Welcome to Undivided: The Online Journal of Nonduality and Psychology. Undivided is a peer-reviewed, reader-supported, interactive journal devoted to exploring the confluence of nondual wisdom teachings and contemporary psychology. We are very pleased to have you join us in this vital, open-ended conversation, one that has been growing in both scope and subtlety over the past decade.
The interface between nondual teachings and psychology became the focal point of a series of annual conferences that began in California in the late 1990’s. These conferences have been accompanied by two anthologies of original essays – mostly written by conference presenters – and more recently by a series of quarterly public salons in the San Francisco Bay Area. Undivided is a natural outgrowth of this growing conversation that is now extending globally to English language readers. One of its hallmarks is its interactivity. Most authors have agreed to be available to blog with their readers for several months so that their articles become a starting point for a rich conversation.
Our approach to nondual teachings is both rigorous and open-minded. We are aware that there are a number of variations in traditional as well as contemporary nondual teachings that point to a primordial, natural awareness without subject or object. Traditional teachings carry the flavor of their native cultures whether from Asia, the Middle East, or Europe. Some contemporary teachings come from these established lineages while others spring from the ground like wildflowers. Some of these emphasize the importance of formal practices while others eschew them. In general we follow a “direct path” approach that emphasizes that nondual awareness is always and already available to everyone and that its realization is essential to foster the full flowering of the human being. We acknowledge the legitimate and often important role of practices and teachers, as well as the fact that such practices and teachers may be completely unnecessary or incidental in some cases or at a certain point. We bow in gratitude to our teachers and traditions, whether east or west, even as we are disinterested in attaching to viewpoints or dogmatic beliefs. We support the recognition of what is here right now and knowingly living our lives from and as this open, awake presence.
The discovery of presence is profoundly relevant to the field of psychology and the practice of psychotherapy – the other main focus of this journal. How does the recognition of our true nature as non-separate awareness influence our understanding of the origins of human suffering and well being? How does it affect the identity and work of a psychotherapist? How does the conscious attunement with this undivided awareness impact deep-seated mental, emotional and somatic conditioning and, conversely, how may this conditioning impede the realization of one’s true nature? Spiritual teachers often dismiss or undervalue the impact of psychological conditioning such as trauma or attachment disorders while psychologists and psychotherapists tend to overlook, misunderstand or even pathologize experiences and insights that go beyond conventional egocentricity. How do we identify with spiritual teachings and experiences – even ones that have a nondual orientation – as ways to avoid the gritty and often challenging experiences of human existence and interpersonal relationships? On the other hand, how may we cling to our suffering and self-improvement project as a way to avoid the profound stripping away, dis-illusionment, and letting go that usually accompany a genuine spiritual awakening? We hope that Undivided will foster an increasingly refined exploration of these and other central questions.
The format of the journal has both formal and informal facets. We hope to maintain a high level of writing and insight through a process of peer-reviewed editing of articles, some of which will have a more scholarly and clinical orientation. These may appeal more to professionals in the field. At the same time we will include less formal contemplative essays that may be of more interest to the general reader. In addition, we will share poetry, graphic art, and relevant audio and video clips that take advantage of the multimedia platform that an online journal affords. There will also be sections for books reviews and relevant doctoral dissertations.
While Undivided has been given a small seed grant from the Nondual Wisdom and Psychology Institute to get started, it will need to be entirely reader supported from now on. We hope to avoid all subscription fees or ads and therefore appeal directly to each of you to make a small donation each time you log on to enjoy these offerings. If what you read has value and inspires and deepens your own understanding, please support us in this truly collaborative venture. If we are unable to generate sufficient funds in this manner, we may move to a subscription basis, limiting our readership but allowing us to continue. It will be up to each of you to make this journal available to as many people as possible. Most of the labor that goes into this is voluntary. It is an offering from the Heart. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your active participation, support and feedback!
John J. Prendergast, Ph.D. Editor-in-chief