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The Non-Duality State of Mind – What Is It? (Direct Observations)

The Non-Dual awareness state of mind has been with me since 2007. It just means that there is no dichotomy in the state. There is no here and there, big and small, right and wrong, or this and that.

There is just all of this. It is a seamless state of being that is very much like not being alive in the same way you feel as an ego-filled you.

I’ve tasked myself with giving this my best shot at explanation here today. Let’s see how I do.

Is Non-Duality the Only State, or Is There More?

There are 2 states of mind available to me at any time: Non-dual State (ND State) and Vern State (Ego-filled Self State).

The Non-Dual State

Though the non-dual state is always there and ready to be accessed, it is not accessed all the time, or even often. Instead, I choose to be “Vern” and doing things that Vern does to work, play, and suffer through life like everyone else.

I drop into the ND State a few times each day, but 95% of the time I’m in the Self State (Vern State).

The idea of settling back into the non-dual state for hours or days or years at a time just has no real allure to me at this point in my life. I have a wife and two children that I enjoy being with and being myself with.

One cannot interact normally with anyone while in the non-dualistic state of mind.

I seem to have somehow stumbled upon the (one of the?) ultimate life experience(s). I can be Vern and deal with the suffering and joys of life just like I always have. If I’m having a bad time, am stressed, am fearful, or am anything I don’t wish to be – I can revert back to the non-dual state and reset in an instant.

I usually stay in the non-dual state just for a minute or so and that resolves any issue. It resets the mind to a state of no emotion, no ill-will, no feelings (negative or positive), no ambition, no fear, no striving, no clinging, no attachment, no reaction, etc.

It instantly takes away everything that Vern is, or what he considers himself to be and it gives a soft but perfect reset.

The Vern State (Self State)

The Vern State is just ego-filled me. From this perspective, life is viewed as a game of sorts with varying degrees of knowing that ‘Vern’ doesn’t even exist as the entity he has always thought of himself as. At times, Vern gets angry. Sad. Fearful. Overly ambitious. Big-mouthed. Hurt. Assanine.

Though this is not the Vern of his youth (he’s 57 now), he is still quite capable of being someone that plays the game of life on a high/intense level at times. He can be competitive, and make big plans for changing the world.

The difference after the change in 2007 is that Vern now has a much clearer picture of who he is because acting like Vern, playing Vern in the game of life seems like that – an act. It’s a choice whether to be Vern or to be in the Non-Dual State.

So, often times, Vern is fully aware when emotions and other aspects of the mind are getting to be ‘too much.’ Not out of control, but potentially hurtful for others or Vern himself.

The idea then pops into mind – go back to The State. The state of non-duality. The Seamless State.

Vern resets in the ND State and comes back to the Vern State as an empty vessel until he ramps it up again, and needs another reset.

I do hope this is making the slightest bit of sense to you. I find it very hard to explain to people how this works and I’m making my best effort, but I feel like I’m saying things that people are not going to grasp. I suppose it’s inevitable, but I’d like to make this a page of super-clear explanation what is going on inside the mind at this time.

Is the Non-Dual Awareness State Permanent, or Changing?

The state itself, and instant access to the state, appears to be permanent for me. It hasn’t changed since 2007. It is always there in the mind and exists as the default state of this organism. I don’t say the default state of ‘me’ because there is no me in that state.

Permanent Qualities

  • Always there, it has never not been there.
  • Always perfect, the experience is always the same perfect seamlessness, selflessness, and peace. Nothing changes in the experience.

Qualities of the Non-Dualistic State

I’ll describe the experience in some paragraphs below, but this list will also give you an idea what is and isn’t part of the ND State.

