and suddenly we find ourselves on the streets of Las Vegas with another person.
Notice that at NO point, do we question the validity or reality of the dream, regardless of how illogical everything is, we, without hesitation, take it as real.
What about our waking state? Isn’t it also an experience of images, objects, feelings, sensations, emotions, and perceptions? The fact that the rules and laws are different, more palpable, and seductive does NOT disregard the miracle of the waking state.
However, we do the same thing as in the dream state; we accept it without questioning and continue with the endless cycle.
Could it be that the reason for the WAKING STATE being more “real” than the DREAM STATE is that a body-mind limited individual limits the content of the dream? While the WAKING STATE is “fed” by unlimited Consciousness, which is the source of everything?
While we dream is easy to ignore that everything that we see is a creation inside the Mind. All the images in a dream arise from the substance of our imagination.
Let us say, for example, that you’re dreaming that you’re walking at the park with some friends, eating a snack.
All these objects or images, the park, your friends, the snack as well as everything else you see is a creation from your Mind. This fact should be easy to understand; any reasonable person can see this see how our dreams, regardless of what we dream, are all happening in our Mind.
Nonetheless, we still fail to see another aspect, which is not that obvious, and this moment might probably be the first time you think about it.
Place close attention that while dreaming, and even though all is one single entity (all made from and out of your Mind), “You” still have a first-person experience.
That is that despite everything being the contents of your Mind, “you” experience your dream from a localized point of reference, “you” feel that you are separate, and walking around as an individual with a body.
This sense of personal self, of individuality, is not completely real, it is relatively real to the dream state, but in truth, it doesn’t exist, all there is IS the Mind experiencing the dream through this temporarily created individual.
The Mind needs to localize itself “somewhere,” and temporarily separate itself (create the illusion of separation) to be able to experience a world of concept, things, objects, etc. Otherwise, experiencing could not be possible.
WHAT IF the same dynamic is happening during our waking state? That is, what if during our waking state, there is only ONE source imagining a world and localizing itself in over seven billion of us?
What if everything else we see in the universe IS and comes from one source only? Consciousness.
What I am implying is that the MIND is to a Dream what CONSCIOUSNESS is to our Waking state.
Consciousness is in all and in the seer. Where else can Consciousness be seen? Consciousness creates objects. The objects seen are merely a shell of Consciousness. The Mind is needed to see these objects.
To “set” the Mind in motion, Consciousness needs to localize itself in the body-mind mechanism, thus creating an experience of “being conscious.”
To believe that the body-mind mechanism is an individual or a personal agent, is a mental operation, the rise of the illusory EGO. But that is not real. It is relatively real but not DEFINITIVELY real.
“Give your attention to the experience of seeing rather than to the object seen, and you will find yourself everywhere.”– Rupert Spira
The States of Experience.
“Waking, Dream, Deep Sleep, happen in Consciousness”.
All of us, as human beings, can agree that we only know different states of Consciousness during our daily lives. We know the experience of the Waking State, the Dream State, and the Deep Sleep State.
Some individuals might have other experiences of states of Consciousness, such as Lucid dreaming, dissociation with their body through psychedelics or sensory deprivation tanks, etc. However, these represent a minority of people.
Regardless of how many states of Consciousness a person experiences, what is essential is to realize that ALL states are happening in Consciousness.
The All States-One Source EXERCISE:
This exercise divides into two phases, the first phase begins before going to bed, and the second phase consists of following up the exercise on the following morning.
Step# 1.- Go to bed and take a close look at your state. Notice that right now, you are experiencing the waking or wakefulness state.
Step# 2.- Close your eyes; you are still in wakefulness; however, there are no images to see or perceive. You can call this a wakefulness state without images.
Step# 3 .- Do the same with sound, turning on and off any relaxing music and noticing the state of wakefulness without sound.
TIP: Realize that during these three states (wakefulness, wakefulness without images & wakefulness without sound), the ONLY “thing” that is ever-present, which means it doesn’t disappear and does not change, IS Consciousness.
Step# 4.- Set a reminder which you will be able to see tomorrow the moment you wake up.
Step# 5.- Now allow your body to fall asleep. Do whatever your routine is or whatever is needed to fall asleep.
Step# 6.- When you wake up, notice right away the transition from the sleep state to the wakefulness state.
Realize that you are conscious of both states, meaning that regardless of your body going to sleep, Consciousness was and IS fully awake and aware of your dreams or the absence of dreams.
These are all states, even during a state of emptiness or no images Consciousness is fully Aware. Consciousness has not disappeared; there is simply nothing to be aware or conscious “of” during that state.
Consciousness or Awareness is always fully radiant with vast potential for experiencing unlimited states, regardless of the rising and falling off them.
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.