Awesome Stephanie asks: “My burning question is about non-duality and neutrality in relation to the Law of Attraction. I don’t see how they work and complement one another.
From my understanding, the LOA creates space for us to be happy shiny puppies, to focus on what feels good and to manifest our desires.
But with neutrality and non-duality, it seems we should try to stay even energetically and view all situations and experiences equally.
I do like the idea of not judging people, places or things as good vs. bad, or positive vs. negative. But if I don’t allow myself to clarify what feels good to me and what doesn’t, won’t I just go about life unenthused and unreactive, instead of consciously creating a life that makes me squeal with delight?”
Dear Awesome Stephanie,
Thank you for your excellent question! The idea of non-duality and how it fits into all this Law of Attraction stuff is one that many people struggle with, so I’m more than happy to explore this concept with you today.
What exactly is Non-Duality?
The term “non-duality” is thrown around a lot in spiritual circles. But what, exactly, does it mean?
Duality, the paradigm that humanity has been operating under for most of its existence, is the idea that there are good and bad things in the world. There is abundance and scarcity. There is pleasure and pain. There is chocolate and then, there’s a big pile of poop. What’s more, under duality, one side of the coin is acceptable, while the other is unacceptable. We make one side wrong while the other is right.
The concept of non-duality states that neither side – the cholate or the poop – is “better” or worse than the other. All choices are equally valid. It’s all good. But, as you’ve asked, if it’s all good, then how can we prefer one thing over another? Does non-duality mean that we’re supposed to just accept everything in our reality as it is and be happy about it? Do we give up the chocolate and just settle for the poop?
Well, no. That would suck. This work isn’t about settling (it’s about feeling good and settling doesn’t feel good, does it?). It’s about having an awesome life. It’s about becoming who you really are, that amazing, powerful, master creator you’ve begun to get more and more glimpses of. Does that mean that non-duality is rubbish? Nope. It’s just widely misunderstood. Allow me to clarify.
It’s all about judgment
You see, there’s a big difference between preferring one thing over something else, and declaring that second option to be “wrong”. It’s really all about judgment. Just because you like one thing better than another (I like chocolate a lot more than poop), doesn’t mean you have to judge the option you don’t like as well. You don’t have to assign an inherent value to something in order to prefer it.
Let’s look at the example of art. You’re looking at a painting and your first reaction is that it must’ve been painted by a blind guy in a mental institution. In other words, in your opinion, it’s complete and utter crap. You can’t imagine anyone hanging this painting in their home. You can’t appreciate anything about it. The term “fugly” comes to mind.
Under duality, you would declare this painting to be bad. It should be removed. Since you don’t like it, it is not likeable. No one should ever be subjected to such an atrocity.
Under non-duality, you would simply acknowledge that you, personally, don’t like this painting. You don’t want to buy it. Heck, you don’t want to even keep looking at it. You don’t want to bring this awful collection of insane paint smears into your reality. But under non-duality, you also recognize that you don’t have to. You can simply stop looking at this painting that doesn’t make your heart sing. You can remove yourself from it, choose not to buy it, choose not to engage with it, without making any kind of value judgement about it. You don’t try to get the painting or the artist banned. You don’t try to protect anyone else from their manifestation. You don’t try to take away anyone else’s choice by limiting the options out there. You don’t spend any time trying to figure out why you don’t like this painting, or trying to force yourself to love it, when you clearly don’t. You just acknowledge that you, personally, don’t like it, and you walk away.
You get to have an opinion
Non-duality doesn’t mean that you don’t get to have an opinion. You’re an opinion generating machine. You’re literally built for it. Anything that comes into your reality is going to elicit an opinion from you. Some opinions will be strong, others very subtle. Some stuff you will care about, some stuff you won’t. But your opinion doesn’t have to come from a place of judgment.
Let me make it even clearer:
Duality: “That doohickey is bad.”
Non-Duality: “I, personally, don’t like that doohickey.”
Deliberate Receiving (based on non-duality): “I, personally, don’t like that doohickey, and I want a different doohickey instead.”
Under non-duality, you don’t have to love everything. You don’t have to enjoy everything. You don’t have to talk to douchebags while rejoicing in their douchebaggery. You don’t have to work at a job you clearly hate, and somehow force yourself to love it. You don’t have to settle for anything.
But what you cannot do, if you want to operate from a state of non-duality, is declare that douchebags shouldn’t exist, or that the job should change.
Let’s talk about empowerment
When we make value judgments about the manifestations in our world, we’re operating from a place of powerlessness. We are given a certain lot in life, and now it’s up to us to make it better through hard work, sweat and tears, manipulation and even force. We don’t think that we have a choice in what we engage with, so we try to engage with what’s there (the stuff we don’t like) and somehow feel better about it.
Non-duality requires us to move into a place of empowerment. When you realize that you are not dealt a fixed hand, that what comes into your reality is simply a reflection of your energy, a mirror, and that what comes in can change as you do, you can let go of the idea of “good” vs. “bad”, or “right” vs. “wrong” and move instead to “what I want” vs. “what I don’t want.” Because it really always and only comes don’t to what you want or prefer.
If you like chocolate better than poop, you cannot make yourself love poop no matter how hard you try. You get to feel what you feel. You get to like what you like. And you can’t really change what you like. But what you can do is bring more stuff that you like into your reality. In order to do that, you have to first figure out and acknowledge what it is that you like. Your opinion is incredibly important! When one food tastes better than another, it’s really helpful to acknowledge that, so you can eat more of the food that tastes good to you. If one song makes you want to dance while another makes you want to ram metal spikes into your ears, it’s helpful to recognize that, so you can listen to more songs that make you want to shake your booty. So, not only is it ok for you to have an opinion, it’s a requirement for successful living.
