A QUIET REVOLUTION IN SPIRITUALITY
Jesus said to them:
“When you make
the two one,
And when you make the
inside like the outside
And the outside like
Then will you enter
- Gospel of Thomas
A quiet revolution in spirituality is taking
place. There is a growing sense that freedom
cannot be found in philosophies, religions, ideologies;
that it cannot be located in books, or reached
through lifetimes of intense spiritual practice;
that it cannot be passed on by enlightened or
awakened spiritual masters; that it cannot be
owned, cannot be taught, cannot be captured.
There is a growing sense that freedom is all
there is, that it goes right to the heart
of what you are, that it is constantly available
and costs nothing. And that’s what this
message, which I call Life Without A Centre,
points to: the absolute freedom right at the
heart of life. It’s a radical message,
to be sure. And yet it is as soft and gentle
as a kiss from a loved one.
This book is about is the possibility that
the spiritual search, and indeed all the seeking
of the mind, can come to an end, once and for
all. And in the absence of that search, there
can be a clear seeing that all there is, is Oneness.
And in the clarity of Oneness, life loses its
heaviness, and what is is always enough.
Some people have called this “spiritual
awakening”. But it’s not something
complicated. It’s not reserved for the
lucky few. It’s an awakening as simple
and obvious as the sound of the rain splish-splashing up
on the roof. It’s a bit like having a dream,
and getting lost in it, and then waking up, and
opening your eyes, and looking around and realising
that yes, of course, it was just a dream…
There is no condemnation of seeking here, or
of any religion or belief system. Seeking is
nothing more or less than a longing for Home,
a desperation to remember who you really are,
beyond name and form, beyond thoughts, beyond
concepts, beyond all beyonds. And the search
plays itself out, as it must. This is not to
condemn the seeking, but to point to the possibility
that it can fall away, to reveal something far
more explosive than the teachings of the world
This is not a new set of beliefs, a fresh collection
of ideas for the mind to chew on. No, this communication
uses words to go beyond words, to point something
that cannot really be spoken of. It is not a
teaching, not a communication from individual
to individual, but a sharing, from Oneness
to Oneness. A sharing that ends in a revelation
which completely transcends the dream of “me-and-you”.
And on some level, no more words are really
necessary: it is already complete. Oneness
is already perfectly whole, arising presently
as the chair, the floor, the table, the body,
the eyes, the nose, the arms, the legs, the heart
beating, the breathing. All of this is Oneness,
and nothing is out of place. And yet, for the
individual, perhaps this cannot yet be seen.
For the individual, there may be more reading,
more effort, more going to spiritual meetings,
and meditating, and trying to understand all
of this. And that’s exactly as it must
be. The teachings of nonduality will appear to
be relevant as long as there is an individual
there trying to grasp them. That is the only
purpose of these words: to be there, in
friendship and love, for that individual. To
meet them exactly where they are.
But when that individual dissolves into clarity,
when the search unravels, these pointers to the
ineffable will fall away too, and there will
only be the immediacy of what is, with nobody
there to know it. There will be a robin singing
in the tree, a car whooshing past on the road,
a cup of tea in your hand, and it will all be
the divine Mystery: you will never look for anything
else ever again, and there will be a complete
release from the burden of individuality. A perfectly
ordinary life will be lived, but nobody will
be living it. And, in joy and clarity, it
will be seen that there has only ever been
this freedom, and that all the seeking and suffering
of a lifetime played out in absolute innocence.
It may help to speak briefly about my past
- bearing in mind, of course, that what we call “the
past” is just a memory, just a thought
arising presently, and that my past
is really no more special than your past,
or anyone else’s for that matter.
In my mid-twenties, after a lifetime of shyness,
anxiety and an intense dislike of the entity
I called “myself”, I entered a period
of deep depression and illness. Fuelled by the
desire to escape the suffering of a lifetime,
I then embarked on an intense spiritual search
which lasted for several years, and took me through
all the world’s religious and spiritual
traditions. For all of my life I had been a committed
atheist. But the suffering had finally become
so intense that an escape into spirituality seemed
to be the only option.
I became addicted to the idea of “spiritual
awakening”, and shut myself off from the
outside world, meditating and self-enquiring
and constantly changing and questioning my belief
systems, reading literally hundreds of spiritual
books and sitting for hours at a time in my garden
trying to be “present”, waiting for
the moment when the separate self would disappear
and suffering would be no more.
But I never found what I was looking for, and
my despair and frustration reached a critical
point. And then, in the midst of that despair,
something opened up. The mind, exhausted from
a lifetime of trying to reach unreachable goals,
collapsed, and a deep relaxation took place.
And the secret was revealed, right in the midst
of what I’d taken to be “my life”.
The spiritual search ended with the realisation
that there was only Oneness, and life was already
complete, and wasn’t separate from what
I took myself to be. In that clear seeing, all
seeking fell away, leaving only the clarity and
simplicity of what is. It was a shocking
realisation: that the secret of spiritual awakening
had been with me right from the beginning, but
I just hadn’t been able to see it, because
I’d been too busy looking for
it, and in that, separating myself from
it. But the separation had been an illusion,
and in the falling away of that illusion, the
truth was revealed, as clearly as a punch to
the stomach. And the truth was revealed in a
chair, a flower, a tree, my hands, my feet, everything.
The revelation of Oneness had been happening
all around me, in each and every moment, but
in my search for an identity I’d missed
But in hindsight, how perfectly it had all
unfolded. A lifetime of seeking and suffering
had been necessary in order to wake me up from
the dream of seeking and suffering! And in fact,
the seeking and suffering had always been
pointing to another possibility: they had always
been pointing back Home.
At first, I just met with people in pubs and
on park benches and chatted about my experiences.
Then a website appeared, and books got written,
and meetings started to happen, first in London,
and then in other parts of the UK and abroad.
I never expected any of it. The whole thing seems
to have a life of its own now, and who knows
how it will evolve?
It’s clear that Oneness delights in expressing
this. And what a gift it is: to be able to meet
so many people from all over the world, and yet
to see that there are no “separate people” at
all, and that it’s all One. That really
I’m only ever meeting myself, and that
every question is the same question:
it’s the mind longing to come Home. What
a perfect play it all is.
Well, now it’s time to come Home. Read
the dialogues with an open mind, and an open
heart, and it may dawn on you: it was never
about the words. Beyond the words, something
else is happening, and it’s too extraordinary
to talk about, really. These meetings aren’t
really meetings at all: they are bonfires,
in which all the questions of the mind unravel
and burn up, leaving only the wonder of what
is. Really, nothing can be said about this burning,
because even the attempt to talk about the burning
burns up in this. And yet, words continue to
come, and life continues to unfold, and it’s
quite clear that we are not in control of this
astonishing dream world, and that we are constantly
being embraced by Oneness, in each and every
moment, from cradle to grave, and beyond.
In these pages, may you meet your own absence,
and explode into wonder.
Part 2 will provide extracts from dialogs in
the above book.
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