Final Duality
Unitive awareness comes from both the heart and the mind

Welcome to www.finalduality.org, a place with ideas about consciousness, human awareness, spirituality, and the universe.

How closely can we look?

"Unity is at the intersection of the heart and mind"

Who do you think is enlightened?

How can we tell who is spiritually awakened or enlightened?


This is an amazing question I asked many times over the years. People can get emotional over it, or dismiss it as not important and change the subject. Yet my observations told me that on the spiritual journey it's a very important matter. Some will look at a teacher who is said to be awakened and say "no way!" Others will kiss the same teacher's feet and proclaim they have "God powers." Ask 10 people who think they know what enlightenment is, and everyone will give a different answer. Many myths come about, and I discuss some of them in my page Myths about Enlightenment. So how can we tell who is enlightened?

Are there common traits among people who are awakened to an "absolute" reality?

In my study of over 100 stories of people who claim and are generally recognized to be awakened, which included attending many events and having dozens of dialogs, a few characteristics come up repeatedly that I believe indicate they have experienced a profound realization of the incomprehensible, absoute truth that we can refer to as enlightenment. This is only my opinion, but others have also investigated and written about this subject. Here goes:

THEY REFER TO THE PARADOXICAL NATURE OF THINGS, THAT THINGS BOTH EXIST AND DON'T EXIST, ARE BOTH REAL AND UNREAL. THEY REPEAT THAT NO WORD OR THOUGHTS CAN CONVEY THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH. THEY REMIND US NOT TO BELIEVE EVERYTHING THEY SAY BUT TO FIND OUT FOR OURSELVES, AND INSTRUCT US TO GO BEYOND THEIR TEACHING, BEYOND ALL WORDS AND ALL TEACHINGS, BY OURSELVES INTO THE UNKNOWN.

THEIR TEACHING DOES NOT LACK HEART AND LOVE, AND IT DOES NOT IGNORE INTELLECT AND WISDOM. THEY ARE HUMBLE BUT CONFIDENT. THEY TEACH SURRENDER AND ACCEPTANCE BUT ALSO PUSH US OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONE. THERE MAY BE AN URGENCY TO THEIR TEACHING, IT IS NOT RITUIAL OR DOGMATIC, AND THEY DON''T ENCOURAGE ONE TO BE COMPLACENT. TRULY AWAKENED TEACHERS DO NOT PARROT OR QUOTE OTHER TEACHERS EXCEPT TO SUPPORT THEIR OWN TEACHING. THEY CAN CLEARLY STATE THEIR OWN STORY FROM DIRECT EXPERIENCE AND IN THEIR OWN WORDS, SPONTANEOUSLY.

This list has some practical value, as there are false teachers and there are true ones. It does take discernment not to be mislead. It's a teaching of wisdom that says when we are in our heart, the truth will find us. We might be advised not to surrender to anyone, enlightened masters and spirtual teachers are not gods or saints, they are human beings who have had an amazing experience, one that is avialble to all of us.

Two sources that support these observations:

Buddha at the Gas Pump (batgap.com) - live interviews of many spritual teachers

Conversations on Nonduality: Twenty-Six Awakenings (reviewed at https://nondualityamerica.wordpress.com)/2012/09/09/conversations-on-non-duality-twenty-six-awakenings/