Dualistic and Nondual Thinking
The dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, sexuality, death, or love. (Sunday)
Nondual consciousness is a much more holistic knowing, where your mind, heart, soul, and senses are open and receptive to the moment just as it is, which allows you to love things in themselves and as themselves. (Monday)
The broad rediscovery of nondual, contemplative consciousness gives me hope for the maturing of religion and is probably the only way we can move beyond partisan politics. (Tuesday)
“A good deal of the confusion over the meaning of nonduality has emerged as folks have tried to discover what, if anything, in our Western Christian experience most closely corresponds to what the East is intending by nondual.” —Cynthia Bourgeault (Wednesday)
“I believe the West’s key contribution to the understanding of nondual perception is that this highest-order (“third tier”) level of consciousness is not a mere extension of the mind. It implies and requires the shift to an entirely different operating system, which is anatomically located in the heart—or better yet, in the mind in entrainment with the heart.” —Cynthia Bourgeault (Thursday)
“I cannot make moments of nondual consciousness happen. I can only assume the inner stance that offers the least resistance to being overtaken by grace.” —James Finley (Friday)
Practice: Chanting Om
Chanting as contemplative practice naturally draws our focus to the present and calms the dualistic mind. The very physical act of breathing and forming sounds brings body and mind together. Chant has a place in many sacred traditions, from Gregorian melodies to Native American drumming to the polyrhythmic chants of West Africa. There are as many ways to chant as there are bodies and vocal cords. You may enjoy exploring different kinds of chant, or even creating your own, as a way of meditating and strengthening the nondual mind.
Perhaps the simplest, most familiar chant is “Om.” In the Hindu tradition, Om is the original and basic vibration of the created world, the sound that holds all other sounds. The mantra is also called pranava in Sanskrit, meaning it infuses all of life and fills our prana, breath. Om represents the fullness of reality and encompasses all things; it has no beginning and no end.
You might practice chanting this single syllable alone or in a group, from five minutes to more than twenty, followed by a time of silence. Begin by sitting tall and straight so you can breathe deeply. Inhale, and on your exhalation vocalize the three sounds of Om, AUM, on a single tone. Feel the sound moving upward with your breath: beginning in your belly—aah; moving to your chest—ooh; vibrating your lips and nasal cavity—mm. Take another deep breath, and sing AUM again, slowly shaping the vowels and closing your mouth to a hum.
Repeat the chant as many times as you wish, letting all other thoughts and sensations disappear. If you are distracted, return your focus to breath and sound and the way it feels in your body. When you are ready, let the chant subside into silence.
Gateway to Silence:
We are oned in love.
For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice (Shambhala: 2016)
James Finley, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God (HarperSanFrancisco: 2004)
Richard Rohr, A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (CAC Publishing: 2016)
Richard Rohr, Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation (Franciscan Media: 2014)
Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009)