I’m in the student program run by Fred Davis and as part of that package I can attend a group Q&A session (Satsang) every Sunday.
On Saturday March 26th Fred will host a public Satsang where anyone can join, so if you want to know what that’s like then this is your chance.
All you have to do is to send an e-mail to email@example.com and ask to attend, then you will receive a Zoom link for that session.
If you want a taste of what that’s like, you can listen to an audio recording of a recent session here.
A video recording of an older session is available here.
For those who want to be guided to experience the Sense of Being as Fred Davis calls it , I’d like to recommend his book ‘Awaken Now!’- especially the spoken version on Audible. It basically is a recording of an awakening session. The audiobook can be accessed here for free if you start a trial month of Audible. It’s total length is about three and a half hours. I listened to all of it in an extended meditation and I found it *really* good.
You may not guess from its name, but this is a very good non-dual meditation. I do it on a regular basis. The original is on YouTube, I just extracted the audio and added music to it.
In this post I try to sum up the activities I do on a regular basis to stay aware of my true nature as much as possible.
First of all , I’m in the student program of Fred Davis. Having a teacher is important. Because of that program I have a weekly 2-hour Zoom satsang that is presided by Fred and attended by 50-60 people who are seriously engaged with non-duality. During these sessions there is a lot of skillful dialog and the regular exposure is important, it has its effect. Also the student program entails an hour a month of 1:1 time with Fred. The satsangs are public so I encourage anybody with a sincere interest to try a session. You can book one here.
I have a modest meditation routine. I used to meditate a lot more , putting pressure on myself using my self discipline, but as ‘I’ progressed I learned that meditation is useful until it isn’t. More meditation can be useful , but it can also be a dead end. More effort is not always going to yield faster results, especially in non-duality.
(This is in contrast to meditating to develop your concentration ‘muscle’ and access altered mind states, then more meditation is useful but that is entirely unrelated to nonduality.)
I do however still sit daily in the morning with a Light meditation that I recorded myself. It’s somewhat a non-dual meditation but not really.
Also every once in a while I’ll do this beautiful meditation by Bentinho Massaro. I’ve extracted the audio from YouTube , edited it and placed it below.
Click the three dots on the right of it if you want to download the file for offline listening.
Sometimes I like to put the below audio below on headphones when I lie on the couch or in bed and let the snippets of Truth sink into my Being :
During the day
I guess I meditate less than before because when it comes to realizing your true nature, I feel it may be more important what you do during the day than what you do on the cushion. A very important aspect of non-duality is learning to accept What Is , As It Is. That is too easy on the cushion , when nothing is happening, I am comfortable and mind is quiet. Off-cushion there is much more opportunity for practice. I have a few methods for this:
Look through the body, not as the body.
As Fred Davis explains in this video, it is possible to see your current experience (what you see/hear/feel/smell/taste/think here and now) through the body instead of as the body. Normally we feel that we ‘see’ the world from somewhere behind our eyes, in the head because we identify with the body. In that excercise you take a step back and see your experience through the body, which gives it a more calm and spacious flavour, you may feel slightly detached from the body. I practice this during the day whenever I remember to do it for as long as I can. I find it especially easy to do during riding my bicycle to work or driving the car , where I can observe the actions of the body and I can get a feel for the fact that it’s just happening on its own – I’m not doing anything. Also activities like knitting or other routine repetitious tasks are suitable. Try it!
It’s like Alan Watts said:
You are an aperture through which the Universe observes itself.
You are not in control of anything that happens. You are Awakeness, observing What Is through that body. That means that whenever you feel like ‘I should be clearer than this’ or ‘I should meditate more’ or some other judgement, be kind to ‘yourself’and allow What Is to be, including the frustration or judgment. It’ s not yours! As long as you are concious of feelings , even if it’s frustration, there is some clarity. So a soft attitude is important , don’t beat yourself up.
