Hello, everybody! There’s been quite a lot happening since my last column.
~First off, let me tell you about my trip to Asheville, North Carolina. What a hoot! The folks who live there are terrific! I was universally treated with kindness, and there was great acceptance and appreciation for this teaching.
We held a three and a half hour meeting at Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism. I started out trying to sit, but found that regardless of the austere satsang model, standing up, walking around, using a blackboard, plus telling jokes and hollering, was much more my style!
If nothing else, all of us laughed a great deal, and there’s something deeply spiritual about that. Three and a half hours, one stretch break, and no one left the room. Such perseverance in itself will tell you something about the people of Asheville. There is some seriousspirituality happening up there in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Fortunately there were four people in the room who’d already woken up via Living Method Direct Pointing sessions, so the effectiveness of what I was talking about was already clear. The following day I woke up two more attendees in private sessions, which was great. That won’t be my last trip to Asheville.
~I’ve cut four new videos. I’ve had some requests for “more of those funny videos,” so here they are. My plan is to do more videos than I’ve been doing for a while, maybe more than I’ve ever done. There’s enough ham here that I like doing them, and it’s an easy way to present a message.
I’m not quite sure if I’m a spiritual teacher, or a thoughtful comedian, but I’ll tell you a secret: people wake up easier when they’re laughing. They’re relaxed and off-guard. Ego is not on its game.
~Here’s a quick story about laughter. I had a DPS yesterday with a physician in New York City. This guy and I hit it off right from go; you could feel it. He told me (as most do) that he thought he was a hard case, but then he added something magical. He told me that he waswilling to not be a hard case. I love that “willingness” word!
You’d be surprised how many people take secret satisfaction in being hard cases. They will make DPS a contest. Sometime I stop and tell them, “You know you can win this, but you won’t wake up if you do. Which would you prefer?” We then proceed to find out if that’s true.
After my new friend woke up we were doing some general orientation to awakeness, which I like to do if there’s time. Upon taking a close look at What Is through enlightened eyes I told my friend that when we resist What Is it’s no more effective than a dog barking at the moon. I then did a “Woof! Woof!” followed by a long hound howl. He almost fell over laughing, and then he joined me in howling!
The brilliant doctor, and the ridiculous spiritual teacher sat in their offices howling at each other over Skype, and laughing until we cried! It was the funniest thing ever! Our DPS had gone that way, too. At one point he said, “I don’t know if I’m going to wake up or not, but I’m having a damn good time!” Lighten up, folks. (Here’s a link to my laughing video.)
~My closest adviser and business wizard, Sharon Desjarlais, is flying in for the weekend. We’ll be talking about the future and structure of this teaching. We’ve had some serious talks as we’ve broken apart The Living Method from beginning to end. We’re no longer sure it’s transferable, and the odds are dropping that we’ll train facilitators.
~You have to remember that we don’t know what’s going on here. This gift I call The Living Method has simply lit here, and now we’re doing our best to carry that gift out into the world. We thought it was just what I was saying–the words of the DPS, delivered in a given manner with a certain structure. We’ve come to discover that it’s far more complex than that. All any of us can do is watch to see what happens.
~This past Saturday I saw some activity on The Book of Undoing in the United Kingdom, so I surfed over there to see how those sales were affecting the book’s Amazon ranking. I was tickled to death to see that it was ranked #1 in Eastern Philosophy. I know, it’s just a story, but don’t fool yourself, these stories can be a lot of fun!
~One more book note. Two of my friends, Peter Dziuban and Rupert Spira, both have new books. Peter’s is already out, and it’s calledSimply Notice. I’ll be running a first chapter preview of it before very long. Not surprisingly, it’s doing very well.
Peter is as clear as a buoy bell on a still night, and he’s a fine writer as well. He is also a kind and generous man with a gift for making the subtle obvious. An excerpt from his Consciousness Is All was the third offering in our Guest Teaching Series. My review of that book has been the lead Amazon review since I first posted it in early January of 2008.
Rupert’s new book, The Ashes of Love, will be out in just a few days,and we’ll be running a First Chapter Preview of it as well. Rupert is a gifted writer with a poet’s eye. I’ve already seen the new book, and surprise, surprise, it’s fabulous. The Ashes of Love is a collection of aphorisms by Rupert Spira–how could it be anything other thanfabulous?
