(Edited for flow and clarity)
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Steve: I’ve been practicing natural meditation and self inquiry pretty intensively over the past month. I’ve been just gobbling up this non-duality stuff and always been attracted to Eastern philosophy and so forth. But I started having some experiences. I’m not really sure how to describe them. Last Saturday, I drove to the supermarket to get some groceries, and I drive a manual transmission car, meaning I have to physically change gears. They’re kind of going out of vogue, but I love them because it makes me pay attention to my driving. The supermarket is about four miles away from my house. So I left my house and about two and a half miles into the drive, it occurred to me, I didn’t know who was shifting the gears. It was a sense that it was somebody else was driving the car. It was a little bit startling, but there was no conscious effort involved in shifting gears. It was a little bit startling. But I accepted it, and I let it go. But then the experience repeated itself on Tuesday night. I was making a sandwich at dinnertime to share with my two dogs. And again, it was like the sandwich was making itself. There was no conscious, you know. And I don’t really know how to describe it. Is that like a signature of a little bit of an awakening? Or is it just… I don’t really know.
Glenda: Yes. So I guess in the vernacular, non-duality, those were glimpses of true nature. As you described, there was noticing, and there was activity. There was noticing something, what was happening. And that’s actually the truth of it all. As people, we are all programmed to believe that we are this body, separate and individual from everything that appears or that’s going on around us. So it’s me and other. What you experienced was the truth of non-duality: that there is no one there. There’s just impersonal, unidentified neutral witnessing or noticing or observing. And that there was the noticing of what was happening, but no one was doing it. It was a witnessing of the happening.
Steve: So should I anticipate that it will continue as I continue my practice, that eventually it’ll become sort of like a permanent condition?
Glenda: Well, go back to your experience. Was there a someone there noticing or was there just noticing?
Steve: No, there wasn’t. It was just, like I said, it was like the car was driving itself, and I don’t recall making any conscious decision to move gears or so forth.
Glenda: So in answer to your question, the experiencing was that there was no one there. So who would it be that’s doing something to be witnessing what’s already happening? There’s no one there permanently to be awakened or have that witnessing. You are the witnessing. I’m gonna sound, I don’t care. I’m gonna say it. Could you imagine? So you have this experience and instead of coming to someone else to tell you what that experience means, what if you actually recognize that as yourself? What if you actually knew yourself to just be the witnessing of what appears before you and you’re free from being a doer and a knower.
Steve: There was no doer to speak.
Glenda: Exactly. The best way, if you will, of sustaining that or having that be and experiencing more is to consciously be witnessing. So when you have the opportunity, which through The Living Method you can, to discover what you are not, when you delete or remove the false beliefs of who you are, what’s left is what is. And you’ve already experienced that. But once you’ve removed knowing what you are not, and the truth reveals itself consciously, it can be stabilized. Then after you awakening through practice, you can do inquiry and stabilize being witnessing instead of being Steve or believing you’re Steve or believing there’s a Steve. There is a Skillful Means coming up the beginning of November. I mean, you’ve had marvelous experience of it. It’s fresh and new. You put yourself in a Skillful Means, and you’ll be answering your own questions about what you experienced. There were wonderful glimpses. And what’s wonderful also is there’s a retention, and that’s not from memory I don’t think. There’s like, would you say, a knowingness that’s not intellectual, a sort of getting without intellect that there was no doer there, there was no one there. It was just happening. It’s not just a thought. I don’t think it’s just a memory. But, yes, that can be stabilized.
Steve: Thank you.
Glenda: Definitely can be stabilized. That’s a blessing. It’s wonderful. Yes. You’re welcome.
Louise: Thank you, Steve. I couldn’t introduce Ian before, because he couldn’t get on the internet. But he’s just joined us. So I’d like to introduce Ian, who’s part of the team as well. So he’ll also be answering some questions. So, Ian, do you want to just say a few words so everyone knows who you are?
