not one, not two

So often in non-dual meetings, teachers point to “not two” rather than simply to unity. “Not two” comes from the meaning of the Sanskrit word, Advaita. If we were to say “It’s all one,” there could be something other, or outside of, that one.

But “not two” by itself also seems incomplete. It fails to describe an even deeper understanding that I see unfolding in the West that can be expressed as “not one, not two.” I place my hand on my knee, feel the bony hardness there. That’s a real experience that I cannot deny–it’s just not real in the way that we are taught from childhood. We are taught (and believe, and act as if) the knee is made of some solid, finite stuff called matter–even though scientists now admit that they have not found “matter” as we have imagined it.

We have also been taught that “my knee” is completely separate from “your knee.” But is this really true? Is is possible that the model that we have trusted, have built our belief systems upon, and take for granted as though it is undeniable fact, is deeply flawed?  The living, gasping wreckage of our planet suggests that the idea of separation that we have lived by hasn’t served us.

In 1961, Edward Lorenz, an assistant professor in Meteorology at MIT, noticed that an infinitesimal change in his weather model vastly altered the outcome. From this came the expression “when a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world.”

Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of this interconnection as “interbeing.” Expressed this way, the multitudinous body of our manifest world is not denied, but is instead, seen for what it is–the living paradox of extravagant diversity that is only, ever, one.

Let’s move, live, and breath from that. Not one, not two.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2012
Butterfly photo credit

2 Comments

Filed under Advaita, Musings

2 responses to “not one, not two

  1. rabi'a neeno

    So beautifully put! Thank you!

  2. jimrich

    IMO, the term “not two” is meant to deny the apparent existence of my ego or false self and help me focus on or remember the real self that I was born in but lost thanks to conventional socialization. Oneness, to me, means there is only one being/self in all of creation but I have been programmed to believe in another, different and separate me/self which is in contrast to and often in conflict with all of you other, separate selves over there. It’s a blessing that there exists non-dual teaching such as Advaita and Liberation Unleashed to help me remember my own true being otherwise, I might live and die without ever remembering who/what I truly am.
    jim 🙂

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