Rupert was actually the first daring teacher to let me print his work as a Guest Teacher for Awakening Clarity in January of 2012, called The Light of Knowing. Interestingly enough, my review of his last two-volume book, Presence, is the lead review for those books as well.
Now, finally, let’s talk about our post! (And thanks to my friend John Ames for providing the little ‘misidentification’ illustration. If you want to find out what it means, please watch How-to Make Oscillation Worse.)
THE STRANGEST PATH OF ALL
There are three essential steps in the spiritual path: the first is to notice that one is not a body or a mind, but rather the Awareness in which these appear, and with which they are known; the second is to explore the nature of Awareness and discover that it doesn’t share the destiny or the limits of the body and mind – that is, to discover its eternal, infinite nature; and the third is to live a life that is consistent with this understanding.
This is really a case history; it’s quite unlike any post I’ve ever done. It tracks three months of working with someone from their first email to me, to relative stability. I define relative stability as the point where there is still some misidentification going on with the body, but you’re no longer fighting it. It’s been accepted as part of the process. This case is so detailed that I’ve broken it up into two posts.
These letters are from my friend and client, Brian Hauck, who lives in the Bay Area in Northern California. He has very generously allowed me to use his name and location. I like to do that when I can, simply because it adds both a note of spiritual authenticity and real humanness.
Brian is just an average young man in his early thirties. He looksperfectly normal, and he is perfectly normal, except for one thing: Brian’s been on the enlightenment path for several years. That doesn’t make him special, but neither is it a vote for “average.” These emails are a record of our relationship exactly as it has happened up to now.
I received this first email on July 9. It’s a long one, but it was worth my read then, and I suspect you’ll get something out of it as well. Many will feel an immediate kinship with Brian. I have not edited them one bit, so typos, punctuation, and all of that has been left intact. I want to preserve the letters’ flavor. In this first one, I think it’s safe to say that Brian is a in a state of confusion–but he knows it, and that’s the critical difference.
Good Morning Fred,
Well, I suppose good afternoon your time! I am going to sign up for a clarity session, but before that I wanted to reach out to introduce myself and lay some groundwork for our soon to come skype conversation. I also think, if you have the time to respond, it will help me to go through with it, as I’ve never spoken (outside of email) with any “teacher” or guru, or sage, or whatever word seems most appropriate nowadays. Who knows, perhaps you’ll feel a Direct Pointing Session is more fitting after reading my email?
I’d like to provide you with a quick background on myself so that you have an appropriate context in which to place/process what I say when we talk. I’d like you to know beforehand where I’m coming from before reading my final paragraph or two of this email.
I have been a life long seeker, like many others I’m sure. And, like you, (from what I’ve read) I put EVERYTHING into it. I suppose I take it very very seriously.
Early on in life, I discovered I was different from my peers in that they did not share my high levels of anxiety, insecurity, depression, boredom, etc. So, the search began to fix these problems! After around two decades of trying everything under the sun with all the commitment, dedication, and sincerity possible, I turned to enlightenment. That was 4 years ago. (I’m 32 for the record and I honestly remember the day I noticed “something was missing” when I was sitting at the beach at 10-11 years old) Looking back, I’m not sure if I was fortunate or not, but after a year or so of reading NON STOP every nonduality book I could find (I was unemployed at the time, living with friends for free and had all the time in the world to read, and spent a good 6 hours a day doing so for many many months) I had my first and to this day most prominent “awakening experience”. It was the type of one you read about in books! All the bliss, perfection, oneness, everything magical and amazing you could possibly imagine. It lasted about 1 day then faded.
The past 3 years have been spent trying to either a) get another experience like that or b) remain in a state somewhere between here and there or c) just get THERE! Wherever that may be… And I have not slowed down once in these past 3 years. I currently read kindle books on my phone on EVERY smoke break I take at work. Until I got a roommate (was living alone for about a year) I spent every moment at home reading. Now that I have a roommate, I go to bed at 9pm every night and stay up in my bed reading until sometimes 1am. No one really knows about me and my enlightenment obsession… I’ve tried to test the waters with friends and family but no one gets it, they don’t care about this stuff and I don’t want them to think I’m crazy, so I keep it all in the closet. My family is full of devout Christians, my brother is a pastor… not the ideal crowd to talk with about this stuff. They’re pretty set in their beliefs.
