The Third Level of Practice: Felt Sense

By Anna Pittman, PHD  When working with a judgement, point of view or trigger, there are generally three levels of response which each yield a very different consequence. Typically, when a person first comes to nondual therapy, they share a story about something or someone that causes a sense of internal discomfort. They focus on the story and the people or events that trigger their discomfort. The mind looks to answer the who, when, where, why and how of the event and assign meaning to the outer circumstances. The binary and outwardly focused mind may look for someone to blame, make comparisons, and even attempt to come to terms with the event by rationalizing and reasoning, unknowingly dismissing any connection to feelings or the body. In nondual therapy, we witness the mind attempting to create order by making assumptions and blind deductions. When there is ‘chaos’ in the inner or outer environments, the mind tends to decide on one fixed and reasoned idea that becomes …
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The Power of Attention

  Our brain’s capacity to direct, allocate, and prolong our attention is quite remarkable. Attention is important because it regulates and directs our mindfulness, which itself can move us to an expansive Awareness, and therefore to our fullness. Selective in nature, attention is constantly shifting; our curiosity and interest attract and reallocate it. Think of attention as a spotlight that illuminates specific aspects of what you perceive and causes everything else to diminish. It focuses on the object or task that is presently most significant and heightens your brain’s engagement with it. Although your mind most likely wanders and you might occasionally get bored, preoccupied, tired, or distracted, you can probably get your focus back most of the time and intuitively alternate your attention accordingly. You may have had moments of complete absorption through intense concentration. Your mind was focused one-pointedly on an object, so much so that you became one w…
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Fear of the Unknown and Spiritual Awakening

“One fear to rule them all, one fear to find them, one fear to bring them all and in the black box bind them.”

- Tolkien (1954)

  Why do we fear the unknown? What is fear of the unknown? Fear without a cause: pure, existential fear, frustrating freedom without rhyme or reason. A fear in which the familiar suddenly appears strange, even our own face in the mirror. This, in essence, is not fear of the content of life, although some have called it the fear of being alive. It is the fear of direct, unadulterated perception through the physical organs of consciousness, of which the brain is the headquarters. Driven by an aversion to fear, we’ve produced volumes of psychological texts. We’ve categorized fears as learned and inherited; as the result of trauma and the consequence of biology. We’ve divided them into collective, individual, epigenetic and inevitable. We’ve stud…
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The Fertile Ground of Not-Knowing – Nondual Therapy

“What is wrong with not knowing? You need not know all. Enough to know what you need to know. The rest can look after itself, without your knowing how it does it. What is important is that your unconscious does not work against the conscious, that there is integration on all levels. To know is not so very important.” - Nisargadatta Maharaj   Not-knowing is fertile ground, not a barren wasteland. Before we can discover anything fresh and new, we need to rest into a relaxed but attentive state of not-knowing. Not-knowing is the foundation on which the conceptual arises and falls. This may be obvious, but if we’re honest, we’re not very comfortable with not-knowing, are we? Avoiding the apparent ignorance and ambiguity of not-knowing, we instead look for confirmation of what we believe we are sure of, therefore defeating the purpose of spirtual inquiry. At the same time, avoiding ambiguity has a function. Not-knowing is death to the mind, and death is the most ext…
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Neutral Body – Relaxing Into Natural Presence in Nondual Therapy

By Anna Pittman, PHD In Nondual therapy we are inviting the experience of relaxing back and in to our natural presence. From this perspective we can more spaciously allow all thoughts, feelings and images associated with trauma and outdated, often unhelpful beliefs to be known and released experientially. The systems and fascial structure of the body have dutifully carried the karmic effect of these conscious and unconscious beliefs while itself striving for harmony and health. Our bodies often hold the past in its present state as tension and pain and may have parts that are not in our field of awareness at all. Even our conditioned, highly focused mind state draws our bodies into tension – the tension of narrow focus. As we come to experience the mind in its wide and open state, the perennially peripheral unfocused mind invites the body to open as well. Yet, we may need to more directly meet the chronic tension of the body through nutrition, body work such as massage an…
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6 Ways to Find Peace with the Fear of the Unknown

