Today more and more frequently we hear the expression “non-dualism”, many Masters talk about it, and some say they have achieved this state of realization.
But what does non-dualism mean?
Is it really a state of being for the awakened few?
And can Tantra be considered a valid path towards non-duality?
Non-dualism, or non-duality, literally means “not two” or “one undivided”, and is the translation of the sanskrit word “advaita.” This expression refers to that state of complete consciousness, a state of unity, to life and to all, always present, despite the apparent dichotomy with which the human mind sees things.
Although this state of consciousness may seem spontaneous, and many Masters describe it as such, usually in various spiritual paths, it is seen as a maturation that follows a long preparation through ascetic or meditative / contemplative practice.
The term “non-dualism” thus understood derives from the spiritual tradition of Advaita Vedanta, but very similar concepts of non-dualistic consciousness can be found in almost all religions and spiritual schools, from Hinduism to Buddhism, from Islam to Christianity to the Neoplatonic traditions.
Tantra offers a non-dual vision of life as well and aims to awaken the practitioner’s awareness until this understanding is permanently reached (state of enlightenment).
Actually in Tantra talking about “reaching” enlightenment is not correct because every path is based on a dual idea of separation between the starting point and the point of arrival.
Tantra in fact is a path that has no path, because the destination is always here and now, and the very fact of being convinced of having limits to overcome is the only thing that prevents us from realizing our true enlightened and unlimited nature.
However, from a methodological point of view, Tantra is an extremely revolutionary discipline and it’s profoundly different from other spiritual traditions.
Being strongly rooted in reality, in the body, Tantra uses dual reality to reach the transcendence of it.
And it doesn’t do it philosophically, but in an experiential way.
The fundamental topic is the vision of the human body and how it is used as a tool for self-realization, which is one of the cornerstones of Tantra.
In Tantra, through experience in the body one comes to get the pure consciousness in which the experience that we call the body arises, thus recognizing the illusory and impermanent nature of the body through the body itself.
Tantra does not see the body, mind or material world as an obstacle to awakening, because every aspect of reality is seen as intrinsically sacred. The divine can be found everywhere at any time. In a tantric path we do not leave the material world to find paradise. On the contrary, we find paradise precisely in our wordly experience because Tantra presupposes that realization is already ours.
Tantra is therefore extremely direct and immediate: precisely because there is no duality, it makes no sense to oppose the sacred to the profane, the divine to the earthly. In Tantra the body is sacred and through the body the Divine can be experienced.
This is the great revolutionary aspect – and also the great challenge – of Tantra in comparison with other spiritual traditions in which the body is useless and it’s even seen as an obstacle, as the identification with it prevents us from experiencing the true higher self.
Tantra also states that the true self goes beyond the physical body, since in reality we are only pure consciousness, but this consciousness, here and now, is experienced through and thanks to this physical body.
The Tantralife method is a very practical form of tantric exploration.
Most spiritual paths consider the earthly reality as an illusion and therefore pushes you to give up the identification with that illusion through a “negative” method, that is, through self-investigation you are pushed to exclude everything that you are not: thoughts, emotions, energy and of course the body.
The Tantralife method on the contrary, aims to bring you to the same understanding through a “positive” process, that is, in experiencing the body and pleasure so intensely that you reach the spiritual dimension that pervades the whole.
Now, both methodologies can be equally valid, and probably someone will find only one of the two more fitting to their own inclinations, but here are also the traps on the path.
For example, people who have a lot of shame or judgment for the irbodies, they will find it much easier to follow a method for which the body is nothing but dust, something to deny. Thus forgetting that the body is also part of the divine nature and, after all, we need the body, at least as a vehicle in this earthly journey, to experience the true self.
In the same way, in people who are very identified with the body and who love to enjoy pleasure and sensuality, sexuality, etc., the idea of Tantra to honor and adore the sacredness in the body could simply lead to an indulgence with a spiritual taste, this way increasing the attachment to the body.
In both cases, whether we choose to “renounce the body” or “celebrate the body”, if we forget that what we are trying to do is getting closer to the divine nature of the self and of the whole, whatever choice we make will always be dual.
In Tantralife we propose a different approach: it’s a synthesis (here is the non-duality) in which there is no choice, as in this pure consciousness nothing is intrinsically right or wrong, and there is no pre-defined path for all.
Thus, in front of a person with great shame and judgment for sex, the invitation is to face one’s own judgment and disgust for the body until one realizes that this condemnation of the body is an obstacle to the realization of the self. This person will need to let go of their judgments based on something that has been experienced on a concrete level.
On the other hand, a person obsessed with sex or with a strong attachment to the body, will need to concretely experience their attachment, immersing themselves deeply in sexuality, before being able to let go of identification.
Very often attachment to pleasure and judgments towards the body coexist, making the dis-identification even more difficult.
This is why there is no single path for everyone, but in Tantralife courses, in a protected but free atmosphere, we create the space to experiment ourselves in the body and in sensuality without judgments.
Thus it becomes possible, through a truly liberated body and sex experience, to access the dimension that goes beyond the physical level.
Furthermore, in Tantralife this exploration is always accompanied by meditation.
The novelty of the Tantralife approach consists in proposing a method that stimulates the capacity of the conscious and detached observer precisely in the moments in which the physical experience is more powerful and engaging (like in sexuality) and therefore the risk of identification with the body is stronger.
In fact, if it is relatively simple to take a distance and see our identification with mental aspects, with thought, with emotions, through a practice of self-investigation, it is not so easy to do it when it comes to body sensations, especially in relation to pleasure and sensuality.
Therefore, in Tantralife meditation takes on a fundamental importance, as it is a powerful “tool” for disidentification.
Learning to observe everything without judgment therefore becomes a constant training in non-duality.
And in Tantralife the practice of meditation is applied to thoughts (we are not our thoughts), to emotions (we are not our emotions), to sensations of the body (we are not the sensations of the body) … and when we learn to do it even with the sexual energy, we can really get a taste of non-duality, experienced on the field of our human and earthly being!
When we gradually lose all these identifications, it is possible that we experience a sense of emptiness.
If we are not thoughts, emotions, body, energy, what are we?
This is the moment in which we have to let go, which is another constant training that we offer in Tantralife.
It takes a great deal of courage to let yourself go in confidence once all our identifications begin to fall.
Only those who truly and deeply want to be free will be willing to go ahead and let go of everything.
For example, in lovemaking… letting go completely and yet being present to everything.
What we find out is that we don’t disappear. All our ideas about who we are fall, yet we are still here. What we actually give up is the sense of separation from ourselves. We are simply what we are. We are at home.
We enter a space where there is only experience and no one who is experiencing. Thought is. Emotion is. Body is. Energy is.
And at the same time the feeling of “me” being separate from the experience vanishes. There is a sense of total connection with everything and of unlimited freedom. We expand in all directions. We are nowhere and we are everywhere. And there’s nothing we need to do because we are already at home and always have been.
If you want to enter the world of non-dual Tantra, we look forward to seeing you at the next Tantralife courses.