Jesus taught non-duality

DAY 1 REFLECTION: Jesus taught non-duality

The mind is wired for dualism. It loves separation, categorization, and comparison. Examples include thinking in terms of you and me, us and them, right and wrong, past and future, and winning and losing.

Where the nature of dualism is to separate, the nature of non-dualism is to unify. Non-duality is like being able to see the forest for the trees. Jesus often spoke in non-dualistic terms. This seemed to confuse many people—even his own disciples. He used parables to bridge the gap between his non-dualistic and their dualistic thinking. There are many examples of Jesus’ non-dualism in the Bible, including statements such as these: To be great, be a servant (Mark 10:43); Lose your life to save it (Luke 17:33); Rule like one who serves (Luke 22:26); Love your life and lose it (John 12:25). Jesus said, “You are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20), “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine” (John 17:10). He asked for complete unity (John 17:23).

Jesus personified the non-dualism of being both God and man. He was in his Father and his Father was in him (John 10:38). His spiritual priorities were non-dualistic: he showed that love fulfilled the law, advocated for non-judgment of others, and encouraged serving people who were suffering. During his lifetime, the religious leaders in the New Testament were, in comparison, very dualistic. They loved their laws and the separation that gave them their status and livelihoods.

The idea of “clock time” is a dualistic concept in human life. The past and future are dualistic mental constructions, where the present moment is non-dualistic and indivisible. For example, in the Bible, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Pet. 3:8). In Hebrews 13:1, Jesus is described as the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 

The nature of the present moment itself is non-dualistic. Existentially, every new breath is the beginning of a new life. With greater spiritual consciousness, it can be increasingly seen that one’s Christian life can only happen now. As Jesus said, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”(1) By transcending dualistic clock time and embracing the present moment, it is easier to understand scriptures such as those in which God tells Moses “I Am that I Am,” “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock,” and “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”(2)

Like the legalistic religious leaders that Jesus fought with in the Bible, our unconscious minds are also dualistic. Yet Jesus showed a new way to think and live. This was the pivot Jesus made when he set his priorities: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” “love your neighbor as yourself,” and when he explained that “all the Law and the Prophets hung on these two commandments.”(3)

God is love, and love is non-dualistic. This is how Jesus taught non-duality.

  1. Matt. 22:32, NKJV
  2. Exod. 3:14, KJV; Rev. 3:20, NIV; Rev. 22:13, NIV
  3. Matt. 22:37–40, NIV