This article presents non duality in Christianity.
I grew up catholic Christian. Although I did not know the term 'non duality', looking back it was always applicable to my faith.
I spoke of and experienced God as the ‘love behind all things’.
For a while, my journey took me away from calling myself a Christian.
I was led back by studying the book
A Course In Miracles.
(A Course In Miracles is a non dual teaching which uses much of the same spiritual language as Christianity. For example, It refers to the trinity - to God as father, to Jesus and ourselves as Son, and to the Holy Spirit.)
I am a Christian mystic. This means I place importance primarily on spiritual practice and the experience of God rather than on any doctrine or theology.
Traditional Christianity does not officially teach nonduality. Yet, I find Christianity and non duality compatible.
My Christian journey has been greatly enriched by this understanding.
Many bible scriptures can be interpreted in a non dual framework.
Non duality in Christianity is represented by the belief that the separation never actually took place.
In the language of Christianity you would say that the Fall from the Garden of Eden did not take place in reality, but only in our imaginations.
This Bible story is not a story of what happened. But a story of what we need to believe happened in order to experience a world of lack - a world that is NOT God's world.
I do not believe in a God who would deliberately place a tree where I was likely to eat its fruit and then punish me for doing so.
I do not believe in a God who would curse us. I believe God is love. I experience God as love.
duality says that the world is an illusion. This is a dream world. The
spiritual journey is one of awakening into the knowledge that we remain a
part of God.
Our essence is spiritual. We are not powerful enough to go against God's design. Non duality says that we therefore remain as God created us.
The prayer above refers to the following bible verses.
"... we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
(2 Corinthians 417-18, NIV non duality in Christianity Bible verse)
"my cup is overflowing" is a bible verse from
(The Lord is my Shepherd psalm)
As we awaken to the knowledge that we remain a part of God, our internal
experience changes to reflect this knowledge.
Potentially our outer world also changes. The outer changes are just echoes of the change in our mind. We are shifting towards a clearer perception that “Only the Love is real”.
But, in our human experience, the improvements in our world are important to us!
The Bible offers us this invitation...
"We walk by faith and not by sight"
Inclusion of non duality teaching in christianity gives a powerful clarification of this instruction.
We are to hold to what we cannot yet see, because what we cannot yet see is the truth of unchanging God's love.
We become willing not to rely on or worship what we experience through our physical senses, because these senses are not of God.
Much of traditional Christianity says the human problem is sin and the answer is repentance.
Gnostic Christianity says the human problem is ignorance and the answer is knowledge.
A perspective of non duality in Christianity can be applied to both.
My understanding and experience is that the spiritual journey is a journey
in the direction of allowing ourselves to know or remember that God loves us.
In this sense we move from ignorance to knowledge.
What about sin and repentence?
What if a sin is simply a mistake that we don't allow to be seen?
Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden don't take the blame for eating the fruit because they believe in a God who would throw they out for having done so.
What if they could say 'Sorry it was me' and know a God who still loves them completely.
What if we can take each thing about us that we believe worthy of guilt and be willing to be seen. I believe this is the positive intention behind the sacrament of confession as a forgiveness practice in the Catholic Christian church.
(On hearing my spiritual beliefs, people sometimes tell me that I am a gnostic Christian. I know very little of Gnostic Christianity but I have heard that they were a rather miserable bunch. I can definitely say I know the Joy of God, so clearly there are some differences!)
Living with chronic illness
for many years, I developed a very practical spirituality. I hold
beliefs pretty lightly.
I am interested in beliefs to the extent that they help me to move towards allowing God's peace and love to enter my life and flow through me to others.
Spiritual practice and the spiritual experience are far more important to me than beliefs.
In the spiritual experience we can experience the character of God in many ways.
God is Love.
God is Joy.
God is Peace.
God is Certainty.
God is a health that cannot be threatened.
God is provision...
The teaching of 'God is Love' IS an example of non duality in Christianity.
This world suggests that God is not love, and yet we choose to look past appearances -
We choose to believe that the love of God has never changed.
We chooose to believe that our location within God has never changed.
"God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God,
and God in them."
(1 John 4:1, NIV Bible verse)
We all live in love.
In the language of non duality teaching, the spiritual journey is one to reach the place we never left.
I have called the prayer below a Christian non duality prayer.
I suspect that it is a prayer that would be acceptable to much of, perhaps all of the brotherhood of Christianity, as well as to those of many faiths.
The benefit of the teaching of non duality into Christianity is its potential to place the emphasis on the reality of our knowing of Love rather than on our differences.
I believe we are invited to know God’s love as a greater reality than the circumstances of our lives.
As we experience God’s love more and more profoundly, we shift our focus from looking to the world to define us. More and more, we look to God to define us.
We shift our focus from looking to the world to make us happy. We find our happiness in the experience of God’s love –a love that is always available in the present moment.
Non duality in Christianity asks us to build our house on the 'rock' of God’s Love instead of building our house on the 'sand' of attachment to the idols we make for ourselves in this world.
"They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built."
(Luke 6:48, NIV
Bible verse, non duality in Christianity)
In the Spirit of non-duality, I sign-off:
We have never left the Garden of Eden.
With the Love we are, have been and will always be.
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