Saturday, October 27, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

DOing the ET Dream

I am breaking my silence to share two new releases which I hope will herald a new beginning for me: An article at Reality Sandwich on Dave Oshana & the Transmission. And an interview with Doug Lain, recorded two months ago, on matrix living and the dream of enlightenment.

Peace Out

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Do I Maintain This Blog?

I ask myself this question from time to time. The last time was this morning, after receiving the following anonymous comment:
Such a disappointment.. I fully agree with William. Since being introduced to your writing, you have brought many insights into my life that synchronistically spoke to some very trying personal experiences. Aeolus always struck me as someone who was cracking open in the best sense, and hitting on pertinent truths in a way that would help many others embarking on the very same journey. Having said that, this "Dave" business is such a crock of shit that it shocks me to see you falling into it. I trust you still haven't handed the man A SINGLE DOLLAR of yours. You say you aren't "trying to copy him, be more like him" yet several sentences later you say you "represent" him. You seem to be a very discerning fellow and though I gather you've had a very challenging several years (I am Sebastian as well), I will trust that you won't fall too far down this pit before you catch yourself. Fancy semantics and clever touchettes aside, I trust your innermost knows what the fuck it's doing... Good "luck" Jason.
Apparently some of my blog readers want to “save” me from my latest “folly.”

I cite this anonymous comment as an example of the most annoying sort of feedback I get. It seems like it is friendly and supportive, but the professed concern is patronizing and insulting, and its function is more to soften me up for the blows than anything. It's based on the premise that I have been suckered and that I need someone who knows nothing about it to tell me how I have been suckered.

What does this person want? It’s a complex question, but it’s a question that ties into the main one: why do I keep up this blog when it’s generating this sort of passive aggressive, uninformed “concern.” First he describes how he has benefited from my insights, after which he accuses me sharply of falling for a “crock of shit.” He doesn’t say why it’s a crock of shit. Apparently stating his opinion strongly enough is supposed to deter all arguments. (That’s called bullying.) His actual intent, however unconscious (and when someone is this angry they usually aren’t very conscious) is to belittle me and put me in an inferior position to himself.

What is he so angry about? Why does he mention that he shares a name with my brother?  What is his superiority (combined with a presumptuous sort of intimacy) based on? None of this is revealed. All that is clear is that this person is angry, which means he is afraid, and that his show of concern is just that: a show. It does not extend as far granting me the space and freedom to find myself, but is only an attempt to intimidate me (or others observing) into backing him up in his unintrospected and unproven fears—whatever they may be. (Something to do with being tricked into trusting an untrustworthy teacher/father/brother figure, perhaps?)

This blog offers a service, a free one, and for whatever it’s worth. For someone to benefit from this free service and then to complain about it—to profess to know more than I do about my own “product” (insights)—isn’t just rude—it’s ridiculous. It reminds me of Dylan fans (I was never one) calling him a sell-out for going electric. It’s so illogical, in fact, that there can only be some deeper emotional reaction underneath it. Apparently this person believes, like those angry Dylan fans, that I and my insights belong to him, and is threatened by any extraneous influences jeopardizing his “supply.”

Moving on to the other end of the spectrum, I also receive kind and supportive comments, such as this one:
It's a noble endeavour. As Ray Menezes says, there is no other task more important than getting to the bottom of the this [sic] conundrum. Bravo Jason, if we were sane we'd all be following your lead.
Naturally, I agree with the sentiments expressed here 100%. I very much doubt if this person knows any more about Dave Oshana than the other commentator, but then he doesn’t need to. He's not casting judgment on Oshana, he’s responding to what I wrote. He perhaps goes a bit too far with his encouragement, since I don’t want anyone to follow my lead, exactly, although I do want people to think about what I write and apply it to their own lives. (And I am very happy if I hear someone has checked out Dave’s “product”—why, because I think it’s a damn fine product! I wonder if I would get the same sort of flack if I was recommending a friend’s music or art work?)

