What can you tell us about yourself, your background?
I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947 to Eastern European immigrant parents.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that my interest in spirituality and religion began to blossom and my investigations into the Western religions began.
However, by the early 90s, I was looking to Eastern philosophy for my “answers”. Not long after I came to realize that the dogmas of organized religion were “one part mysticism and nine parts water”. For me, that was not enough which drove me further toward the direct inquiry into the nature of “my reality”.
By the mid-90s, I was writing about the more mystical aspects of Eastern meditative pursuits, exploring the writings of Dogen, Jiddu Krishnamurti, both Shunryu and D. T. Suzuki and Ramana Maharshi among others.
Initially, I set out to discover that which stays hidden, which hides behind the sunset, behind all appearances, behind all philosophies and religions. I learned that not having the right answers is one thing, but not having the right question is a whole other matter.
Now, I am able to speak with the authority of my own experiences in this regard, with the authority of my own discernment, and I would share with you my discoveries.
When did your insights manifest themselves?
It was during my working on Wu Hsin that everything fell into place. A light was turned on to reveal my entire being, both its absolute and relative aspects. There was an immediate, unwavering awareness of no separation, despite seeming separation. The Great Expansion occurred; the self vanished into the Self. It was not unlike snowflakes falling onto hot coals.
The focus shifted to the inner, silent, motionless, presence of Awareness. A mirror was no longer necessary to see my face. ‘I am’ and ‘God is’ became indistinguishable.
Yet, you seem to be just like everyone else; no trances, no beatitudes.
The unique personality, the style of being, continued. The needs continued, but there were no longer any wants. Too, thoughts continued, but only those pertaining to the functioning of the organism. Self-centric thought ceased. There arose a tacit, intuitive certainty. I now treat the world as if it is a sporting event. Sometimes, I’m a player; other times, only a spectator.
That which is in you, is talking to you, through me. But be cautioned. The sign ‘Water Fountain’ doesn’t quench thirst. It points to where thirst may be quenched. All words only point. One must pursue what the words point to because ultimately words fail.
Set aside your spiritual ambitions. They are self driven. All becoming is self driven, fed by the notion that something is not but will be.
Instead, just listen. Truly listen.
What is it like being you?
The Background is all that is Expressing Itself. I am one such Expression.
This body carries out its normal operations quite naturally in keeping with what is required within Functioning.
My life is a succession of events, just like yours. I see what you too could see, if your point of view wasn’t self-centric.
The world is my entertainment. Movies, TV, news; I enjoy it all. I am the instrument of experience.
All the windows are open. The smells of the flowers and those of the street trash come in. This is the fullness of experience.
Can you say more about how this Background operates through you?
Automatically words come out of me. If there are visitors, I speak them. If not, I write them down.
I have confidence in the verity of my words and find no need to draw upon the authority of others who may have appeared before this form did.
I cannot transmit my certainty to anyone. Such certainty is only born out of your own investigation.
I don’t know the terrain so I can’t speak about walking the path. In fact, all paths must go.
Everybody comes here with some plan. At the outset, even Buddha had plans. But nothing worked out and when he saw the wisdom in abandoning all planning, the Buddha’s wisdom exploded.
Living in awareness is the only prescription I can offer. Be attentive, investigate ceaselessly in every free moment. That’s all of it.
You have a reputation for stirring things up. Would you care to comment?
I function as a critical, uncommon voice in relation to the spiritual prescriptions of the time.
I don’t deliver what is expected. I’m delivering what is needed. The two are often at odds. You see, I’m here to create disturbance, to disturb you. If I don’t remove the floor on which you’re standing, how can you ever know that you can float?
I only ask that you live what I am trying to communicate. I don’t wrap enlightenment in mystical overtones. It is simply no longer confusing what seems to be with what is. How many words are necessary to point out your skewed way of thinking? If two sentences are sufficient, why should I use twenty?
Just as you are not beating your heart, all your activities are not performed by a ‘you’. When you no longer confuse the believed with the actual, your eyes are cleared.
Of course, this naturally prompts the question: ‘How to do this?’
It is facilitated by the giving up of beliefs, concepts, ambitions and expectations, by replacing attempting with being. This totality undermines the everyday state.
No practices are assigned.
Practices will distract you from the ‘I am this’ idea, but only for a time. When the practice concludes, whether after a minute, an hour a day or a weekend, you are returned to the starting line: ‘I am this’.
‘I am this’ is a habit that can be replaced with another habit: ‘I am all’.
Who benefits most from listening to you?
Only those who are willing to leave their intellect and their identity at the door can benefit from what I have to say.
Don’t be led astray by your questions. These are the voice of the intellect. Just as a hammer is the wrong tool for cutting wood, the intellect is the wrong tool for direct discernment. I can’t argue you into loving someone. You can’t reason your way out of a habit and all your conditioning is nothing other than habitual.
To be truly effective, my words must therefore bypass the intellect and the conditioned view of personal being.
Everything seems outside, even your body. To what is all of it outside?
When sentience is there, objects are there. What knows the products of sentience?
I am only an instrument for the revelation of Conscious Being. The communication via this psycho-physical structure is done in order to reawaken those asleep. All that I’m trying to do is to change the way you look at things.
A true inquiry into these matters is a natural and continuous as breathing.
Why are you not more widely accepted?
My function is not to give answers but to prompt investigation, to motivate re-examination of existing answers.
