In our previous episode, the Intro to the Intro, I pointed out that to even begin to make sense, intellectually, of Adi Da Samraj and the Way of Adidam, you basically have to go through four Inconceivable Revolutions of Your Entire Paradigm of Reality. (Hence, “grotesquely absurd and doomed.”) Here now, the first Inconceivable Revolution of Your Entire Paradigm of Reality: There’s Only God.
The notion that There’s Only God is often called “non-dualism,” or sometimes, “radical non-dualism.” It was first popularized thousands of years ago by one of the great mountains of Indian spirituality, a man called Shankara, and a spiritual system and philosophy called Advaita Vedanta. Academic types call it “monism.” It is also the paradigm of Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. Whatever you call it, unless you will at least entertain it as a possibility, you can in no way make conceptual sense of Adi Da’s Work.
“There’s Only God” is not the same as, “God made everything.” It’s also not the same as saying, “There’s a spark of the Divine in everything,” or even that “God is pervading everything.” Nor does it mean that God is in charge and has some sort of plan for us.
There’s Only God means that all of existence is God, in the way that your dreams at night are your mind. The characters in your dreams aren’t just created by your mind and then wound-up and set loose to go off on their own autonomous adventures, carrying a spark of your mind somehow within them. No. The characters in your dreams are only and entirely your mind, made of your mind, romping around in a realm that is also only your mind.
Similarly, all the “stuff” of our voluptuous and horrific cosmos is, in the words of Adi Da, merely an “apparent modification” of God. As he once put it, “God didn’t make the cosmos, God is the cosmos.”
In the paradigm of There’s Only God not only is there no deity watching over you; there isn’t actually even a discreet “you” to be watched over. Because There’s Only God. There can’t be separate anythings if There’s Only God. To use another old metaphor, you are not a separate something relative to the Divine Reality any more than a wave is a separate something relative to the sea.
Oddly enough, radical non-dualism is not even the same as the monotheistic notion that, “All is sacred…the world is holy and divine.” Radical non-dualism says that existence is not the least bit sacred, holy or divine until you’ve actually Realized it, in your direct, constant, self-evident, non-discursive experience. Concepts and beliefs about it are irrelevant, even if they’re bolstered by the most sublime feelings, intuitions and temporary blissful raptures.
In other words, the student of radical non-dualism says, “Until I’ve fully and absolutely Awakened, fully Realized that There’s Only God, as an overwhelming reality in my very marrow, then the world is, in effect, or for me, a random chaos, maya, samsara, the world of suffering pointed to in the Buddha’s First Noble Truth.” Samsara is only the same as Nirvana from the point of view of Nirvana! Until then, Samsara is NOT the same as Nirvana. In fact, to paraphrase the Buddha, Samsara sucks. If, in the face of death, suffering, loss, misfortune and impermanence, you have to keep telling yourself, “But it’s all holy and sacred, because God made it,” that ain’t it. You’re whistling in the dark.
No deity watching over us, no grand divine plan, no original creator, no rewards after death, no Big Being protecting us in any way. It could sound almost like atheism. And indeed, if all that is true, no benign overseer, no plan, no heavenly reward, what difference does it make to say There’s Only God? What does that change? Is non-dualism just atheism in drag? If there’s no deity watching over stuff and the universe keeps indifferently killing everything, who cares whether we call it Only God or a cold, indifferent, materialistic universe?
The difference is that, according to vast platoons of wise sages throughout the millennia and from cultures across the globe, we can literally Awaken to the reality that There’s Only God. Not just as an occasional experience, but as the very state we live in, always and constantly. There’s Only God known as blazingly non-theoretical, self-evident experience. This is Enlightenment, God Realization, Nirvana, Awakening. Perfect Happiness.
Purportedly it has excellent side effects. From what I can gather, it turns your life into a rollicking catastrophe of crazy selfless love and ecstatic service to all beings. It also seems to make you radiantly and blissfully fearless. This actually being possible is Inconceivable Revolution of Your Entire Paradigm of Reality Number Two. Our next post. Don’t touch that dial.