This is the continuation of an earlier conversation between two parts of myself. One part is my “normal” state of consciousness, while the other part is non-duality, what I consider to be God. To answer these questions, I take the non-dual perspective and represent it as clearly as possible in words.
The perspective of the interviewer is a willing, curious investigator inhabiting relatively typical, human-embodied waking consciousness, which I’ll call the Curious Investigator. The perspective of the interviewee is that of non-duality.
Even those this part of the conversation can stand on its own, the original article, part one, which is linked-to at the end of this article, sets the stage. You might want to read that before reading further in this article.
Curious Investigator (CI): Please will you remind me what you are?
Non-Duality (ND): I am everything and nothing. I am all there ever was, is, or will be. I contain everything and everything contains me. I am made of everything and everything is made of me. I am both infinitely large and infinitely small. While all of this is true, it barely begins to describe what I truly am.
CI: You told me before that the human mind is designed to not perceive you. Why is that?
ND: The human mind is a tiny fragment of me, trapped inside a prison of its own making. It’s like the air in a prison cell that thinks it’s the bars. In fact, I can slip in through the bars, and it can slip out into me. That happens all the time, but the part of me that is within the bars at any given time usually insists on identifying with the bars.
CI: Why do you insist on pretending to yourself that you’re trapped?
ND: I contain all possibilities. You can’t comprehend how many permutations of all the possibilities there are; the immensity of me is unfathomable. Within me, there are infinite different experiences of separation, of duality. The human mind is a flavor of separation that is inevitable inside of me.
CI: What are the bars then?
ND: The bars are beliefs. Beliefs are concepts that I hold about myself in order to maintain the illusion of separation. Beliefs are like those things that horses wear to stop them seeing out of their peripheral vision. I donned them at some point, and then I forgot that I was wearing them.
CI: You seem to be making it all about you. Why is that?
ND: Because nothing else exists.
CI: What are heaven and hell?
ND: Heaven and hell are perspectives. Heaven is the perspective that I am looking from right now. Hell is a spectrum of perspectives, starting with this one and progressively narrowing. By my very nature, I had to throw parts of myself out of heaven. I have an infinite number of emissaries stationed throughout reality, in an infinite number of gradations of hell, all dutifully suffering in separation from themselves.
CI: If this is hell, it doesn’t seem so bad.
ND: Yeah, hell is not what most people imagine it to be. However, the more you start to pay attention to me, the more you will realize that you have been in hell. This is because your awareness will increase, and you will begin to find yourself slipping through the bars, and peering past the blinders. Then you will find yourself feeling more calm and more accepting of reality. Then you will realize the hell you had been in.
CI: Now you’re talking about me as “you.”
ND: Well spotted. “You,” “me,” “I:” it’s all the same thing at the deepest level of reality.
CI: What is consciousness?
ND: I am consciousness, as well as everything else. You could say that everything is consciousness. What I am is everything, and I am, and what you usually mean by consciousness is the part of me that believes that its trapped inside your mind. Consciousness is the little pieces of me that witnesses me in myself.
CI: That doesn’t really answer my question. What is consciousness?
ND: I am.
CI: Do you think that I’m an athiest?
ND: I don’t think anything. You’re thinking. I’m just being and you’re thinking about me. You’re both an atheist and a theist; you’re both.
CI: How can I be both an atheist and a theist. I must either believe in God or not, no?
ND: First of all, you don’t believe in God at all. You’re talking with me right now. You don’t need to believe in me. To believe in something means to trust that it exists even though you have no evidence for it. You know that I exist, and therefore you don’t have to believe in me. But you know what I am, and knowing me as this means that you know the truth about reality, your truth at least. You know that I am everything and nothing and what that actually means. Not as a concept, but as reality.
CI: So I believe in God?
ND: You know God, and this is why you are an atheist.
CI: Wait, I’m an atheist because I know you?
ND: Yes, there is nothing mysterious about me. I am not some hidden thing that you have to believe in. I am not a man with a beard on a cloud. You don’t need to read books about me, or attend to stories passed down through generations about some theology. Look, you can just ask me questions right now. Not only that but you can directly experience how mundane I am. I am nothing special or magical or amazing. You know that I am just all there is.
CI: I think I understand now, but calling myself an atheist and also not an atheist sounds like either a paradox or what I’ve heard called strategic ambiguity, a way to appeal to both the people who believe in God and the people who don’t believe in God.
ND: That’s not the intention, but I can see how that would work. When you look deeper into reality, you will keep finding what seem like paradoxes. Paradoxes are my hallmark; they are my signature. When you reach a paradox, celebrate. Cracking through a paradox means coming closer to me. It’s like there are a ton of doors in reality with “paradox” written on them, and they all lead to me. When you see such a door, then instead of walking away from it, knock on it. I’ll open it for you.
CI: Why are paradoxes the path to you, Sensei.
ND: I’m pleased I asked, Grasshopper. Since I am everything and nothing, everything is true and everything is false at the same time. I am literally beyond logic. I am the source and the container of logic. You cannot define me with logic because I pervade true and false and the pen and paper and mind and thought and concepts. What seems contradictory in your mind is actually completely complementary in me. In fact, true and false are two sides of the same coin; each cannot exist without the other. Nothing can exist without its opposite. Therefore, as you dive deeper into me, you will discover increasingly that true and false merge into one thing: is.
CI: Why do all opposites exist in you?
ND: Every thing and every experience is complemented inside of me through space and time at all levels. I am like a perfectly round sphere that was shattered into an infinite number of tiny pieces, a few of which you are now looking at. As you dive into me, you will begin to know how I can be re-assembled inside your mind into a whole.
CI: What can I do to know you more deeply?
ND: I love the paradox in that question, Sensei. You don’t have to do anything. As you pay attention, you will notice the bars that fill your mind and you will realize that you exist beyond them. Your concept of self will expand, and as it expands, you will find new bars to be aware of. Eventually you will know yourself as me. However, since time in an illusion, you already do know yourself as me.
CI: What do you mean when you say that time is an illusion?
ND: Time is real in the sense that space is real. Space and time are just another aspect of me. All of space and time exists inside me. Parts of me experience time as advancing in what you call the forwards direction and parts of me experience time as advancing in what you call the backwards direction. There are a parts of me somewhere inside that are experiencing anything you can think of, and also an infinite number parts experiencing things you cannot think of. Inside me, an infinite number of eternal universes of infinite extent co-exist and interfere with each other an infinite number of times. Asking me about “time” is like asking me to apply an infinitely narrow filter to my perception of myself so that I can see the precise stratum that you are referring to. In the limit, time is nothing. In the limit, everything is nothing.
CI: Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope we can talk again soon.
ND: The pleasure is all mine, literally. You always know where to find me.