If you’ve ever felt like there was more to life than what you’re experiencing, you’re not alone. For generations and across all cultures, there have been attempts to discover what’s often referred to as the meaning of life. It can be a scary prospect and prompt us to shy away from thinking about it for too long. But Advaita Vedanta can illuminate that meaning of life for us in a way that’s attainable through meditation. By increasing and strengthening our awareness of the true nature of reality, we are better prepared to face the ordinary highs and lows of every day with greater clarity and purpose. And it all begins with Advaita Vedanta.
What is Advaita Vedanta?
Rooted in the Upaniṣads and Brahma Sūtra, Advaita Vedanta is simply a philosophy of oneness. Because we as individuals may be physically separate from each other and act independently of each other, we may be under the impression that we are distinct beings. But this reflects an error in judgment and a lack of understanding about the nature of the world. The world is of Brahman and we are of the world so we are of Brahman, too. Every one of us with a soul or spirit — our authentic self — is in that self the same as everyone else, and the same as Brahman. As we learn and grow in our view of the world, what we thought we knew — those errors in judgment and understanding — falls away and we are freed from these misconceptions. For this reason, the practice of Advaita Vedanta doesn’t always require formal and established adherence to a particular religion. Instead, it’s a way of thinking, a path to enlightenment, that shows us how we can experience liberation and freedom from the disillusionment that causes pain and suffering.
Where Did it Come From?
While the idea of Advaita Vedanta may be new to you, it has been a topic that has been talked about and pondered for a very long time. Adi Śaṅkara was one of the most well-known Hindu thinkers who embraced the idea of Advaita Vedanta and shared it with others; however, thinking about non-duality and non-secondness existed before Śaṅkara’s time. Śaṅkara formalized his thoughts after reading and thinking critically about the writings that had remained from ancient India, and those writings have been studied by scholars for more than a thousand years. He is often regarded as strongly influential in how Advaita Vedanta is understood, in theory and practice, today, especially when it comes to the idea of non-duality. This concept of one-ness has transcended its roots and is now embraced by many practitioners of Western spirituality, too, as they gain a clearer perspective on the nature of the world around them.
Advaita Vedanta Today
The modern approach to Advaita Vedanta crystallized more than 100 years ago. In today’s world, that approach typically includes meditation. Through the practice of meditation, we can let go of the thinking that’s been imposed upon us through our presence in the world and discover for ourselves how we relate to the universe. We must learn to open our hearts and minds to release ourselves as individual beings and achieve the true understanding of non-duality where we are part of the universe and the universe is part of us. Seeing our true selves opens the way to enlightenment and we can then continue our progress toward full and total happiness. Advaita Vedanta shows us how to find within ourselves that spark, that tiny light, where, if we follow it, we may find greater peace.
In making our way through the world, it’s easy to get caught up in all of our obligations we feel are essential. But through Advaita Vedanta, we can learn how to see through all of those things we think are necessary to discern what is truly important, beginning with who we are. Advaita Vedanta is for everyone, from all walks of life. Through the services of Shanti Sadan Centre of Nonduality (Advaita Vedanta), all are welcome to take the first step on the path to greater awareness and realization of the true nature of the universe so that we may experience greater peace and harmony in our hearts and toward each other. With a variety of programs and events that include instruction on the practice of meditation, whether you’ve tried it before or are new to the practice, Shanti Sadan Centre of Nonduality offers a calming and welcoming refuge from the world where you can inquire and learn from experienced teachers who are eager to share their knowledge with you.