This letter is from a former student who was a member of the Continuing Students Program for five years. He is still “active,” as this letter attests. Like most other long-term students, my relationship with Joel eventually developed into one of deep friendship and love. It’s important to note here that Joel is not attempting to “rest on his laurels.” He knows that enlightenment is about right now: Does Awakeness know itself consciously within the context and amid the content of this present arising, or not?
I’m happy to hear that Joel is still walking the walk. For most of us, earnestness is the key to abidance.
Just thought I would say hi and check in. Continuing to live life in semi-retirement awake, fairly stably with no great persistence of the Joel character, fairly detached from the contents of my life for the most part. I listen to you, some video or podcast, every morning, usually while sitting in my hot tub, ha ha.
The one choice that you taught me I have, I make numerous times throughout each day, choosing to see through the lens of the relative or the absolute. The mental catchphrase that I always use, which shifts me instantly, is “ am I seeing AS the Joel or THROUGH the joel unit?” I remember in fairly early recovery, my sponsor used to ask me, “are you seeing this through Joel‘s glasses or God’s glasses? What does it look like through God’s glasses?” I realize this is essentially the same thing as the only real choice that I have that you taught me. God /absolute centered vision (and the thought system of the Ego that goes with that) versus Joel/ego/self-centered vision (The thought system of the spirit, if you will). The other metaphor I always used was that my relative mind is like a radio tuner, And I might tune in to WGOD or WEGO station at this moment, ha ha!
I’ve enjoyed recently listening to some of your earlier interviews, the one about higher power with a guy in England, and your BATGAP interview from years ago. I have never heard them. I really enjoyed hearing more of the detailed version of your story and awakenings! This morning you mentioned that consistent “under-current” of everything being perfectly all right, despite what is going “on the surface”. I think that is really all that I was always looking for and wishing I had in my life and That I have found through these years of following you and your teaching.
I see in my Amazon account that on August 14, 2014, I ordered a copy of Beyond Recovery. As I have mentioned before, I read the first line and my head exploded! What I know now as the bubble of self-reflection of many years popped and blew apart finally at that moment! I have always loved your paragraph a few pages later in the book which described my experience profoundly. “The difference between the relative surrender of a drop apparently surrendering to the ocean and the ocean recognizing that no drops exist, is quite significant. It is also experiential.” The drop that I thought was me vanished! A few weeks later I did a clarity session with you, which turned out to essentially be a confirmation session, and then I started Satsang!
I am so very grateful for the five years of regular attendance at Satsang, and I would certainly encourage from my experience all of your current students to follow that route and all the “clearing up“ that happens after awakening. I am so grateful for that as well as the years of previous step work, which is also about clearing out so much of the illusory self that we become imprisoned in, even while in the bubble of self-reflection. I believe those years in the [Continuing Students Program] were absolutely integral to eventually coming to my current, stable sense of being in “the Great Okayness,“ as we used to refer to it in Satsang.
I have a loose metaphor I kind of think of as the process of awakening leading to that explosion of the Bubble from reading your first line and then having a session with you was like living the nondual first three steps. The five years in Satsang and all the other work around that time was like the middle steps, four through nine, the “cleaning house steps” that they refer to in the program. And now I am kind of living mostly in the nondual maintenance steps, haha. An errant thought I just had was wondering if you ever put out a second edition of beyond recovery all these years later, with All your years of teaching now, what would it be like. I would certainly pre-order it ha ha. Writing that book was absolutely brilliant and I will bet continues to attract people in recovery to your teaching. I had read over the years most all of the non-dual teachers, but when I saw your book—there was somebody who also understood my journey in recovery! That was huge! And look what happened, ha ha!
Anyway, Fred, I just wanted to write a bit, and for you know that That is still here practicing all the principles and techniques daily to stay always connected to the TRUTH, while living my most skillful but imperfect life in the relative world. As always, I am so very grateful for you and Awakeness manifesting through the Fred unit into my life.
All my love and respect!