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From Skepticism to Enlightenment: Nukunu Larsen's Journey of Non-Duality

From Skepticism to Enlightenment: Nukunu Larsen's Journey of Non-Duality

In an enlightening interview with MysticMag, Nukunu Larsen shares the intricate tapestry of his life’s journey, marked by divine orchestrations and serendipitous encounters that guided him from skepticism toward a deep exploration of non-duality and spirituality.

Reflecting on the profound turning points in his life, Larsen’s narrative offers a glimpse into how unexpected paths can lead to profound spiritual awakening and insight.

From his initial foray into Transcendental Meditation to transformative experiences under the guidance of spiritual masters in India, this blog post delves into Larsen’s journey and the essence of his teachings, as discussed in his interview with MysticMag, highlighting the transformative power of non-duality in fostering self-realization and individual transformation.

What was the turning point in your life that led you to pursue and teach non-duality?

I often describe life as a divine conspiracy, suggesting that our perceived choices are not truly ours; rather, they’re part of a divine orchestration. Reflecting on my journey, I recognize the pivotal moments and encounters that seemed coincidental but were, in essence, part of a larger plan.

My intrigue with non-duality and spirituality began unexpectedly. In my mid-twenties, deeply engrossed in art and Marxism, I was skeptical of anything metaphysical. However, my curiosity was piqued when a Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher at my college, whom I greatly respected, introduced me to meditation. Despite my initial reservations, I committed to practicing TM twice daily. This practice unearthed deep-seated emotions—pain, anger, and sorrow—leading me to seek therapy to navigate these intense experiences.

This period marked the beginning of my exploration into various therapeutic and meditative practices. I delved into body-oriented meditations like Kundalini and dynamic meditation, and in 1979, my journey took me to Pune, India, where I embraced the path of a sanyasin under Osho’s guidance. This transformative phase included extensive training in therapy, further deepening my understanding of human psychology and spirituality.

A chance encounter in 1991 shifted my trajectory once more. A brief conversation with an acquaintance in Pune led me to Lucknow to meet Papaji, a disciple of Ramana Maharshi. This meeting, although it didn’t resonate with me initially, was a precursor to a profound awakening. After spending time in Goa, I returned to Denmark, where I experienced a series of profound insights that irrevocably altered my perspective.

These insights compelled me to redefine my approach to therapy, integrating non-dualistic principles into my practice. This transition wasn’t just about helping others feel better; it was about guiding them home to their true essence. Thus, non-dual therapy was born, marking the beginning of my teaching journey in the mid-90s.

My work has since taken me around the globe, from Russia to various countries, sharing the principles of non-duality. Despite the challenges, such as the inability to visit certain places, the journey has been incredibly rewarding.

Interestingly, my path to spirituality and teaching was never predetermined. Originating from a lineage of house painters, I left school at 14 to follow in my family’s footsteps. However, a series of encounters and encouragements led me to pursue higher education, ultimately culminating in a profound shift in my life’s direction.

In essence, my story is a testament to the unpredictable yet beautifully orchestrated nature of life, where every encounter and challenge is a step towards discovering one’s true self and purpose.

How do you describe the essence of non-dual therapy and its impact on individuals?

Non-dual therapy is founded on the principle that our everyday experience is rooted in duality, where we identify ourselves with our physical bodies and personal narratives. This identification leads us to perceive ourselves as separate entities, distinct from the rest of existence. However, this perception is merely an illusion, a construct of our minds influenced by societal and cultural conditioning.

In the realm of non-duality, we challenge these deep-seated beliefs by recognizing that what we consider to be our ‘self’—our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations—is transient and devoid of inherent existence. This concept, known in Eastern philosophies as ‘Maya,’ suggests that our experiences, while real to us, lack absolute reality.

My approach to therapy involves guiding individuals through a process of deconstruction, encouraging them to explore and question their identities and attachments. This process often brings to the surface suppressed emotions and unresolved issues from one’s past, providing a rich ground for healing and insight.

By engaging directly with these emotions—such as anger or sorrow—rather than intellectualizing them, individuals can transcend them, moving closer to their true essence. This journey is not about accumulating more knowledge or concepts but about shedding the layers of misconception that cloud our true nature.

I employ two primary techniques in this transformative process: associated inquiry and self-inquiry. The associated inquiry focuses on immersing oneself fully in the experience at hand, without attachment to the ‘I’ that experiences. This method allows for a direct confrontation with one’s emotions, leading to their dissolution and the revelation of one’s true self.

On the other hand, self-inquiry, inspired by the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, directs the individual’s attention inward, questioning the very existence of the ‘I’ that claims to experience. This introspective process challenges the foundation of our perceived identity, leading to a profound awakening of our true nature.

This awakening transcends the realm of the thinking mind, touching upon a reality that is indescribable and beyond intellectual comprehension. It is a state of being—or rather, beyond being—that cannot be conveyed through words or concepts. It is an experiential realization, a knowingness that doesn’t require external validation.

In essence, non-dual therapy is not just a therapeutic practice; it is a path to awakening. It invites us to step beyond the limitations of our conditioned minds and embrace the boundless reality of our true nature. This shift in perception holds the potential to transform not only individuals but the collective consciousness, steering us away from conflict and division towards a more harmonious and understanding world.

Can you share insights into how your background in psychology and various spiritual traditions influences your approach?

