Fred Davis is a sage, not a saint.
If you’re looking for a saint, keep on looking.
If you’re looking for freedom, you’re probably in the right place.
There is no object for veneration here, only a communications tool.
The messenger here is human, and therefore deeply flawed.
This amazing message of Liberation flows through him anyway.
And that pointer right there is actually a key part of this Teaching.
November 14, 2014
I’m sitting down now to write the least pleasant thing I’ve ever written. It is what it is.
After having had a number of nasty emails and attempted comments on the website and YouTube, I see the cat’s come out of the bag, just as Betsy and I long ago knew that it would. It “couldn’t not” at some point, if you’ll forgive the double negative. She and I looked at each other tonight and I said, “You know, in one sense it’s a relief.” She nodded in agreement. “And we don’t know that this isn’t the best thing that ever happened to us.” She agreed again.
I’ve always been honest with my readers, viewers, and clients. I’ve openly and repetitively shared my history as a mental patient, as a homeless drunk, as a raging alcoholic, as a creep, as a manic-depressive, and as someone who went through a difficult arrest and conviction in 2004 both in my books and on this website. When I became a teacher I didn’t elaborate on all my sins, but I certainly pointed to them. I think it is quite a stretch to say that I’m guilty of hiding anything
I long ago learned not to lead with my chin, so I kept the details of my legal case to a minimum, although anyone at any time could discover that weak chin with a simple Google search. Tonight someone on Facebook has done just that and found it prudent to publish their results. I’ve already had several ugly and a number of threatening emails from the spirited intellectual giants who follow those boards. It’s been rather savage.
I wish them all good luck in their spiritual journey. They’re going to need it. Unconscious behavior carries its own penalties, as we will all see as this post unfolds. So here we go.
In the 1960’s, when I was a teenager, I was a bad boy. Anyone who has read any of my books or my blog, or watched my videos with even a half-open eye already knows that. I did some things back then which you and I and all the world can see were deeply deplorable. Here it is: I looked at some of my nieces’ private parts. I touched them, too. More than once. In the name of accuracy, let me say that in that distant time I had absolutely no clue that my behavior might scar anyone. Molestation simply wasn’t part of the Zeitgeist.
I did what I did when I did it, because Years later, as I came to understand what I had really done and began to learn about the despair and torment this sort of incredibly selfish, unconscious behavior can cause for the victims, I was horrified. Those actions haunted me for decades. One of the reasons it took me so long to get sober was that years before my surrender I’d had a look at AA’s famous Twelve Steps. Once I saw the steps about confession and making amends, I backed away. Anything but that.
I finally got sober when I was 47. As part of that process I contacted my estranged family, and working through one of my estranged sisters, I wrote letters admitting my guilt and offering my deepest apologies to those girls, now grown women with children of their own. I offered to talk to anyone who wanted to talk.
I didn’t hear anything back for four years.
However, four years after I made that initial amend, when I was 51, one of the nieces contacted me. We talked on the phone. I could have avoided her, refused to talk, and I was advised by my AA sponsor to do just that. But my sense of things was that I’d done what I’d done, and I’d hurt who I’d hurt, and if all I could do now was offer some sense of closure for them, then I was going to do so. I talked to a couple of them.
It turned out that the conversations were being recorded, and since South Carolina stands alone as the only state with no statute of limitations for sexual sinners, I was arrested in early April of 2004. Betsy was my girlfriend then, and to my amazement she stuck with me through the whole thing. She even financed my defense on credit cards, because I was still barely getting up on my unsteady feet. Luckily, very luckily, we had a great attorney. He was the owner of a mountain house named “Namaste,” something of a kindred spirit, and he took my case for not a lot of money as such things go.
I openly shared my plight with a lot of my friends, sponsees, sponsor, all of those folks, and the Twelve Step community stepped up to the plate and with moral support and financial donations. For quite some time I would find envelopes containing money slipped under my door, or into my mailbox, or out in the shed where I stored my daily driver—a motorcycle.
Those people, Betsy, and Eckhart Tolle’s books and recordings kept me from losing my mind during the two years as I waited for my hearing. I was pleading guilty, of course, so there would be no actual trial. In all practicality, I had already been publicly pleading guilty for six years. Now I had to do so in court.
When my hearing came up, there were several benches packed with AA people, and my attorney presented a thickish file of letters of support and requests for leniency. I had already been working with drunks and addicts for years, and speaking in a treatment center every week by the time I got arrested, and I’d not seen a reason to quit that. In fact, the idea that I was now doing “all I could do” was the way I managed to keep my head held up. My newer karma was working to minimize my old karma’s impact.
My family, of course, was on the other side of the court.
Most of the rest of the story is in my books and posts, but I’ll provide a brief addition here. Once the very aggressive prosecutor found out that I had previously offered to make amends for what I’d done as part of my Twelve Step work, he stopped going for my throat. I had gone to them first. This was all a result of that. There had to be more to this case than met the eye.
When the judge looked at when the charges took place and at the evidence of my more recent life, and the circumstances leading to this hearing, he, too, could see that this was not an ordinary case. He was a fair man and took everything into account when he levied my sentence. I did not have to go to prison. Pretty much no one walks out of court without handcuffs after facing charges like I’d had.
I did get ninety days in jail, which the judge allowed me to serve on weekends so that my present life would not fall apart while I was being punished for the old one. It allowed me to remain useful.