Ian: Yeah, excellent. So, hi everybody. So just to let you know a little bit about myself. I’ve been through most of Fred’s programs. I love The Living Method. It’s given freedom through the experiencing of life that wasn’t there before. There’s a natural beauty that I’ve seen it. I love sharing about it and answering questions about it. It’s been really amazing. So looking forward to talking to you all tonight. So any questions? That’ll be great.
Louise: Thanks, Ian. Okay. The floor is open if anybody has any questions.
Ian: I think it’s useful to talk about what’s different here. It’s so fundamental to what the teaching is. It’s so important. I think it’s something that until it’s realized that it’s the reverse teaching compared to most teachings. And I think that people really want to know what it’s really all about and why it’s different.
Glenda: Janet has her hand up. Ian, do you wanna take it?
Ian: Let’s hear the question. Hi, Janet.
Janet: Hi. It’s nice to be here and meet you all. I was just wondering, can you give us a little taste of what The Living Method is all about? I’m not new to non-duality. I, too, have had some wonderful experiences like the gentleman before was talking about. And I, too, would like to just have the stabilization, what you’re referring to, Glenda. So if you could kind of give me more of an idea really about The Living Method, more of an understanding about how that works. Thank you.
Glenda: Well, the basic difference that the Living Method offers from all other non-dual teachings, as far as I’m aware, is that in non-duality, it’s a journey to what’s called enlightenment. If you practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, if you’re lucky, you’ll get there and you’ll be enlightened or awakened. And what’s taught is that there is some place to arrive to. Once you’re awakened, you have arrived, you’ve graduated, and everything will be, I don’t know, the land of milk and honey. The Living Method is very real. It’s backwards because it starts off with an awakening. And that awakening can happen rather quickly. Most awakenings happen. Well, the sessions for awakening are usually 90 minutes. Most people wake up within an hour. And then the other 30 minutes are spent in what’s called clearing.
Let me show you something that might help. Can you see this? It’s a clear jar, and it has colored balls in it. No analogy is perfect. It’s not perfect because obviously there are limits to the jar. Imagine there is no limit to the jar. It’s clear. That’s what you are. When you present yourself to The Living Method, you think you are the colored balls. You think that’s who you are, and you keep working on the balls and making it better: more, better, different. So The Living Method shows you that you’re not the balls. Let’s say all the balls are removed, and you see that what is, what remains after all the balls are removed is just clarity. And there’s no other teaching that does that. And what’s real about it is, is that these balls represent patterns. So the happenings and the experiencing, the thinking, feeling, sensing, everything that’s occurring, is patterns. So you’ve had an awakening, patterns are conditioned, they’re still there. But having seen that you’re not that, and knowing the clarity that you are through inquiry or practice, then you can experience the clarity that you are. I don’t know if that analogy helps, but in terms of other teachings in non-duality, they’re just talking to the balls. The balls can never be clear. So yeah, it’s such a profound difference. It’s almost too simple. It’s so basic. So the great master, the great teacher, the enlightened one, is sitting at the dais or the stage, you know, and everybody’s sitting there, the poor snooks wanting to get where he is and be like he is, it really is the cosmic cosmic joke because there’s only that clarity there and the patterns that overlay it. And a teacher that’s addressing all the patterns, it’s not real. That can never wake up. The body can never wake up. The Janet that you think that you are that doesn’t exist can never wake up. But it does take a seeing, not just an intellectual knowing there’s no Janet, there’s no me, you must experientially know so to speak, just like Steve shared his experience. Or if you’ve had those experiences where there’s no one there, it’s just experiencing, there’s no one there. But in a guided way, to be guided to experiencing that and know what you’re experiencing makes a tremendous difference. Yes. Patterns still arise, behavior of Janet, beliefs of Janet still arise after awakening. But knowing the clarity that you are, they are either dismissed, ignored, or with clearing path, the clearing journey, they dissolve. They dissolve over time with persistent clearing, patterns dissolve. Or it doesn’t matter if they don’t dissolve. You are still this, you’re always that. There’s only that.