Reflecting on my journey, it’s clear that the foundation of my approach is deeply rooted in both the challenges of my childhood and the wisdom gleaned from various spiritual traditions. Growing up in the 1950s, I encountered a great deal of violence, including from my own father, which was reflective of the broader societal norms of the time. This early exposure to pain and suffering necessitated a deep introspection and healing process as I matured.

Significant relationships, particularly with women who challenged me emotionally, played a pivotal role in confronting and processing this pain. For instance, the betrayal of a partner not only triggered immense anger and sorrow but also catalyzed a profound personal transformation. This emotional turmoil, while painful, became an unexpected gateway to deeper self-awareness and enlightenment, illustrating the paradoxical nature of our darkest moments as potential catalysts for growth.

My academic background in psychology provided a framework for understanding human behavior and emotions, yet it was my encounters with spiritual masters like Osho, Papaji (Parvati), and Maharaji that truly transformed my perspective. Each of these masters, through their teachings and presence, served as a mirror, reflecting back to me the truths I had yet to realize within myself. They emphasized the importance of direct experience over intellectual understanding, guiding me toward a more profound, experiential knowledge of my true self.

Osho’s integration of meditation with modern therapeutic techniques, Papaji’s emphasis on self-inquiry (“Who am I?”), and Maharaji’s devotion to surrendering to the divine, each contributed unique facets to my approach. These teachings, combined with my personal experiences of pain and healing, have shaped my understanding of the human condition and the path to transcendence.

In retrospect, my life’s journey appears as a ‘divine conspiracy’, where every encounter and challenge was purposefully placed to guide me toward a deeper understanding of myself and the nature of reality. This perspective informs my approach to helping others navigate their paths, encouraging a holistic integration of psychological insights with spiritual wisdom.

What is the core message you hope participants take away from your retreats and satsangs?

The essence of what I hope participants grasp from my retreats and satsangs is the realization that they already embody what they seek. The journey is not about becoming something other than oneself; rather, it’s about discovering and realizing one’s inherent nature. This path involves cultivating silence and trust, recognizing that one’s true essence is ever-present and does not need to be acquired or achieved.

It’s important to approach the concept of divinity with caution, especially given the strong influence of Christianity in our cultural background. Terms like ‘God’ often carry with them a host of connotations and images, such as that of a paternal figure, which may not resonate with everyone’s experience or understanding. To avoid these associations, I prefer to use terms like ‘divinity’ or even ‘Brahman’, as referenced in the Vedas, which signifies the ultimate reality or absolute.

The teaching that Atman (the innermost essence) is Brahman (the absolute reality) underscores the non-duality at the heart of Advaita and similar spiritual traditions. This perspective contrasts sharply with organized religions, which often focus on belief systems rather than direct realization. In many Western religions, followers are encouraged to believe in doctrines without necessarily experiencing the truth of those teachings firsthand. This approach can lead to a disconnect between the teachings and the individual’s personal experience of the divine.

Religious inquiry often begins within the framework of organized religion, sparking curiosity and a deeper search for understanding. However, the journey toward personal realization can be fraught with challenges, especially considering the historical repercussions of questioning religious dogma. In both Christianity and Islam, for example, individuals who dared to explore profound spiritual questions sometimes faced severe consequences, including persecution and execution. This historical context has instilled a deep-seated caution or fear around questioning the nature of divinity, a hesitation that persists in the collective unconscious.

In summary, my core message is one of self-realization and the recognition of one’s innate divinity. It is a call to look beyond traditional belief systems and to embark on a personal journey of discovery, where the ultimate truth of one’s being awaits.

How do you see the relationship between traditional psychotherapy and non-dual therapy evolving?

As a psychologist educated in the traditional university setting, I’ve observed that conventional psychology and therapy focus extensively on understanding the mind and emotions without delving into the fundamental question of “Who am I?” This absence of self-inquiry means that while traditional psychotherapy can be effective in alleviating symptoms and improving well-being, it often stops short of guiding individuals to a deeper understanding of their true selves.

In traditional therapy, whether it’s NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Gestalt therapy, or any other modality, the goal is often to make people feel better by addressing their immediate issues. This approach can lead to significant improvements in an individual’s quality of life. However, it operates within the realm of duality—the separation of the individual from their experiences, leading to the conclusion “I am feeling better.”

The question of “But who are you?” is seldom explored in traditional settings because the therapists themselves may not have confronted this question in their personal or professional lives. If they had, their practice might naturally evolve towards non-dual therapy, which seeks to transcend this duality by guiding individuals to recognize and embody their true, undivided nature.

Therefore, the evolution of the relationship between traditional psychotherapy and non-dual therapy hinges on a broader recognition and integration of self-inquiry into the therapeutic process. By doing so, therapy can move beyond simply alleviating symptoms to facilitating a profound realization of the self, offering a more holistic and transformative healing experience.

Find out more at: www.nukunu.net

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
MysticMag contains reviews that were written by our experts and follow the strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we have adopted. Such standards require that each review will take into consideration independent, honest and professional examination of the reviewer. That being said, we may earn a commission when a user completes an action using our links, at no additional cost to them. On listicle pages, we rank vendors based on a system that prioritizes the reviewer’s examination of each service but also considers feedback received from our readers and our commercial agreements with providers.This site may not review all available service providers, and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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Luka is passionate about the environment and wildlife, captivated by the intriguing domains of energy restoration and hypnotic therapy.