Saguna Brahman: Nonduality with Experience
Updated: Dec 3, 2018
by Dr. Zeb Lancaster & Candace Cave
Many nondual practices, like the jnana yoga of Advaita Vedanta, interpret the yogic principle of nirguna Brahman (nonduality without experience) as a directive to detach from emotions, thoughts, and sensations and to witness them as if from a distance. But if we limit our consciousness by separating it from our experience, are we not creating a duality of a different sort? When our primary vehicle to enlightenment is only our Mind, do we not run the risk of restricting our wholeness/humanness and fragmenting our ground of being?
Let’s consider an embodied approach to nonduality using the principle of Saguna Brahman (nonduality with experience). Attuning to the subtlest qualities of experience (including body/heart/mind) uncovers the most refined dimension of our being. It awakens our perceptions in a way that realizes the whole of our humanness as nondual.
Fully human, the flow of life’s drama moves freely through us without disturbing our attunement to this stable experience of an unchanging, unmodified, spacious, unified dimension of our own being pervading our body and our environment at the same time.
The sacred marriage of our human aliveness with the pervasive stillness of an embodied nondual experience, provides reliable ground for being in honest relationship with our self and others. When we fully inhabit the interior space of the body, we can also release imprints of habitual patterns that restrict our relationship with life.
Saguna Brahman provides a vital path for spiritual realization. We awaken a non-
conceptual, nondual experience that embraces our humanness, supports us to feel emptiness and presence at the same time, and unifies our ground of being.