The Nondual Perspective on Subjective Reality

The principle of Subjective Reality—that the universe is consciousness and nothing more—has been employed by authentic spiritual traditions for millennia. Its intended function is not to reveal Universal Truth, but to prepare a seeker for the next stage in their development by dispelling their material illusions.

In other words, Subjective Reality is a spiritual colonic, which for best results must be followed by healthy wisdom food. New-age teachers who skip this critical lesson are like surgeons who excise a tumor, but neglect to close the incision afterwards.

A famous Buddhist proverb states,

First there is a mountain
Then there is no mountain
Then there is

Here the first two stages belong to dualism, or denial, whereas the final stage of nondualism denies nothing. From a nondualist standpoint, one could argue that nihilism, solipsism and Subjective Reality are (contrary to SR acolytes’ insistence) distinctions without differences.

Another Zen proverb:

Before enlightenment
Chop wood, carry water
After enlightenment
Chop wood, carry water

Note the references to chopping and carrying, and the conspicuous absence of Intending, Manifesting and even consciousness. Realizations must be applied in the real world.

The Second Secret

Ramana Maharshi
Ramana Maharshi, Advaita guru
Credit: Sri Ramanasramam

Members of the Advaita Vedanta (non-duality) school refer to the incomplete teachings of the Law of Attraction, Intention-Manifestation Theory and Subjective Reality as neo-advaita or pseudo-advaita.

Confusing the vehicle and the destination, sufferers of neo-advaita syndome frequently exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Anti-intellectualism
  • Chronic dissociation and apathy
  • Passive aggression and predatory behavior
  • Lack of (sexual and financial) ethics

As Jesus reputedly said of false gurus, by their fruits you shall know them. Traditional nondual spirituality teaches that we should not grasp too tightly to Subjective Reality and the Law of Attraction, but instead favor a Law of Action:

Don’t think about it. Don’t talk about it. Be about it.


  1. Either way, the results of your practice are what is key. Whether their exists an empirical reality or a subjective one, what matters is what you do and what you get out, as far as I can see.

  2. My take on reality.
    The best way to handle it is to have as much fun as possible, and to try to make as few stupid decisions as possible.

    Now, chance may still stomp a person in the cojones, hard.
    However in my experience as a lowly human, many of the situations that harm us are a direct result of our choosing the wrong action.

Add a Comment