Many of you know Eleonora Gilbert from Conscious TV. Well, strictly for the dreaded and outlawed purpose of self-promotion in Nonduality, I’d like to mention that she and I had a very successful Awakening Session together about two weeks ago. A week later we had a quite pleasant and helpful Clarity Session. Just so you know, she’s precisely as fun and charming as you think she is. Conscious TV does a terrific job in bringing us the best in Nonduality, and they are reserving an interview slot for me–on my first trip to England. Sadly for me (trust me, Betsy and I are both utterly hopeless anglophiles), that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Willy can’t get a passport.
I am just finishing up reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. Having carefully avoided it for a whole lot of years, I am now vexed that I didn’t take take this in earlier–like when I stumbled across it in Powell’s Bookstore in Portland a quarter century ago, or when I heard Eckhart Tolle talking on a CD one afternoon now more than a decade past. Still, far better late than never. (And of course the whole notion of “late” is completely absurd.)
Marcus Aurelius was not a teacher, or even a Nondualist, but rather a Stoic philosopher and warrior-emperor of Rome (think Arjuna and the Bhagavad Gita). Stoic or not, you will find much more to learn and agree with than to nitpick about, and it’s absolutely worth your attention. Topics such as acceptance and death are logically and relentlessly pounded into the reader’s mind. Hey, get it any way you can! Here’s a link to the translation I read and recommend but there are many others available, and any of them should be helpful.
ATTENTION NARRATIVE UPDATE
Lastly, I continue to work with the new Attention Narrative, and it’s morphing like crazy. My Florida friend (and kind editor) John Ames and I had a go with it late last Thursday afternoon with really wonderful results for him–and me. Sunday I worked on it with my California friend Brian, and that session brought about a lot of change. I was viewing the narrative as a bridge, but now I’m seeing it as a dock. It’s not about taking you from here to there. It’s about taking you from here to Here, and potentially dropping you off.
Just like the Homecoming/Void Story that so many of you have heard, this new inquiry/investigation continues to finesse itself. I’ll be offering it up to the group in Asheville this coming weekend (April 30), so we’ll all see what it looks like at that time. Thanks for your enthusiasm for the upcoming meetings (and the sell-out!). Thanks to Georgette and Barbara, and of course to author and teacher Trey Carland at Asheville Sangha for his help, too.
As ever, I have been quite busy of late working with folks in the field--from New York to New Zealand, Iceland to Finland and Bali to Brussels. Is there really an acceleration of Nondual teachings and enlightenment happening in the world? You certainly can’t disprove that theory by my work. Yet as momentous and fascinating as that is, it’s often what happens next that’s the most important.
My one-on-one work is incredibly fertile ground for what’s going on with the-Me-that-is-us right now. On the deepest plane, each of us is an archetype for all of us, so to address any single person’s issues, questions, progress, or dead-ends will also be beneficial at a macroscopic level. Again and again and again, there is just One thing going on. As a result, I know of no better laboratory culture to study than the one that arises from the Petri dish of this teaching. Let’s jump right in.
Call him Bob. I’m not sure what he does for a living, but he’s a little like me, an independent-minded entrepreneur-type who’s had the good fortune to have made some money along the way, and the far-less-fun fortune of losing a lot of it as well. Money comes and it goes. The one thing you can count on with money is that you can’t count on it.
When Bob and I first talked, it was clear that my new friend was suffering from an overdose of Bobness. This is the same thing we’re all suffering from: addiction to our characters. They know so much. They’re so important. And best of all, they’re right. They have the secret lowdown on everybody and everything. Sure they do…
Bob had studied Nonduality for a long time and had a wonderful intellectual understanding of it, but nothing much that was experiential, which is why he contacted me. I get this a lot. Just this morning a gentleman in Holland asked me to please help him move his knowledge from “his head to his stomach.” That says it as well as anything I can come up with. (We succeeded.)
Bob’s Awakening Session took place via Skype, with him using a tablet in a vacant house he owned. He started out as a little bit of a tough nut, simply because he “knew” so much. I get a lot of that, too. When you know a lot, it’s easy to reference your information instead of your experience. But information won’t get you out of the cul de sac
Fortunately I was able to talk Bob into dumbing himself down for our two hours together. When I hit a spot where someone’s information is choking out the possibility of their seeing the truth, I’ll often tell them, “The one who knows about all of this is not the one who’s making progress. The one who knows all of this is the one who’s preventing it.” The ego can’t free the ego. If it could, it would have already done so.