I also got five years of incredibly rigid probation. I wore an ankle bracelet for those five years and could not leave my house after 7 pm without direct permission. I couldn’t go to a movie theater, mall, or park without direct permission. I could not go out of state without a signed slip. I could have no access to computers, although PCs were neither invented nor dreamed of when my crimes were committed. And more and more and more.
There is one brush used for all sex offenders. It’s broad and fat and used to paint every one of us the same color.
On the day the agent explained the strict terms of my probation I asked, “Do you have anyone who makes it?”
She paused for several moments, then said in a low voice, “A few.”
I was always amazed to see men with guns and body armor coming to visit me. Time after time they caught me red-handed behaving as I always did. But I’ll tell you something, they were professionals, every single one of them. They did their job, but they were respectful. Everybody knew that something weird was happening, and the probation agents knew it better than almost anyone else.
Of course I also got placed on the sex offender registry. It’s not really a “registration” so much as it is a permanent public branding, the Scarlet Letter in the 21st century. As the judge told the court, “That registry is a sentence in itself.” Trust me, that’s an understatement.
I was immediately and permanently shunned by virtually an entire planet – even by the great majority of people who think of themselves as deeply spiritual folk. It is the unforgivable sin. You dear English and Europeans who’ve asked me to cross the pond so you can meet me can now see why I haven’t visited you. I can’t. Your countries won’t let me in their borders.
Regardless, I still had to live a life and dance out the dance of this fredness. I refused to just hide my head in shame and go away. The same month I got off of probation I started the original Awakening Clarity. I knew my past was bound to come out at some time; it was all on public record. As the site’s popularity grew, and my name became a common search term, the odds of that inevitable unmasking steadily went up.
And then came The Book of Undoing, and once again my whole world changed overnight.
Before I published Undoing, however, before I even wrote my first book, Beyond Recovery: Nonduality and the Twelve Steps, I decided that I should write a biography detailing my life experience. I felt like it might be an opportunity to once again use my sordid past to help others in recovery who were struggling with their own closet of skeletons. Betsy and I talked about it, and eventually we decided that it was foolish to come out publicly with these facts at that time. At the time we discussed it, I was still on probation, and clearly we did not want any publicity.
Being on The List is not just shaming, and damning, it can be dangerous for those on it—and those who love them. A guy here was killed a year or two ago purely due to his being on that registry. His killers had never even met him. Had there been a wife present at that scene, I don’t imagine she would have gone unharmed either. This is all very scary stuff.
So I wrote Beyond Recovery: Nonduality and the Twelve Steps instead of an autobiography. I was frank about my past, but it wasn’t required that I offer the grittier details. I candidly told my publisher that I was on The List, just as I have told anyone that I might be linked with through the business aspect of this teaching.
I told Betsy earlier tonight, “God has never been willing to accept anything less than my full surrender.” I can look at my life and see that the worst thing often ends up being the best thing, and I have no sense that things should be other than the way they are. I am shell-shocked as I write this, but I am simultaneously at peace. It’s all much ado about fred. I cannot distance myself from that karmic stream, but neither am I going to promote it.
My worst stuff is “out there” along with my best. If this kills my practice as a spiritual teacher, it will simply mean that God has finished using this tool and is hanging it back up in the shed. I’m okay with that. No matter what comes now, it’s been an incredible ride, and an honor beyond words to serve you. I offer you my love and heartfelt gratitude, as does Betsy. I’m happy – for the next couple of days – to discuss this further with active, paying clients, and Living Method volunteers, but not with anyone else. I will not be responding to emails or acknowledging attempted YouTube or blog comments that come this way. Give it a rest already.
If any current client wants to cancel a session that’s already been booked, please drop me an email and I’ll be glad to process an immediate refund. Those of you who are already booked, and don’t feel that this fundamentally alters my usefulness to you, may expect your sessions to run as scheduled, and as usual. This website will continue to function as normal, but having put up five posts in two days, I expect to take a couple of weeks off from it.
I have some book ideas floating around, and I might take a look at those. In short, I am going back to work. It’s what I do. This Teaching is what I do. I’m a one-trick pony.
Many in this community already know this history. I long ago shared this information with anyone I did business with so that they wouldn’t be blindsided when it came out. Some of my volunteers knew about it. I’ve shared it with a few clients who could directly benefit from hearing it.
Other clients found out by accidentally Googling this up, and they remain clients. My friends and in-laws all know and love me anyway. I don’t think it’s a big factor for them. This will not change my relationship with Betsy, Dickens, or Willy one iota. It is chiefly people who had never heard of me, or those who have heard of me, but who didn’t like me to begin with who have seized this opportunity to vent their general frustration, anger, and fear upon a stranger who’s already down. It is so easy to tear something down, and so difficult to build something up.
Ten years of baring your soul is wearing. Happily, I don’t think I’ll have to be doing much of it anymore, and that’s a nice feeling. Lots of people already knew about my dark past, and now, thanks to the concerned citizens of Facebook, so do you. Do what you have to do. I’m already free.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Carry on.
Three Years Later
This Teaching is much, much larger than it was in November 2014 when I wrote it this article.
I have noticed that the easiest way to figure out what “should” be going on is to take a look at what is going on.
There is neither comparison, nor alternative to Reality.
There is only This.
As It Is.