The past 3 years have had many many glimpses and insights of varying degrees of apparent significance. I’ve thought I’ve had it, lost it, and back and forth for 3 years now. I’ve read every ebook on non-duality press’ website many times. Except your Beyond Recovery and Wayne Liquorman’s Advaita and the 12 steps. Those are the only 2 I believe I have not read.
When I first started reading your Book of Undoing, I was very wary! I won’t lie! I’ve been told by so many teachers in so many books that anyone offering a “path” or a “technique” is selling snake oil! However, for some reason, that didn’t stop me. As I continued to read, something about your words rang SO true to MY direct experience of all this and my life. Eventually, you became my new favorite “teacher”. And the only one I’ve ever thought about reaching out to outside of email. I was very keen on [famous teacher’s name–ed.] prior to you and he lives about 40 miles from me so I considered making the trip up there many times, but it just never materialized. I never thought about it seriously enough to actually do it.
Anyway, after I read your book twice and many of the articles on your blog along with some youtube videos, something strange has started to happen…
It seems I’m starting to lose steam in my seeking. Not in the good way though, it seems. In a disheartened, hopeless sort of way. You wrote somewhere about the payload and the delivery. And now I look back at that first initial amazing experience i had 3 years ago, and if I strip away all the wonderful feelings, I’m left with the truth of what is, that I’ve read over and over and over again… THIS is IT.
So.. the million dollar question.. if THIS is IT, what’s left? What am I going for? I don’t even know anymore, but I know I’m not there. I feel as if I have exhausted every avenue in the non-dual marketplace and I now have nowhere to turn. I start to read and quickly lose interest because what is the point? I’ve read it all, heard it all, seen it all and nothing. Nothing lasting, at least. Which is what we all want, right?
Nonetheless, I keep reading. I can’t stop. Even with the wind out of my sails, I can’t give up. I know I’ll never give up until I get it. (yes I know I know… the gateless gate, “you” can’t be present because it is precisely “your” absence, but I’ve given up on talking the nondual talk just for the sake of avoiding rebuttals to my language and showing off how much I understand… i’m tired of that game and I believe you’re on the same page so I think you know what I’m saying).
So, I don’t know what else to do, but talking to you on skype sure seems like a hell of a good idea right now.
Please share your thoughts, if you don’t mind and have the time, and let me know what your schedule looks like? I would prefer to talk on the weekends, so I can head in to my office where it’s empty and isolated and we talk in peace without any disturbances or anyone else overhearing me. I’m on the west coast as well, so I believe we have 3 hours between us…
If you’ve made it this far, I want to truly thank you for taking the time to listen to me and I very much look forward to your response and our conversation.
What Brian needed was a Direct Pointing Session, and he booked one later that day. But before we could get to it, I got this letter, which I include because once again, it sounds like what I hear from a great many clients.
I noticed something rather interesting last night laying in bed reading your book. Actually, it was 2 related things… First, I noticed that since I made the commitment to do the Skype session, things felt somehow different. Almost like a renewed hope and confidence in all this. Then, I noticed I got very scared and anxious about our meeting for no apparent reason.
Then I remembered an experience I had a couple weeks after my first huge awakening experience (i remember it often, but increasingly less and less. it had been awhile since i’d though about it)… As perfect and great and peaceful and blissful as an extreme awakening/oneness experience is, I had the exact extreme polar opposite of all of it about 1.5 weeks afterwards. It was the single most terrifying experience of my life. I remember as it was happening I saw so clearly that there was NO meaning to anything and life was pointless and I truly didn’t exist, and it triggered the most gut wrenching fear, terror, and sheer panic I had ever felt, and more intense than I ever imagined possible.
