Nonduality Versus Psychology?
In psychological work, I could ‘re-parent’ my inner child, acknowledge him and cherish him, bringing the feeling of wholeness. I’m not sure I’m ready for not having this inner child. On the other hand I don’t want to keep switching between the psychological point of view and nonduality and not follow through on either. What should I do? (Anon., U.S.)
When we hear nondual teachings about there being no self, nothing to do, nothing to know, etc., it can be easy to imagine that nonduality is a philosophical viewpoint that is in opposition to all our activity and all our conceptualizations surrounding these activities. How can we do re-parenting psychological work if there is no self to do it, no inner child, and nothing missing in the first place?
However, nonduality is not a philosophical viewpoint, and it is not in opposition to any viewpoint or activity. It is a word for the space in which all viewpoints and activity are happening. Teachings inviting us to look for a self, a need to do, or a need to know, are used to reveal what is here prior to all conceptualization. What is here prior to the thought that there is or is not a self? What is here prior to the thought that we need to do something or we don’t need to do anything?
Nonduality is the broader deeper truth in which all our conceptualizations and projects are happening. Nonduality doesn’t negate or oppose projects such as re-parenting or conceptualizations such as “my inner child.” It reveals the context-less context in which these are happening. It invites us to see that our concepts and projects are being made-up and allows us to appreciate that they are ultimately not necessary. And even a statement like this can be received very lightly, as just another made-up frame attempting to hint at this which is prior to all frames.
When we believe nonduality is in opposition to any activity it means that we are relating to nonduality as a philosophy, but as soon as we look for the meaning of nonduality we can’t find anything. What is the meaning of this moment? What is the meaning of awareness itself? As we look without finding, we might fall open to the vast openness, and yet nothing is being erased or denied. Could any thought or activity degrade this?