Being And Becoming

When we meditate, if we go very deep, we can actually awaken to the deepest dimension of reality itself. Mystics often refer to this depth dimension as the nondual ground of being.


The word ‘nondual’ means ‘not two’. Teachings of nonduality state that the ultimate nature of all things — seen and unseen, known and unknown — is one and not two. This is not simply an abstract metaphysical idea; the nondual ground is a real domain, an actual dimension.
This timeless, formless, empty ground is that which predated the emergence of the known universe 14 billion years ago, before the Big Bang. It is that which always already exists, prior to the relative domain, prior to the space-time continuum. In meditation, we can dive deeply into this domain.
Our awareness of passing thoughts starts to fade, and eventually cognition disappears altogether. As we keep sinking into meditative depth, not only will our minds disappear but also our awareness of the world and everything in it, including our own biological form. The familiar and the known fall ever further away from awareness, and we awaken more and more to the infinite nature of this depth dimension in which there is no beginning, no end, and no time.
When we go this deep, we enter a domain where nothing ever happened. There is no time, no history, and no karma. The universe has yet to be created. You have not been born. No one has been born and no one has suffered, and so there is a felt sense of extraordinary, limitless freedom. When the Buddha sat in meditation under the Bodhi tree 2,500 years ago, what he realised was this causal depth awareness. He discovered the unconfined, unimaginable and infinite freedom of the ground of being.
The classical definition of non duality that emerged from this discovery states that the ultimate nature of all things, seen and unseen, known and unknown, is ultimately this timeless, formless, empty ground — and ‘I Am That.’ Gurus and mystics who teach this definition tend to proclaim that the world is an illusion, and that consciousness alone is real. My own teacher, the great H W L Poonja, taught in this way — and there’s no doubt that he awakened many people to this nondual truth, including me.
But since the time of the Buddha, our understanding of the cosmos has expanded enormously, and around 200 years ago, something new and paradigm-shattering emerged. With the discovery of evolution, we finally understood that the world of biological forms is evolving — in a state of endless becoming and reaching for ever greater complexity. Given vast eons of time, energy and matter can organise themselves into patterns of such unimaginable complexity that eventually life, mind, consciousness, and the human capacity for self-reflective awareness can emerge.
After nearly 14 billion years of cosmic evolution, in an inconceivably tiny corner of the vast cosmos, matter became conscious. In the context of this new evolutionary cosmology, it seems obvious to me that the classical teaching of non duality isn’t a complete enough truth. Without our cosmically evolved capacity for self-reflective awareness, we would not even be cognisant of this truth.
Evolutionary Enlightenment, or evolutionary nonduality, recognises this new cosmology. It embraces the truth that the ground of being — that timeless, limitless void that always already abides prior to time and space in every single moment — is not separate from the creative driver of the evolutionary process itself.
The forms that cosmic and biological evolution give rise to — planets, stars, galaxies, bodies and minds — are finite and mortal. They arise, they enter into the stream of time, and eventually fall away. But the impulse that gives rise to them, the evolutionary impulse, is not separate from the primordial ground of everything. It is immortal and indestructible.


In traditional teachings of nonduality, the absolute principle at the level of the Self — the deepest dimension of reality — is the experience of peace. You have never entered the stream of time, so the experience is one of infinite peace. But evolutionary nonduality recognises that the absolute principle has taken an enormous leap. When this principle takes the leap from nothing to something, from being to becoming, peace becomes utterly transformed. It enters into the realm of space-time and becomes the consciously felt experience of overwhelming, intoxicating and exhilarating ecstasy and urgency.
Ecstatic urgency is the felt pulsation and vibration of the nondual, of evolution itself. It is the experience of the evolutionary impulse at the level of the self. It is the desire to exist. It is the urge towards emergence, towards creativity, towards life and consciousness. It’s the profound glory of existence.
When we embrace the truth of nonduality within an evolutionary context, it is experienced in two dimensions: as both being and becoming. It is felt as both infinite peace and as the ecstatic urgency of the evolutionary impulse driving us towards ever higher levels of awakened consciousness, depth and creativity.



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Farrah Gray