The essence of holistic non-duality is the recognition that non-duality is never separate from duality. Simply put, they are “not two” because non-duality devoid of duality is itself dualistic. Holistic non-duality does not transcend the world; it transcends the division within us. It is what the adage “to be in the world but not of it” really means.

In Tantra, holistically non-dual love unites the physical and spiritual through a life-affirming understanding of what it is to be spiritual beings having human experiences. Being is not superior to living. Being is living minus the stories about life we mistake for life. This means we wake up to the world, not from it.

“Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between these two my life flows.”– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

In Zen calligraphy, holistic non-duality is alluded to by leaving the circular stroke that represents Oneness open. This points to the deeper understanding that non-duality is never a transcendental realm beyond the imperfect, dualistic world. Holistic non-duality is Oneness with room for two-ness. It represents the paradigm shift towards a genuinely holistic understanding of awakening and of life itself that lies at the heart of current spiritual renaissance.

“Oneness does not appear as anything, it is every that appears.” – Jeff Foster

“Wake up to Oneness, but celebrate two-ness.” – Tim Freke

Traditionally, both approaches are called “non-duality”, but to prevent confusion I have coined the term “holistic non-duality” to distinguish them. So, holistic non-duality is not a New Age concept, it is just a more informative name for this perennial wisdom. For some, the balanced approach of holistic non-duality feels right intuitively, but for others it seems counter-intuitive to the absoluteness of non-duality without duality.

Although holistic non-duality is the more balanced, it is no more “higher” because of this than absolute non-duality is “higher” because it is pure. The debate over whether non-duality is ultimately inclusive or exclusive is an ancient one. Apart from being deeply ironic, such opposing views of non-duality merely reinforce the division in the world rather than heal it. Holistic non-duality has room for everything, including duality and absolute non-duality – how could it be otherwise?

"The answer to difference is to respect it." – John Hume

Please note that holistic non-duality is not “my” baby – I invite you to explore and develop it further according to your own individually unique Universal insights because this is the point of being holistically non-dual.

Author's Bio: 

Mark H. Kelly has a background in applied physics, software development, and ESL teaching, although his real passion has always been spirituality. He has spent several years on a spiritual odyssey traveling the world learning from traditional wisdom keepers and modern spiritual innovators. He is dedicated to bringing the best of the ancient wisdom traditions to the modern world because the survival of both depends upon them coming together in this time of great change.

Mark has just been invited to contribute an article about Love and Oneness to the best-selling book series "Adventures in Manifesting," which will be published in September 2012.

NOTE: This came through, so I highly recommend it to other budding authors out there!