Soul, non-duality, and InterBeing

For me, non-duality means that during peak experiences – those moments of oneness with everything that has being, with the one life force – there is no separation between my self and that everything; the everything that has being.

During those experiences, those moments, it is simply not possible to distinguish between the essence of myself, and the essence of Being itself; the essence of everything manifest. This is awareness of how the idea that my own self-separation from all other beings, from the cosmos, as a distinct entity, is an illusion. There is none.

So I simply don’t know whether I have a soul or not. Whether we have souls. On the one hand, over three years of meditation (almost every day, always for more than 20 minutes) has led me to accept that it is possible to embrace the wonderful tranquillity of my always-pure essential nature; that this is a distinct thing – distinct from other notions of inner self, an original thing, a deep thing. In some way, that feels like having a soul.

But for non-duality!  The very moment I start to preceive of my own slice of the one life force being ‘me’ and not life force, things stop making sense. If that inner essence were just ‘me’, then how come during some peak experiences, I have felt what it is to know that I am encountering all Wisdom? Every single bit of wisdom in the cosmos. Life itself. The source. The ground of being. That cannot be ‘me’! I am far from being all Wisdom!

This leads to other questions. Why does the divine life energy manifest as anything other than itself anyway? If my ‘soul’ is not a soul, but simply the component of my self that is divine, then is that component me or God?

And then those questions melt away again in non-duality. They’re irrelevant. The one life force permeates everything manifested, and is itself pure and the same for all beings. Any being knowing itself as much as is possible to know self, eventually finds the one life force lurking in its core, and realizes that self is simply part of One. A church of all souls. A community of InterBeing (cf. Titch Nhat Hanh).

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