In a sense, the first comment quoted here, annoying as it may be, is more useful to me, because it underscores the sort of blind prejudice and emotional resistance that exists out there to the idea of enlightenment, and/or the possibility that it might be a real goal—one which we can be guided and supported towards by others (even at a price—shock, horror!).

I don’t want to make this about Dave Oshana. Really. But anyone who reads this blog who then comes to me with allegations, accusations, or simply voicing their skepticism about him is wasting their time. Why? Because if they want to find out about Dave, they can go directly to his site, online classes, or book a one-to-one with him, and find out for themselves. And if they already know it’s a crock, because it’s so obvious, then instead of trying to save me from my naiveté, hey man, just go back to your early Dylan records, and enjoy the memory of better days.

The person you thought I was, and any the insights you thought I had for you, never existed. There is only this moment. And right now—Aeolus is going electric! (Not literally; I left my guitar in Guatemala.)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Red Herring of Enlightenment

The whole question of whether a teacher is enlightened is a red herring. No one but the supposed enlightened person can know the answer, and all we can judge are the effects of being with them, and of being open to their teaching and guidance. We can only know where they are at by going there. Enlightenment doesn’t actually mean anything to anyone who hasn’t experienced it.

In the same way, love, soul, God, etc. don’t mean anything without the experience of them. For most of us, they are just words for concepts that are beyond our understanding or even experience, which is at best partial, at worst non-existent. And since we can’t know if someone else is enlightened or not, all we can do is believe it or disbelieve it. Since neither of these is useful, that leaves the third option: allowing it to remain unknown.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and nowhere else. The recipe, the cultural history, the chef’s credentials or recommendation, the reviews in The Good Food Guide and The Guardian, can help us decide if we want to order it or not. But until we take that first bite, it’s all just second-hand information and it has nothing to do with the experience of eating.

For me it comes down to a very basic question: Is there a way out? Is there a state of awareness, an experience, that is free from conditioning, delusion, and unnecessary suffering? If I come upon someone who claims to have found a way out, in such a way that seems plausible, I am going to investigate as closely as I can. If I find enough evidence to support their claim, I throw caution to the wind and (without relinquishing my critical faculties or capacity for discernment) put my trust in that person’s greater insight and wisdom. There’s really no other way to test it.

I know that I risk making a fool of myself, being disappointed, disillusioned, even deceived; but the risk is minor compared to the possible gain. Whatever the ego says about having to go it alone, stand on my own two feet, and not depend on anyone else to show me the way, experience indicates the opposite is the case. The only really significant steps I have taken in my life are the result of being pushed, inspired, or challenged by outside agencies.

It is massively significant step, however, to allow for the possibility that the outside agency belongs to entirely different level of being, as different from me as I am from a chimpanzee, maybe more so. The ego is honor-bound to find a hundred reasons to reject this point of view as “unsound.” The question of how to enter into such a relationship without giving up entirely one’s independence of thought is the riddle I am faced with. Perhaps the answer is that it can’t be done because it doesn’t need to be done, because there is no such thing as “independence of thought”?

My body may know the answer, but my mind can still doubt the body. It is what the mind does best. And in the absence of knowing, all that is left is belief. Believing that the transmission is real is useless: it is just an opinion. I have to know. But the only way to know is to proceed as if it were real, in order to find out. That means to proceed without believing, which leaves only trust: trust in the teacher, to a degree, but mostly trust in myself and above all, trust in life. Trust that this is the path that I am meant to be taking. The funny thing is, I really don’t doubt it. But I doubt all the rest, the details, the moment to moment decisions, decisions which always come down to the one decision: to surrender or not to surrender. My self-doubt is projected outward, onto all the things that are stirring the doubt within me. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the doubt. The more real I see and feel transmission to be, the greater my self-doubt becomes, the more I doubt the reality of the transmission!

