I have been taking a course called society and the individual and it seems to make non-duality even more clear. Basically sociology discusses the formation of the "self." Which is only a narrative that is composed of thoughts. This narrative must be repeated in order to be continuous. This means that who we think we are is simply a story that is being told over and over again. The person is created when we notice other people have opinions about us. When we are young and throughout life, we internalize these ideas. There is absolutely nothing wrong with all of this, it is simply what happens!
Reflected appraisals- when we imagine how others view us. Imagining what apparent "others" imagine about us. (Language can be tricky because really all that is going on is imagination).
Example: I will sit quietly in a classroom because I know that if I were to start yelling everyone would think I was crazy.
So we grow up according to what the people around us think of us.
This is called the Looking-Glass Self. We construct the 'self' according to how others view us.
Erving Goffman coined the Dramaturgical Approach which says that we are all actors. We act according to what the collective imagination/society believes. For example, as soon as we meet someone, the mind automatically defines what the other persons socioeconomic status is, what his/her conception of self is, his/her attitude toward them, his/her competence, his/her trustworthiness, etc.
People will act in a way so others will view them favorably. We are trying to control how the other person views us, so we can have a positive response from them.
This created 'self' is not continuous. In different situations, we behave differently. Depending on the experience, we will be a different 'self.'
We also expect people to be consistent. We expect them to be the same, hold the same beliefs and behave the way we are used to them behaving.
In order to have a consistent self we must repeat the story, the story of our past experiences.
Again, nothing about this is wrong, it is all innocent and playful.
So when this is seen, the question comes, who am I for real?
If the self I thought I was was created by society and is constantly changing.
This is where it meets non-duality. Something or nothing is obviously here ALL the time. Throughout all of these ever-changing selves, there is a constant. Something that knows all of this. Something that knows the changing body, knows the changing mind.
This has to be the true self.
If every-body is having this experience then can we say we are all the same true self?