I am here to affirm that the end of suffering happens in the instant coincident with the end of all preoccupation and identification with the limited. Such transformation is not a future event. It becomes such when you believe it to be such.
Just listen; totally listen and you will find that the seeming separation between the observer and the observed dissolves.
That is transformation.
Those who remain confounded by me or critical of me, have yet to see me, let alone themselves. Taking people to be what they think themselves to be only hurts them.
Some come to visit, but leave quickly out of fear of extinction. To others, whose questions are more curiosities than anything else, I stay silent. The rest listen to me, but only a rare one hears me. The power of appearances is undermined in one who truly hears.
Who are you?
Who am I? I am whatever you think me to be. I don’t know how to label myself. I am not a teacher. I am only a teacher to those who have assigned that label to me.
As long as there is fear, there is the urge to escape. This is the basis of the search.
Upon close examination, all searching is illogical. If man did not know from his prior experience what he was searching for, he wouldn’t recognize it even if he ran head-first into it. If he had had such an experience of it, there’d be need to search for one.
My sole interest is in the end of dissatisfaction and suffering. When there is no sense of separateness, there is no need for unity. When there is no unhappiness, there is no need to be happy. You have chosen to disregard the eternal and to direct all your attention toward the never forever. Of course, dissatisfaction and suffering must ensue.
In society, intellect is cultivated at the expense of every other aspect of being.
Your overriding concerns are security and permanency and you have structured your life to as best as possible provide these. However, there is no security and nothing is permanent. As such, your whole life is a self-con. How can there be clarity when you have sacrificed reality for illusion?
OK, then, what is your style or approach?
I threaten all that is non-essential, all beliefs. Belief conditions all your experiences. Thus experiences can never prove beliefs. A poverty of beliefs provides fertile soil. One can only come at the unknown by discarding the known.
Until you opt out of consensus beliefs, the prognosis for waking up is not a favorable one.
I espouse no philosophy. I will do nothing to support your self-generated seeking nor shall I support your assumption of limitation. It might be closer to accurate to say that I am only a messenger, sharing what I have discerned.
My gospel prefers silence or few words to lengthy discourse. Whereas words can confuse, too many words can confuse too many. For those who do not understand by a few sentences, entire books must be written. You cannot communicate what you have not experienced. That’s why so many with nothing to say resort to quoting what others before them have said. However, proper understanding leads to less and less words, and more and more silence.
All that is necessary to know has already been spoken. That which has already been spoken is merely seeking out true listeners. What I am able to convey is conditioned by the capacity of the listener. My responses to questions are usually intended not so much to provide information as to give the questioner reason to reflect.
You say that you have no techniques to share, no methods to pursue. Then, what is one to do?
If ten thousand people follow a set of instructions and it produces one positive outcome, this can hardly be called a ‘way’. My way is no way, because all ways required distance from the goal. Can you come to Paris to look for France? When there is no distance between the pursued and the pursuer, what way can be prescribed?
Realization is not something that happens to you when a self engages in spiritual practices, a cause/effect, means/ends dynamic. Realization is not at the end of a sequence of self-actions. Realization is a matter of the spontaneous transcendence of that self wherein one’s true nameless, formless nature is discerned.
Said in another way, clarity does not depend on the performance of any act. It is a spontaneous revelation, emancipation from limitation via Self Recognition. Changes happen in one’s neurology. One is then neuro-atypical and the mode of being suddenly and irrevocably lacks dualizing thought constructs.
Then, we’re to do nothing?
It is indeed a challenge to have a firm conviction about That which nobody knows anything about.
I recognize that there is an inner drive to be occupied. To that end, I can only say that nothing neither exists nor moves by its own power. My ontology therefore prompts inquiry into the existence and nature of an Ultimate Principle, supporting the phenomenal world.
One must re-examine even their most rudimentary presumptions. Those just beginning will have to reject everything other than ‘I’ as ‘not self’, but when one experiences ‘I’ as it really is, one discovers that nothing is other than It.
How might each of us fulfill our purpose?
Being what one is is the fulfillment of one’s purpose. There is nothing more to do.
Do you have any final advice?
All those teachings, and their teachers, which in the beginning act as aids to realisation become in the end obstacles and must be left behind.
All attachment binds.
Acknowledge that you are enthralled with your identity. Identification with the psychosomatic complex draws the attention away. It is because of this inattentiveness that the Self is not recognized. The fruit of attention negates the confusions brought about by inattention.
One’s inherent formlessness confounds one’s urge to identify. In the absence of forms, the underlying unity is easily discerned. The original condition is unformed. With form, when the Disincarnate incarnates, comes states of the formed. Whatever appears requires a state in which to appear.
You are not a person. You are confusing Being with a particularized being. Just as one never confuses one’s car for oneself, those clear never confuse one’s body with one’s Self.
You are Consciousness in-formed. This is the true-I.
Where do you reside? Are you still welcoming visitors?
I live in Bangkok. When I was younger and in better health, I encouraged visitors to come. The vast majority were either curiosity seekers or those involved in some form of recreational spirituality. They talked about eating yet never filled their stomachs.
Now, my age and deteriorating health dictates that I give time and attention to meeting one-to-one with only the most sincere, the most earnest. In almost twenty years of meeting with people, my experience is that those are the ones who find what they come to see they’ve never lost.