I seem to be running out of options, as well as time. The more I think about this, question it, or pay attention to my doubts and criticism, the more it feels like I am simply making excuses, complaining, or indulging in denial and avoidance. Sometimes I just want to yell at the top of my lungs that none of this makes sense and that I cannot possibly be expected to live my life according to such a preposterous premise. Yet through it all, there is never, for even a moment, any real or meaningful doubt that this is the only possible way forward for me. Or, I suspect, for any of us.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Gnosis & Agnosis, Open-Minded Skepticism, & "The Transmission"

Why am I here in the Baltics, where the wind blows cold in June? 

The easy answer is that I am here to make a fresh new start in life, in a place with no previous associations. Beyond that, simple practical reasons for being here are few, and all secondary to this first one: I am here to investigate more deeply into a phenomenon which has perhaps always been under the surface of my awareness, but which only recently came all the way into view, a phenomenon which, for whatever reason, seems to be emanating from this part of the world. The Transmission. 

What is the Transmission? A Homing Signal? A form of conscious energy that may take up residence in and find expression through human beings, but which is not restricted to human beings? 

A living agent of awakening that issues from beyond the material realm and that calls us back to its source, which is the source of everything? That wishes to land in and emerge through material form while turning material forms back towards their own true nature, which is that of conscious energy?

I am here to scout for and collaborate with individuals who are able to receive, recognize, and embody the Transmission and thereby increase the strength and clarity of that Homing Signal. 

From what my feeling-sense tells me, the Transmission wants to take over my life; but it has always been running the show, so maybe what is changing is my wanting to have a dialogue with what is running the show - to be a conscious puppet instead of an unconscious one. 

It's an infinity loop: I am here to investigate what brought me here. Clearly, the Transmission does not originate from the Baltics or anywhere in the material realm. There may be areas of greater or lesser concentration, that's part of the investigation. 

I expect to meet with skepticism. Why wouldn't you be skeptical? What's the alternative to skepticism? Belief, or credulousness? 

For most people, "open-minded" and skeptical seem like opposites, but can an investigation proceed on any other basis besides one of skepticism and open-mindedness?  I'd say a little of both are required. I am skeptical about Transmission - if I weren't I would have to be satisfied with only partial knowledge and fill in the gaps with belief. Perhaps the reason skepticism often takes on negative connotations is because we are taught that we must believe in something? It is bad manners not to believe another person's claims, for example, because non-belief is equated with disbelief, so we end up seeming like we are calling them a liar just because we question their claims. 

We can't even conceive that a state of non-believing different from dis-belief could be possible. Belief is like the ground we stand on. Having an opinion, and a "position," is mandatory, unless we simply plead ignorance. Ignorance also has a bad name - as if saying I don't know is somehow less honorable than having an unformed opinion about something.

But gnosis can only occur in/from a state of agnosis. Knowledge can never come from belief, only from an acknowledgment of ignorance. Investigation comes from admitting ignorance combined with an intent to find out the truth, and to suspend all belief until knowledge has been gained. Detectives have hunches, it's true, but that's more like intuition than belief, which is a product of mind. The trick is to act on a hunch without believing in it. Because of our need to believe or disbelieve, a hunch often leads to a belief, but it doesn't need to. Why do we choose to believe one thing over another? There are many reasons, but intuition may be among the better, more "organic" ones. Then again, it could also be a subtler less surface sort of self-deception.

The purpose of following a hunch is to test a belief. Then the belief is either confirmed and becomes knowledge, or is discarded as a faulty intuition.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Answer

Is there a meaning to life?

Answer: if there is no meaning to life, then the question "Is there meaning?" can have no meaning. 

If the question does have meaning, however, then clearly, there is meaning to life, since there is meaning in the question, "Is there meaning?" 

The answer is in the question: it is that the question "Is there a meaning to life?" is either meaningless, or it answers itself. 

In either case, the question is 100% redundant.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Disillusionist

Dave Oshana, Enlightenment Coach or Popcorn Chef?

