Non-Duality 101: How to Realize Oneself

This is a reminder (to myself and others – who don’t actually exist).

How To Know And Realize What Is Eternal

Q: What is Non-Duality?

A: Non-duality means “not two”.

How it works is, you look at what you are not.

So, for example: you are not numbers in a bank account. You are not your profession. You are not your car. You are not your house. You are not your wife or husband or family or kids. You are not your community identity, nor your political identity, nor your church identity, nor your religious identity, nor your nationality nor ethic identity.

Those may be fairly easy to see, depending on how closely identified you are psychologically.

You are not your body. This one can be a little harder to see for many.

Why are you not your body? Let’s look at that.

How do you know about your body? Breaking it down to the fundamentals, we have three channels of knowing anything at all. This is how we know the what we call the “phenomenal” realm: the realm of the changeable, the world of experience of the tangible.This world of experience boils down to this:

1. There are bodily sensations going on (when they do): what is felt on the skin, or inside the body – either localized or vague; or kinesthetic sensations of movement.

2. There are sense perceptions (sometimes): hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling.

3. There are mentations (almost all the time): various kinds of what we call “mental events”, such as thoughts. Thoughts can be broken down into imaginations that are visual or auditory. There are also more abstract and quiet thoughts, like pondering a mathematical, philosophical or engineering problem, and we can’t quite picture it yet. What we often call “thinking” is more like an experience of internal sound: a noise of talking, such as imagining a dialogue, or talking to ourself, or narrating what one does or what is going on.

Regardless of how one breaks down “mentations”, we can agree they are internal in the sense that no one else can see, hear, feel, touch, taste them. They are sometimes called “subtle”, because they are not out in the room where you can touch and see them.

What about feelings? If you look at them, you will find they are really just bodily sensations associated with thoughts, and that these thoughts nand sensations may form a loop. So for example, a thought, or something one hears (which is also a thought, since otherwise you wouldn’t know about it, be aware of it) may trigger some sensations. We then may label that and call it something like anger or joy or sadness… Or, the sensations may trigger off thoughts about the sensations, after labeling them and judging them good or bad, and making a story about them, or whatever. Thoughts trigger feelings and feelings trigger thoughts.

In any case, all we know — either of the so-called “outside world” or so-called “inside world” — is via these three “channels” of experience just described.

Now, someone might say, “but we know because of the brain”. Let’s take a look at that. How do we know about brains? It is because we have a concept of brain: a name and an image and a story about it, since we heard about it or read about it. But it is not direct knowledge, it is imagination: we have a certain image and sounds called “thoughts” associated with it. It is a concept, a model, a theory. It is a “subtle” object or objects.

So we only know about brains because we are aware and thinking or imagining about them right now. But what is “aware”?

Again you might say “the brain is aware”, but how do you know that? Again, because of what you heard or read: it is hearsay in other words. It is not direct experience or knowledge.

What we are looking for it certainly. Absolute knowledge. Direct knowledge, without any possible doubt. We want to be standing on solid evidence, on facts: facts of actual, direct and present experience.

Why do we want to know something certain, absolute? Because everything seems to be changing: the bodily sensations, the sense perceptions, and mentations. There is no solid ground there, nothing to rely on. A constant churn. Even if things are relatively calm and peaceful in the sensations and thoughts and feelings, things are going to change soon enough. You can be guaranteed of that. Nothing in the phenomenal realm of experience stays the same. There is always change. You cannot hang on to anything, either in the world or in your inner landscape – the outer world nor the landscape of mental objects we described earlier.

What is eternal, unchanging, and certain? What is our solid ground to stand on?

There are only two things: Awareness and Existence. I will capitalize them to make them distinctive and universal, which they are.

Look in your experience and you will see this is so. When were you ever not aware? Even to know that one was asleep or unconscious in the past, one needs to be aware, and so being aware in the past – or rather about the past – is a matter of remembering, not of being unaware now.

Think about it: how do you know you were aware in deep sleep, but just not remembering it, not laying down memory tracks while deep asleep or under anesthesia? It is purely an assumption, a conjecture, or what you heard, or assume from the language of being “unconscious.” It is not a fact. What we are seeking is what we know for certain. Just what the facts are, right now, not what is assumed or heard about or speculated about.

When you see Awareness and Existence as the only things one can be certain of absolutely, in the present, it is also useful — and interesting and significant — to consider how they are related.

Consider this: how could you know you existed if you were not aware of it?

And conversely, or likewise, how could you be aware if you did not exist?

You cannot be less real that that which you are aware of.

“Being is, and non-being is not” – Parmenides.

Therefore awareness and existence are real.

That which cannot not exist is real.

Reality and Awareness are One.

Therefore You are Reality.

That’s it. That is This.

I am That.


There you go. All you have to do is trace it back to the Source. You are Realized. You have realized the Self.

It works for me.
If it doesn’t work for you, that’s not my problem.

Eric Platt


  1. Suzanne Sinclair on April 30, 2023 at 6:46 pm

    So beautifully explained. Thank you.
    Explain the problem of separation or belief in a separate self vs. only one being, if you will.

    • Eric Platt on April 30, 2023 at 7:39 pm

      Hi Suzanne – 

      I would explain the belief in a separate self simply as seeing oneself as an object – that is, another phenomena, a particular one, appearing in consciousness – a ‘me’. Like an avatar in a computer game, the player of the game projects and identifies with that avatar appearing in the game field.

      We become an ‘I’ identified as some kind of object, be it an image or a concept, a whatever. It was learned early on – we are trained that we are a “this” set of appearances, of phenomena we call a body, and we form a concept of a person, and it gets reinforced. This habit is passed on from generation to generation, without much in the culture to counter it.

      But of course all objects are impermanent, come and go. They disappear completely. So we become afraid of disappearing. That’s problematic. And untrue. And we learn all kinds of images, scary stories and myths about death. And become neurotic. Conflicted. Try to hang on to everything. It ruins the party. We get all serious, and oriented to the future and past.

      Or we feel a lack, an incompleteness, and chase after desires and imagined futures, or pick up addictions…

      So that’s the problem and the side effects.

      Knowing to be One comes as an intuition, an experience. A very fortunate one. But to “know” it (again), sometimes we have to cut away all that bullshit in the way, the cruft. Thus the tool of nonduality and other wisdom teachings, and the practices, like self-inquiry. To go “back to where we once (and always) belonged.” Back Home. To safety. Peace and Love.

      Thank you.

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