As everyone knows, I used to review and recommend movies. My deep-dive analyses were meant to convey a personal passion and persuade others to participate in it (avoid or reject the crap; embrace, imbibe, autolyze the good stuff). On the other hand, did it ever really cause anyone to see a movie they wouldn’t have seen anyway? Or did it provide a surrogate, vicarious experience compelling enough so that the review replaced any need to see the movie? Do readers end up taking the menu over the meal?
People who get the most out of these posts (Samuel C comes to mind, the guest on the next Liminalist podcast) aren’t necessarily “sold on” (drawn to) their actual subject, Dave Oshana. Is this a sign of failure or of success? Maybe they, you, are getting sufficient second-hand substance via these posts and don’t need to go to the source itself? Or rather, perhaps they strengthen your own connection to the source in you, without any need for Davonic intervention?
At the same time, at a certain point, maybe you will like what you’re getting enough to want to try the stronger stuff? (Open both nostrils, Jeff!)
The last Dave online event was a full dose of pure-cut Transmission, and I heartily recommend the replay to anyone who didn’t attend (to attend see here or contact Dave directly, here; but hurry: there is one due in under two hours! Two more on Thursday at 4 pm & Friday at 10 am, UK time). (NB: Recommending replays is a first for me: replays are like reruns, never the same as a live event. But this one was so good I think it might tip the scales for some people, and it also offers great prepping for the free Hallow Event.)
Much of the verbal content of the meeting was about discomfort vs. comfort, on the road (what road?) to enlightenment. Early on, Dave used a taxi driver analogy. Dave asked us to imagine we were in the back of a cab being taken to our destination, constantly heckling the driver with questions, suspicions, and directions, instead of relaxing and allowing him to take us where we need to go. Later on, he gave the analogy of a plumber, asking us to imagine trying to tell a plumber how to do his (or her) job, suggesting that we might end up with sewage in our kitchen.
The context was: identities (the spiritualized kind) and what they want, as compared to what they say they want, viz a viz, “enlightenment.” And the context of that was Dave’s task as a “spiritual teacher,” and the onerous nature thereof. The message may have been somewhat tailored for you, my “audience.” (The quotes are there because your passivity is optional; the threshold of the 4th wall is easy to pass over for the bold of heart.)
Discomforts are the lock and the key; what we do to numb ourselves when we feel uncomfortable prevents us from feeling into the discomfort and seeing the thing we have configured our dark identities to prevent us from seeing (hence the discomfort; see excerpt from my recent intro the men’s meet, here; now take a deep breath and read that last sentence again).
A drunk fumbling with the key in the lock to get into his home, too soused to get it in, finally gives up and throws the key away to sleep in the gutter instead. If we don’t allow ourselves to remain in the frustration long enough to focus through the fog and open that lock, we will never make it back into our homes, into our warm bed, to sleep the sleep of the justified.
Discomfort is a lock whenever it signals an area we won’t go into. If we pay attention to it, it becomes an opening. They key to unlocking the door is attention.
Enlightenment means no areas where the light is not shone, no discomfort we will numb ourselves from. To turn away from discomfort is to dissociate. We then dissociate from the dissociation, refining our dissociation until we have no memory-awareness of having done so.
Dissociation is the opposite of enlightenment. More than that, it is the opposite of living.
Of the 20 people at the meeting (not counting Dave or myself), eight came through me. That’s two-fifths of the group (all guys besides my wife). This may have something to do with how balls-to-the-wall the event was, or maybe not, since cause and effect assumptions are always tricky. Maybe they/you showed up because Dave was ready to nail some balls to the wall? You can tell me on the men’s meet. Sign up here.
There is only one solution for dissociation, Dave said: don’t turn away from discomfort. Get to know it. Each time we turn away from discomfort, we give it more power over us. The problem with dissociation is we can’t see anymore so we have to imagine instead. If you were driving in the darkness, the wind and the rain, unable to see the road, and you settled for imagining you could see it instead—do you think that would end well?
I had a thought then: can we all meet on the inner planes, without all these words and tech and externals? I don’t recall why I had the thought, but, as he often does, Dave addressed it instantly and directly. He said that, ideally, we shouldn’t be talking to him or emailing him, at all, that it would be better if we learnt to “circumvent the epistemological tree of concepts of language that leads to dissociation.”
As he often does, Dave talked a lot about bad habits, with a focus on food and TV and such things, things that no doubt are pretty universal but, because of that, felt specific to me. This gave rise, as usual, to some identity-based feelings of self-judgment. Should I be watching TV shows and movies/treating myself to comfort food/avoiding doing energy work, etc., etc., etc.?
When Dave suggested picking the thing to do in the morning that we are least comfortable about doing, I thought, “Fuck that, that’s not the way I want to live.” Then I thought, “Oh shit. Am I a slacker?” Good cop, meet bad. Id, meet superego.
