Nondual Zen Article:

Why Do We Believe?

nondual title

Why Do We Believe?
by Kathleen Sutherland

I wonder, why do some of us believe the teachings of nonduality and others do not? The teachings are not too complex, and these days, not too hidden. But most people disregard them as too far fetched, or maybe as true but of no relevance to daily life.

I have believed them from the start, from my first exposure in my early 30's to Eastern mysticism. It was not even so much a belief, but a knowing. They rang so very true to me that it didn't take much faith to believe. But to the extent there was doubt, I chose to believe. I sensed that the doubter was not my smartest self. It was the self who was fearful and conditioned by conventional consensus reality.

Why did I believe, or latch onto them as true? I am a gullible person, or to express it in a more flattering way, very open minded. I don't have great boundaries or skepticism when it comes to ideas. I take it all in. This led to some flakiness in my younger years, but I like to think that over time, I have developed discernment.

Another reason I believed was that I have suffered. I have never been content in this life. On the surface, my life has not been much worse than average, but as an overly sensitive person, I have always had a low threshold for stress and a lack of coping skills. So I have spent most of my days anxious or depressed. As I moved into middle age, the hope that I would overcome this suffering through changing life circumstances or my psychology began to diminish, which led to even more suffering.

So I dove into the spiritual solution. And it works. It is the only thing I have ever found that works. It has not lifted all suffering, but that is because I am not completely clear. The old conditioning persists, and I still get drawn into identification. But since my awakening experience with Fred three years ago, my suffering has been lifted by about 60%. And the 40% that persists is tolerable because now I once again have hope. I know that as I continue to work on clearing the mind, perceiving Reality more clearly, I will become ever less disturbed by the ups and downs of life, and I will rest more steadily in the underlying bliss of being, the "great okayness."

I believe in moksha (liberation) and cultivate clarity because it is the only way for me. Where would I be if I hadn't believed the teachings? At best in a place of apathy and depression, at worst in a place of suicidal despair (or already gone). I am eternally grateful for the ancients who recognized truth and recorded it for posterity. I am eternally grateful that somehow their wisdom reached me. I am eternally grateful for the internet, which makes nondual wisdom so accessible. And I am eternally grateful for Fred and his teaching, which was exactly what I needed to directly experience Truth.

How blessed I have been. But could it have happened any other way?