Janet: Thank you, Glenda. That was wonderful. Yeah, you know, I don’t want to take a lot of time here, but I just want to say, I started reading that book of Fred’s, Beyond Recovery, you know? I belong to 12 Step. And it’s so wonderful because just like you were saying, there’s not someone to wake up. I love it. So I’m in like on the fourth step chapter, you know, so I’m loving it. Anyway, thank you so much.
Glenda: Wonderful. Yes. And it’s a wonderful question, and I could go on and on about distinctions, but that’s the most important one. And there’s also probably in the beginning of the year, there’s going to be a wonderful course. It’s going to be led by Bohdan Harik, and it’s called Freedom Beyond Recovery. And you might be interested in that, but I’d still say, if anybody in this room, if you really want to experience true nature and stabilize that, if there’s room in Skillful Means, please try to get yourself into the Skillful Means that’s coming up. And then you would probably love Freedom Beyond Recovery, which is using that book and like taking the best of both, but bringing the freedom of The Living Method to 12 Step practice, so to speak. Thank you, Janet. That was a great question.
Jake: Well, thanks so much, Glenda and Louise, for hosting. I’m really glad to be here to ask some questions. I know a little bit about The Living Method. I understand that it’s a guided process. I was just wondering if you could speak to how that the process itself was developed.
Ian: So I’ll try that. Jake, thank you for the question. So from my own personal experience, I’d been jumping around with lots of different teachers, looking for something for Ian for quite a long period of time. When I came across Fred’s method, The Living Method, is very, very different. So he’s got a process where, first of all, his first goal is for me to see the illusionary nature of the Ian, the Ian that has all the problems, the suffering, the problems at work, the money, the stress, the Ian that carried all of that. Fred’s very, very clear that he’s got a methodology that goes into who you think you are, where you think you were born, your nature when you were at school. And he’s got a fixed process of going through that. So most of it, all you can do is realize that it’s so obviously true, that there’s no Ian in there, it’s so obviously true. And Fred repetitively through the awakening sessions points this out and points to it and points to it. And there comes a certain point at which you sort of get a bit of a knowing that there definitely isn’t an Ian. And this is the fundamental shift, because once it’s grokked over here, or understood, that there’s not any Ian, then when Ian starts to show up, you’ve got a sort of framework to look at life from, to see, well, where’s Ian showing up and where isn’t he? And it’s not like the questions and the method and the process is very quite specific. There are certain subjects that Fred goes through about being born, about birth certificates, about school, about introducing your friends and how you even know yourself. I mean, to be honest, the Ian itself or Jake is just a thought. When you really notice it, they’re just thoughts. They’re just a thought of Jake. There’s just a thought of Ian. And then there’s a thought of Ian who has a life and a family and children and work. But the fundamental premise is that there’s no Ian there. It’s such a strong deliverable, consistent process. I’ve seen Fred deliver it many, many times, and Glenda also deliver it. And it’s very consistent because it asks the questions that never get asked directly elsewhere. And they get asked in this moment. So who’s sitting in this chair in this moment is where Fred asks the question. He only points to this experience right here when he is questioning; he’s not questioning a thing called yesterday or tomorrow. And he’s very, very direct and very, very specific. I found with other teachers, they would get me to ponder things over time, and there was always somewhere to get to or another conversation to have. Fred is extremely direct with me. I felt quite confronted actually at first. He was right in my face with questions that he challenged me with. I really did think I was Ian, who was going to find something one day called an awakening. And I was going to be enlightened, and my life was going to work out a lot better. And what I discovered with Fred is that the Ian itself was an illusion. And it’s a systematic programming of questioning in the right order.