This has nothing to do with non-duality but still…If I feel miserable , this is usually caused by a loop ; an unpleasant thought (usually has to do with fear or desire) will cause some unpleasant feeling in the body. As thougths create more thoughts and mind goes rampant, the bodily sensations get worse and worse. I break this loop by keeping my attention focused on the unpleasant body sensations. This puts the brakes on the mind. After just a few minutes it is usually clear that the bodily sensations are easy to bear and really are no big problem. I try to be kind to the feelings and not push them away, just watch them and allow them. Then they usually slowly dissipate. After that I have to be cautious to not enter the same thought stream again because mind will try to continue where it left off. This ‘trick’ does not work always, but a lot of the time it does.
Thoughts arise out of nothing and disappear into nothing. They are an arising like everything else and humans are hard-wired to believe thought without checking them. Consider the possibility that you are not creating thoughts and they may not be yours 😉. Thoughts create stories where there are none.
In non-duality inquiry is a common practice. You notice a thought , like ‘I can’t take anymore of this.” When you do inquiry , you go and try to find the owner to that thought. “Who said that? Who is the owner or creator of that thought? Is it true?”. Sometimes I try to do this but it is difficult because I can never find the owner/creator of a thought so after a few times I don’t even try anymore. Nevertheless , it’s a powerful practice.
Not Me , Not Mine
I try to notice thoughts and say to myself “Not Me , Not Mine.” I will also state that about feelings, opinions, unskillful thoughts etc. Frequently I can be in a group conversation and notice that I want to form an opinion and get involved. But it happens that I notice this and I ‘decide’ that I don’t need an opinion and just let it slip, staying silent. It’s much easier to not have or need an opinion about a lot of stuff. Sometimes I say out loud “There is no Dennis” and repeat that a number of times as consciously as I can. Because it’s the truth.
That’s all that comes to mind right now. If I forgot something I’ll add it to this post.
Be well! 🌸
(I know it is impossible for a person to get enlightened, because it is Awakeness that comes to see that the person is an illusion. Nevertheless , I will talk about ‘enlightened persons’ because the language would otherwise become unreadable.)
So as a person wakes up step by step, it seems to be a succession of disappointments at first. If I may be so bold as to state that ” ‘I’ am a person that is waking up” , I can say that it isn’t what I imagined it to be. Not even close.
So what did I expect it to be?
Bliss , wisdom, unwavering happiness, unperturbable calm and a sense of unconditional love for All that Is. Some mystical state. From the moment of waking up in the morning , until bedtime. Possibly even with psychic abilities.
Now the above is certainly possible, but being enlightened is not a predefined state that will be the same with every ‘person’. In contrast , Awakeness (‘our’ true nature) itself can be described and is always the same: calm , equanimous, empty yet full , timeless and untouched by whatever happens.
There is only one Awakeness , a single consciousness that experiences this world through all these different persons. Each person has extensive programming in the form of character , beliefs , opinions , wants and needs and so forth. This programming can be seen as a filter through which Awakeness experiences the reality of that person. This programming remains active when Awakeness recognizes itself through a person and sees it is an illusion. So any addictions, bad habits , prejudices and the likes will be there while awakening. The only differences is that they are seen as ‘not mine’ , just being observed. Unskilful behaviour will be recognized as such and this recognition will in time probably erode the bad programming, but this may or may not happen.
So this is a major disappointment in itself , but what is recognized here that it is not even my disappointment (Me being Awakeness). The disappointment comes from expectations what Enlightenment should be like and guess what – it’s nothing like that.
There are more disappointments, depending on the area where the waking up is taking place, see the paragraphs below.
Full awakening can occur in a flash for anyone or it can be a slow process, there are no rules. This flash happened to me for a few moments some time ago. I was at a party and I suddenly could see that this body was not me , there were no persons at all , nobody was doing anything ( it’s all just happening , like a chemical reaction just happens) and everything was part of the same singular process. After that Seeing I fell back into the person and started seeking again.
For me ,right now it is a slow process of elimination – learning what I am not. Basically a Neti Neti process.
