Going through this all again, checking out all the usual suspects on YouTube, etc. (Tony Parsons, Jeff Foster, Roger Linden, Mooji, Sailor Bob, Mark West, John Sherman, etc., etc., etc., as well as a new discovery, the delightful Mandi Solk - and a rediscovery of John Greven, whose book I really want to read now.)
Particularly triggering for me recently was coming across the work of another "new kid on the block", Ciaran Healy (website Ruthless Truth
). What I particularly like about his approach is its mixture of Western philosophy (and particularly his respect for Popper) with the more traditional direct pointer (no self). I think he's a bit controversial because of his use of bluntness, swearing, anger, etc. - his approach might be summed up as "trolling as transmission" :) - but I have no problem with that. He's also a "man with a mission", but again, I have no problem with that (good luck to "him"). I do think his transmission is very strong, though. The core idea is something like, "There is no you. Is this true
? Well, look and see (usually, for him and his cronies, with the trolling addendum "you dumbass motherfucker!") You test
it in your experience, as a philosophical hypothesis (a la
Popper). I think this is a genuinely new approach and a subtly powerful discovery (and yet also traditional, in that it hearkens back to ancient understandings of "philosophy").
Looking at it in this way has clicked with me quite strongly. Not in the sense that it has precipitated liberation just yet, but in the sense that it has enabled me to link up a lot of stuff that wasn't quite gelling in a philosophical sense, from a lot of the usual suspects above (and the many others). They're all making much more sense in the light of the way Ciaran has put it. Something about this is calming the mind beast, and that, I'm finding, is good.
(I am of course also currently working
with it, honestly doing what's been asked of me, looking and checking to see if it's true, and that's ongoing at the moment while I've got a bit of free time and am alone in the house for a week or so.)
But anyway, yes, philosophical coherence is important to this George entity, so being able to see a bit of a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel after a year or so (re-)confusion, where I've been battering my head against the problem of how to reconcile many of these expressions of the Teaching - it's good. Having had epiphanies before, I am of course wary, but I'm cautiously optimistic.
One major point is it's getting the distinction clearer between the two approaches (what one might call holistic and deconstructive), and how some shared language between them has been confusing me. For instance, "Who Am I?" can be "used" in two distinct ways. On the one hand, one can bathe, as it were, in present being ("stay with the I AM", as in, say Tolle, or Mooji, or Adyashanti, or John Sherman, or many others); on the other hand, this question "who am I?" can also be an invitation to deconstruct the false sense of self
. I think this is where a lot of my confusion has come from. My self-invented technique as a child was actually deconstructive - I "sicked up" the false sense of self from "here". For a long time I have been unable to reconcile it quite with the presence-awareness set of teachings, but now I see more clearly how "deconstruction" is a distinct approach, yet absolutely complementary, to the "bathing in being" approach. It's also clear that that "process of deconstruction of the false self" is very much a cognitive
process (the traditional Advaita as represented by Swami Dayananda Saraswati is quite right on this, as is the Gelugpa system of Tibetan Buddhism, and of course Shakyamuni's original Buddhism). It's also clear that this is just an appearance in the One, and intrinsically unimportant, not actually effecting
anything, and not in fact "being done by" anyone. (John Greven's podcast
has been particularly sharp for me on this.)
I think the "I AM" approach is simply the other side of the coin. i.e., Deconstruction = upon discovering what one is not
, what one is
becomes (hopefully!) apparent. Whereas, the Holistic approach = non-intellectual, sheer being present wakefulness, making it obvious what one is not
. But the holistic approach is more prone to the folly of philosophical Idealism when it's brought back down to earth in common language; the deconstructive approach not so much (hence the cheerful alignment of early Buddhism with materialistic-ish philosophies, the anti-Idealism of Gelugpa, the wary-of-yoga-experience approach of traditional Advaita).
Maybe at the end of the day it's as simple as this: I'm so ploddingly stupid that I just have to understand it thoroughly and clearly before seeing it, and it's just taking a long time.