Excerpt About Turnings of the Wheel

Discoveries at the Fourth Turning

The fourth turning of the teaching shows us that dual and nondual are different views of reality, each of them disclosing something different about how reality can manifest. Reality can appear as a discrete self navigating an external world and can also manifest as an indivisible unity. The nondual view is emphasized in so many teachings because it is a useful and effective antidote to the dualistic view. It challenges the prevailing assumptions of duality and makes it possible to get beyond these limitations to something that has the possibility of greater freedom and fulfillment. But we should not forget that there are teachings that reveal that fulfillment is also possible in the dualistic view—the fulfillment of a human being as an individual with self-determination. Even though both views are valid, we can see, from the view of totality, that both dual and nondual understandings still harbor delusions about reality. One of the main delusions shared by both views, and many others too, is revealed in the Sufi saying, “When I say this is true, I don’t mean only this is true.” Both perspectives adhere to the delusion of being categorical. Those who subscribe to either view believe, “This is it, this is all of reality, and only this is true.” Nondual practitioners can no more easily admit the reality of the world of suffering than secularists can admit the underlying divine oneness of reality. Both camps posit their own version of the ultimate condition of reality as definitive.

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