So, perhaps the mind knows on some level that those two experiences aren’t different? Or that one will follow the other? And while there is a looking forward to our meeting, perhaps there is also the fear that if reality or oneness or whatever is experienced again, that the other terrifying experience is soon to follow? I’m not really sure… but it sure is interesting…
Curious to hear your thoughts. We can wait to discuss until Sunday if you’d like, but I wanted to share while it was still fresh on my mind.
Not long afterward, we had our DPS. It was a typical session, and Brian came to what I call a “brilliant” awakening, meaning that he wasabsolutely clear. It was highly charged and emotional–and delightful for both of us. We spoke as Buddhas will, and I always enjoy talking to Myself.
These letters make it sound as if waking up is like going to the chiropractor: it feels better for a while, and then you have to go back if you want to feel better again. That’s not the case unless it is. In Brian’s case it was.
What I’ve noticed is that oftentimes the more explosive the spiritual experience is that accompanies awakening, the more likely we may be to ‘lose it.’ Part of that is the addiction to the bliss and fireworks that the spiritual experience brings; none of that has anything to do with enlightenment.
I have people who shot straight to clarity and have stayed there with little or no post-awakening contact. I’ve had them be all over the map. Awakening does what it does when and how it wants to without regard for any so-called separate organism. This is one way it can happen.
When Brian went to bed that night, he was undoubtedly sure he could never be cloudy or confused again. That’s precisely what I had thought after my own first large awakening years before. We were both wrong. Five days after his DPS, I got this note.
Good Morning Fred
First off, thank you again for the DPS last Sunday. The seeing towards the end of it was much much clearer and solid than the “fireworks” awakening experience I had several years ago. It was the same seeing, but my first one was (in hindsight) immediately claimed by the ego for “special” status. This one with you was a clear seeing through of the unit itself. Beautiful, silly, utterly simple/obvious, and profound all at the same time! (seeking and this whole search was seen as the silliest thing in the world!)
One of the biggest things I remember from our session was just how IMPERSONAL it really is! You hear it all the time, but to experience it is a whole different thing. I also remember, when we were going through various pointers to make sure you didn’t hypnotize me 😉 how simple and clear all pointers really are! I remember thinking, “bless their hearts!” (regarding the people quoted with various pointers)… they are really just doing their best to point to something so obvious and so simple, but the mind does what it does and looks for deeper meaning and complicates the hell out of it! It couldn’t be simpler.
Anyway, point being, it was the clearest I’ve ever been. I had a grin on my face the entire drive home! 🙂 It also took a lot of energy out of me. When I got home maybe 30 minutes after our session, I pulled up your recommended videos on youtube and sat down on the couch to watch them. It was only a matter of minutes until I passed out and fell asleep on the couch. When I awoke a couple hours later, I watched all 3 videos and read all 3 articles. They were very helpful.
My seeking has diminished greatly since then. Well actually, the drive is still there, but doubt as to the effectiveness or ability of any book to deliver what I’m looking for renders any seeking impotent before it starts. I’ve been quite depressed this whole week (since we met last Sunday the 14th). I don’t read much any more, except for Adyashanti’s End of Your World every now and then. I spend more time just sitting quietly and, being completely honest with you, hoping for something to just happen. The majority of the time, my thoughts wander towards your recommendation of standing as awareness, being Being, and claiming your true identity. They “worked” once, and a glimmer of clarity came through very reminiscent of our DPS. It faded quickly.
I am hoping to schedule a Clarity Session with you. I am again at a loss because I have a rock solid knowing that seeking is pointless, but I also know that I’m not done yet. I realize it hasn’t even been 1 week since our session, but I got the sense you are becoming more and more booked so I wanted to get in early and get something on the books. Maybe we can meet again not this coming weekend but the one that follows?
Just let me know your schedule and whenever it is most convenient for you (I’d really prefer something on the weekends again if thats at all possible). After you confirm that you are accepting a future clarity session with me, i’ll go online and pay to secure the meeting time!
Either way, thank you Fred. You are doing something truly amazing, and I am very grateful. I hope we can meet again soon.
We set up a Clarity Session for the Sunday immediately following our first session. Do you see the persistence here? Do you notice Brian’s ability to tell himself the truth? This is how most people wake up most of the time–by trying.
During our second CS, I tried bringing Brian back into clarity with some smaller tools, just to see if they would move him. They did not. I then did what I always do: I brought in my big gun, The Homecoming Story, and took him through it.