You don’t want to subject yourself to ugliness or pain. You don’t want to stay in an environment that makes you feel like crap. You don’t want to drink coffee that’s too hot or watered down, you don’t want to walk naked through a frozen tundra, and you don’t want to spend time with boring, boorish, horrible people. And that’s ok.
You want to drink coffee that tastes and feels so good that you have to close your eyes to fully appreciate it. You want to be comfortable and warm and cozy. You want to have fun and adventures and awesome conversations that blow your mind. And that’s ok, too.
Focusing on what you want
When you focus on what you want, it doesn’t mean that you have to declare the thing you don’t want as bad or wrong. It’s simply a valid option that you’re not choosing. It’s an option that shows you what you don’t want so that you can more easily determine what you want instead. And, as such, it has value. Non-duality is simply about recognizing the inherent value in all options, while still maintaining the right to exercise whatever option feels best to you.
When you judge something, when you focus on how wrong it is, you’re actually focusing on something unwanted (you can’t judge it without focusing on it) and therefore bringing more experiences that feel just like that into your reality. When you allow yourself to just leave that unwanted thing alone, knowing (from a place of empowerment) that you do not have to choose that option, that you can simply focus on what you want instead, it stops being such a threat. Your energy opens up. You begin to attune yourself to what you actually want.
Things only have power over us when we give them power. And when we judge something, we’re giving it power.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that you hate your boss. He’s a class-A asshole. He micromanages, bullies people, has rage issues, and forces everyone to work long hours to meet unrealistic and arbitrary goals. He’s incompetent, ignorant and an idiot. Oh, and he also smells like fermented cheese, but insists on getting uncomfortably close to you when he’s talking to you. In other words, it would be really easy to judge him as a horrible boss that no one should be subjected to.
Under non-duality, you would be able to see that this boss, while not a good boss for you, is serving a purpose. He is challenging all those who have to deal with him (including you!) to set boundaries, to make choices. He’s showing them how they don’t want to be treated (and he won’t be the first in their lives to do so), so they can make the decision that they will no longer put up with it. He serves as a powerful example of what people don’t want, so they can focus on what they want instead. Now, if you don’t believe that you can have what you want, if you see this boss to be the obstacle to you getting what you want (which means you’re not owning your role as a creator), if you decide that this boss is damaging to you and others, you might campaign to get him fired. Or, at the very least, you’d bitch and complain about what a horrible boss he is, while all the while focusing on the “fact” that you can’t have what you want because your current reality isn’t showing it to you. And as you do this, for some reason (sarcasm alert), your boss just keeps on getting worse and worse.
You have focused on him by judging him, have therefore given him power by making him an equation in your reality, and now you can’t get what you want. Instead, you just keep getting more of what you don’t want.
Being a deliberate receiver
But, let’s say that you decide to move into non-duality, no longer declaring this boss to be an obstacle or a threat, but instead allow yourself to focus on what you want instead. What if you took him completely out of the equation and gave him no power? What if you simply wished him well in his miserable (but valuable) existence and took control over your own vibration? What if you took your power back?
Well, in that case, you could focus on all the stuff that already makes you feel good, work related or not. You could make feeling good your number one priority. You wouldn’t try to feel good about this boss that you hate, but you’d be willing to no longer feel bad about him (because he has no more power over you). You could envision the environment that you’d really like to see, allowing yourself to move into how that would feel NOW. And if you held that vision for just a little while, your entire reality would shift to mirror this new feeling back to you.
To put it another way: you don’t have to feel happy about your horrible boss, but you can feel happy regardless of how horrible he is (often, by focusing on something other than him). You don’t have to make him or anything else an obstacle to your happiness. You don’t have to choose that option anymore. Choose something else. Choose what you want. Not because it’s better, but simply because you want it. Because you prefer it. Because it feels better to you. Period.
You haven’t seen me use the term non-duality much, because I prefer to talk about judgment. When you stop judging, you automatically move into non-duality. You can’t turn off judgment without making that shift. I prefer to talk about empowerment – the idea that you can choose to create and deliberately receive whatever you want, and you don’t have to choose from just the physical manifestations currently in your reality. I prefer to talk about taking back your power, believing that you can get what you want, and the willingness to simply focus on what that is instead of yammering on and on about the stuff that you don’t like. I prefer to talk about the inherent value of all things, people and places, with full understanding that just because something is valuable, doesn’t mean it’s wanted (you can appreciate a Ferrari without wanting to own one), and just because something is unwanted, doesn’t make it valueless (you can choose to buy a Jaguar without declaring the Ferrari to be a piece of crap).
So really, I talk about non-duality a lot, and have been for a very long time. I coach people into a state of non-duality. Every time I give you permission to feel what you’re feeling, every time I coach you to stop demonizing the situation and focus on what you want instead, every time I help you find a better feeling perspective on things that used to drive you crazy, I’m pulling you into non-duality. It’s the idea of “I don’t like that, but it’s ok that it exists” or “I hate this situation, but it’s ok that I’m temporarily here right now”, or “all manifestations have a positive side designed to help you move towards what you really want.” It really is all about focusing on what you want without needing to get rid of the stuff you don’t want, first.
Now, aren’t you glad that it’s all so simple? 😉
If you feel this post has been valuable to you and you think it might be for others, as well, please share it on Facebook or Twitter and spread the love. And as always, I can’t wait to read your comments! Yay!