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