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No Contradiction Between Duality and Non-Duality
Ken: James, I’m still working on a response to our other satsang. Trying to respond to it has burned up vasanas, removed ignorance and given me knowledge. This email is a spin-off of that satsang.
Something is not clicking. All this is mithya, including the person writing this. That awareness, which is non-different from I, is always the witness. I cannot feel it, be it, experience it and even though I am it, I witness the feeling of separateness from it. Leftover anatma vasanas?
Who is writing this? I know it is the self, I, but I watch this jiva play out like I have some sort of control, but I don’t. The one who feels like it has control is mithya.
It seems like I can control this, but as the self, I don’t control nor do I care to or think to. Then what is this? This one writing? Isvara! I am just the witness. When I contemplate who I am, there are no words or thoughts left but only a remembrance of the experience of emptiness/void. Do I continue as a jiva knowing I am awareness or do I stand in the vastness that I am? I do neither, because I am not the doer, yet it feels like I do… leftover vasanas again? Here I am sitting in this chair typing to you. Why am I confused about the “relationship” between I and the jiva? There feels like a tug of war, yet only one side is pulling.
Love the help!
James: You are overthinking this, Ken. You are the self, awareness. There is a thought in you that we call the doer. It owns action, meaning it thinks it is a doer, which it is when it thinks it is doing and it isn’t when it understands that the field of ever-changing objects (Isvara 2, i.e. maya) causes action to take place. The doer and you – the self, the non-experiencing witness – are not in the same order of reality, so there is no tug of war going on.
I think you believe that duality and non-duality are actual opposites, that they cannot co-exist, like day and night. But they do co-exist; twilight, for instance. Duality is not real, it is apparent. You can’t have a war between something that is real and something that is apparently real. There is no war between a television screen and the images playing in it. There is no contradiction between a wave and the ocean in which the wave appears. There is no contradiction between the wood and the table from with it is made. The doer is consciousness, but consciousness is not the doer. So there is a built-in separation between them. Yes, it is an apparent separation, but an apparent separation is as good as a non-existent separation. If there is no separation, where is the war? If there is a separation, there is no war either. So either way, the “war” is a lack of understanding of the relationship between awareness and the doer object appearing in it. The jiva is the self, but when it does not understand the satya and mithya teaching, it thinks it is a doer.