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What is Non-Duality and the State of Vern’s Mind

[Page updated 1 April 2024]

I’ve had people ask me – “Have you reached nibbana?” “Have you reached enlightenment?” – and honestly, I don’t know what it is that is going on in my mind. I’m not sure it has reached an endpoint. It seems to be a steady state that hasn’t changed since 2007, but is it done?

I have a regular ego-filled state – the Vern State. I also have a state of non-duality that is available any time I choose to go into it. It takes less than a second to revert back to it. It is what I consider the default state because it’s always there when I let go of being Vern.

I guess it’s permanent, but it could surprise me by changing again at some point.

Whatever the state is, I don’t call it enlightenment. I’m not Buddhist and though I like a lot of the Buddhist ideas, I also know that a lot of what Buddhism says about meditation – isn’t true at all. But I also know that Buddha himself described the Jhanas in some of the Suttas perfectly in line with how I experienced Jhana.

Buddhism has become very fundamentalist.

The path to reach Jhanas has been muddied with Buddhism, in my opinion, and I think the train has jumped the tracks. Few people are on a good path leading to Jhana through Buddhism or some other organized religion or practice.

So, what is the state of my mind?

To make it easy, here’s a video I did a while back. This is a good overview with a bit of the history leading up to it.

Since 2007, I’ve had an odd sort of state of mind. The mind’s default state appears to have changed to a Non-Dual State. A non-dichotomous state. A neutral state.

I used to call it “flatline state.” That was the word I used for years. It’s not appropriate, but I didn’t know what else to call it.

I recently learned that some advanced meditators like Shinzen Young, Ken Wilbur, and Bhante Vimalaramsi are calling it “non-dual awareness.”

Now I call it the Non-Dual State.

It appears to be the same experience. The mind can, at any time, revert to this state, this non-dual state where I am aware of things around me, the senses all work – vision, auditory, smelling, taste, touch… but there is a different sort of experience in sensory perception.

Things are perceived through the senses and it stops there.

Meaning, I can see something, and it doesn’t trigger the memory at all. It doesn’t trigger emotion. Thought doesn’t come out of that sensory stimulus, or any stimuli.

I just found the tiny video I did with my old Sony digital camera years ago on the DAY my mind first changed into the non-dual state (8/30/2007) for 2-3 days.

The change became permanent just before some meditation sessions in May 2009. I talk about the state in this May 2009 journal entry.

Here’s the link to the video – Non-dual State after meditating at a mountain top in Krabi, Thailand temple – Wat Tham Seua. (Sorry, having trouble locating the video).

Here is a video by Shinzen Young that caught me by surprise this morning and has given me chills all morning as I think back to his words and relistened to them a couple of times. He said these things in 2009, which also gives me chills because that’s around the same time-frame when I entered this state of mind.

I haven’t tried to contact him yet, but I will try in the coming weeks to see if he is still in the same state, or if it changed. In 17 years my state hasn’t changed, so I’m not sure if it ever does/will. Anyway, this video also explains exactly what is going on in my head.

The one thing that completely blew me away here is at 2:52 where he says that “the main feature… the impact of what the 40 years of practice is… is that, I don’t have much preference between those two states.”

I’ve said this in so many ways to so many people over the last ten years. It’s as if the state doesn’t mean something amazing anymore. It’s there, it’s part of reality, it’s fine, but so is the other part where I’m walking around and interacting with people and ‘doing’ life. Either is fine, and I don’t care which state I’m in.

The flatline mind state is good for absolute reset. Just going back to zero for a while. It’s a form of total relaxation of body and mind. It also has this carry-over quality where after sitting in the flatline mind state for a few minutes, it carries over to when I’m doing life again and it tempers the hurtful, unaware, negative ideas and perceptions to some degree.

Sometimes a great degree. It also helps one maintain a mindfulness about what one is doing and who he is doing it to.

Recently, I created a post about the non-dual state and there I try to describe it as best I can.

Non-Duality State >