No, I will not tell you anything about the Homecoming Story. The element of surprise is crucial, and you might want a Direct Pointing Session some day. It arose spontaneously–right in the middle of a DPS–about two months after The Book of Undoing came out, and it’s been the backbone of my practice ever since.
The yin of Homecoming Story, powerful as it is, would not betransformative were it not for the yang of the initial deconstruction of The Living Method. Yet once there’s been an awakening through a DPS that has included it, retelling The Homecoming Story will typically bring one back into brightness without the need of any additional set-up. Brian had already woken up with it before, so he was brightly awake in minutes when we used it this time. He was again tickled to death, and again sure that this time he would stay clear.
Oops. Less than a month later I received this note.
Good Afternoon Fred,
I was laying in bed reading last night, as usual, and I stopped for a moment to ponder something I had read that really resonated deeply with me. As usual, my thoughts wandered and eventually landed back on the book I was reading. However, upon returning to the book, I noticed that I had no recollection of what I had been reading prior to my thoughts wandering. This made me a little anxious because even though I couldn’t remember what I was reading or my thoughts about it, I knew it was REALLY good!! Like I finally “had it”. Long story short, I’m apparently still oscillating and not ok with it. After our breakthroughs on skype, countless personal breakthroughs over the past 5 years give or take, and the countless hours spent reading, I’m really starting to feel like I’ve gotten no where.
When I first came to you, it was because I felt I was out of options. I didn’t know where else to turn. (on a side note, I couldn’t have turned in a better a direction! i really love talking with you) And now it feels like I’m in the same spot again. I’m once again reading 3-4 books at once (Scott Kiloby – Living Realization, Francis Lucille – Eternity Now, Francis Lucille – Perfume of Silence, Greg Goode – Emptiness and Joyful Freedom) and reading them NON STOP.
It’s like I had something with you, it faded as time went on, and now I’m scrambling in every direction I can to get it back. All it’s really doing is confusing me again. I don’t even know what it is I’m after any more as every author above describes things a little differently. And I have no clue how that happened after experiencing such vivid, profound, and yet subtle clarity with you.
I just want this to end!! But not end unfinished… And therein lies the rub I suppose?
Oh, I almost forgot, my original story wasn’t done… After I felt I’d “lost it” it occurred to me that perhaps I didn’t “have it” just then. I mean, logically, I know that whatever thought I had or could ever have isn’t It. It contains all thoughts so no thought could ever be It. So then, what’s the point of hanging on to any thought or perspective or experience or framework for reality? There wouldn’t be one then. Once that is seen, then you’re left bare and naked in the present moment. Everything is so simple. But alas, that does not last. Nothing good lasts. How can one take anything away from this? Actually I know the answer to that, one can’t. It’s why you call it “ongoing enlightenment”. Or a continuing openness/opening. But still… its just so DAMN FRUSTRATING!
Clarity comes, it brings with it a sort of eternal perfection, then it leaves just as suddenly without so much as a goodbye, a future appointment/date, or anything of value to use to regain it in the future. Then in its wake comes depression, confusion, frustration, desperation, and all things negative.
This cycle is driving me insane and I see no end in sight.
However… all it takes is an hour talking to you and things seem to return. I wonder… am I using our conversations as a fix? Going back for my next high? Can our conversations bring about the lasting change I’m looking for? Or rather, lasting recognition of What Is? No thought can do it. No memory can do it. Nothing I can KEEP can “do it”. I can clearly see that no person has ever done anything to obtain this. They have just been blessed by an amazing Grace.
Anyway, please let me know your thoughts. If your schedule permits, and you feel it’s appropriate for me, say the word and I’ll make a payment on your site for another session.
At this point Brian’s new “Why am I not awake, damn it, when I’m paying you to do it to me?” whipping boy turned around and bit him on the leg. He’d earned it. When you come to me to wake up, I take that very seriously. I don’t think “kind and gentle, like fairies would do it” is anywhere in our agreement.
So, I do what I do, and you get to take it anyway you like. But it’s always coming from the heart, and always, always, trying to do what you paid me to do. And on an extraordinarily regular basis, it happens.