It feels like time for full disclosure so far as what I am doing in Estonia/Finland and what all this enlightenment talk is about. So here's a piece I wrote last year which I shared at a couple of forums but spared my regular readers until now, partly so as to spare myself their/your ire, skepticism, and so forth. Several months have gone by since I wrote it, and I've gone a ways deeper down the Rabbit Hole of Transmission, but I think this piece still accurately describes my point of view, at this time.

 “The most impressive thing about you is how unimpressive you are,” I once said to Dave Oshana. He laughed and told his wife, who nodded her head (or so he said, we were on Skype at the time). Recently, I was reading the (somewhat out of date) testimonials at one of his websites, and I was struck by how many people had had life-changing experiences around him. These experiences—of “no mind,” oneness, transcendental bliss or swirling lights and colors—often occurred within days, hours, even minutes of meeting him. In one incident, it happened during a woman’s first phone conversation with him—a Canadian journalist entered into a non-ordinary state of awareness and “came to” lying on the grass, wondering why she had a phone in her hand. It took her nine months to write about her experience.

After four years of knowing Dave, I still don’t have any cool stories about no-mind states, bliss-tsunamis, energy balls, halos or Ufos hovering over his head. Nada. Dave Oshana crept up on me so slowly that it’s hard for me to even say exactly what it is that drew me to him. Why I am so sure that he’s an authentic agent of enlightenment? What is it that impressed me so much? I come back to that one thing: he never tried to impress me. Now that’s impressive!

I was not even remotely interested in finding a guru until I turned 40. Coincidentally that was when I met Dave Oshana. Unlike other spiritual teachers I’ve seen, before and since meeting Dave (admittedly most of them on YouTube or TV), Dave stands out most of all for his complete lack of airs. People often say that their gurus aren’t putting on airs, and that they just “naturally” emanate holiness, or whatever else they emanate. But to my mind, now that I’ve met Dave Oshana, “naturally emanating holiness” comes under “putting on airs.” With Dave there is no soulful gazing, no pregnant silences,  no beatific smiles, no disarmingly childish giggling, and no crypto-mystic turns of phrase. Not that these things don’t happen, exactly—they can be part of the Oshana experience (mine at least). It’s only that they don’t call attention to themselves and they don’t ever create the impression of holiness, or of anything else. They are just parts of Dave, and with Dave, what you see is what you get—except for the bit you don’t see. There is no mystery, no magic tricks, no melodrama. Just Dave.

Dave isn’t simply ordinary in the way that lots of guru-types are “ordinary”—humble and sweet and self-effacing and whathaveyou. He is all that, but he's also just a regular bloke. It’s easy to imagine him passing through the world without people suspecting that there’s anything remotely unusual about him (except for his cheeky sense of humor and his firm but gentle refusal to shake hands). If he doesn’t get mistaken for an ordinary guy, it’s because he’s an “enlightenment teacher” with a neon sign over his head, and most of what he does, as far as I know, entails spreading the divine virus of “Transmission.” But miraculously, he makes being an enlightenment teacher seem ordinary, a bit like any other job. He’s like a plumber who comes to check your pipes and makes lively chit-chat while he does it.  Dave’s chit-chat was so engaging that it actually took me three years to “get” what he was doing with my pipes (so to speak). That was probably why I never quite believed that he was really an enlightenment teacher. He has the gift of making what he does seem effortless, like he's not actually doing anything, which Dave would probably say is the case: he isn’t.

Dave and I first met in London in December 2007. I was living in Hampstead at the time. I happened to hear about him from someone who had recently experienced a spontaneous “awakening,” who contacted me because of a book I’d written called Matrix Warrior. This person wanted to enlist my help writing their own book, about Kundalini and enlightenment, and he happened to mention this teacher who was coming to London. He gave me a link to Oshana’s “Enlightenment Now” website and I read a short article in which Dave used The Matrix movie as a metaphor. That got my attention. Since I was into sorcery and the occult back then and not spirituality and gurus, I rarely if ever went to see spiritual teachers. If Dave hadn’t been coming to my neighborhood—the meeting was a ten minute walk away—and if we hadn’t had The Matrix in common, I probably wouldn’t have shown up. But those two factors combined made it impossible to resist. Kismet is what it used to be called. Destiny.

