A question I often hear in our weekly group boils down to this: “What’s in it for Me?” Nondual teachings can sound very interesting and intriguing from a metaphysical point of view, but in the end people want to know what tangible benefits can be gained from the struggle to penetrate to a deeper understanding of what can seem a very difficult and often perplexing teaching.
The answer to that question resides deep in the core of our own personal identity. Some ancient eastern yogic traditions point to various etheric ‘inner bodies’ existing at more subtle ‘inner levels’ which are said to be no less real than our physical bodies. In fact, it is claimed that they are more real and long-lasting than our flesh and blood varieties, and can be accessed and experienced through particular techniques and practices. Whether or not we choose to believe in the existence of these ‘inner dimensions,’ there are practical insights to be gained from even a metaphorical interpretation. It is taught that from the absolute perspective none of these bodies or ‘levels of consciousness’ is real in and of themselves. Plus, as one progresses through the various levels it becomes obvious (self-evident) that the previous level(s) were merely dream states as seen from the awakened perspective of the current ‘higher level’! This explains a great deal about the ‘nature of reality’ itself: Reality is relative. Each ‘dream level’ is experienced as absolutely real because at every level we experience ourselves to be absolutely real, and the world that we experience from our current state is always a perfect reflection of our self-concept in all respects! And of course this also applies to the personal experience of our own life as we continue to progress on our own spiritual path and inner growth.
Our self-concept, our very identity, is constructed and conditioned at each and every level by our unique history of perceptions, experiences, relationships, interpretations, and personal narrative. This self-construct is generally an extremely vulnerable, mortal and self-limiting belief system fraught with fears, anxieties, neuroses, helplessness, guilt, remorse, unhappiness, pain and suffering. Do we see any problem here? Well, the good news is that as we begin to ‘make progress on the spiritual path,’ as it is called, we undergo a gradual and nearly imperceptible evolution of our self-concept. We cease to be the old, miserable and self-limiting wretches we once were, and find ourselves now ‘traveling lighter.’ And the innate joy, love, happiness and freedom which has always characterized our inner ‘true Self’ gradually but inevitably becomes more and more the face that we present to the world, resulting in a greatly enriched and more profoundly satisfying life experience. This transformation can occur rapidly, or it may seem to drag on endlessly, but the rewards which await the patient and persistent spiritual seeker more than justify the journey, which, in the end, will appear to have happened in just the blink of an eye to “A Whole New You!”
by Les Collins