The easiest for me at this stage is having the sense that I am not this body, nor am I in this body. I can watch these fingers moving across the keyboard and it’s easy to ‘imagine’ that these hands are not mine, nor are they controlled by me. (again, ‘me’ is Awakeness.) I can scan this body and determine that there isn’t a Dennis in it anywhere. To strengthen this , I practice ‘looking through the body instead of AS the body’. The difference is that I (Awakeness) look at this world THROUGH the body, it is like a sensing device that enables me to experience this person’s life. This is in contrast to the ‘normal’ mode , where we feel like we are looking FROM the body because we identify with it.
Since you are not your body , who is breathing?
In my flash awakening it was clear that there were no persons at all. If you could imaging getting stranded on a uninhabited planet filled with moving puppets that are not alive but just executing programs, you might get the idea. This was a knowing that was not intellectual , but a direct seeing. No amount of thinking can produce this.
So if there are no persons whatsoever , who is doing anything – because the world kept moving on as it did, it didn’t stop. So this is an area where ‘I’ from this experience remember that there are no persons, but it’s not my experience right now. The Knowing isn’t here now but I try to accept what was seen as truth even though my current experience seems to indicate otherwise. In accepting this non-doership as truth comes disappointment: I never did anything, it was just happening.
Result: I never accomplished anything. All the things I thought I accomplished, just happened. These things are important for Ego, to provide self worth and confidence. It feels disappointing to say the least , to let that go. BUT – there’s a more pleasant side to this. I never messed anything up either , or was defeated or whatever – it didn’t happen to me and it was done by no-one. That’s nice. But these things too are building blocks of Ego. The same goes for victimhood. Whatever happens in life, if it’s just happening and nobody is doing anything , to whom is it happening? There are no persons. So victimhood can be dropped too. That feels tricky though , especially for me now.
Decisions fit right in here too. We often feel good about good decisions we made and regretful of bad decisions we made. But in fact , deciding just happens but the person claims these and says ‘I decided that’. So none of that, too.
When doing manual tasks, observe your hands for as long as you can. Are you really deciding all these minute movements? Driving a car is a good example.
Our true nature is Awakeness. (This is not the ultimate truth but let’s stick to this intermediate truth for now). Awakeness is not obscure or mythical, it is the everyday attention you are using throughout the day. You use it to Google , look at things , read , feel, hear etc. It is the feeling that says ‘I exist’. We are so used to it that we don’t really notice it anymore. It is a field of awake presence, or Awakeness. It is not an entity. When we remain aware of this I Am feeling, we are in fact waking up.
Can you find a boundary to the I Am feeling?
Is the I Am feeling contained by the body , or is the body contained by the I Am feeling?
Did you ever check where thoughts come from? They just pop up , don’t they. When you speak, can you see where the words are coming from? It feels like they are just flowing , arising from nothing – which is true. Your thoughts aren’t yours , you are not thinking. The problem is that humans are programmed to blindly believe thoughts, but when they are consciously observed and checked, they are often incorrect and not correlating to actual truth. What’s worse , thoughts are often about other thoughts, making the waters even more murky.
How often did you have thoughts about a person or yourself only to discover that you were completely wrong? Try to be critical towards thoughts, especially the ones that make you feel bad like self-criticizing. Are they based on truth or fantasy?
Isn’t a decision just another thought, arising from emptiness?
So what am I learning?
There are no rules. No should’s or must’s. While waking up the role of the person diminishes and the viewpoint of experiencing is more and more from the I Am feeling, the Witness. Everything continues the same way – taxes , bad behavior , bad relationships , everything ‘you’ were doing might continue as it was, just seen from a different viewpoint : not Me , not Mine. Life quality may ‘improve’ as a result of awakening, or it may not. Awakeness does not hold judgments.
I’m just watching.
The trick is to keep these viewpoints side by side, the viewpoint of the Person and Awakeness. Find a balance. Neither excludes the other.
So the trick I was told by Fred Davis is this:
Know you are Awakeness and life is a play, but live as if you don’t know that.
I would like to recommend this short but very clear meditation/talk by Mooji:
When you speak, it’s always Awakeness that is speaking. Awakeness is all there is. Ego can’t speak because it’s an illusion.
It’s just that Awakeness can be conscious of itself or not.
I wanted to share this great short talk on Insight Timer.
You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.