Nondualism and the Art of Becoming Human

When one realizes the nondualism of one's Self, then the art of becoming human is free of judgment. Remember your divine Nature and play your part.

All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, --William Shakespeare, As You Like It In nondualism circles a big question that continuously comes up is whether or not we need to work on our stuff, because, after all, we are already divine. If there is only One that exists perfectly outside of the imperfections of time, and all effort is in time, then why should we work on our human selves? I sat for a while with a teacher of this school of thought. And what he said was profound and was needed, especially for Westerners who can be so caught up about improving themselves and the world, while forgetting their Essential Nature. Ahh, how wonderful it was to just sit and forget about all those responsibilities. It was just like a poem by Hafiz that says:

We see you have discovered how meditation
Can free you
From all land, mind, debts, alimony--
The whole works,
And like us
Lets you carouse all day in God

(The Gift, Daniel Ladinsky)

And there was a profound peace in the room. Yet after months, this same teacher, whose body was old and unhealthy, made a pass at a young woman devotee. And he was married. When the group confronted him on this he said to the effect: Who kisses whom? There is only the Self.

“Know there is One but act as though there is two,” Ramana Maharshi said when asked about the need for a teacher to help one on the path. There is no greater teacher than working on the art of becoming a human being and interacting with others who are trying to do the same, with many degrees of consciousness involved in the effort.

As an artist I work pretty much stress free now because I have come to the Awareness of my Intrinsic Worth. And no matter how wonderful or how awful my work manifests itself, it does not affect the Self. Yet I keep working at it, allowing it to evolve. While at the same time I keep constant vigilance of the mind and do not let it go off on any unrelated tangents. The mind is either working at what is at hand or I keep it shut away in the Silence of Being. Then the work just happens. There is no me doing it. Just like runners who after much effort get into the effortless groove.

So it is with the art of me being a father, a partner, a teacher, or whatever. Each requires a discipline and learning of skills and tools and I do my best at mastering these roles. However it is a choice now; it is done out of unconditional Love. I used to work on myself and gathered knowledge from books and classes because I thought I would be more worthy to be loved—both by my fellows and especially by God. And there was much gnashing of teeth.

Knowing there is only One and acting as though there is two is a balanced way of living. That knowing is very feminine, very passive, and has been embodied in the wisdom of the East. It is the place of Being. While, on the other hand, acting as though what we do is important and meaningful, altering our environment and chiseling at our imperfections, is very masculine and has manifested as the industriousness of the West. This has been the use of Will. To become a true human being is to have both sides operating fully and harmoniously, coming together in the Heart of Love, aware of the absolute and playing with the particulars.

Another way of looking at this question is to remember the ancient word, Leela, which means the Divine Play. Everyone has roles to play. By first connecting to your Being then your human roles you won’t take so seriously; and subsequently you will be able to perform them more effectively. If you are an historian, read all the history books you can, just give plenty of time connecting to the Self that knows no history. If you are a partner learn how to make love and communicate, and love the Self that knows no other; if you have children learn how to be a conscious parent, and suckle the Self that was never born. If you are a seeker, go to the feet of teachers and go on pilgrimages, while remembering the Self that was never lost and is always here. Roles are roles and are not you.

Play the game. Enjoy your roles and allow them to change. Clean up your act. Do your very best in all that you do. Evolve. Create. Learn. Be vigilante of the mind. Welcome discipline. Conquer moods. Foster virtues.

And in all your acts remember your Essence. Be still and enjoy the Silence. Take nothing personally. And laugh at the absurdity of One becoming many.

A Becoming Meditation

Find a comfortable position, sitting with back straight if possible.Close your eyes and take some deep breaths through your nose, filling your diaphragm with this gift that the world is giving you. Hold it for a moment and then return this breath back out into the world with gratitude our through your nose.

Repeat this deep breathing for a while until your mind goes to the quiet place.

From this quiet place your breath will become quieter as well and may stop. That is okay and it is as it should be. For your your nature is timeless, and breathing is being in the world of time. In this place of silence you are in the place of your true nature, untouched by time. It needs nothing to be complete and nothing can take anything away from it. You are Whole. You are Holy.

Rest in your nature for as long as you like. Until the time when your consciousness begins to stir. When this happens bring with you any intention that your spirit wants to manifest through you.

It may be something you are to change in your personality or to create something in your life or to remove something no longer needed. Take that impulse and see yourself already having accomplished the task.

After holding that image for a few minutes, release, give it away to That which is in charge of all things. Take a few deep breaths and return to waking consciousness. You might want to write down in a journal your intention that has arisen from your perfect nature.

Go into the world, act, do your part, and remember your perfection in all the manifestation.

Janaka Stagnaro

Advaita Vedanta and Compassion
Nonduality and Environmentalism
Awareness Meditation Techniques
Hindu Meditation Techniques
Inspirational Poetry: Nondualism Poems
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