May 11, 2015 2:20 PM
“Uncle Dave” posted a comment about a subject that often comes up in nondual circles: How can one have past lives if the self is an illusion? (“… the Absolute mistakenly identifying with one of It’s countless forms. …If this ‘me-thing’ is an illusion, then anything it remembers must also be illusory.”)
Look at that tree over there. It use to be a seed, then a sapling, and is now a fully grown tree. You can think of that tree as a single thread (seed->sapling->tree) of the Absolute. But that thread of the Absolute doesn’t have the same experiences as any other threads of the Absolute: It got rain when other trees didn’t; it grows in its unique position on this planet; ….
Same goes with individual people. They are all threads of the Absolute, each with their own experiences. Same with our soul threads, each has its own unique experiences covering multiple lives (please see the Soul Resources page for the evidence of this).
Where I disagree with most theoretical nondualists is that they say, “The Absolute is real, all separation is illusion.” I say, “The Absolute is real and separation is real.”
Why? Because you couldn’t have the “tapestry” (physical world) of the Absolute without its individual threads.
Granted, enlightenment is when you drop all identification (with the body, with the story, with the soul, …), but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have all the experiences of the thread you find yourself living within. Dropping identification doesn’t mean that the thread isn’t real, it just means that you (whatever that is) isn’t the thread but the experiencer of the thread.
Here’s the thing that most theoretical nondualists miss: If you are the Absolute, then you’d know who my first girlfriend was. If you don’t know the answer to that, then you can’t be the Absolute. You are only the experiencer of a single thread (your thread) of the Absolute.
If this ‘me-thing’ is an illusion, then anything it remembers must also be illusory.
The ‘me-thing’ is not an illusion. It is a thread of the Tapestry.
Which is more real? The threads or the tapestry? Neither. One may be bigger, but they are both equally real.
The Absolute is unity. The threads are separation. Both are real… and both are equally true.
Unity is true. Separation is true.
And both are equally true.
Thanks for the question “Uncle Dave.” The idea that unity is “more real” than separation is a common misunderstanding in nondual circles.
(For my original thoughts on this, see the Paradox post.)
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