EUGENE, OR—Reader Emily posted this comment/question a few days ago:
Enjoying your posts and hearing about your journey as always, Wayne. Not sure if you’ve already addressed this before; but how would you “live as a soul” if you were married and had children to take care of? I’m interested to hear your ‘take’ on that. 😉
My reply below the break (huh?).
Traditional Nonduality and Relationships
Prior to my awakening, I sucked at relationships (I haven’t attempted one since waking up, so I can’t comment on post-awakening). For most my life I was a “cerebral nondualist,” meaning I followed the traditional path of introspection. The introspective path is almost completely incompatible with relationships simply because it is a mental game and Life (and relationships)—being so sticky and, well, real—often interferes with the wonderfully idealistic state called Emptiness.
I dated a lot of women during my “nondual” period, more than I could possibly count, but only two of those relationships lasted more than a year.
Can you have a relationship when the central tenets of your life are Desirelessness, Non-attachement, and a Quiet Mind? Yeah, right. Where’s the love in that. Where’s the love in Idealism?
Mystical Oneness versus Rational Nonduality
Mystical Oneness on the other hand, is (I expect) very conducive to relationships. With Mystical Oneness, you feel your way through Life and you use those feelings as practice (and reminders) of your current level of identity (Mortal, Soul, Radiance, Oneness).
You can talk and try to rationalize your way to enlightenment all your want, but if you don’t feel it (and you always know how you feel), you’re just playing The Mental Game of Life.
For example, while writing in a little coffee shop in Santa Rose a week ago, I overheard two women talking about various nondual topics. I introduced myself and, after being invited to join them, listened as they discussed how stress acts as “the biggest barrier” to spiritual growth.
Now both of these women stated they believed in a soul and they understood the concepts of traditional nonduality. One of the women was particularly well read and had all the “proper” nondual answers to Life’s troubling issues: “You are just Awareness. You are not your Story. So-and-so says this. So-and-so taught that.” Both women were very smart on the topic of Life, and they had all the (rational) answers.
Her comment about stress though, pointed out my whole “issue” with the rational approach to Enlightenment/Oneness: Thoughts rarely match Life. The introspective approach is all about ideals and rarely “plays well” with real Life. These women were very smart, but they weren’t wise. They understood enlightenment and they wanted to live it, but they weren’t living it. They weren’t living it because they weren’t feeling it… they were explaining it.
When they made the comment about stress acting as a barrier to awakening, I said, “Stress is a wonderful reminder that we are taking life too seriously. As a Soul who lives forever, this life is nothing… it’s like your junior year in high school. Don’t believe you have a soul, live as if you are a Soul.” As I said this, they both gave me that gaped-open-mouth-shocked-mini-satori-orgasm look which I often get when I talk about this stuff (the Yin to that double-take-push-pull Yang thing I often get from strangers whom I haven’t talked to yet).
Mystical Oneness and Relationships
In a relationship, if both partners are practicing Mystical Oneness (Mortal to Soul to Radiance to Oneness), then your partner can act as your “reminder” when you find yourself worried about money or your health or your job or any other silly mortal issues.
As a Soul (and recovering Mortal), you’ve been through what they are going through. You understand this slipping due to conditioning and your understanding fills you with compassion for your partner. This compassion makes it very easy to relate to them and to love them and to say, “Honey, remember we’re really Souls babe. This issues is nothing. You’re just temporarily caught up in it all. Really. Big picture… this is nothing.”
Compassion (what relationships are made of) comes from feeling Life, living it, understanding it, and sharing your experiences about how it affects you. It’s founded in Love (Fullness) which is the core energy of Mystical Oneness.
Introspective nondualism is centered in Emptiness and Idealism. It’s cerebral and rational and I doubt any relationship can survive on the ideal of Nothingness.
Introspective nondualism is for smart, rational people. It is focused on the Emptiness. It’s for people who live from their heads.
Mystical Oneness on the other hand, is for wise, emotional people. It focuses on the Fullness. It is for people who live from their hearts.
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