After the event, I realized that I am currently doing just what Dave suggests on a macro scale: leaving a perfectly comfortable and fluid, easy (ish) life in BC, to go to one of the most covid 19-locked-down countries in Europe and take on a probably massive renovation project as a way to prepare to live off the land as civilization collapses and contracts around us! And this is the first on my list of things to do for my retirement?! Say what? Apparently it’s where my heart and soul are moving me.
Our attempts to judge ourselves and correct our behavior by doing so generally don’t work because, in fact, all of our inner judges are imported from outside. There is a foreign agency at work in our land.
People often say (to Dave) that they don’t notice any “transmission” effects around him. And yet the effects show quite clearly (says Dave) in their face and body.
When Dave meets you, he sees two sides of you: the compulsive, addictive, dissociator who is always seeking new pretexts and methods for dissociation; and the soul/body, trapped inside the chicken wire of the identity, the grinch that stole our Christmas. We are, he said (another Travis Bickle ref., this one probably unconscious), “a walking contradiction.”
As such, we could do to give voice to both sides of ourselves if we want to have an honest working relationship with Dave (or anyone). As well as asking for enlightenment, we can let ourselves admit that WE DON’T WANT IT, THANKS VERY MUCH. Too many movies and crisps still to enjoy, thanks very much.
It is time to get over our abandonment issues. The original abandonment was when we abandoned ourselves, we abandoned consciousness so we would have plausible deniability. Once this has happened, we cannot give (Dave or anyone) permission to be woken up, because we don’t know what we are consenting to.
(Note for men’s group: as Dave says, there are things we cannot see about ourselves. I want to see you there because I want, need, to be seen by you there. This is partly why a men’s group sometimes works better than a mixed one; being seen is no picnic, even at the best of times. But either way, enlightenment cannot be sought or found alone.)
Language, says Dave. Is supposed to be confusing. Language is (often) a dissociation. Given a choice, Dave would not work with your mind: it’s untrustworthy and it hasn’t got a clue. Like a partner being cheated on, it is the last to know.
If a mechanic needs to know the problem with your car, language is useful for pointing towards the problem. Once he gets to work, however, he isn’t going to need words. He isn’t working on the word “engine” but on the engine itself. Relaxing the mind is only possible by relaxing the body. (Words can be used to massage the body.)
The mind, said Milton (not Dave), is its own place: it can make a heaven of a hell, and a hell of a heaven. In fact, we have done just that.
The architecture of the mind depends on the architecture of the body. Dave sees the overlay of the identity onto the body, like a mask. The body screams through its gag to be released. He sees the identity coming and going, in a constant struggle, asserting itself before backing off to catch its breath and coming back again, all puffed up, to guard the kingdom against the interloper of enlightenment.
Dave only talks (he says) because that’s what the identity wants.
Every time Dave says this kind of thing, I have the thought: Why the hell is he talking so much about the talking? A new thought (or maybe not): Why am I blogging about it? When Dave says the talking is not the point, what point is he making? Is it a pointless one, or an especially pointed one—or both?
At the beginning of this last talkathon, Dave said something about how the talking was going to be totally new and unprecedented, like nothing before; then he added that the moment had passed, and now, perhaps, it would be more of the same-old, same-old (or so our minds might think).
Aptly enough, I came away from the event having had both experiences: it was an unprecedentedly intense, exhilarating experience of Dave saying all the same things he always says. Only better. How long can this go on, I wondered? My guess is this is something Dave wonders quite a bit too. It’s a non-rhetorical wonder.
Dave then made a semantic error, IMCO (in my conceited opinion), comparing the enlightenment transmission to milk and the talk to the breast. This would mean (not just imply) that, without the talk, there’s no transmission (only the bottled sort—like this blog?). Dave also said, before that part, that all a baby wants from the breast is milk, but I pointed out to the Mrs. that this is not true either, as discussed once on an Oshana retreat: a baby receives loads of essential stuff besides milk from breastfeeding (warmth, touch, love).
Maybe Dave was just craftily illustrating how words will trip you up? If so, I fell for it. Oh woe unto the scribe, who must suffer for all your sins.
The question of why Dave talks so much about how talking is not the thing is not a rhetorical question. In fact, he answered it today. Check the replay if you missed it (or reread this blog).
Alternate answer for movie addicts: Because we need the eggs.
Free Halloween Event: Meet Dave Oshana, Experience Enlightenment Transmission.
Sunday 1st November: ‘Escape the Ancestral Maze (Kick the Doorman in the Nuts & Live Forever Free!)’
 These are not necessarily fair comparisons; a great review can be a meal in itself—as Pauline Kael was for me—and some might say—have even said—that my writings about culture are more satisfying than the culture I write about. Here’s hoping. But here the analogy with the current subject breaks down, in any case.
 Not a Taxi Driver analogy, though if frequency of references is any gage, then TD is Dave’s favorite movie; he even quoted Travis Bickle a couple of weeks ago. However, I am a bit worried, based on things he has said, that Dave thinks Taxi Driver is an action movie in the style of Death Wish
 “A guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and says, ‘Hey doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken.’ ‘Why don’t you turn him in?’ ‘I would, but I need the eggs.’” Woody Allen, Annie Hall