I am coming to believe that, in nondual thought, there are advanced basic truths. If you feel some resistance to that statement, it may be because you don’t feel that “advanced” and “basic” can exist together in the same space. We have been trained to believe in an either/or universe, but in reality we live in a both/and universe. Allow me to elaborate.
Science tells us that everything is constantly in motion at the quantum level and therefore nothing is solid. Despite that, when we stub our toe on our bedframe it sure does feel solid and can leave a nasty bruise. How can both be true? Light, they tell us, can be both a particle and a wave – at the same time. We can separate cells across the world, but they still communicate. One group of cells can even communicate treatment received for infection to a separated group on the other side of the planet.
The key to understanding these apparent inconsistencies lies in understanding the different between relative and absolute reality. You might think of them (albeit a bit less accurately) as temporal and eternal reality or truth. In terms of absolute reality, the table over there is moving and not solid. In terms of relative reality – our perceptions – if we hit our shin on that table it is going to hurt.
Why mention all this in a blog with spiritual emphasis? I mention it because so much of what seems to be a contradiction in spirituality and religion is better understood through the relative/absolute reality paradigm. I will be writing more about this in future posts, but today will leave you with one example. It’s been said that Jesus was both human and divine. A complex doctrine called hypostatic union was created to explain this from a dualistic perspective but, to be quite honest, it doesn’t quite make sense. It’s rather like pouring super glue over the fingers of both hands and then interlacing them. Your left hand is divinity and your right is humanity. You can’t separate them thanks to the super glue, but there is a sense in which they are distinct.
It seems to me much better to understand Jesus’ humanity and divinity as relative and absolute truth. To external observation, he was human. That’s relative reality. In terms of absolute reality, he was divine. Both can be possible at the same time. In fact, by definition, they have to occur at the same time. Sitting with this perspective will lead you to other truth claims that seem contradictory but true. Consider, for example, that a surgeon wounds (cuts) us to heal us. We can open ourselves to a much larger perspective if only we can learn a new way of seeing. Jesus said something about that, too.