Nonduality, an enlightenment path from Seeker to Seer to Sage
Like a weary traveler in the desert, old souls are thirsty. We call this thirst seeking. It calls us to the path.
You might have begun your path of seeking to try and find relief from suffering, or because you had an intuition that there was more to life than meets the eye – you wanted to find that ‘something more.’
Perhaps you had an epiphany and awakening that gave you a glimpse that quenched your thirst, but then the thirst returned, and you began your search, digging through the dirt, lifting rocks, trying to find that ‘something’ that would end the search – that would quench the thirst, finally. You may have just started your journey or been seeking for what feels like too long. You may have discovered many clues and answers but still feel disillusioned with what the world has to offer.
Surely this is not it; surely, there is more.
This guide to the nondual enlightenment path explores:
- Know what you are searching for
- 3 Stages of nondual enlightenment
What started your journey of seeking?
We all name our seeking in different ways – a search for the self, a search for God, a search for truth, for answers. We want lasting inner peace. We want to feel whole. We might look through various spiritual traditions, trying and testing various teachings. We could say we’re searching for happiness – that open, relaxed feeling we have sometimes known. Perhaps we glimpsed it in nature or through meditation as if suddenly the way we see and the way we are, expands – giving us relief from the contracted prison experience of being alive.
Many of us started seeking without knowing exactly what we were looking for.
We used all of these vague descriptions and words, but we weren’t 100% sure. Like standing in the kitchen knowing you’re there for a reason, the nagging feeling there was a point to you arriving in this place and at this time, and knowing that you’ve forgotten what it is. Why am I here?
You might have called this a search for meaning, a search for your life’s purpose.
Whatever words you have used, I’m sure you could agree it’s ‘seeking.’
As difficult as it is for our weary traveler to search for and find water in the desert, the longing in the heart and being of a seeker can sometimes be unbearable. You might also feel alone in your seeking, realizing that only a few are interested in deep things. You may have even questioned your sanity at times. Why can’t I just be content with the surface of things? Why am I thirsty for truth? Why do questions burn in my heart? And when the busyness of your life gives you pause in moments of silence and solitude, you meet your longing once again. At times, the thirst is a gentle whisper; other times, it might feel like your very life depends on finding a way to quench the thirst in your dark nights of the soul. When fear’s icy grip claws through your veins or your heart aches with tears of sadness, the thirst and the seeking can grow unbearably strong.
I’m here to tell you you are not alone in your seeking.
We might all call the path of seeking by different names, influenced by different cultures and traditions. Thirst is thirst. We are all in the desert, thirsty to find water, and only true water has the power to quench that thirst. We can pretend, we can fill our cups with words, we can hope and believe, but none of these replace the deep satisfaction and relief we experience when we finally drink clean crystal water. If you were thirsty in the desert of life and you found a spring – if you dug and found a reliable source of water – wouldn’t you build a well so that you could drink every day as often as needed, so that you could bathe, so that you might even transform the surface of the dry earth into a garden?
This is how the seeker becomes the seer and ultimately becomes the sage.
“Know what you’re searching for.”
What helps the seeker is to learn what they are looking for and how to build a reliable well of Wisdom to draw on regularly with regular nourishment.
From inner Wisdom, the seeker rests, and the clarifying purity of the water of Wisdom becomes clear seeing and clear being. The seeker has become the seer. Insights, epiphanies, and depth of understanding nourish the seeker. Ending the thirst with your own Wisdom Well, you can see for yourself – no longer relying on other teachings or teachers to give you their Wisdom because you have your own source. You’ve placed your Wisdom Well at the center of your life to cleanse and nourish every aspect of your living. Drawing on your Wisdom Well, learning the skill and the art of creating reliable buckets, testing and purifying the water, practically using the water of Wisdom to build, grow, and nourish – steadily, the seer becomes a sage, a person living in natural harmony with life.
The sage knowing how to draw on their Wisdom Well regularly and grow the garden of an enlightened life, lives naturally in alignment with the intelligence that moves galaxies, grows eyelashes and becomes all things.
Just as water in the right hands can transform dead soil into nourishing life, your inner Wisdom can transform the experience of being human – to help you grow the garden of an enlightened life abundant with the harvests that Wisdom can bring.
