This online nondual mindfulness course is based on Nic Higham’s book ‘Living the Life That You Are: Finding Wholeness When You Feel Lost, Isolated, and Afraid’. You do not need to read the book before beginning this course.
“You’ve been conditioned to suffer. In other words, from the time you were a young child to the present moment, you were taught to think a lot and avoid or seek certain experiences. Even more detrimental to our well-being is the mind’s tendency to evade presence and so obscure Awareness, which is always present and ultimately what we are… Nic Higham skillfully shows us that the key to our freedom is actually found in and through the suffering we experience… [You will be given] very precise context for using the mindfulness tools presented in this book (the SEER CRAFTS), rather than being addressed directly from the realization itself, which often feels too advanced for people beginning this kind of exploration. “
– Scott Kiloby (nonduality teacher, addiction pioneer and founder of the Living Inquiries and the Kiloby Inquiries)
Fundamentally, the root of suffering is our perceived separateness from life, which means that we experience life through the eyes of duality. We’re pressured from inside and outside ourselves to stand out from the crowd; “Be unique, do well, have more.” In particular, we seek communion with others and we look for a sense of completion. Paradoxically, we also seek contentment in ourselves, to be at peace with a world that seems to be “out there.” We try to achieve these aims while at the same time trying to heal the very separateness we’re striving to establish. Therefore, this underlying bewilderment and isolation fuel our society’s every pursuit: material, psychological, professional, social, and spiritual. Innocently, we’re looking in the wrong places; assuming love, peace, acceptance—or whatever we’re seeking to be complete—is out there; somewhere, something, or someone else. It’s our sense of disconnection that triggers this outward seeking. This agitated neediness only creates more division and suffering, bearing little fruit.
If this resonates with you, you’re most likely ready to look deeper into your perception of the separation and suffering, and consider their root cause.
You will learn an informal and playful Self-remembrance approach, an approach which gradually presented itself to me on my bittersweet journey. Additionally, I’ll give you practical, simple meditative inquiries designed to bring greater clarity. Nondual mindfulness, which is a blend of meditation and self-inquiry, is nothing other than the readiness to, observe, acknowledge, and question our experience without censorship. Living this way, we refuse to be led by duality and deficiency. Instead, we find the courage to see, welcome, and work with all that comes our way, returning to the immediacy of what we inherently are even in our dualistic expressions.
I will help guide you back to your essential Aliveness, to true connection, a deeper knowing. This isn’t an intellectual exercise (although we’ll use and acknowledge our minds for the remarkable tools they are) and it certainly isn’t meant to be prescriptive. It’s direct engagement with life, not analysis of it. It’s an explorative meeting of your foundational Self, the same non-dual Source all the great spiritual teachers and texts have been pointing us to for thousands of years.
The SEER CRAFTS principles help us to stop misidentifying the Self with the body-mind’s shortsighted perception and therefore stop believing the Self to be subject to birth and death, desire and fear. As we’re discovering, this innocent misidentification is a by-product of separateness, and is the root of bondage and suffering. The way to liberation (of course, according to the message of nonduality, we’re never truly held captive) is earnest, meditative discernment.
In this nonduality course, you will develop this discernment by cultivating the skills below:
Nondual mindfulness is the way to Self-intimacy—locating and continually returning to our Aliveness and our shared oneness, the loving oneness of life, which unveils the indescribable non-dual Source that we are. Discerning focus embraces and releases our suffering and seeking, expands our mindfulness, and reconnects us to our true Self.
The qualities and skills of nondual mindfulness will give you the tools of discerning focus to do exactly this; imagination will become less dense and less compelling when you start to investigate. Your basic sense of Being is your gateway to unconditional reality, to true unity as pure Awareness.
What we will be exploring together in this course is a lived mindfulness, a radical mindfulness, one that transcends formal spiritual practice. Even so and for some of us, a period of deliberate and determined formal practice (alertly and restfully sitting in silence with eyes closed, regularly, for example) often serves as a good primer. No lengthy process is necessary because Self is incontrovertible; once you get a taste for Self, it’ll flavor everything, just as salt imbues the entire ocean. Yes, it’s possible to fine-tune the focus of localized consciousness through the technology of meditation and Self-inquiry. The essence of meditation and inquiry practice is mindfulness. When mindfulness is radical, meditation has the potential to make clear that we are, and inquiry can make clear what we are. This fusion of “that” and “what” is powerful, transformative, and illuminating. However, any insights and answers that arise, if they are truly of Self, are non-conceptual and nonverbal, yet Deeply Known nevertheless. Likewise, there’s no point in holding on to the hammer once we’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head.
The discerning focus you’ll cultivate can continue throughout daily activity in any environment and in any circumstance. This means that there’s no need to give up “mundane” activities and retreat to a cave. A shift in focus doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll no longer face challenges. We can, nevertheless, do our best not to run away from them and to tune into a more expanded perspective—to see both the forest and the trees. Everything can become a way if we’re curious, detached, earnest, and receptive.
Gradually, radical mindfulness (a shift from mind to fullness) will become increasingly subtle until it becomes a natural way of living. Undoubtedly, it is a characteristic of the mind to be very restless, so try to welcome the notion of shifting your focus beyond the mind to that which isn’t caught up in distorted superficiality. If you’re curious, you’ve already made a significant leap of consciousness!
Living the life that we are doesn’t end in reaching a final destination, so even the “truth” signpost is temporary. Indeed, our motionless journey is to rediscover our origin and root ourselves in wholeness which is here and now. On an experiential level, this is authentic living.
There’s no need to reject our humanness, nor to go on believing that we are limited to our human expression. We don’t mistake our impermanent expressions for our permanent Source. Embracing and living the life that we are, we’re awake to our infiniteness while deeply in love with our relative manifestations.
This is your invitation to turn within and find that what you thought belonged only to the outer world has its foundation inside your localized consciousness, the ground of Aliveness you already know so well. Then, in the space of mindfulness, non-dual Awareness will reveal itself to you as your all-pervading and ever-present companion. However, through mindful Self-remembrance you won’t gain something new or realize a distant goal. You will, however, continue to be the incredible, unlimited life that you always were and always will be. That’s more than enough, I promise you. This nondual mindfulness will help you lucidly return to and connect with your Self repeatedly. Fortunately, Self is always present; only you habitually attach to things that distort your vision—body, mind, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, possessions, and the like, giving you the perception that you’re a vulnerable, relatively small entity.
From a nondual perspective, human experience no longer defines us. Instead, it celebrates our abundant potential. Being a person or a body is fine, but limiting ourselves this way is based on a deep-seated misunderstanding. In truth, the sum of existence, every expression, is ours, and arises within the fullness of the life that we are. We can recognize this with nondual mindfulness.