Glenda: Jake, were you interested in the development of it, or how it came to be, or what Ian is describing about somewhat of the process.
Jake: What Ian described about the process was very helpful, and it gives me more insight into what it entails. But if you also have knowledge about how it was developed, I’d also be curious about that, too.
Glenda: It’s actually an interesting story, and that’s why I thought that’s what you were looking for. First, you have to understand that there really is no doer. So Fred, in doing his spiritual work, was just one day sitting where he usually sits and reading whatever spiritual book he was reading. And he had a vision. He imagined seeing seekers climbing up a staircase trying to get to the landing, which was reaching enlightenment. But what he saw was skeletons, and like a connection came that the seeking, it’s been all wrong. They’re dying on the way to trying to reach enlightenment. They’re trying to get someplace. And from that scene of all the corpses on the way to the enlightenment, he realizes that no, first there has to be the seeing of what is, you have to start from the landing and then clear up what’s on the stairs after starting from the landing. It’s funny that that just came. I’ve never heard him say it that way. I gotta share that with him. That was brilliant, what came out from here. You know, this is what it’s like. It’s like there’s no one here. It’s just flowing through this body, you know? You have to start at the landing and clean up afterwards. You know, that’s what it is. But that’s what he saw. And from there, whatever kept coming through, it was a process. It still is a process. That’s why it’s called The Living Method, because there’s no permanent one to get something. There’s nothing to get. It’s already here. And since there’s no permanent entity or one here, there’s just like, you know how we’re observing all this happening and such, so there’s a flow or happening of more of what seems to be happening here and how what is is recognized or seen, I guess gets clearer and clearer as more of those pattern balls are seen through or dissolved. But that’s what I know about the story, how it started.
Jake: Thank you so much. That’s very intriguing, and I can definitely see the correspondence between what you’ve shared about The Living Method and the vision itself, right? And so helping people, they’re not skeletons, right? They’re at a point where, at the very beginning, let’s give them some food, some sustenance, and then help them, you know, clear up from there.
Jake: Could you, I think you or maybe others in this session, I’ve spoken to stabilization or maybe have used that word. And I think it goes to your analogy about the balls and the jar. And that stabilization, I assume, means that the balls are taking precedent in someone’s experience, whereas when you’re stabilized, there might be balls, but you recognize what your true nature is, for most of the time, even though there are balls there, right?
Glenda: Yes. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if they’re arising or not, if it’s the patterns there or not.
Jake: Yeah, exactly.
Glenda: Because you’re not it, you’re not the pattern.
Jake: Yeah, and so that clears up for me what you mean by stabilization. I think I’ve heard Fred kind of mention what percentage of people wake up during the awakening sessions, but could you also speak to that as well?
Glenda: Oh, it’s very high. It’s in the high nineties. Most people do have a seeing of true nature. Do most people have the persistence to be on a steady regular clearing path? That’s a different question. With regard to you using the word stabilization, I just want to say, you know, when we are speaking of these things, no words are the right words, because the underlying of all of this is prior to language. So stabilize is an okay word, but you can see in truth there is really no stabilization because there is nobody to stabilize. And I just want that to be clear. There’s no one to stabilize. But in experiencing what’s viewed is a stabilizing of supposedly the body of the unit, as Fred calls it, living as true nature as opposed to believing they are the body, the mind, the emotions. So it looks like a stabilization. Many of the patterns that imaginary Jake has, we all have them, like we do certain things. And oh, I shouldn’t have done that. Or I should know better than that. Or, you know, I’m not clear enough, all these thought that arise. Oh God, I know I have something wonderful to say, and I just lost my lost what it was the point that I wanted to make, why I meant to mention that. I guess it’s not important enough.
Jake: Perfect. Yeah, no worries. And I think I had another question as well while you were speaking. So the 90% of folks you had mentioned, what percentage of those actually continue with the clearing? Because that clearing and stabilization are very closely linked. Is that what you’re kind of saying?
