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.

Bottom line

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!

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  • Pls. Let me tell you the how & the why.

    How or better,
    purpose means : love what you do…
    Why means : energized happy bunny…
    Need to evolve your spirit…fulfillment…
    Love… love … love.. I go there with you…
    All we can do…

  • Sorry, I did not say * Happy Easter* Bunny Run for
    all you Happy Puppies…
    When the I you are referring to does not exist…
    You have to just open-up and see for your self…
    the beauty you posses!

  • Like I always said before.. why are you here… what is your purpose here…
    The I you are referring to, does not exist …
    When one is great…

    Love you Melody

  • I liked the post except for one comment which made me gasp when I read it (and not in a good way)… forgive me if I’m being over-sensitive but would it be possible to find a more light-hearted alternative to the derogatory intention behind the phrase, ‘being painted by a blind guy in a mental institution’?
    I might sound like a PC zealot, which I hope I’m not, but my instant response on reading it was, ‘wow, that’s harsh on people with visual impairment and people with mental illness’.
    Being blind, or mentally ill, in no way detracts from a person’s ability to create wonderful art, and the comment kind of assumes the opposite, that it would be impossible. Which felt unfair. The comment was a bit too off-the-cuff, perhaps?
    There are many super-talented artists with visual impairment and with mental health issues. Just felt I had to offer that reminder 🙂

  • Melanie, you did it again! Simplified a grossly over-complicated topic—non-duality.
    I’m not the Stephanie who asked you that question, but she must be another aspect of me, because I do not choose to ever use that term. It’s OK that it exists, but that is not how I choose to think about law of attraction. In fact, I have just joined you in “UN-complicating LOA.” by writing a 1-hour ebook on LOA. Can’t wait to read your book—may I invite you to read mine “Smashing Through the Roadblocks in the Highways of Your Mind” ?

  • Thanks Melody. This post brought me a much appreciated wave of empowerment on making choices without judging the alternative as some nefarious thing that I would normally cringe at and nearly stop breathing just thinking about it. Reading your post has been an eye opener to better manage my focus on and appreciate my desirable options.

  • An extraordinarily good post. It’s simply about having, – and honouring – your preferences, without feeling the need to judge – love it! As Natalie says, “an amazing, revolutionary shift in the way one views the world and lives his/her life.”
    Thank you Melody!

  • Hi Melody,
    I do have question here: I had always read budhists explain that non-duality was about the illusion of the “I” (ego). When Duality is to see Myself as separated from the Universe, non-duality was the ability to think of my life as a part of the Whole (like a wave of the ocean), and truly understand that “I” doesnt refer to anything that you can actually define. When I read the title of the post, I was first thrilled … but then , I couldnt draw your points to my own questioning, which left me with a mixed feeling of frustration and..more questioning. You always stress the importance of one person’s feeling..but who’s that person? We are always changing. And what we want is always changing too. It’s so easy and common to get confused about what we want since we are so confused about who we are. I thought duality/ non-duality was about the stability of this “who we are”…or something like that…

  • A very good breakdown of the mechanics of LOA. I have been at this LOA business for almost a year now, reading, internalising and practising pretty much every day and I can tell you that getting into the habit of turning away from what I don’t want, and focusing on what I do want has been nothing short of a revelation and revolutionary in terms of how I look at life. It just gets better and better….and better! I started out life as a very negative person (my parents’ favourite phrase was ‘you can’t) so believe me, if I can get to this point anyone can. Before, I used to think I had to look at what I didn’t want to look at and ‘face up to it’ in order to get to the good stuff. Now I know I can bypass all that altogether and get straight to the good stuff as long as I do the work internally. If there’s something that bugs me I just say ‘hey – that’s there right now but it doesn’t have to affect me, and I choose not to look at it or let it bother me.’ When you focus on the positive and pleasant, you attract more of the same, which is what we all want.Hugs to Melody and everyone!

  • Melody,
    Great timing in this post. I’m a senior in college abd have been struggling so much in school. I was convinced that going to school and struggling to earn good grades was an “obstacle” keeping me away from doing things I really want to do. That was the choice I was making at that time. I begun to make a different choice. I dont like or prefer school, I’d rather be doing other things that make me happy. As my vibration has been rising I’m finding it increasingly undesirable to do things I do not like to do. Over and over I’ve wanted to give up but stayed because what would my family think? If I dont get a degree I’ll be a bum ( oh the horror!!!) Now none of those things matter more to me than my own happiness. I’m starting to do what I love and I’m happy doing it. This has definitely drawn my attention away from school and I wonder if I just failed my senior year of college what will people think of me? But I guess that really doesn’t matter.
    Thank you

  • Hey Melody
    This was a great post, and you’re right, that term is used a lot but it isn’t always clear what it means exactly. I think you did an excellent job of explaining that. It is a good distinction to make when it comes to consciously creating your reality when there may be things in it right now you are not exactly loving.

    I always like to remind people it’s okay to have preferences, and you don’t have to start loving things about your life you would rather be different. But, it is about developing that different perspective, such as the example you used with the boss, to start energy flowing more towards what you want, and not concluding the things now are any sort of obstacle that will keep what you want from you.

  • A second point:

    This also really stood out to me: “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.”

    My best friend was OBSESSED with this girl; everyone I knew saw her as bold and daring and vibrant. And I saw her feeling powerless and depressed. And when I brought that up, they agreed that she was depressed — but pointed out that they still looked up to her, and the fact that she’s so outward with her depression is part of what made her so exciting.

    And I didn’t understand it at all. I felt like I was looking at a blank wall and everyone was telling me the Eiffel Tower was there. I was so confused! So I thought, maybe it’s not good that I see her feeling powerless, rather than bold and vibrant. I thought that maybe my not seeing her “boldness” was me just looking for the worst in people.

