A Beginner’s Guide to Nonduality: Where to Learn More

I am delighted with Deconstructing Yourself, Michael Taft’s website about meditation practice. His teachings about nonduality are precise and accessible. Check out any of the following. 

Nonduality: Defining the Undefinable

“Nonduality is the experience of intimacy with all things; a sense of identity with the entire universe. In this experience, the sense of being a witness or seer of things vanishes completely, and instead you feel yourself to be whatever thing you are beholding. You don’t see the mountain, you are the mountain. You don’t hear a bird, you are birdsong.”

Meditation — Why “Deconstruction”? 

“Sensory experience is the substance of our lives; it is what our time on earth is made of. Anything that can give you a handle on sensory experience, a way to work with it, therefore gives you a handle on your life. Deconstructing an experience is a very effective and concrete way to get a handle on yourself, your life, your emotions, and your relationships with others.”

How to Deconstruct Yourself 

“The sense of self is composed or constructed out of thoughts and feelings…. If you examine your thoughts and feelings very, very carefully over time in a systematic way using mindfulness meditation, this ‘constructedness’ of the sense of self will become intuitively obvious.”

Deconstructing the Self with Mindfulness Meditation 

“…there is one sensory experience that is categorically different than all other sensory experiences: the experience of being ‘me.’ The sense of being a person, an ego. The deconstruction of the sensory experience of being an ego is one of the most powerful and meaningful things a person can do.”

Nonduality and Mindfulness — Two Great Traditions that Go Great Together 

“…most nondualists (especially neo-advaitins) could use a little more of the mindfulness attitude, and most mindfulness practitioners could use a little more of nondual outlook. Working together they could, like peanut butter and chocolate, form something much more excellent than either on their own. Something we might call Nondual Mindfulness, or Practical Advaita.”

Escaping the Observer Trap: Free Yourself by Observing the Observer  

“It is quite common for even very dedicated mindfulness students in observation-based traditions to get stuck in observer mode forever…. Being the observer, a neutral meditator ego, is not such a bad place to be; certainly it is much preferable to the unconscious, robotic mode of life lived without any self-reflection. However, it impedes all deeper progress toward real awakening.”

The Universe Is NOT One 

“The misstep here, and it is an epic one, is to think that what your experience in your meditation (a first-person, subjective experience) has anything at all to do with how the external universe works (a third-person, objective reality). You think you are discovering the hidden truth underlying reality, but that is not what’s going on at all. Instead you’re discovering the hidden truth behind all of your experience, the secret of who you really are—which is arguably much more important.”

What Is the Self? An Interview with Thomas Metzinger 

“The first thing to understand, I believe, is that there is no thing like ‘the self.’ Nobody ever had or was a self. Selves are not part of reality. Selves are not something that endures over time. The first person pronoun ‘I’ doesn’t refer to an object like a football or a bicycle, it just points to the speaker of the current sentence. There is no thing in the brain or outside in the world, which is us. We are processes.”

Meditation on No-self 

“No-self is hard to talk about, but is actually extremely simple as an experience. No-self is the direct recognition that the thoughts in your head and the feelings in your body are just passing experiences. Even more, it’s the recognition that although it feels like there’s a person in there, who is having those experiences, that feeling is just another one of those passing experiences.”

Emptiness of All Arisings (Guided Meditation)

“When we see directly that everything is nothing other than a mental construction (i.e. empty), we have learned something incredibly important. When seen as empty, things lose their “bite.” We no longer feel so reactive and upset by what’s happening, because we see it’s nature clearly. The deeper we see the emptiness, the more freedom we feel, the less reactive we feel. See a little emptiness, and you will feel a little relief from reactivity. See more emptiness, and you will feel more relief. It’s that straightforward.”

How to Love God According to Meister Eckhart

“In the triumphant end to the sermon, Eckhart sounds exactly like a Zen master: You should love him as he is, a not-God, not-mind, not-person, not-image — even more, as he is a pure, clear One, separate from all twoness.”