We delight ourselves: Experiencing nonduality

Ariel Meadow Stallings
3 min readMar 21
SF Botanical Gardens

A friend and I were out for a walk, and then we found a quiet spot to sit and meditate together, just for five minutes.

Let the record show: this is not a thing I ever would have imagined myself enjoying. Pre-Shitshow Ariel would have found it too woo, too schmaltzy, and most importantly, too boring!

This version of Ariel, however, is just grateful for a chance to sit quietly with a person I care about, in a moment when no one is sick, when no one is actively being harmed. This Ariel knows that if you have a quiet moment to sit, it’s a treat just to sit.

We were walking through San Francisco’s Botanical Gardens and settled down to sit on a bench looking out over a large field.

As I got ready to close my eyes, I noticed a toddler squealing with delight as they chased a squirrel across the lawn. The squirrel was clearly enjoying itself too — it would scamper just far enough, then turn around and wait for the child to catch up. It was the cutest damn thing.

As my eyes slid shut, I thought to myself, “We delight ourselves.”

The we was all of us.

We are the squirrel, we are the child.

We delight ourselves!

We are also the woman watching the squirrel and the child.

We delight ourselves!

Now, we are also the eyes reading these words, imagining the scene, and recalling moments when we’ve felt similar.

We delight ourselves!

It was one of those non-dualistic moments that’s impossible to describe. By its very nature, such experiences can’t be captured by my beloved words and my oh-so-clever braining.

If you’ve experienced something similar (that moment of oneness, a tiny little hit of satori, that non-dualistic perspective shift that’s just like oh shiiiiiiiiii — -?!) then you know how precious and fleeting it is.

I closed my eyes and listened to the trees rustle. We’re all god in drag, Ram Dass used to say. Even the trees!

We delight ourselves!

I could hear some folks playing flamenco guitar on a park bench a ways away. It was the most amazing accompaniment, just randomly happening there!

We delight ourselves!

I could feel my friend’s arm against mine, feel them breathing next to me.

We delight ourselves!

Of course, in a moment it was gone. We only meditated for five minutes, and I spent at least half that time fretting about sales funnels, wondering about why it’s so hard for me to have healthy boundaries with people I care about, debating whether I maybe should have worn my other shoes.

I keep forgetting.

I keep waking back up.

We delight ourselves.


  • When have you experienced those fleeting glimpses of oneness? Did they come spontaneously, or was there something you did to create a container for the moment to be felt?
  • What practices that you would have scoffed at years ago (or even months ago!) are you now finding comforting or useful?
  • If we’re all just expressions of divine, what does that say about how we feel towards those who might be more challenging for us? It’s easy to see god in an adorable toddler chasing a squirrel, but what about your obnoxious neighbor, that bully at your child’s school, or that demagogue politician?

This post was originally published as part of The Afterglow, my members-only publication that I ran from 2020–2023.

Ariel Meadow Stallings

Director of Publisher Growth @ Medium, but also an author, publisher of offbeatempire.com, and devotional dancer - because I contain multitudes, and so do you!