Q 1: Is this non-dual exploration for everyone?
A: No, it is for more-or-less stable, more-or-less functional adults.
Q 2: What about children?
A: There is no reason to explicitly share this with children. Indeed, in most cases, it would be inappropriate. It is fantastic for those raising and educating children to have a clear and simple knowledge of who they are, of course. Children learn from their environment. If we can surround them with love and let them grow, they will naturally grow to know themselves, first in the world, then as their true nature.
Q 3: And what about people (adults and children) who are seriously struggling?
A: I refer them to a qualified therapist with the right skills to understand and support them.
Q 4: Do you need to learn about nonduality to be able to be happy and know love?
A: Of course not. No one needed to teach a baby how to be happy. No one needed to teach you how to feel love. Some of those with the clearest understanding have a deeply implicit understanding. This means they know happiness and love as our essence, rather than as something provided by the world.
Q 5: So why bother?
A: There are two main groups who come to the non-dual exploration:
a. Those who have been seeking happiness, and have come to the end of their tether.
b. Those who love truth above comfort.
In other words, the people who come to a non-dual exploration are those who are ready and open. Who already have an inkling the world isn’t going to provide answers. And who are ready to unearth and question long-held beliefs. Why bother? No reason beyond a natural maturing and the yearning to know Home more clearly.
Q 6: What happens if someone reads something you write and they aren’t “ready and open”?
A: Well, mostly they simply file it away as “like…” Like Buddhism, like mindfulness, like that coaching training I did once, etc. Some simply read, let it wash over them, and carry on. A few come to me, angry and confused, declaring, “You said X, and that’s NOT TRUE.” In general, I never said X, so it’s easy to agree it’s not true. Then there is an opportunity to explore whether that person would benefit from speaking to one of the therapists or coaches I know, or whether actually it was simply that the anger and confusion were what it took to bring them to being ready. These conversations are my favourite, because I learn to clarify my expression.
Q 7: I see regular posts on social media where someone seems to be attacking you, in a roundabout way. How does that make you feel?
A: Like anyone, sometimes I laugh, sometimes it stings, sometimes it makes me reflect. Fortunately my corporate years conditioned me into listening, but not wavering with each new opinion.
Q 8: Why do you criticise what other people are teaching, when you say it’s all One? Surely everyone is just doing their best, and it will help someone?
A: I criticise for exactly the same reason as you do, because something looks wrong. I’m highlighting practices that perpetuate belief. And anything that perpetuates belief perpetuates the cycle of seeking and relief, which masks true happiness. Yes, the murderer, the arms dealer and the positive thinking guru are “doing their best”, but, absent of personal blame, that’s not relevant. I’m not even telling people to stop teaching what they are teaching. I’m asking friends and clients to consider if what they are being told rings true in direct experience, including what I say.
Q 9: So, sometimes things trigger you, and you are angry or sad. Surely a spiritually enlightened person would be super zen, cool, accepting and mellow all the time?
A: Dunno. I’ve never met an enlightened person. I’m certainly not one. But I’ve seen many shining images of Self in the world, and they come in every colour of the rainbow, every flavour, every texture. Do I think that personality reflects a level of understanding or awareness? No, because personality, is, well, personal, and understanding is impersonal, constant and reliable. In fact, “understanding” is not a great word (though I use it), perhaps “knowing beyond words” or “awareness aware of itself” work better? And more, I’ve found generosity, love and clear teaching speak louder to me than insubstantial passivity or positivism.
Q 10: What is it you teach, in a nutshell?
A: This teaching calls on you to employ observation of direct experience, self-inquiry and logic. I encourage you to examine the premise “Everything I see, hear, taste, touch, smell, feel and think is reliable evidence that I am a separate being, divided from other beings.” My suggestion is you might find this is not true. From here, we explore what it might mean to understand ourselves as one being, living as though many. Nothing is off the table.
Ah, don’t humans love the idea of control? The suggestion that by personal effort we can win at life? The claiming of mastery over certain actions, feelings and thoughts (but not others) as a way to make us safe in the world? The recruiting of others to our faith, so that we feel secure? The need to proclaim a “meant to be”, a silver lining, or the possession of a secret?
It’s all distancing us from life. Distancing us from engaging, Distancing us from showing up fully as who we are. Distancing us from actually feeling all of it.
You are not addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn, sex, control, exercise, food, affection, being looked after, doing the looking after, work, holidays, shopping or admiration.
If anything you are addicted to the sense of lack. To the cycle of pleasure and pain, elation and despair.
But it might be more appropriate to say that sense of lack is addicted to you.
quintessence: the poetry of true nature
Published in 2019 by River Grove Books, quintessence is a poetic exploration. It offers space for you to find your own voice.
The Little Book of Lochend Reflections
This miniature photo book showcases a selection of Instagram posts. Lochend is the location for our annual retreat, and one of my favourite places.