Glenda: Clearing is the really the path, if you will, or the journey and what it looks like is stabilization or stability in living. How long have you been a non-dual student or seeker, Jake?
Jake: Great question. 20 years.
Glenda: All right. So over those 20 years, have you been consistent in your reading, your meditation, your going to retreats or whatever, all the things that we seekers do?
Jake: Yeah, pretty much.
Glenda: You have your things that you do in a day, right, to address that aspect of living.
Glenda: Okay. So now you could do it consciously and benefit for clearing. I think that if somebody is just curious and has an awakening and sees their true nature, and they’re just curious, then they’re not necessarily going to invest energy in clearing. But if someone has been a sincere seeker of truth, now you can do it consciously knowing that you are that truth.
Jake: And so for most folks, after like going through Skillful Means when they have that initial awakening, I’m guessing there’s an opening, but for most people, does it close down relatively soon after that?
Glenda: Yes, because there’s no someone that that’s happening to. You are aware, obviously. Like, do you know what your next thought is going to be?
Jake: No, I do not.
Glenda: No, thinking arises, does it not? There’s no one controlling that. Just thinking arises. So you can’t speak this stuff, you can’t. So at any point in time, but there is no time, but what’s experienced as any point in time, the next thought that arises most likely will be egoic in nature, you know? And the clearing path or process encourages or guides it being so what. But yes, any one of us is one thought away from believing a thought, and you’re in the dream. But that’s part of it. That’s part of this experiencing. There’s no one, so to speak, that will always consciously .. like when Steve is talking about making his sandwich or driving the car, you’re not always thinking, I am clarity, I am more, I am peace, I am it. It’s just happening. You don’t have to every second of living be consciously knowing. It’s hard to put in words, but when there’s a point where very consistently the arising of egoic thinking is not identified with at all. There is a stand or a … I’m trying to think of the right word. I can’t think of the right word. Let’s go back to stability, because the other words that I’m looking for aren’t coming to me, standing as true nature, standing as peace or clarity, and whatever arises is arising, whatever is happening is happening, and it’s not happening to or for anybody. It’s just happening. And that’s how it is. So it’s really seeing that all of it is it, even unconscious egoic behavior is it. It’s all it.
Jake: And sorry, if somebody else wants to go, I just kind of…
Glenda: Everybody is benefiting from this conversation.
Jake: So as the egoic patterns fall away and stability grows, I think I’ve heard Fred speak to it or differentiate between awakening and liberation. Is that the case or no? I have not heard others speak to that difference, but I don’t know if Fred does.
Glenda: No. Well, it’s experienced as liberation, but in truth, there’s no one to be liberated. But it’s felt like liberation. It’s felt like liberation or awakening from the dream of being a Jake.
Jake: Yeah, for some reason I was thinking, and this is how some others speak to us, and that’s why I was thinking Fred did as well, but they differentiate between awakening, which is that initial opening where there’s still usually a lot of egoic detritus kind of hanging around, you know? And then liberation is following that down the road. After the clearing, that there’s been substantial clearing so that there is strong stabilization and you don’t have the owner coming in as readily to take ownership of the experience.
Glenda: I think the word that I was looking for before was conviction. So then the point of conviction I think what you’re pointing to with this liberation. So when there’s conviction that you are it, then regardless of what is apparently happening, what is it, how they say water rolls off a duck’s back. It doesn’t stick. It doesn’t matter. This is the conviction I think would be what really is the liberation you are describing that you reach a point, so to speak, where you are really liberated from Jake-ness or thinking you’re a Jake.
Jake: Yeah, there can just be, what’s the word, just kind of waffling back and forth between glimpses and ego.
Jake: Yes. Oscillation.
Glenda: There’s a sense of oscillation. There’s no one to oscillate. If there’s only one thing going on, can it oscillate from itself to something else if there’s only one thing?
Jake: It cannot, no.
