One-to-One in Botanical Gardens, Helsinki, June 27th
One of the most striking things about this one-to-one, in retrospect, was how casual and ordinary it seemed. I thought afterwards about what John de Ruiter used to say about not trying to make the shallow deep. Despite his words, my experience of de Ruiter was that he did exactly that—being with him always felt like a momentous and profound experience. With Dave, it is often only afterwards that I “notice”—mentally acknowledge—what was going on under the surface.
My intuition is that this relates to how fully Dave has integrated his persona into his enlightenment, or vice versa. That could explain why there is very little surface “evidence” (that word again) of what is happening, because he isn’t “doing” anything anyway. “Dave” is taking care of the surface (the personal interaction) in such a way that movement is able to happen in “the deep”—so the Transmission can do its work. It’s not simply that he doesn’t take credit for it (most spiritual teachers preach humility); it’s as if his “persona” doesn’t get involved at all. Yet he is definitely aware of it.
While we talked, two young girls in pink, possibly twins, played for a while in the entrance of the building. I brought up my dreams of the past, how being with him recently had validated some of the experiences which I had more or less let go. (My post-DMT vision of the hole in spacetime, for example, which he had said was preparation for the Enlightenment Day talk.) I said I was sure those experiences were real, and he replied, quite sharply, “No experience is real!” He talked about how I had developed an ability to notice things in dreaming which gave me a certain advantage that some people didn’t have (though I might be missing stuff in the waking state). Before this, out of the blue, he said, “You’re doing good work anyway. A man mad for God!” That was a surprise.
The other moment that stood out for me was when Dave emphasized, quite forcefully, that I needed to stop thinking of enlightenment as a kind of death.
“Nothing is dying,” he said. “There’s no death. Look around!” He waved his hand at the luscious surroundings.
It was true, all around us there was only life. Death is an idea, but the reality is that life continues no matter how much “death” happens. To the ego, the idea that it is dying is real enough. And the ego is right: it is going to die. But the ego doesn’t really exist, and it is wrong about everything! So the idea of this being a death-process is part of the ego’s drama-queen act, a way to get attention and prolong its reign—like a schlock movie boogeyman that takes forever to die.
We finished up and left the gardens. As we were walking towards town, Dave pointed out some large paper letters stuck on a fence on the other side of some playing courts. The words (in English) read: “Someday I will ignore all my doubts.”
The next day, after a long Skype conversation with Dave, I wrote this:
Instead of looking for praise from Dave, I can simply notice how the game changes. Dave relates to me differently according to how I relate to him. That’s interrelation. It’s an interactive universe, and the idea of some element (a referee) telling us how we are doing is superfluous; looking for it (since it’s not there) only slows the game down. The reward for “good behavior” with Dave is simply that I get to interact with him at a higher level of the game—not because I made the grade and got promoted, but because he, like everything, is mirroring my own behavior (and internal state).
In video games, when you perform well, you don’t get a party thrown in your honor or receive accolades and trophies. You go to a new level and the game continues. That’s the only reason for the game: advancement is determined by readiness to face the challenges. As the challenges get harder, the excitement of the game increases. There is no reward or punishment separate from the level of the game at which we are allowed to play.
Adding the element of self-judgment to the game is unnecessary and slows things down. Every moment is an opportunity to see what level we are playing at by what is going on IN the game. There is no winning or losing, there is only playing or not playing. Whenever we are wondering if we are winning or losing, we are no longer playing the game.
Talking on Skype, I asked Dave about ego removal and whether it was an actual energetic (physical) process. He said it was and I cited Castaneda’s “foreign installation,” a.k.a., “the flyer mind.” Dave said that it was a bit of a fantasy come true for me to be able to talk to him after being on the trail of don Juan for all these years. I admitted that I’d had that thought. I reminded Dave how he had used the word “system” to describe his teachings, the day before. The danger was that, if he chose to lay all this out in a clearly defined way, while it would strip his work of the conceptual fluff of spirituality, it would risk sounding like Scientology (and getting fixed into dogma). On the other hand, if ego removal, a.k.a. enlightenment, was something that could be developed into a systematic method and service, that would be a genuine revolution.
I asked Dave if he thought people knowing too much about the process could interfere with it. His answer was that the element of mystery and surprise was important. He digressed soon after that however, so the question was left hanging in my mind. I began to get excited about the idea of adding the element of “research” to his publicity and giving it an increasingly scientific (less spiritual) slant. He said that he had often acknowledged that he was involved in research. I suggested that he could include it in the marketing angle, as an enlightened person researching the nature of enlightenment and developing ways to get others enlightened. I was a bit all over the place, and it was hard to stay on point because Dave was digressing off of digressions so rapidly that whatever point I was trying to clear up was quickly lost. He said something about brain waves being boring and I replied that concept-laden enlightenment was boring too. I had an image of him in a laboratory, with electrodes hooked up to his brain, and laughed.
My impression is that Dave has taken me into his confidence and is allowing me to see aspects of himself, his private life, and his teachings that few people get to see. One obvious result is to banish my doubts and allow for more trust to develop. For Dave to have anything less than honest intentions, i.e., to be anything besides what he says he is, becomes less and less likely. At this point, he’d pretty much have to be the devil himself to put on such a seamless act! Yet there are still doubts in me about his enlightened status.