Imagine if all the spiritual teachers–including this one–and all the books, videos, CDs, DVDs, all of it, disappeared as well. What would you do then? Give up? Have you noticed that it won’t let you? You would still wake up, it would just take you longer. Use me to speed things up if you like, and help you smooth things out, or don’t. What you don’t see–and I do!–is that it’s already happening.
Surprise, Brian. This is the part the awakening process that sucks. You want it all to happen your way, but I notice it’s not paying any attention to what you think. It’s just doing what it does. I sympathize: God treats me the very same way. I’ve been advising the Universe for decades now, and it’s not listening to a damn thing I say. Imagine that.
Here’s ego’s job in a nutshell: First it invents problems, and then it tries to overcome them, all the while contentedly suffering, and screaming about the suffering. Welcome to the dream. Want out of the dream?
Look at the open resistance to the way things are that is going on in this letter. Who is bitching and whining? Is Awakeness likely to be bitching, or is it…Brian? Who are you? Who is suffering within this so-called oscillation? Is Awakeness likely to be suffering, or is it…Brian.
Who is this arising not pleasing? What arising are You not awake to? It couldn’t be THIS one, could it? Who is not awake to this arising? Is Awakeness likely to somehow not be awake? Is that possible? Or could it be…Brian.
Did we ever find a Brian? I don’t recall that we did. I mean, I know you carried on about such a character for a while, but I never actually met him. You never convinced me that he even exists! Does he?
I don’t think what’s happening in your head is the problem, my friend. Crazy shit goes on in my head all the time. We don’t suffer from what we think. Not at all. We suffer from what we believe. Believing what’s happening in your head is the problem. Who is it that’s believing it?
I can see a three-foot king with a too-big crown on his head stamping his feet and saying, “No! I don’t want it to be like THIS! Wah, wah, wah! (think Donald Duck) Anything but THIS! And I’m going to holler and pout until reality comes around to the way I think it should be!” Is that likely to happen? Is all of that drama and squalling changing anything, or is it just noise?
Whose noise is it?
I see a lot of suffering there, but I don’t see that resistance and suffering actually bringing about change. Makes me seriously question the wisdom of resistance, doesn’t it you? Who is it that’s complaining? Who is it that’s asleep? Who is it that just can’t seem to get this damn enlightenment thing down???
For one minute, shut all this screaming down. You can have it back–I won’t take it from you. For one minute, put it all on pause. Brian, in the absence of your opinions, how’s everything going? In the absence of your opinions can you actually find a problem?
I hear a story. I hear, “Enlightenment will be a sudden, one-time thing, and then, damn it, I’ll be done!” How’s that story working out for you? I ask you, because that IS Brian’s story. Is it true?
If you want to do another CS–I have people who do lots of them. I even have guys who don’t have a problem do CS. They just want to resonate. They just want to talk to Me, to let consciousness bask in consciousness, to let the tuning forks vibrate together.
Who needs a Clarity Session when? I don’t know until they confirm their session. Then I can look at my inbox and say, “Oh, look, Bob can benefit from a CS more than he can his money. Okay.” How do I know? That’s what’s happening. I’m open to it. But I’m perfectly content if Bob doesn’t need one.
I can help ole Bob, but ultimately this awakening thing is on Bob, not me. Just notice what happens, Brian. It’s the best you can do anyway. If that unit is supposed to have a CS with me, it will, and you can’t stop it. If it’s not, it won’t, and you can’t make it. See where the pull takes you. That’s all any of us can do.
If you need a Sunday, my next availability is September 15. You’ll want to confirm your booking as soon as you can. My calendar is changing really fast now. It’s a great problem to have. My suggestion is that as soon as you know you want to do a session, send the money. Then once I hear from you a time that works for you and me both, it’s locked in. This can get tricky with email. 🙂
You’re doing great. I’ve worked with people in their 80s, my friend. They had to suffer for 40 or 50 more years than you have to not even get what you have. The glass is half full.
Fred Davis 10.2.13
Accepting Nondual Awakening
YES, there’s something you can DO
to reach Nondual awakeness!
Join us in about two weeks
for the rest of Brian’s story.