Jeffrey Allen’s ‘Duality’ course: A review by a Participant
I was fortunate to be offered Jeffrey Allen’s course called ‘Duality’. Since this is a meditation course that tried to manipulate your own internal energy, a meditation style I am not too familiar with, I jumped on the occasion and followed along.
The course is all about managing your internal energy or chi by using different visualization meditation techniques. The ultimate aim is to align yourself more with your true values and to get attuned to your inner life and energy.
Let me start with the conclusion: I had a lot of fun doing all the exercises. I think that for people that are not into formal breathing meditation, this is a great course. All the basics are covered, but not in an explicit way. Furthermore, creative people will surely appreciate the guided imagery. Personally, I have more trouble with that part, but all the more reason to learn these techniques.
So, let’s dive into the specifics of the course.
About Jeffrey Allen as a teacher
To my own shame, I have to admit that I was very much negatively biased towards Jeffrey Allen before starting the course.
That’s not the mindfulness way, I know. But I’m only human too.
I was proven wrong very soon: he managed to take away all my prejudices in the first 15 minutes of the course!
Actually, Jeffrey is an excellent teacher and pedagogue. He has a very pleasant way of introducing new material and also answering the many, many questions that students have (believe me, there are literally hundreds of questions that are answered). He has a soothing voice and he knows his material well. It is clear that he is an expert on the topic of the course (more on the topic later).
What I found really nice, is that Jeffrey has managed to give a feeling of interactivity to the course. All the lessons are obviously pre-recorded, but the recording was with a live audience that could ask questions. Jeffrey then answers these on the spot.
I found this to be super helpful because one of the important pillars of any modern meditation training is to hear the problems, successes, and opinions of others. It teaches us that we are all in this together. In my mindfulness courses, people often report that they had insights because of a question another participant asked. So the importance of this cannot be overstated.
Here is quote from his own blog that, from me, captures Jeffrey’s teaching style very well:
Your life is meant to be exciting, engaging, empowering, and fun – full of curiosity and discovery – about yourself and the world.Jeffrey Allen
As adults, we often lose our sense of enthusiasm. We settle into a mundane routine of maintaining our material lives, and we lose our zest for life.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
I’m here to help you tap into that world – to bring back your joy and enthusiasm – to make life fun again – to help your true spirit shine through!
In conclusion, I fully understand why his course is so popular (at the moment of writing this post in May 2021, almost 1 million people have followed it).
What will you learn in the ‘Duality’ course?
The ultimate aim of this course is, like most meditation courses, to get you to understand yourself better in order to become a happier person.
‘Duality’ takes the approach of learning about your inner world through sensing energy. This is a bit vague, obviously, but all it really means is that you try to connect to whatever drives you at a more somatic level.
Oftentimes we can feel that the energy in the room is not positive or that the other person’s energy is sending out negative vibes. Whether this has a true physical counterpart is inconsequential here. The idea is that you can tune in to this information, whether it comes from your subconscious or from somewhere else, and use it to your advantage.
If this is something that you are drawn to, you will not be disappointed. the course delivers what it promises.
This is actually an important point. I only practice and teach breathing and mindfulness meditation, but some of my friends that are into yoga do not like this style much as they find it to be too cerebral.
I understand this concern and therefore it is very important to choose a form of meditation that resonated with you.
You can find more information on how to choose the perfect meditation style for you in my article about the subject: what type of meditation is best for me.
How is the Duality course structured?
The course is eight weeks long and each day there is a new lesson. Most of the theory is given on the first day. In the next days, some key points are elaborated on and extra meditations are offered.
The last day offers answers to commonly asked questions. These answers are a real gem. I have the impression that almost every question that a beginner might have is answered in these videos.
The eight weeks are broadly structured in three parts.
In the first part, you learn how you experience energy. Since we are not attuned to this dimension of our life, we first need to learn how we can detect this elusive ‘energy’. Weeks 1 to 3 guide you through this process.
In weeks 4 and 5, the perspective is broadened and we look at how we interact with other people and learn the effect this has on our well-being through being attuned to our energy. The nice thing is that Jeffrey also teaches techniques on how to handle people that invade our energy. It is one of my favorite exercises (see at the end of the post for more info)
The last weeks are geared towards getting the broader picture of how we operate in the world. This is done by changing the beliefs that do not empower you and in trying to make contact with our inner wisdom.
Do I need to know how to meditate to take this course?
Although the main aim of the course is learning how to manage your own energy through many, many meditations, you do not need to know how to meditate to start the course.
