Nonduality

Nonduality has as many facets as there are human endeavors. Mystics describe the nondual experience in many ways, as loving, expansive, blissful and unitive, lacking any sense of separation. More than just a feeling, the experience conveys deep and liberating insights into the truth of life and death, self and world. Yet life continues to happen, things change and turn, and each turning is unique. Viewing life turns through the lens of these insights creates a fuller, freer, happier life — the beginning of awakening.

Mystics and sages are not the only ones to assert and describe nonduality. Philosophers speak of reality as unencumbered by the dualistic oppositions we so often get lost in; a reality lacking such distinctions as mind/matter, subject/object, reality/appearance, self/other, substance/attribute, essentialism/nihilism, past/future, here/there, true/false, good/evil — all binary pairs that cause fracturing and suffering. Scientists, after having successfully used analytic reductionism (“taking things apart”) as a powerful tool for centuries, are now converging with the nondual view, seeing the whole as more than just the sum of its parts. Cosmologists seek a first cause to the universe. Mathematicians describe their pursuit of truth and beauty as a practice for communion with the Divine. Physicists look for the ultimate constituents of matter. Neuroscientists attempt to correlate physiological observables with reported mystical experiences and psychic phenomena. Transpersonal psychologists investigate the effects of those experiences on mental health. Deep ecologists explore the potential benefits of nondual perspectives on sustainability and global health.

World religions teach nonduality in their esoteric branches, including Jewish Kabbalah, Islamic Sufism, Christian Mysticism, Hindu Advaita-Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Buddhist Shentong, Madhyamaka or Zen, and Taoism. Many indigenous and shamanistic teachings are also nondual in essence. Aboriginal and modern cultures alike explore the realms of psyche — from separate ego-bound mind to transpersonal realms to nonduality — using methods including meditation, altered breathing, music, dancing, drumming and medicinal plants or substances.

The arts celebrate and cultivate the experience of nonduality. From painting to filmmaking, music to typography, sculpture to found-object art, horticulture to cooking, poetry to digital media, ballet to Tai Chi, literature to architecture — nonduality is muse, subject and symbol.

We hold the space for further exploration by bringing individuals from diverse backgrounds together to deepen the experience of various modes of nondual expression, contributing to the overall health of the global community.

The SAND gathering is a celebration of the core truth of existence – that in our distinct and individual arisings and turnings, we are truly not limited, bound, or separate.