|Applied Phenomenology: Nondual Perspective|
In the Christian tradition exists a field of endeavor that tradition has termed Systematic Theology. Creators and perpetrators of Systematic Theology attempt in part to do what they admit is, in human fact/experience, impossible: to systematically explicate the nature, existence, and essence of God. They apparently do so in order to make God more understandable for the benefit of the reader or the believer or the person who donates to the cause. In all fairness, is it not part of the human condition to create for that which has no order in itself? Thus does the human being have some sense of control over that which s/he does not either understand or comprehend? And is it not also so that the more one tries to explain the impossible, the more speculative does the situation become? Fights ensue, People die. (c.f. Religious Wars throughout Human History as found, for example, in the Old Testament and the Inquisition.
So in the best of very good/healthy humor, we will now embark upon the impossible: to describe/define nonduality.> Please smile along with us as we follow the proverbial yellow brick road to Nirvana, if not Heaven or, at least, the Wizard's lair.
If these are different path-ways (the way of the ascetics, the way of devotion, the way of action, the way of formative, reformative and transformative suffering), perhaps roughly corresponding to creed, cult, code and community in our great traditions, where do they ultimately lead? (This site) will discuss ... how they are all ordered toward a unitive Life in the Spirit and are animated via Lonergan's conversions (intellectual, affective, moral, social and religious) by the very same Spirit.
In any case, if we are to assume there is an ultimate, non-dual experiential reality that different traditions observe from different angles, the external clutter of each respective tradition — if its way is to reach enlightenment that is — is bound to be shaken off with the escalating attainment of higher reality-experiences, leaving us with a uniform experience.
The Zen robe chant contains the phrase: from a field far beyond form and emptiness. And such may be the mind of a child (Matthew 18:1-4), which till about the age of 5, absorbs all experienced reality wholistically, without distinction really between self-other - AH HAH!! - a dualistic way of being. This dualistic way of being we take to be the norm: just the way things are or are not. We forget that we are just making all of this up in our own heads via perception (light wave → pupil → rods/cones → (transduction=electro chemical impulses) → optic nerve → area 17 of brain (we create the image, albeit upside down through which we use our pre-fontal lobe to turn right side up). Is it happening? Well, yes and no - depending upon how one elects/chooses to interpret is and it and happening. And from whence to we interpret? Etc. (Of course, such a question begs the question in that the question assumes there is a place from which as interpret and that we interpret as well. And such may be the field far beyond form and emptiness. Who knows? (assuming of course there is a who and a knowing)
Unconditioned awareness is a nondual state of consciousness, which means that it includes all phenomena and experiences, with nothing left out. ... This nondual quality inevitability embraces paradox — that is, the possibility that something can be both true and false, good and bad, present and absent. Contrary to the experience of the conditioned mind, unconditioned awareness allows us to remain peaceful and undisturbed in the midst of paradox and ambiguity. Our usual preferences for order, structure, categories, and concepts don't exist when we rest in this nondual awareness. ... When we're resting in unconditioned awareness, our conditioning — our age, sex, history, education, physical condition, and financial situation — no longer limits us. We find ourselves intimately connected with everything within and around us, yet we're beyond being disturbed in any way. We transcend suffering, not because our problems are solved, but because we experience a level of consciousness in which nothing is missing, a way of being that doesn't depend on the condition of our mind, body, and life. The experience of unconditioned awareness takes us outside of cycle of reactive responses and emotions by connecting us with the nature of our mind as pure, contentless unstructured awareness. We're at home with ourselves in a totally natural and uncontrived way. ... While fully accepting our finite and conditioned existence, we rest in a level of consciousness that can't be damaged or degraded by the presence of any thought, feeling, or sensation. (p. 10f)
Centering Prayer is a Christian meditation technique. It seeks to open one's mind and heart to God by the continuous repetition of a sacred word or formula.
According to Kabbalah, the true essence of G-d is so transcendent that it cannot be described, except with reference to what it is not. This true essence of G-d is known as Ein Sof, which literally means "without end," which encompasses the idea of His lack of boundaries in both time and space. In this truest form, the Ein Sof is so transcendent that It cannot have any direct interaction with the universe. The Ein Sof interacts with the universe through ten emanations from this essence, known as the Ten Sefirot.
It is that the Sufi surrenders to God, in love, over and over; which involves embracing with love at each moment the content of one's consciousness (one's perceptions, thoughts, and feelings, as well as one's sense of self) as gifts of God or, more precisely, as manifestations of God.
White Robed Monks of St. Benedict