All meditations are guided and very easy to follow.
Obviously, if you do not know how to meditate yet, you will have a lot of questions about the process. Luckily, all these are tackled in the many question and answers that are given throughout. While technically it is not a meditation course, you will end up with a solid basic understanding of the process of meditation.
Obviously, every style of meditation has its own difficulties. And visualizations, the style that is chosen here, are often considered to be one of the most difficult. But do not let that scare you. The guidance on how to overcome this is also in the course. You are taken by the hand in an easy-to-follow process.
I personally have a lot of difficulty visualizing. Luckily, Jeffrey explains well what to do if you cannot really ‘see’ the scenery where he guides you in. So I was able to let go of my preconceptions, and, lo and behold, suddenly the visualization was much more clear.
So let yourself be guided and all will be fine.
If you want to get a first taste of how these meditation go, just follow along with the youtube video below.
My 2 favorite exercises from the course
So, time for my 2 favorite exercises. To be honest, I’m already thinking about how I can incorporate these into my own teachings. Especially the rose exercise. It’s so simple and it perfectly conveys the message of what is meant.
- The rose: This sweet little exercise symbolizes healthy boundaries. Jeffrey explains how by visualizing this rose in our aura, we can in one go establish a healthy boundary and profound respect for the other person. Once you get to know this practice, it can show how powerful it is.
- Connecting to the tribe: I never thought that this exercise would affect me so much. I had this same feeling regarding metta meditation, which I now also consider one of the most important exercises for my growth. In the connection to the tribe, Jeffrey guides us through a visualization where we connect to the other people that also take the course and we connect to them and wish them good luck. I found that the addition of the visualization was a great one. It makes the practice come more alive.
Does it really work?
If you are looking for scientific proof of this method, I will need to disappoint you.
However, there are a number of good reasons that I can confidently say these practices will yield good results.
First, the basis of the course is meditation. All forms of meditation have shown improvements in the well-being of the practitioners. It is obvious that the meditations in this course will have the same effect.
Second, many of the techniques taught in the course try to directly communicate with your subconscious. Since the discovery of the placebo effect, we know that using the power of the mind to heal is real. So if the energy is not ‘real’ (whatever that means), the healing and increase in well-being will not be diminished.
Lastly, the many testimonials of people are loud and clear. There is a great benefit. Obviously, results vary per person. For instance, it took me many years to get real and tangible results from my mindfulness practice. And this is a scientifically validated intervention.
Who this course is for and who is it not for?
If you are a person that is very inclined to science and think that anything that is not scientifically validated is not for you, then you should definitely not take this course.
Also, Jeffrey talks about unseen energy systems. For some people, this is a big no go so if that is you, you should not take this course.
However, if the use of these words does not scare you away, I highly recommend this course. Especially so if the thought of just watching your breath and emotions scares you away.
If you are more in tune with your heart and like the more creative and poetic styles of meditation, then this course is a very good option for you.
My final assessment of the ‘Duality’ Course
The following is a table of the pros and cons I could identify while taking ‘Duality’. As you can see, there are some minor drawbacks that I identified, but these do not weigh up to the benefits. In any case, I have never seen a course that is ‘just perfect’, although the people at Mindvalley get pretty close.
|Jeffrey Allen is an excellent teacher who clearly knows what he is talking about.|
|The course is built around easy-to-follow meditation. And there are many, many to choose from||I find there is not enough emphasis on the fact that you need to meditate daily. I fear that some people will not get the full benefit of the course because of that.|
|The many question and answer sessions are simply invaluable.|
|The Mindvalley experience is simply top. The video player is great and you can also follow the course on your mobile||Most of the videos are not downloadable on mobile. That's a real pity because it reduces the usefulness|
|This course has been taken by almost 1 million people and has a very high user satisfaction overall.|
|The psychological information is all accurate. It is wrapped in its own language of energy meditation, but that does not make it less valid.|
I will just let the table of pros and cons speak for itself. If you are the type of person that is a bit scared of formal meditation and are looking to still reap the benefits of this type of meditation, Jeffreys course is certainly a good option.
The best thing is that there a whole seminar that you can follow, even before you sign up for the course. You are taken through a series of meditations, so you can judge for yourself if you like it or not.
You can sign up for the free seminar via this link.
Hi, I’m Olivier Devroede and I have been meditating seriously since 2009.
Due to the great benefits I have seen in meditating, I decided to become an MBSR trainer myself and start a blog.