By Georgi Y Johnson Below, are six ways to support the mind in finding peace with the Fear of the Unknown and perhaps to begin to experience the adrenaline rush of conscious awakening as a harbinger of greater relaxation, centering and grounding. So next time you experience irrational fear, try to play a little: relax the body; breathe in the freshness of the present moment (regardless of horrible feelings); admit that we all ultimately know nothing; let yourself become be the conscious of your own consciousness; and open up to the possibility of awe. 1. Relaxation It’s a well known adage that what we resist, persists. Yet though we know it, it often doesn’t help with our Fear of the Unknown. Even if our conscious mind is ready to let itself be what the Zen calls Shoshin (Beginner’s’ mind), our whole nervous system can go into stress responses. This in turn, will spur anxious thoughts, which generate more stress. When we can consciously relax the body, irrespective of t…
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Dare to Care – From Seeking Certainty to Embracing Unconditonal Love

By Dr Anna Pittman  There is something quite dramatic that occurs when we drop the habitual energetic, albeit clumsy ‘reach’ that we learned as children with our caretakers. This reach for certainty and connection. However it came to be for each of us, we all figured out how to act, what to do to ascertain that our presence is valuable, essential, and that we are lovable and vital. When we deeply feel this and withdraw this entangled way that we learned to desperately establish a connection, we can slowly – sometimes quickly - begin to see how incredibly outdated these strategies can be. Now, the masterful and well-rehearsed management skills of the ego are seen. If we were to drop the incessant urge to fix or please or perform, that even say, ‘yes, I deserve to exist,’ we have the opportunity to fall, just like a floating feather in the air, out of the false and predictable into the timeless Dimension of Care. Strategies to gain love certainly are well intend…
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Psychotherapy and Nonduality: A Relational Gestalt Perspective

By Tim Carrette From the void cometh all things, into the void do all things return. The quintessential Nondual Psychotherapy Gestalt Psychotherapy is the quintessential Nondualistic Psychotherapy. We are both lost and found in both suffering and emotional pain. We are form and formless. Self and not self. In the words of Martin Buber “Every particular Thou is a glimpse through to the eternal Thou.” Martin Buber was a Jewish theologian-mystic. He was one of many Spiritual influences on Gestalt Psychotherapy. His most famous work was “ I-Thou”,  a kind of poetic verse on Duality, Nonduality and the inherent relationship between all dualities. He called these two dualities I-It and I-Thou. I-It in Buber’s language is form, self, ego, character pattern. The always observable now of our situational senses, the phenomenology of our individual  beingness. I –Thou is the formless meeting and nondualistic interconnectedness of all things. The essence of our being, the …
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The Kindness Cure for Trauma and Emotional Pain

By Hélène Demetriades, a therapist influenced by non-dual teachings Right from the beginning our biological urge for survival primes us to be guarded against life: one day our bodies will die. Until we fully embrace the flow of life, which includes physical death as part of that movement, we will continue to have the embedded belief that we are separate from each other, from life itself  – like a vase standing out from its background.  This goes hand in hand with the belief that there is something inherently wrong with us, that we are bad, unworthy, guilty of something undefinable, and that as a result something dangerous ‘out there’ will attack us. We were born into ‘sin’, or separation, or brought it upon ourselves like Adam and Eve. Our bodies contract, muscles and nervous systems pull back from life – beliefs  are reflected in bodies. Added to this to a greater or lesser extent, we have all lived through traumatic experiences that confirm the perception that …
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How a therapist with a nondual understanding can help – Rupert Spira

  Rupert Spira: “This path is equally available for everybody, for all eight billion of us, irrespective of the condition of the mind... [If] you're a therapist with a nondual understanding and [someone was] suffering terribly... just listening to them would be something huge in their life... [Everything] you did with that person... would be an expression of non-duality. If that's where you are coming from, you would be teaching nonduality... everything you said would be informed by your deep understanding...  [The] real non-dual teaching is totally free from any formula and it tailors itself sensitively to the moment...”   
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