Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Practicing Nonduality

The Institute for Noetic Sciences claims that “an especially mystifying aspect of consciousness is the elusive notion of nonduality, whose philosophical roots can be found in ancient Eastern cosmologies. It has been defined in many ways but basically refers to a state of being (emphasis on being) in which there is no sense of separation between the viewer and what is being viewed—a difficult concept to understand intellectually”1 and an even more difficult concept to live and experience.

Take my heroes of the day, the people who work in any kind of retail position dealing with the hustle and bustle of selling stuff and who manage to keep on smiling and being gracious to the all consuming public. Ever notice how everyone is in a rush to get out of the store, not paying attention to the people providing service, not making any eye-contact and even when they say “thank you”, it is as if it is a robotic appreciation to some unknown being out there in the ethers. We are so focused on getting what we want as quickly as possible and rushing out to get back to another scenario or perhaps to home, where we can finally feel safe! Whatever our stories or reasons might be, we are not connecting or engaging with “the other” or the viewer is not even connecting with “what is being viewed”. This at best is avoiding duality. I know I am prone to being this way. However, when I do set my intention to notice the salesperson or the check-out person at the grocery store, connect in some manner with them, I have extraordinary experiences. It is as if the whole outside craziness is not real. I connect in a nonduality manner or in a new consciousness manner with those I am least likely to connect with and the world of duality collapses on to itself!

Perhaps my retail heroes do the same thing. Perhaps they connect to whomever they can, they set their intention to be present and whoever recognizes their connection, is the beneficiary of experiencing a moment of nonduality. In this sense, it is almost as if working in a place like that would be a tremendous opportunity to practice nonduality. I am not recommending anyone to go out there and look for retail jobs to experience new consciousness, but I am sure that we all face plenty of situations where we feel the world of duality pulling at us, where we find ourselves taking sides, getting judgmental, etc. and we can use those opportunities to expand into the peace that is ours to experience. Connecting with others in a way that denies our separation brings us peace in the most non-peaceful places. So, my wish for you is to give it a try. Be the peace, be the grace, be the space for whatever it is that is happening, and the magic is yours to experience.

1 iShift #38, September 2009: The Nondual Brain, Intuitive Soldiers?


Trish said...

Excellent RX. Having spent some time on the other side of the counter, I practice it all the time. Life is surprisingly richer when we simply make contact with some of the "others". Thanks.

Sherry Bakhtian said...

Thank you Trish! Simple, but so easily forgotten.


Gabriela Abalo said...

Dear Sherry,

My first job was as a sales assistant (I was 18 years old) I worked there for almost 4 years and then left in search of new horizons. I’m thankful for the experience but I do know that if can I avoid it I will definitely will not get into it again. I found it exhausting and many times I feel like I was just an act! As I was forced to smile (even if I was not in the mood) or I have to sell something I knew it wasn’t good or the person could not afford it… it was all about the business!

Ok, that is my personal experience, probably there are people on the retail business who feel and act differently.
The thing is, that duality is everywhere, at home, at work, in the bus, on a restaurant, hospital, etc, etc… is the result of our current way of living… always in a hurry…
As you said: we shall take it easy and live fully present in the moment, then the nonduality will become a reality.


Sherry Bakhtian said...

Thank you Gabi!