Bob came around beautifully and woke up right on time, meaning he woke up about where I planned for him to wake up. I never know exactly where someone is going to get it, but it’s usually somewhere in a particular 15-minute span that occurs in every session. At any rate, Bob woke up very clearly. He came to know/see/be Truth. I tested him a bit, which is also a way of helping the client’s experience deepen. He told me flat out that there was no doubt in his mind that what he’d found in our work together was the truth and nothing but the truth. He really got it.
Then came the first Clarity Session. When Bob and I got together the second time it was quite evident that he was back in deep sleep. And he didn’t remember a thing! I’ve certainly had this happen before–I’ve written about it here–but not very many times, and it never fails to surprise me when they remember nothing. Had someone been watching our second session, they might very well have thought that Bob and I’d never even met before, much less shared the intimate secrets of Life together.
Early in my session practice this kind of thing was more common, but it seems to be less and less so as I go. I don’t get so many spiky angels-and-fireworks explosions as I used to–in fact I haven’t seen one in quite a while–but I don’t get the yang side of that yin either. When you go up very far very fast, remember that the trip down is likely to happen the same way. The whole process is much more even now.
On this afternoon I did what I had to do: I woke ole Bob back up. This time, instead of it taking two hours, it took about forty-five minutes. That, I pointed out to a once again happy and smiling Bob, was progress. When he woke up that second time, he remembered everything that had occurred the first time. One way of putting this phenomenon into words is to say that the Bob character was absent each time Awakeness came around, and so the Bob character held no memory of the experience.
Memories would have probably arisen later on of their own accord, but who knows? We often say that once you have a Nondual awakening you can’t unsee it. Even I say that. It’s usually true, but I’ve seen eight or ten exceptions. That’s out of probably 500 people I’ve helped wake up in the last 18 months, so the odds of it happening are not long, but in my experience, they do exist. But this was the first time I’ve ever had someone forget multiple times after multiple meetings. This thing will really screw with your mind, will it not?
Bob and I spent four Sunday afternoons together, and I had to wake him up every single time. I’m laughing as I write this, but this kind of thing is not good for my resume, you know? But apparently my job for that month was to wake Bob up several times, and Bob’s job, after waking up and chatting with the insight of Buddha himself, was to go back to sleep and forget all about it! You have to hand it to us: we both performed our jobs admirably.
So every week I had to start from scratch and prove myself all over again, and every time he woke back up and then remembered having woken up previously–but not until he was awake again, and then for only as long as conscious Awakeness was flowing through that unit. It was totally bizarre. You learn something new every day.
Let me try to be a little more technically clear. Bob never woke up, just like Fred never woke up. In truth, it is always Awakeness that wakes up. I’ve told this story the way I have, because that’s the way that it would have looked to an outside observer, and on anything other than a metaphysical level it would be true. However, in the end, I’m just languaging that which is impossible to language about. So if there feels like a “gap” in any of this, you’ll have to cross it intuitively; this is as close as I can come with words.
The good news is that given enough time, even I can spot a pattern. In our last meeting I told Bob, “I don’t say this to hurt your feelings, I say this to try and be helpful. Right now you simply like being Bob more than you like being awake.”
Bob jumped right on that! He said, “You know, you just might be right!” I so admired that immediate and utter honesty. I was right, and we both knew it.
In the four afternoons we’d spent together, and the one he’d missed without cancellation or apology, I had come to know a very strong-willed character. I mean by that someone who’s self-assertive and fond of control. Bob, like all of us, enjoys being right. And there’s nothing at all wrong with indulging yourself with that if you’re not set on living in Awakeness.
Rightness, however, is anathema to awake living. There has to be someone there in order for one to be right. Somebody has to refer to a belief, state an opinion, or take a position. Awakeness only shows up in the absence of the character, never in its presence.
In the end, Bob and I talked about what we’d discovered, and what it likely meant. He was almost ready to live in Awakeness, that much was clear–otherwise he wouldn’t have found himself talking to me. But for now, enjoy Bobness! Why not? Awakeness is perfectly willing and happy to function unconsciously until it isn’t. It was giving Bob a little advance notice about what was coming, that’s all.
Was Bob supposed to be living every day in Awakeness? NO. How do we know? HE ISN’T. How will we know when he is supposed to be living every day in Awakeness? HE WILL BE. End of story; it’s just that cut and dry. There are no shoulds in What Is.
For my part, I very much enjoyed working with Bobness, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us talking in the future some time. I remember being quite addicted to my own character. When the character found himself in a legal quagmire that included weekend visits to jail, the addiction to my character fell away quite naturally. And what happened next? I woke up–I’m speaking as Awakeness now.
We are where we are until we’re someplace else, and wherever we are at any given moment is just fine. It really is all good.
Fred Davis 3.26.14
Countries with toll-free connectivity to audio sessions: