You do not find an intelligent organism living in an unintelligent environment. Here is a tree in the garden, and every summer it produces apples; and we call it an apple tree because the tree “apples” - that is what it does. Here is a solar system inside a galaxy, and one of the peculiarities of this solar system is that, on the planet earth, it “peoples” in just the same way that an apple tree “apples.”
The second duality myth is the ‘duality’ between Man and Nature, which includes the mythical mind/body ‘duality’. Most people think of the body as something that separates us from the universe, but this is a mistake for the body connects us with the universe through the senses. The driving factor in this dualism, in my mind, is tied to the question of “Who am I?”
Where is there a separation when looking at the full moon at night? The light we see from the moon is a reflection from all the light sources in the universe that gets translated from electromagnetic waves into whatever it is we call vision. The process is a single event - the electromagnetic waves meet our eyes, where they are translated into nerve impulses that are then translated by the brain into what we see, then the mind translates that into words in order to communicate the experience.
To be separate, we would have to be self-sufficient. We do not supply our own oxygen; that comes from the air we breathe. Our bodies require food and water, which is not carried within, we transform food and water into our bodies. Our vision is not a separate something that has been teleported in from somewhere else, but is an ongoing translation of the basic energy of the universe. I highly doubt -O- has a warehouse of ‘things’ called ‘tree falling’ that gets teleported to the scene every time a tree falls. We are so innerrelated with the universe that if one part of it - let us say oxygen, were to be removed would mean our death.
Perhaps the worst aspect of this separation myth is our speculation about what happens after we die. I find it amusing that so many are concerned about the afterlife yet pay no attention on the prelife. We worry about the rewards of Heaven or Nirvana, the punishment of Hell, or a plain nothingness, thinking they are eternal states of being. Think about it, we were dead before we were alive and we will be dead once again in a never ending dancing in and out of the light The Nonbeingness of prelife is the same Nonbeingness of afterlife.
As I’ve written elsewhere, we are Reality become alive and aware, if you listen to the secular campfire story I like to tell. From the perspective of the spiritual side of that campfire story, we are Avatars of -O-. This ‘duality’, as with all ‘dualities’, is not existential; it is limited to the playground of logic. Our immediate experience of reality points to an infinite wholeness that doesn’t always play by the rules of logic. We need the ‘dualisms’ to comprehend, but we have fallen into a habit of mistaking the map for the territory.
‘Mind’ and ‘body’ are two aspects of the same oneness, not two separate somethings acting in tandem. Yes, ‘mind’ is a valid campfire story. Yes, ‘body’ is a valid campfire story. When I use the word ‘mind, I’m referring to ego, which is what we identify as mind. Neither story is the complete truth in the same manner that neither Yin nor Yang is the Tao.
Nature is the substance; mind, the function. The function never separates from substance, nor the substance from the function. Function and substance, though separate, are causally connected. Nature governs the mind, and the mind is nature’s function; they mesh. Although both retain their own character, they are inseparable.
The Heart Sutra
Think about it, ‘mind’ can be daffyfined as ‘not body’ and ‘body’ can be daffyfined as ‘not mind’ In the symbolism of the Taiji, we can think of mind as Yin and body as Yang. Once again we run into the limits of either/or thinking with the assumption the truth lies in a one or the other answer. Do we find bodiless minds or mindless bodies?
We are a mind/body oneness that ‘stretches’ from our innermost core to the ‘outer edge’ of the universe. This is a truth that applies to each and every one of us. When you expand your knowledge of the universe, you come to discover you have no choice but to identify yourself with everything there is.
All things in the universe move from the subtle to the manifest and back again. Whether the form is that of a star or a person, the process is the same. First, the subtle energy exists. Next, it becomes manifest and takes on life. After a time, the life passes away, but the subtle energy goes on, either returning to the subtle realm, where it remains, or once again attaching to manifest things.
Chapter 34, Hua Hu Ching, (Partial)
Identifying yourself as mind only or body only does nothing other than deny yourself your full heritage as an expression of the Totality.
If you must have an identity, identify with the Totality then quit thinking about it. Thinking about it too much leads one to think they are something special. What is so special about the everyday? Those who lord it over others have completely misunderstood the experience