What is a Sage?
The definition of a sage is one who has attained Wisdom.
It is also a virtuous or good person.
A sage knows that although all wisdom wells look different on the surface, we paint our buckets differently – we all draw from universal Wisdom. The sage knows that water recognizes water. Wisdom recognizes Wisdom. The sage has looked in the reflection of water long enough to see themselves looking back. Their clear seeing and clear being have washed away ignorance and confusion. They have given themselves back to themselves and realized the true self. Everywhere they look, they bring this clear seeing. And everywhere they are, they bring this clear being – transforming the landscapes of their lives from parched, lifeless, painful, barren lands to abundant life.
You are on a path from seeker to seer to sage.
This is a natural path echoed in all traditions
It is a natural path, and it is a path that countless souls have walked before you, and you are not alone in your journey.
Every spiritual tradition has a surface expression in the form of conventional religion and an inner path, a more mystical expression designed to help seekers to find Wisdom. What zen is to Buddhism and vadante is to the Hindu tradition. What NASM is to Christianity and sophism is to Islam and Cabala is to Judaism.
All spiritual traditions describe and express similar concepts because water is water, even if we name it differently. And though we might have different styles of building our Wisdom Wells using variations of methods, the principles are still universal.
Wisdom is your birthright.
It is a liberator.
And though we are grateful for having water from other sources, give yourself the gift of building your own Wisdom Well.
Ultimately, we must all see for ourselves what is true – and drink Wisdom to nourish our thirst.
The 3 stages of nondual enlightenment
This journey has three stages, ‘Seeker,’ ‘Seer,’ and ‘Sage.’ You may identify more strongly with one than the other, but this path is not always linear.
Even the most established sage can have moments of seeking and seeing. There is also a progression of depth.
Our seeing can deepen over time, and just as a guard needs maintenance, drawing on our Wisdom Well regularly is a practice helping us to bring Wisdom to our daily existence.
What helps each stage of nondual enlightenment?
- SEEKER: So that nondual enlightenment teachings don’t remain theory, build your Wisdom Well to “See for yourself.”
- SEER: As you learn to see for yourself, discovering who you are (true self) as pure nondual awareness, learn how to test and translate Wisdom, which means drinking from your well to nourish, cleanse, and bring clarity into daily life. See the healing power of Wisdom as it transforms the heart, the mind, and the existential experience of being alive.
- SAGE: After seeing, it’s time to live and BE what you SEE. It helps to be supported in learning how to grow the garden of an enlightened life to share Wisdom wherever you are. This is not necessarily about teaching. It’s about being a presence and a voice for clear seeing and being.
What is Wisdom?
Wisdom does not only belong to saints; it belongs to you and me.
Water is not only for special souls.
Wisdom is available to any sincere seeker willing to dig a well, drink, and grow a garden.
Discover the transformative power of Wisdom for yourself. Apply Wisdom to every area of your life. Wherever you are experiencing suffering or stress, struggle or feeling stuck – those are the dry desert patches in your life calling for Wisdom.
You can use this Wisdom Well Way, the path from seeker to seer to sage and the method of building a Wisdom Well as a meditation practice, as a mindfulness path that will deepen your spiritual and personal growth. Wisdom doesn’t only belong in temples but in boardrooms and homes too. It belongs in the way we practice business, in the way we nourish our bodies, in the way we relate, and in the way we build families and communities.
The world needs Wisdom.
Wisdom is not knowledge or words. Have you seen how even words of Wisdom can be turned into weapons if used by those who have not become sears or sages?
We are a world filled with thirsty, desperate people fighting over truth, grabbing for scraps of peace and happiness. Like Pacman endlessly chasing the next object.
By building your Wisdom well, you break that cycle in your own being. When we draw on inner Wisdom, we step back into alignment with the natural intelligence of life. And just as everything in nature grows to give and gives to grow, life is in service to itself. Instead of becoming destructive consumers, Wisdom opens our eyes, and we know how to live a simple, ordinary, enlightened life – uniquely expressing our own gifts—contributing instead of only consuming.
Let’s build wisdom wells together and transform the deserts of painful existence into natural gardens – living an enlightened life.