Location: South Korea
Question 1: Dear Francis, I lead a Nonduality discussion group. Recently there was a discussion on the illusory dualistic world, and I came upon a question I’v been turning over in my head ever since: If there is only Oneness, and separateness is illusory, how can the illusion of separation exist within the Oneness?
The illusion of separation exists within the Oneness just as it exists within the night dream. Upon waking up, it becomes obvious that all the apparently separate entities of the dream were nothing else than one single consciousness.
Question 2: I’m wondering if you would ascribe certain activities as being harmful to self-realization? Do certain activities create an investment of ego which thereby strengthen the illusion of separateness? For example: weight training and other forms of aggressive exercise or sport, business practices that depend in large part on deception, or simply listening to and watching certain violent forms of entertainment.
Jean Klein used to say that we should live in beauty: surround ourselves with beautiful friends, listen to beautiful music, read intelligent and inspired books, visit museums, be interested in architecture, etc. There is a way to practice sports which is in line with Jean’s suggestion. It is not necessarily about which sport we practice, but rather how we do it, and why. What matters is our deepest intention. If we are in love with Truth, Love, and Beauty, there are things we won’t eat, movies we won’t watch, deals we won’t try to make. But violence by itself is not the problem, ignorance is the problem. Shouldn’t we watch Shakespeare’s plays because they are violent?
Question 3: On Finding a Teacher. I live in South Korea, and while I don’t know of any Advaita Vedanta teachers here, I have an opportunity to do some extensive traveling in this part of the world fairly soon. My attempts at locating such a spiritual teacher, while thus far limited to cyberspace, have been fruitless. What would be your recommendation as to the best way of finding a spiritual teacher? Kind Regards, Zach
When you are ready, the teacher appears. In my case, I changed jobs and places to have the freedom and the possibility to spend time with my teacher. I never regretted it. If there is an ardent desire for a teacher, the universe will make possible that which seemed impossible, provided we do our part. What is important is to find a teacher you resonate deeply with, not a teacher near you.