The Problem (and Appeal) of Non-Duality

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Inner Work | 0 comments

Non-duality is a very deep exploration of the nature of reality itself.

It’s not about “we are all one” in the sense of us all being made of stardust or the way we are interconnected.

It’s exploring the illusory nature of a separate self, a separate universe of separate individuals in the first place.

That’s not a light subject, or something that honestly most people are that interested in (it’s certainly not how I got started in exploring inner work and spiritual practice.)

It was never a buzz word or spiritual flavor of the month. It was generally reserved for those drawn to a particular path.

There are good teachers of Non-duality online now. Rupert Spira, GP Walsh, and I’m sure plenty of others.

Yet there is MUCH confusion around it – not necessarily because of the teaching (although that happens plenty,) but because of lack of context around what it actually is and is not.

Who cares? 

Well, this only matters to me because as a facilitator of inner work I see people getting thrown off track, completely stuck, or avoiding that which could really help them.

There are little bits of non-duality teaching or concept getting into the mix of inner work, muddying the whole thing.

Non-duality not a technique.
It is not a tool for personal development.
It is not about raising your vibration.
It is not more ‘advanced’ than other work or practical steps
It’s not a strategy to employ in your relationships, work, or anything of the sort.

Questions such as “How do I be the Self while in a relationship” tend to look at non-duality as some sort of high vibrational state that one maintains (or loses) while acting in the world.

My take is that most people have a background in metaphysics, creating our own reality, working on our thoughts, emotions, beliefs…

Then we hear about non-duality being the ‘end all’ – and there becomes an association that ‘being the Self’ or recognizing the truth is somehow the secret shortcut hack to:

Healing your traumas
Raising your vibration
Acting well
Living your best life.

It’s not.
It has nothing to do with any of that.

There are people who have had rather sincere awakenings who have had everything fall apart, become actual cult leaders, or worse.

It’s not to say non-dual inquiring and practicing cannot open doors to you. It can have many ‘practical’ gains and uses, but it’s more tangential.


Everything has it’s place

There is a reason there are non-dual inquiry AND inner work tools. They have their functions.

Just as there is a reason there is a difference between non-dual inquiry and taking guitar lessons. You’re not going to be good at guitar just because you have a spiritual realization.

Why assume it would make you great in other areas of life?

With non-duality it goes even beyond that, because it’s about the dissolution of you as a separate individual who is improving at something in an external world in the first place. It makes the whole situation extra ironic.

If you want a better relationship, do the inner work around what is happening inside of you regarding relationships.

What do you want from it? What are your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, triggers, and more?

Don’t expect that just ‘watching everything happen’ is somehow going to make you a better communicator to your partner or help your business.

Again, I’ve seen both relationships and businesses get destroyed by people who have convinced themselves (quite possibly through a very sincere realization) that they no longer exist or just need to ‘watch it all happen and it will take care of itself’

(which is just another position or philosophy, which also gets destroyed in the non-dual reality)

Philosophical Non-Duality Questions – AKA Distractions

If you start asking things like “if there is no separate self than who is the one who wants a relationship and why do I need one?…”

You are in a philosophical loop that is unlikely to actually accomplish anything.

Even if you are given a really interesting answer, then what?

You’re ultimately just going to be pointed back to the same place if the question is asked in a non-dual context, and then you can either investigate the nature of the self, or not. It’s going to go there every time.

The nature of all of it is paradoxical and the only way to get a really clear answer is to see it directly, after which the question itself will become laughably irrelevant.

It’s not ‘better’ to investigate the Self in my opinion.  This is a common trap. Just be clear on what you are doing and what your interests actually are.

I highly recommend either just doing the non-dual inquiring to go into the nature of the non-dual question fully…

and/or just do the work around relationships and cut to the chase. It is like practicing guitar vs asking ‘who is practicing’ if you know your goal is to actually play the guitar.



Inner work and non-duality are not nearly as correlated as they often are confused to be.

Specifically, you do not have to do a certain amount of inner work to have a non dual awakening. It has so little to do with your personality and ego that it can, and does, happen to literally anyone of any background. For no reason whatsoever. This has happened many times.

As always with me, it’s about clarity and what YOU want.

If you genuinely are getting a lot of benefit from non-dual inquiring and want to go down that road of discovery, please go for it and do it with all your heart.
Adyashanti was obsessed with the word ‘enlightenment’ and meditated hours a day for decades – even at the cost of his own body and health. He wanted whatever THAT was.

That is somewhat rare. It’s not better or worse. It is what it is.

You want what you want, and whatever it is, is RIGHT.

If you really want more money and a better relationship, please do not muddy the waters and confuse yourself trying to piece these things together.

Don’t ask a non-dual teacher about relationships or money and expect an answer that is going to help you get into a better relationship or make more money because that’s not the context, and not their gig.

Please do not expect non duality to heal chronic pain or health conditions, and get frustrated as you watch more videos and such.

You can also be interested in both things. Inner work, practical tools, and non-duality.

Do both of them. Separately – that’s my personal opinion.

If you work with me, I’m going to keep bringing it back to you, what do you actually want, and why are you pursuing whatever it is– non-duality included, then work through thoughts, feelings and emotions that may be limiting or causing suffering.

That’s what I do. That’s not a non-dual approach, a non-dual teacher will do something else. A business coach will do something else, etc.

You are in the driver seat as far as where you go.

For me the test is pretty simple: if it truly helps you, keep doing it. If it feels like some abstract thing you hope is going to end up working ‘someday, somehow’ be careful.

Whatever route you take, remember, you’re not a repair project. Enjoy today as best you can and use the tools to help you do so!


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