Meditation—Success, Special Powers and Non-Duality

A recent online presentation by the Warden of Shanti Sadan

Does non-duality offer potential benefits such as prosperity, success and special powers?

According to these teachings, our true substance, our innermost Self, is not separate from the ultimate source of all—the supreme intelligence that underlies and pervades the entire world appearance. The path to inner illumination is a gradual awakening to this reality and a growing recognition that this is what we really are. And enlightenment is the dissolution of all the apparent separations from that supreme Being.

It might seem to follow that progress on the path to Self-realisation would be evidenced by signs of a great force at work in our lives and of a growing ability to draw upon the power of that supreme Being according to our will. Does this mean that if we are pursuing the non-dual teachings, we might expect to see effects of this power in our situation, manifesting perhaps as material prosperity, influence and well-being on all levels? Should we expect a rise of uncommon capacities for benevolence and creativity, such as supra-mental sources of knowledge or the power to heal trauma and remove suffering?

On the other hand, if no such developments are occurring in our life, does this mean that we are not making progress with the non-dual practices? If such extra-ordinary qualities are not becoming apparent within our scope, could it be that we are doing something wrong or have failed to grasp something essential?

Let us put our mind at rest about this. If we are doing the suggested practices and sincerely enquiring in the direction of non-duality, and yet do not seem to be gaining special capacities or qualities, this does not mean that we are doing something wrong or making no progress. To feel that we are just a ‘normal’ or ‘ordinary’ person does not mean that we do not or cannot grow towards inner illumination. In fact, to be a normal person with an ordinary life, and no wish to appear otherwise, is an ideal situation in which to make the subtle, but vital, inner changes which constitute real progress on the inner quest.

What are those vital changes? At the core of all our life experience there is the awareness of ‘I am’. This conscious principle is always with us, as the central point that our inner world revolves around. It is familiar to us, although imperfectly understood, and it is often called the ego.

This word ‘ego’ has become associated with exaggerated self-centeredness and self-importance. In fact, the ego is not intrinsically bad. If we did not have this fundamental core of ‘I am’ and ‘I care’, then the essence of our humanity would be missing. What matters is what this ‘I-am’ feeling is associated with, what we identify with our central ‘I-am’ or ego-sense.

At one stage in our development we do have the feeling: ‘I am— my wants and my ideas, and everything else either helps me or gets in the way, or just doesn’t matter!’ This feeling, too, has its place. For during this phase of our development, we learn important lessons about life, and come to realize that narrow self-interest is not an asset but a limitation that holds us back from true expansion.

Subscribe or enrol for free guest access to read all of this article and Self-Knowledge online.


This article is from the Spring 2021 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.