There are several problems with the teachings of what is called by its advocates ‘radical non-duality’, and by its detractors ‘neo-advaita’. Personally, I quite like these teachings, and ironically* I think they have great value to the apparent seeker of liberation, but there are some issues too, which if ironed out, in my view make the teachings more effective.
*ironic as, according to the dogma of radical nonduality, these teachings are not teachings, they have no value, and everything is meaningless
Neo-advaita myth: The ‘me’ is an energetic contraction
This is not true. Contraction or a contraction of energy is not the issue. A contraction doesn’t create the sense of ‘me’. A contraction is just a contraction, nothing more. It’s a phenomena that may arise and fall from time to time, and may even persist for a while. There is no problem in this. The issue is that thought/the mind interprets the contracted energy and labels it as ‘me’. Without thought wrongly interpreting perceptions, there can be no me. So the issue is not energy not being open enough, or something being wrong with what is, but a wrong interpretation of what is. And interpretations are mediated by thought, not by energy.
4 thoughts on “Neo-advaita myth: The ‘me’ is an energetic contraction”
Does this insight occur spontaneously – typically though not exclusively – within the context of a committed meditation practice / contemplative life, or is there a way that internal introspection can be ‘self’ directed to find it, or see the erroneous interpretation in the moment, moment by moment – presumably as a kind of automatic activity?
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Hi Ian, I’m not sure I fully understand your question. I would say it occurs spontaneously – it’s like finding something you were looking for – the looking is helpful, but you are never sure when you will find it
It seems that trying to deny the “me” for such reasons is closer to the regular materialistic, or otherwise social (even religious), denial of the “me”… whereas true advaita means finding the universal or pure self beyond matter or social identity, beyond the physical mind and the individual physical “me”, and then shifting one’s centre to that universal non-physical self or core.
At the same time, the question above is interesting. Can the universal self be found by some kind of meditative or introspective practice? The main problem seems to be that this would have to happen within a life basically committed to material and social performance, or to material and social compliance, which is the way most people live life, since life is social and material. Another way to think of the question in this light is, can the finding of the universal self be compatible with regular social and material life? Could such a finding help at least some people live a better life within their society and within the material struggle? What would be the practical use of finding the universal self?
Such questioning, being focused on the practical application of the potential finding of the real self, might help the conscious and unconscious mind start to take the leap necessary to notice what is in fact just an obvious fact hidden in plain sight, only massively forgotten, or denied, for social and material reasons.
The success of radical non-duality or neo-advaita seems to be the practical tone of what this article calls its non-teaching. Maybe there is room to improve on that ground. Some of it might be fertile ground.
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