Glenda: It cannot. But there’s a sense of oscillation. There’s a sense of I got it, I lost it. Oh my God, I don’t know how many years I had it. I got it. I lost it. I got it. I lost it. That’s the dream state. When I believed I was a Glenda looking for, trying to find my true self, I got it and lost it. For a lot of years. So it seemed.
Jake: Could you speak a little bit to some of the processes that are used during clearing? I think I saw Fred had actually in a somewhat recent post, or maybe it’s on the website, had identified some certain processes that he uses.
Glenda: He uses inquiry. Inquiry is the bedrock, the foundation of recognition in The Living Method. You can see that once that it’s recognized true nature, and that’s all there is, there’s a seeing that all this happening and doing and what is appearing. Say your question again, please.
Jake: Yeah, I was just wondering. I had seen on the website…
Glenda: Inquiry. I was speaking of inquiry. So as what’s happening or apparently happening arises with alertness, it comes to be noticed, egoic patterns come to be noticed. Like a very prevalent thought that comes up is, I should be clearer than this. Very, very common. In The Living Method, if you’re alert, you would say, who’s saying that? Inquiry, just inquiry.
Jake: I think I’ve seen Fred say he uses Byron Katie, too.
Glenda: He started when he was on his journey, he did use her inquiry questions a lot. I haven’t worked with Byron Katie’s questions or inquiry, but he does feel that they’re very skillful. They’re not necessary a tool for an awakening but for clearing. But appropriate inquiry, questioning, to burst the bubble of belief of arising thinking, that’s it. That’s what does it. The most important thing is to know who is those thoughts, who is it?
Jake: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate you answering my barrage of questions.
Glenda: They were wonderful. Absolutely perfect. Everybody, including myself, benefits. Wonderful.
Mike: If I could just jump in for a minute. One of the beauties of Fred’s teaching and whole program is that he has the original awakening sessions which can be one-on-one or it could be in the group, the Skillful Means, he calls it. But he also has a series of things for clearing, which is very unique. He has the Group Clearing Series, which I think still has some openings if you want to join that. But he’s also got this weekly satsang meeting, which is every Sunday, two o’clock Eastern time. And it’s a mix of people. It can be newer people, it can be more established people who have been around for many years. And that is incredibly helpful for clearing because it’s just this continual process of hearing him talk about it or maybe Glenda talking about it. People give reports, they ask questions.
Glenda: You know, Mike, what you just said was so beautiful. I’ve never heard said that way, but it doesn’t exist in any other teaching. There’s no clearing there. Yeah. It’s just not recognized. Thank you for mentioning that. Yes, there are avenues for clearing—small group clearing sessions, one-on-one clearing sessions, and satsang are available. And, quite frankly, you know, there’s no opportunity if you are in a room like this and questions are asked and it’s clearing, you know, it just is.
Louise: Thank you, guys.
Glenda: There’s support. There’s support there. You’re not just left like hanging, you know.
Louise: I’m looking for hands, in case somebody wants to raise a hand.
Jake: Actually, I do have a question. I was looking at the website, and I see there are two video courses, one called Skillful Means and then the other called Self Realization. I’m just wondering what the difference between the two are. So it looks like the Self Realization one also includes like the Awakening and Clarity sessions, which I think is what Skillful Means is, so I was just wondering.
Glenda: I’m really not sure. I haven’t experienced the video courses. I’ve only had the privilege of working with Fred in Skillful Means and in one-on-one clarity sessions with him, or in satsang or in the teaching program. I haven’t availed myself of those. I don’t know if you can get some more information about that for Jake, Louise, and maybe send him some information.
Louise: Yep, absolutely. Yeah, I can do that.
Jake: Yeah, that would be great. Thanks so much.
Louise: We would like to make this a regular offering for people to come and ask q and a. So I’ll put another few dates up there. Thank you so much for these great questions. This has been a really, great start to this program.