  1. Neutral – The non-dual state can be described as neutral. It feels balanced. Unwavering. Light. Purposeless. There is no overt happiness, though the state is a serene place to spend time.
  2. Egoless – The person you call ‘you’ is not there. Not available. None of the mental characteristics of you are present in the state. Your physical body is there but you don’t feel it much. You don’t feel it in the same way. You can move yourself around, run, drive, and some other things but the body is not felt the same way it is when you are in the Self State.
  3. No Dichotomies – In this state there is no right and wrong, here and there, you and me, this and that, or any of the thousands of dichotomies that exist in your typical day to day existence. Your mind in the Self State uses dichotomies to categorize or characterize one thing from another thing. It thrives on this. There is none of this whatsoever in the ND state.
  4. Sensory Input – I can see everything around me, and it doesn’t bother the mind unless memory triggers that something needs to be done. Then the body just does it without ‘Vern.’ I can sense touch, the fan blowing on me, my bottom in the chair and touching my lower back. I can taste food but it is without any joy or curiosity because the tastes, the foods, are not named. I can hear the fan next to me and some big trucks every now and then on the main road 200 meters from our home. They don’t both me, it’s all going on in a flow and the mindful state – the Vern State doesn’t start up. With smell, I can sense that something is there, but since it isn’t named, the mind remains rock solid and unmoved.
  5. Emotionless – There is no emotion going on in the ND state at all. It isn’t a happy state, or a blissful state, or a boring state, or any sort of state involving any emotions the normal you is capable of.
  6. Thoughtless – There are no thoughts running around at all. Zero. This is why I used to call it the Flatline State. It isn’t a flatline though, you’re alive and experiencing, but just without YOU there… without the ego there.
  7. Desireless – No wants or desire exist in this state. No grasping, no attachment to things and ideas. There is no ambition to do something, achieve something, or be something in this state.
  8. No Discernment – No analysis or comparisons or discernment are possible in the state. There is no you to do those things. There is no dichotomy present to allow you to even see those things.
  9. No Fear – You are not afraid of anything in this state. There are no bad things or people out there to get you. You’re at one with the world and all that is in it. You’re omnipresent and everything is infused with the same spirit or stuff.
  10. No Suffering – You don’t suffer in the Non-Dual State. There is no pain or sadness. No longing. No anger. No attachment. No jealousy. No resentment. No feelings of revenge.

What IS the Non-Dual Awareness State Actually Like?

OK, so we’ve mostly covered a bit about what the state ISN’T because it’s easy to do. We can just keep listing factors like this for days because it isn’t made up of much at all. There’s little we can say that it is, but let’s try.

Scenario 1 – Entering the State

I’ve been ‘Vern’ all day. I’ve done a lot of work on a client’s website. I’ve eaten lunch and dinner with my family downstairs. I work in the office upstairs. I’ve gone to the hill to exercise in blistering heat. I showered after. I just returned from riding about 20 miles round-trip on the motorbike to return a hat and to give a t-shirt to a boy who did a jungle night walk with us the other night.

Sitting here at the computer now and listening to some Rolling Stones (Shattered!). I need to shut off the music to go into the non-dual awareness state of mind. I pause it. The song is still playing in my head slightly. Already, because I know I’m going to stop being Vern, the mind is slowing way down in anticipation of being able to stop playing the game of Vern for a bit.

Early on as I realized this state was present all the time, I thought I had to will myself to go back into it. I would stop what I was doing completely and sit silent and then willingly let go of Vern. I’d let go of the ego and everything that went with it. I’d be back in the Non-Dual State in a second.

Lately, as I really take a closer look at this, there is no need to make any real effort like that to enter the state. Once I am completely quiet, the non-dual mind is there already. It’s a seamless dropping back into it. It is there all the time, it has become part of the Vern State because all silent moments have the influence of the ND State on the Vern State.

I’m not sure, was this available years ago too? Was it just my conditioning that made me think that some special letting go was needed to get into the ND State?

Super interesting to me. I’ve become energized about looking closer at what is going on in the head and trying to define it better. It’s fascinating and I’m at a loss for words why I didn’t make a bigger deal about it for the last 17 years.

It was as if all questions went away once the state became a permanent fixture. I no longer asked myself what enlightenment was, and if it was something worth trying for.

Though I’d asked myself those questions often from 1999 to 2007, once this state took over I had no more questions or investigation into the topic.

It didn’t matter, and I didn’t care about the questions any more.

It was as if I already had the answer, but if you asked me, I couldn’t give you an answer.

It’s all so odd.

To enter the state now, I sit silently and unmoving at my desk in a plastic chair and before I even know it, I’m in the state. It’s as if it was always there.

Scenario 2 – Describing the State

I’ll say what I can here about the state as I go in and out of it.

In the state, it feels as if my body isn’t there if I’m not moving. Especially if I keep the eyes closed. I sense only what touches me, so if I’m standing, I feel less of Vern.

There’s an awareness that isn’t discriminatory. It isn’t coming from inside me because there is no ego to define me anymore. The awareness seems to be almost universal. Like it’s always there, my mind just somehow accessed it.

I am guessing it is just direct memory. The sensory inputs go to the part of the brain concerned with memory. It seeks a match for what the eyes see and the body is doing (eating my soup, for instance). The memory knows how to eat soup, it just directs the body to do that. There is no need for decisions, observation, or interference from an ego because the mind knows perfectly well how to eat soup.

Is the Non-Dual State Like a State of Flow?

It flows, and yet it isn’t like what I have always considered a state of flow. Flow to me means performing some task like running, writing, or enjoying some other sport or activity at a level where I’m so proficient that I am not encountering many or even any stumbling blocks or problems. Meaning, I’m so skilled at whatever it is that the movement feels effortless.