In fact, to some extent seeing behind the curtain intensifies rather than diminishes those doubts. This relates to the fundamental idea (not only mine) that enlightenment amounts to superhuman abilities. Dave said to me on my last trip that he is 100% his authentic self. As a person, he does seem to be that way, 100% at home in his skin. But in wider terms, impressive as I find him to be, he doesn’t seem as I would imagine someone would if they were using, for example, 100% of their brain capacity. That’s something which I assume would allow for an incomprehensible kind of intelligence so far beyond my own that I’d be totally unable to keep up. It’s not enough to say that Dave is just keeping to a level I can handle, because I’ve noticed times when he misses things, makes mistakes, misunderstands, and so forth.
This is an important question for me—not so much the question of whether Dave is enlightened or not, but what does he mean by it, what sort of capacities does it entail, and what are the limitations of it. Ironically, this is very close to my original doubt about Dave. The idea of entering into “the Totality of the Self,” described by Castaneda, means having full access to memories of the authentic self (energy body) and all the “otherworldly” wisdom that comes with it. So what did happen to Dave (if not that), and to what degree can I understand it without experiencing it for myself? This is a fascinating, alluring prospect and it brings out the scientist-investigator in me.
Now I am satisfied that Dave is plenty enlightened enough to meet my own needs (he has yet to let me down in any meaningful way), perhaps I can free up my attention for a more impartial and rigorous search: to get to the bottom of “Dave Oshana” and, more to the point, of the phenomenon which he has chosen to give the label of “enlightenment.” This could combine with Dave’s own wish, reframing his teachings and services in a more practical, clearly described way, perhaps stripping them of the conceptual baggage of “spirituality” (which was also one of my original “complaints” to Dave). This way he could let the customer know—as much as possible given the limits of their understanding—what they stand to gain from him and the Transmission.
There is an overlap phenomenon. I am hearing about people who decide to take time away from Dave because they want to be more independent. I have thought about it and decided that, although this may be appropriate for them, for me it would be missing the point. It is based on either/or reasoning and a very literal idea about what “independence” means, or requires. So these people (the “leavers,” and I only know about one of them personally and I haven’t spoken to her about it, so I may be presuming here) seem to be trying to resolve an internal “issue” by changing something on the outside—a bit like a teenager who has sex, drinks, and takes drugs (sometimes even gets married) to prove she is independent. What I experienced on this last visit was the possibility of becoming independent of Dave within the context of an ongoing relationship with him. This is much trickier but I think much more rewarding.
The same thing happens with Thomas Anderson and Morpheus. At the beginning, Thomas is totally dependent on Morpheus (he even needs to be physically regenerated); but gradually he is able to stand on his own two feet and becomes Morpheus’ equal, and more. That happens after he’s been unplugged, but if the movie had been more realistic, it would have shown that there was also a lot of preparation for Thomas to go through before unplugging could even happen.
During our Skype conversation, Dave spoke about how a person needed to be sure they weren’t going to interfere with the “surgery” at the critical moment of ego removal. He said that, although most people assumed what he was doing was a long and protracted process, in fact it all comes down to a single moment. His job is to create the right circumstances and prepare the person so that, in the crucial moment when an opening appears, they are able to drop everything and go through it. Otherwise, the ego will act to sabotage that opportunity—a bit like someone undergoing surgery waking up at the crucial moment and knocking the surgeon’s hand away.
The enlightenment “teacher” (ego-remover, which was Morpheus and co.’s job) has to be as sure as possible that this won’t happen. I wasn’t able to determine (talking to Dave) the degree to which the person undergoing “unplugging” has to be aware of a) what is happening; and b) their own readiness to let go; but I suspect it varies from case to case, and that it’s possible for a person not just to cooperate but to collaborate with the surgical process (even if only cooperation is strictly necessary).
Different individuals have different requirements. My own requirement seems to be that I want to be as conscious as possible throughout the process, to know what is being done. It’s almost as if I want to forego the luxury of anesthetic as much as possible. This isn’t an entirely conscious decision (it may not be at all conscious), it just seems to be the way I am built. It may relate to the fact that, so far, I haven’t had any bliss or “no-mind” experiences around Dave.
The first time I saw Dave (in 2007), what I remembered best was his comment about how no-mind states were just to bliss the person out while the “kundalini gremlins” went to work. Maybe my disposition is to postpone bliss so as to get to see the gremlins do their thing? It could be a “macho” or masochistic bent of my character, or it could be a way for me to gain the best possible understanding of the process while I am in it. Or that could all be my way of rationalizing the fact that I’m just not “getting it.”
At base, it seems there is nothing that any of us can “do” to “get it.” What did wake up Thomas in the pod? It was never revealed because the red pill was only a tracking device so they could find his body in time. In the end, it’s a mystery. He woke because circumstances all combined and conspired to create an opportunity for awakening, and because he had been sufficiently prepared (just enough, but not too much) to seize the moment. It happened, and Morpheus and the crew didn’t need to create the circumstances so much as to know how to recognize them and use them correctly.
I am fairly sure that is how it is with Dave. Surrender happens when the balance is just right between the momentum or “thrust” of the life force and the exhaustion of the ego. That is when there is the “pop.” Perhaps there are many moments in life when the ego is depleted but the life force isn’t strong enough, or when the life force is strong but the ego is too firmly in place? It’s a constant battle, because the ego will always try and use the life force in the moment it begins to move, and then be empowered and emboldened by it, like Frodo and the ring.
What is happening in my life now, as Dave said, is a fantasy or dream come true on several different levels. And I think it is only happening because I am suitably beaten down, disillusioned, jaded, and despairing not to get carried away by that same old misplaced enthusiasm and messianic zeal which is the Ego’s trump card and trumpet blast.
That is the victory cry which has always defeated me in the past.