What is Advaita or Nonduality?
Advaita: “A” = negation, “dva” = two, “ita”=-ness,
translates as: Not-two-ness or Non-Duality
Vedanta: The end or the essence of the vedas
Advaita Vedanta has been a spiritual-philosophical undertaking of indian sages, who tried to boil down the essence of the vedas. In the 8.th century AD th sage Adi Shankara lived and thaught according to this tradition and became the proponent of the movement later simply called Advaita or Non-Duality in modern terms. That, which is also called the direct path.
“Direct” simply means to show the spiritual seeker his true nature in the most direct way. Our true nature is one with being and expresses itself through boundless love and freedom. Non-Duality is no method, it has no established teaching system. At the same time it is the essence of all spiritual efforts to find liberation.
Advaita and other spiritual teachings
There are many proponents of non-duality, who would say, leave all other teachings behind and only focus on what is most important: finding your true nature. While in certain cases, this might be the right advice, in others it might not. In my experience all humans are served best, if advice is taylored to their present situation. The different spiritual systems can be very helpful to bring order to our lives and to understand, where we are on our spiritual path. This way our soul can prepare its next step.
That is why I prefer to work with spiritual teachings, like the psychology of the chakras, the archetypes of the Tarot or the indian and tibetan teachings about Karma.
It was Adi Shankara himself, who wrote the first poem about the seven chakras. This clearly shows, that Advaita has never excluded any other spiritual teachings or religiious paths, in the contrary, it makes use of these different approaches, without clinging onto them. Because all these teachings point to the same direction: The discovery of our true nature, which expresses itself through boundless love and freedom.