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Dualism and Non-Dualism

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  • Swami J
    ************************************** Swami J s Newsletter (Address and subscribe/unsubscribe info below) ************************************** June 22, 2001
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2001
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      **************************************
      Swami J's Newsletter
      (Address and subscribe/unsubscribe info below)
      **************************************

      June 22, 2001

      Dear Friends,

      Sometimes philosophies can seem to be in conflict. One of the common
      debates is about where absolute reality is dualistic or non-dualistic
      (or monistic). Here are some thoughts on how these may relate to one
      another in practical ways.

      DUALISM AND NON-DUALISM

      We may believe in one or the other of the philosophies of Dualism or
      Non-Dualism. We may see these philosophies as either contradictory or
      complementary. However, when we want food or sex, or feel threatened,
      we automatically respond from Dualism, not Non-Dualism. If we watch a
      person die, or look at a corpse, are we not all struck by the mystery
      of apparent matter and consciousness? The higher truth quickly goes
      out the window in such moments and we find we are faced squarely with
      the Dualistic, conditioned response of the stuff of our mind.

      There is something between us and Truth, the Absolute Reality, and
      that is called the mind. Training the mind is the starting point for
      Patanjali [in the Yoga Sutras]. For example, one of the first things
      he talks about is observing which of our thoughts are useful or not
      useful, positive or negative. Then he directs us to learn to make
      choices in life on the basis of what is positive and helpful in our
      growth, choosing to do that which we know leads towards a stable,
      inner state of tranquility. Such self-observation, self-examination,
      and self-training are necessary in preparation for the deeper
      practices.

      The dualism of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali gives us detailed
      instructions on how to clear away the clutter so we can find the
      door. Non-Dualistic Vedanta [philosophy] gives us a sound
      contemplative base for deeper understanding of the nature of the door
      and that which is beyond. Tantra shows us how to open the door, as
      well as how and where to knock.

      To view these as contradictory leads to confusion. To view them as
      complementary leads to freedom. We can apply the Dualistic and Non-
      Dualistic philosophies as different aspects of the same one journey
      within, which eventually leads to the direct experience of the center
      of consciousness, wherein all these questions are resolved and
      dissolved.

      In loving service,

      Swami J
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