I emailed Dave and told him about Matrix Warrior and took a copy along with me, as well as my mother, who lived locally too. By chance, one of my copies of the book was already inscribed to “Dave,” another Dave who hadn’t read it and had forfeited his copy. I gave Dave the book and told him it had been meant for a different Dave—a fact he reminded me of four years later. The meeting was enjoyable but I was less than bowled over by it. One thing struck me during the meet besides Dave’s ordinariness:  during a momentary pause in his free-associative monologue (he talked a lot), his eyes became unfocused and he seemed to be somewhere else. It was similar to what I’d seen in people’s eyes when they were on LSD. Since I was reasonably sure Dave wasn’t on hallucinogens, the strange look in his eyes convinced me that, whatever else he was, he wasn’t faking. There was definitely something different about him.

I went to a second meeting two days later, on a Sunday, this time for energy work. Soon after, possibly that same day,  I received an unexpected call from one of his assistants saying that Dave would like to meet me that evening, at the Hilton on Edgware Road. I think I was only given a couple of hours’ notice, if that. I didn’t hesitate, jumped on my bike and sped to the meet. I arrived around nine in the evening (if memory serves) and found Dave in the reception area. We sat in a quiet corner at a small table and talked for about three hours. Typically enough for me (though not for Dave), I did most of the talking.

Dave had speed-read my book and he was curious to find out if I really knew as much as the book suggested or if I’d just got lucky. For my part, I was curious to know what he meant by enlightenment, why he called himself that (even if he was), and why he used the word “spiritual” so much (I considered the word to be facile and vague). When I told him that I didn’t think he was enlightened, he seemed only mildly curious. Back then, I had very specific ideas about what enlightenment was. To me it meant the ultimate and final goal of consciousness and of human existence. I equated it with God-consciousness and Total Oneness with the Universe (or Multiverse). In my mind, that entailed becoming a Cosmic Übermensch, simultaneously aware of everything that was happening—and everything that ever did or would happen—in all of Creation. It included not only being able to access memories of past lives but of everyone else’s lives too—past, present and maybe even future. My extravagant picture of enlightened übermensch had been formed, over the years, with the help of authors like Carlos Castaneda—with his Toltec sorcerer don Juan—and Whitley Strieber’s The Key (Strieber allegedly met a God-man whom he called “the Master of the Key” in a Toronto hotel room one night, in June of 1998). Dave Oshana was a brash and bawdy—though oddly unassuming—Cockney “wide boy” in his late thirties, and clearly he did not meet the necessary requirements. I was fairly sure he had not attained the ultimate goal of human consciousness, and I told him as much. Perhaps he had only “lost the human form,”  I ventured. (Losing the human form was another concept I’d got from Castaneda, who described it as a step on the way to total freedom but far from the final one.) I suggested to Dave that, like so many other wanna-be’s, he might have misunderstood his experience and fallen into “the guru trap” (something else I had read about). Perhaps Dave was amused by my line of questioning and apparent “concern,” I don’t know, but he said nothing to convince me otherwise, and by the end of the meeting I was no less skeptical. I had grown to like him, however, and I was flattered that he’d been willing to spend so much time  with me, ad hoc and free of charge.

We stayed in touch on and off by email for the next three years. During that time (2008-2010), I met another spiritual teacher and for the first time ever I took on a guru. In retrospect, the guru I chose was the polar opposite of Dave: somber, imposing, and a profoundly impressive, even regal, presence. This was my idea of what a “man of knowledge” ought to look, sound and act like, so I accepted him as an Enlightened Master and assumed the submissive position. Compared to such a “Master,” Dave was obviously a mere lightweight. Yet ironically enough, it was Dave’s “lightness” that would eventually convince me of his authenticity, and also what helped me to see past my own guru’s airs and graces. But that’s another story, for another place.

