Have you ever felt totally connected to something or someone? Have you ever felt as if there were no boundaries, no limitations, no sense of separation in a certain, special life experience? I can recall a time spent on the island of Hawaii when I felt totally and utterly at one with nature and all of existence. I was having a peak spiritual experience, and it was bliss.
It happened as I was kayaking in Kealakekua Bay. The sun was sparkling on the Pacific. The sea breeze swept into the bay to calm my spirit. And, most beautiful of all, spinner dolphins were jumping playfully a mere foot in front of my eyes. They swam alongside my kayak, coming up for air every few seconds. I felt totally connected to these fascinating creatures and to all of the other nature that surrounded me. I realized that I was experiencing, what we call, a state of non-duality. And it felt really, really good.
The Lure of Duality
Many spiritual traditions, including yoga, teach us that it’s the lure of duality that keeps us residing in lower states of consciousness. It’s what keeps us separate. Our desire for individuality, paired with our desire to merge with the sacred energy of existence, makes for an ambiguous and confusing state of being.
Advaita is a Sanskrit word that translates as "oneness," "union" or "non-dualism." It’s the communing of our individuality with the oneness of all existence. Every one of us are in the same boat: on one end of the boat we have the quest for individuality and on the other end we have the quest to merge with oneness. Every one of us is in this boat of conflict and confusion.
Increased Vibrations Through Raised Consciousness
However, each one of us is doing our best, according to our own level of consciousness. So, what do we do? We work to raise our vibration. We work to raise our level of consciousness. When we raise our own vibration, we also lift the vibrations of every one around us, everyone with whom we come into contact.
As we raise our consciousness, we stop allowing other people to pull us down to their level. We stop pointing our fingers at what we don’t want. Instead, we shine our brightest light and elevate every one and every thing around us. And how do we do this?
We meditate. We get on our cushions every day and commit to the practice. We can do this by closing our eyes and bringing our attention to our center of love – our heart center, our anahata chakra. This is where our highest vibrations reside.
Deep within the core of our heart is our noble heart, our bodhicitta, which is also always seeking the highest level of pure awareness, pure consciousness. It’s always seeking the highest vibration possible – our Higher Self, our Atman.
(For more on this subject, try How to Live More Consciously With This 4-Part Morning Routine.)
When we’re in a state of heightened consciousness, we radiate with the highest expression of our very being. We always do our best. We always bring the highest version of ourselves to every present moment. This also helps us come from a place of empowerment. When we work to raise our consciousness, we have fewer regrets. We live our lives with intention, and we serve the greater good in doing so. We’re also much, much more content – at the core of our being.
As opposed to waiting for something or someone to bring us happiness or joy, we raise our own vibration, and meet our own needs and desires at this higher level of awareness. We then begin to see those around us beginning to slowly raise their own consciousness. Because we’re all connected; our vibrations affect one another.
In conflicts, we realize that the other person may have another belief system that’s different from ours. We see that they may have values that are different from ours. We also see that they are doing the best they can, according to their own level of consciousness in that moment. We realize that each one of us has fear inside, regarding outcomes and results. We see everyone – all those we interact with – and recognize that they are trying as well from their own highest level of consciousness. Rather than pointing fingers, we act from our highest level of consciousness, which teaches others as we lead by example.
Close your eyes again and bring your attention to your heart center. Imagine a small flame residing here. This is your inner pilot light. It’s your intuition, and your highest level of consciousness. See that light burning brightly, guiding your every thought, word and action. See that light helping you respond with creativity – instead of reactivity – in all situations.
Now, ask yourself the question, “What do I need to do to fuel the fires of this inner pilot light in my heart?” Imagine that your whole existence is moving into this heartlight. Close your eyes and feel your heartlight expanding. Imagine that your heart is breathing deeply, in and out, in and out. Place your attention on your heartlight as it grows and grows. Feel into your magnificence, your ecstasy. Feel the love of the universe flooding your heart with radiance.
(You may also want to try this Heart-Opening Visualization Meditation.)
Allow all the love from the universe to shine on all the dark places in your heart. Feel love bathe your anger in light. Feel it bathe your judgment in light. Allow love to shine its light on your blame. Allow love to come in and wash away the jealousy. Let love in with each breath. Flow light onto any toxicity that’s residing within. All the love of the universe bathes your negativity in light.
As you do this, feel your consciousness rising. Feel your inner love light begin to burn brighter. Vow to achieve a higher level of consciousness to benefit yourself and all beings.
If a state of non-duality seems out of reach, don't worry. It's not. But it may not happen right away. And it may not happen when you think it will. It may come out of the blue, as a total surprise – as it did for me that blissful day I spent kayaking with spinner dolphins in Kealakekua Bay. And, when it does happen, know that this is a special state – one that you needn't try to cling to. Simply enjoy the moment when it comes!