By Michal Fire
This dissertation explores the question: What is the felt experience of nondual consciousness? Borrowing from Eugene Gendlin’s (1962) description, “felt experiencing” refers specifically to that “inner sense,” which can be located and directly referred to when attention is directed inwardly, which is at once so simple and universally experienced that it is not easily pointed to (p. 12). “Nondual consciousness” specifically refers to that experience in which one’s sense of internal self (“I”) is no longer experienced as separate from external phenomena (world).
Eight participants were interviewed regarding their subjectively felt experience of nondual consciousness as they have experienced this phenomenon in their lives over time as well as directly, during the research interview itself. Using a qualitative phenomenological method to capture and explore the lived experience of nondual consciousness, and a consensual coding technique to analyze participant interviews, this study aims to fill the gap between theory and experience, offering a stronger foundation for research of nondual phenomenon in general. Results suggest that participants’ experience of nondual consciousness is unmistakably felt and can be described, not just in theory, but in the moment.
Two primary categories related to the felt experience of nondual consciousness (NDC) are presented. The first refers to participants’ experience of (NDC) in their lives overall. Six subcategories with corresponding themes related to this experience are identified including (a) terminology related to NDC, (b) personal ideas regarding the nature of NDC, (c) NDC as a process over time, (d) supports for NDC, (e) impact of NDC on life, and (f) conditions related to the experience of NDC. The second category relates to the directly felt experience of nondual consciousness (NDC), and includes two subcategories with corresponding themes. These include (a) the essential qualities of the felt experience of NDC, and (b) the felt sense of NDC. The implications of these findings are significant for both the field of clinical psychology and spirituality, suggesting that what is beyond our personal psychologies can be experienced as something felt and functioning within what we often consider to be the most mundane of forms, the human body.