    But now I think, the people who looked up to her felt powerless too — and so maybe she was more on their wavelength, so when they saw her acting out, they were drawn to her because they saw it as “I’m shy and she’s not so I want to be like her.”

    And so maybe the best option for me, instead of spending a bunch of time thinking, “Am I crazy that I don’t get what people see in her???” was to just move on and not spend any energy on it, even if it was my best friend who liked her.

    • Hi Brittany, I understand what you mean. There are certain celebrities who everybody seems to love but I just don’t get what they see in them. I think they’re ok but I don’t think they’re fabulous, just don’t get it. But then there will be people who I like but others don’t.

      It’s interesting how we see people in different ways. I suppose it’s all to do with vibration or being on their wavelength, as you said. 🙂

  • This one made me think a bit.

    What advice for you have for “Staying present?” I feel like a lot of times it is a lot easier to totally zone out and daydream a new reality and not think about your boss/job/whatever at all, but then I’m not really “present” in the moment. I get caught “Find good things about your horrible boss and focus on the things that make you feel good” and “Stop thinking about him altogether.”

  • ….and now that I’ve stopped laughing about poop let me say thank you for a very poignant and timely (are they always?) post. The concept of “not demonizing” something is powerful. I’m in a situation I’m not thrilled about right now but instead of dwelling on how sucky it is I’m reminding myself to be thankful that I have enough self-awareness to realize that I’m starting to outgrow it and it’s time to raise my vibration and ask at the next level.

    • It can help when you focus on this situation that you do not want, has added even more to your Vortex and made what you do want even bigger, better and grander. This experience has also given you greater clarity of what you do want—because when you know what you don’t want, you more clearly know what you do want. And, it’s all thanks to this beautiful unwanted experience you are going through right now.

  • Hi Melody:
    Interesting post. I can see how it can be valuable to people who are really “getting it” and believing that this stuff works, but for me, I’m still on that threshold. For me, stepping into nonduality for everything, just doesn’t work. Often times, I feel better when I let myself make those judgements. This was one of the problems I have recently worked through. Often times, you would talk about ways to deliberately receive reality, and I would find that they do not actually make me feel better. Instead, they feel constricting. So what I do is make those judgements. I try not to say that something is bad for everyone, but I do like calling the waitress who wasn’t nice rude or a jerk or whatever to my friends. Then, after I find that I feel better, I focus on what I want instead for a bit. I do it until I start to feel the “what if this doesn’t work” start to come up, and then move to something else before that momentum can build up. So the goal is to always end on a positive note, but not judge the negative thoughts. In fact, I tell myself that the negative thoughts that come up cannot hurt me; how can they? They are just thoughts.
    I am glad to say I am truly feeling better.
    I just thought I would explain this because, well, it is a different perspective. What you wrote here certainly is valuable for some, but being where I am, I think I need to stick to what my “gut” is saying now and keep doing what I am doing,even if that includes, a bit of duality for me.

    • I think if you do feel better making a judgment right now, that’s perfectly okay. You should take the path of least resistance rather than the one that makes you feel constricted, as you put it. However, AFTER the event is over and you’re in a good place maybe take some time to ask yourself why you attracted that event in the first place. If you have a mean waitress, there was something in your vibration that caused her to show up in your reality. For example: Why exactly did this event bother me? What emotion/reaction did it make me feel ? How do I want to feel instead? What else in my reality feels like this?

      You’re so right to listen to your gut! It’s no use saying “I’m going to be spiritual and not judge anyone” while inside you’re totally pissed at that person/event. You don’t want to cover up your true feelings with a false happy face. Be authentic, you have the right to feel/believe however you want to. Most likely, over time you’ll start judging people less and move NATURALLY into non-duality, and it will light and free, never constricted.

      • Hello Nataly:
        Absolutely. Listening to your gut is the most important thing ehre. If your gut tells you something said on this blog is not right, follow that. Do not try to force it.
        Since I do not trust that the law of attraction works completely, I cannot ask why something manifested into my reality. I need to actually let things come a lot more naturally, instead of trying to figure out why things happened a certain way. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I guess I can say this, my mind is so active that if I ask why, my mind will do what it does best, try to fix it right now. And fix it all right now. So asking why something manifested is actually bad for me in the long run, because I try to fix it so hard, that I actually end up in a state of desperation about it. It’s like someone whose car is broken, but they really need that car because they have to get somewhere that buses and trains just do not go. Or at least that’s what they believe. They will do everything in the world to fix that car. They will be preoccupied with that car until it is working properly. Well, that’s what happens to me when I ask why I manifested something.
        Just thought I would share my experience with that. My mind will come up with LOA-based answers on it’s own, but I can’t ask why and try so hard to fix everything. In fact, I think my attempts to fix everything have actually made my manifestations much worse.

  • Another fantastic one!! I can understand where Stephanie is coming from; a lot of spiritual teachers/Buddhists teach non-duality in a way that gives the impression that we aren’t supposed to have preferences or even desires. I think it does leave a lot of people confused, and feeling as if to be “spiritual”, we are resigned to just staying exactly as we are, not forming opinions, and not wanting for anything.

    Anyway, I believe breaking out of the “right/wrong” mode of thinking and into “wanted/unwanted” is an amazing, revolutionary shift in the way one views the world and lives his/her life.

    • Sometimes of course I still find myself proclaiming something to be “wrong”, and then I’ll catch myself and think about how my higher self doesn’t assign value to anything. It’s not wrong, it’s just unwanted, something that doesn’t serve me. It’s amazing how much better I feel once I don’t push against, I just let it exist as is. It’s like, before the energy was bunched up, but then I release resistance and allow it to flow again, and I feel kind of lighter and freer. Releasing resistance is truly awesome!!! 🙂

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