Knocking from the Inside?

Knocking from the Inside

I have noticed that the term “nonduality” is still fairly unfamiliar to Buddhists even though it refers to the central Mahayana Buddhist teaching that form and emptiness are not different. This lack of familiarity is understandable given that the term “nonduality” derives from the Sanskrit advaita which means “not-two”.

About John Prendergast

John J. Prendergast, Ph.D. is the editor-in-chief of Undivided: The Online Journal of Nonduality and Psychology, the senior editor of two anthologies on the subject of nondual wisdom and psychotherapy – The Sacred Mirror (with Peter Fenner and Sheila Krystal) and Listening from the Heart of Silence (with Ken Bradford),  and has been a student of nondual teachings since reading the works of Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj over thirty years ago and then studying with the European sage Jean Klein from 1983 until his death in 1998 and with Adyashanti since 2001. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at CIIS and a psychotherapist in private practice in San Rafael. He also leads several private self-inquiry groups. Please see for more information.

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5 Responses to Knocking from the Inside?

  1. Pingback: About Volume 1 | Undivided

  2. jamesbarnes52 says:

    Hi John,

    Just a brief comment –

    I very much agree with much of what you are saying. I think that many client-presentations are presentations which are, at core, ones which betray a discomfort with finitude, and are therefore best served by exploring that finitude viz a viz the limitlessness of one’s true self. It is important to note, however, which i think you do, that this cannot take the place of therapy itself. As Jung noticed many years ago, the western mind, in having developed a shadow side, does not sit naturally with these teachings. And this is not even to mention the fact that these teachings, originally aimed at an audience relatively devoid of a shadow, presumed a great deal of work on ones status as an individual before, and during any exposure to them.

    It must not be forgotten in this regard that ‘you do not know until you know’; that anything bar self-knowledge (that is, enlightenment) is not itself recognition of non-duality at all, but, one might say, a positive deconstruction of some dualistic tendency. This being the case, it is of crucial importance to simultaneously work with the integrating ego. As paradoxical as it may seem, the ego and the self (atma), although on a dualistic level (to the mind) appear to be mutually exclusive and contradictory, are in fact non-different, and one can work on both levels without practical paradox.



  3. Hi John,,
    congratulations on an even-handed and non-polemic exposition of an important aspect of non-duality. You have picked up on a very important subject in commenting on the aspect of clear awareness within which things (and persons), including the “personal self” appear to arise, without stooping to the claim that “arising” simply is. I look forward to reading (and watching) more of the material associated with your new journal “Undivided”. I also particularly agree that as jamesbarnes52 says above, “‘you do not know until you know’; that anything bar self-knowledge (that is, enlightenment) is not itself recognition of non-duality at all” and in that regard it is precisely the “absence of the shadow” in the sense that such an “alternate” reality is recognized that must be entertained if integration is to be achieved. The achievement of the capacity to “stand with a foot in both spheres” is a necessary prerequisite for returning to the world (of name and form).

  4. Danau says:

    If, as traditional and corrempotany nondual teachings suggest, the separate self is merely an ‘illusion’ of thought and perception, and we are in essence the wide open space in which life unfolds, a space which is inseparable from that very unfolding, then what place does ‘therapy’ have in our lives?It seems that the place therapy has in a nondual world would be to help let go of neuroses and holdings that seem to be very deeply psychologically rooted regardless of how much insight or awareness we have.Can an illusory self really heal another illusory self?Ultimately since there is no self then a no-self cannot heal another no-self. Even people well versed in Advaita Vedanta and meditation can feel suffering though, sometimes they still have deeply ingrained neursoses. Maybe a non-dual psychotherapist can help investigate these tendancies or holdings exploring how we hold on to a sense of self or how these sufferings actually help maintain a sense of self. I think that we could explore seeing clearly vs. tendancies of the mind, how we can use this open space to faciliatete healing these tendancies that still arise and still cause suffering. Can an open space be healed by ‘another’ open space? Who, exactly, is going to do this healing? And who, exactly, is going to be healed?When in the presence of someone who is resting as awareness with an open heart often times I feel a tremendous exchange by just sitting with them. Can sitting with someone in simple presence give the client a chance to start identifying with this open space rather than the machinations of the mind? Its not necessarily a person being healed or a person healing but rather an open space being that space while the client attunes to that space seeing eventually that there was no attuning nor therapist or client but that space was always present regardless of the suffering machinations of the mind.

  5. Hi Mohamad,

    Yes, please feel free to submit!


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