It of course isn’t effortless, and often involves great movements of the body AND mind, but the movements of both are fluid, fast, and with expertise that makes one feel like some real accomplishment, some real work, some real creativity, or other thing got done.

The ND State is never accomplishing a lot, physically or mentally. Especially not mentally. It’s a simple state. The memory can guide the body to do certain things, but not all things. To play soccer at a high level for instance, you’d need to be thinking about where to go next on the field. I remember constantly focusing on that as I played in high school.

In the ND State, I couldn’t think like that. In fact, ‘I’ am not there at all as Vern to play soccer unless in the Self State. The body could be there, but the mind wouldn’t be able to handle the novel thought necessary to play the game competently.

My Experiments in the Non-Dual (Non-Dichotomous) State

An interesting guy requested a coaching session the other day. I was supposed to be coaching him to reach Samadhi and Jhana levels but he asked a lot of questions about the state I was in and some of them I couldn’t answer.

I realized, I’ve looked at the state very little from an objective point of view. I’ve simply enjoyed having it available at a moment’s notice, and I’ve used it to reset my wild emotional state as needed. It has been an incredible 17 years with this odd state of things in my mind.

I want to know more about it. More about what it is. I know a lot about what it isn’t. I knew I needed to do some little experiments to better define what exactly is going on in there. Buddhists dissected a simple focus on the breath and Jhana levels to an almost absurd degree.

I know I need to take a deeper look at this.

Ideally, I’d be able to tell other people how to get this same permanent state. I think most people would want this kind of situation rather than a permanent ND State that one never comes out of.

It’s a joy to have Vern around and enjoy so many of life’s positives. It’s even a joy to be angry or sad sometimes. The thrill of life is something special that I think most of would still want to experience.

What Activities Can Occur in the Non-Dual State?

Eyes Roaming – If I sit in the state and look out over my balcony to the banana and palm trees outside, the eyes wander or stay still based on nothing I can ascertain. It’s as if they are guided by some silent force I’m not aware of. There is no thought about where the eyes are looking, but they are often exploring the scene as if to take it all in or something.

Eating – When eating in the state, there is none of the enjoyment of the tastes, flavors, textures, spices, and things that one can really enjoy during mindfulness meditation as you eat a meal. It’s completely different.

Eating is the same, it appears. The mind is operating directly from memory of what the process of eating is, and it doesn’t need a witness of any kind, it’s just eating in perfect awareness, and yet there is no satisfaction or joy that comes from eating, it’s just done without reward or difficulty.

I’m eating piping hot vegetable soup with noodles and rice in it. I added a tablespoon of dried chili pepper as I usually do. My nose started running after a few minutes. I grabbed the tissue and blew, and threw it out – all in the Non-Dual State. It seems the observing mind isn’t needed for anything.

As I switch back to the Dual State, I can taste each ingredient as it is. In my soup are carrots, morning glory, ground pork, rice, noodles, garlic, salt, and chili spice… it’s delicious. It’s much more satisfying to eat with your ego than it is to eat without it!

Driving – I’ve gone into the state while driving a number of times. It isn’t like being in a trance. If something unexpected happens, like the car in front brakes, my memory notices that brakes are needed and they are applied. This can be done in the state, or Vern may come into the picture if it’s a near accident. To be honest, I don’t do this much because I’m still not sure of the limitations, and experimenting on the road is more than a bit scary here in Thailand, one of the worst places for road deaths on the planet.

Showering – Every time I get into the shower, I drop back into the state automatically as a result of being silent. If you saw my latest video at YT, I mentioned how I seem to have acquired a superpower as a result of this Non Dual thing. It’s funny, but I can catch dropping soap (or most things) before it hits the ground. Because I’m in that state in the shower it happens the most right there. Soap slips through the fingers and is falling. The memory knows what to do to catch something falling, it somehow coordinates the body doing exactly what is needed and I catch the soap. Or, rather, the body in the ND State catches the soap. I’m (Vern) is not there for it.

So many more things to talk about. I’ll wrap this post up here.I think you have some idea what the non-dual state of mind is like and what can be done and not done. You don’t really know the flavor of it, unless you’ve experienced your own.

Keep trying. If you want to hear the exact process I used, book an hour of Jhana Meditation Coaching and we’ll see if we can sort out a good path for you.

How Else Do You Plan to Define the State?

More experiments are needed. Your input is needed. If there’s something you want me to try in the state, let me know! I’ll report what happens in a post.

I know this would be a good book topic, but I don’t really have the time or freedom to start something like that at the moment. Finances still crazy tight and we’re just trying to get through 2024 in a better state than we did during the COVID years.

Bottom half of Vern meditating in the non-dual state of mind.

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