From the start, Dave Oshana was too seemingly ordinary and approachable for me to ever see him as a Master. There was none of the distance, the feeling of inequality, that characterizes a standard relationship between disciple and guru. There are plenty of enlightenment teachers who say that enlightenment is ordinary. They talk about how it’s available to everyone, just for the asking. But Dave didn’t just say it, he demonstrated it. How exactly he did so is difficult to describe. Despite his personable, affable, and totally accessible personality, he didn’t reveal much about himself and he wasn’t really interested in my personal life, even if I continued to kid myself that he was. The more time I spent talking with him (on Skype, and emailing back and forth), the more apparent it was that he was fundamentally different than anyone I’d ever met. Since I have an intellectual bias, it was probably the speed of his thoughts and verbal expression, his precision and the depth of his insights, that gradually convinced me.  The other thing that struck me about him was his looseness and flexibility. Over months of informal conversations, I never once detected tension or rigidity, discomfort or effort in him. There was a lack of attachment, of points to defend, that I had never seen before. He seemed to be constantly at ease, yet always totally present. Behind the playful exterior was a fierce and unwavering attention.

By Dave’s account, his liberation simply happened, spontaneously and out of the blue, when he woke up one morning in June of 2000 and slowly realized that his old self was gone. That was what he meant by enlightenment, and it seemed like something that could happen to anyone, at any time.  Little by little, through knowing Dave, I adjusted my idea of enlightenment and scaled it down to something real, something tangible, human, and attainable. What Dave described was similar to what happened to Thomas Anderson in The Matrix: he woke up and realized that his life and his former self was just a dream. He didn’t become Neo overnight, however. All that really happened when he was unplugged was that a fundamental delusion ended. Like Morpheus and the rest, Dave was operating at another level of being  which I couldn’t understand because, outside of some deranging psychedelic journeys and deep dreaming states, I didn’t have direct experience of it. But somehow, despite the growing awareness of the enormous distance between us—the distance between one reality and another, between waking and dreaming—I didn’t feel intimidated by Dave or in awe of him. His particular way of relating was so open and easy that it kept me at ease. It also prevented me from focusing or obsessing on the apparent gulf between us.

Looking back, I now think that all of his ingenuity, dexterity, wisdom and wit, was little more than a magician’s sleight of hand to divert my attention from what he was really doing. A bit like a kindly doctor who distracts a child with jokes and funny faces while the nurse gives him a painful shot in the backside. Dave’s surface chatter kept my mind engaged  while he, or something (he calls it the Enlightenment Transmission, E.T. for short),  did its work—secretly, behind the scenes, at a subtler, energetic level.

So what is happening around Dave Oshana at that subtler level? I still don’t know, or at least, I can’t really say, and not because I don’t want to.  Recently, I asked Dave how his becoming enlightened affected his family relationships, the one with his mother for example. (My head was filled with traditional tales of awakened beings severing ties with family and friends, and suchlike.) Dave’s answer was that they hadn’t really noticed. I’m tempted to leave it at that, because in a way that says it all, and because this task (testifying to Transmission) is proving even more difficult than I thought it would be. A writer needs to be able to write about anything he puts his mind to, but I don’t seem able to find my mind when it comes to writing about Dave! D’oh! The more I try to put my finger on what he is, and on what he has done for, to, or with me, the more it, or he, eludes my writer’s grasp.

Like most enlightenment teachers, Dave describes enlightenment as our natural state. Unlike most teachers that I know of, he manages to somehow demonstrate it too. He’s the most natural person I’ve ever met, and it’s this, more than anything else, that draws me to him. He’s the first person I've met who seems wholly and fully himself, and his presence stirs in me a heartfelt desire, a soul-deep longing, to be what I am, as naturally, effortlessly and joyfully as he is himself.

According to Dave, to get the Transmission a person only needs the courage to show up. In my experience, it goes the other way too: for Dave to give the Transmission he only needs to show up, which is all he ever really seems to DO: show up and be himself. Invariably, surprisingly, things happen. Sometimes it’s delightful, sometimes disturbing; it’s always unexpected and usually perplexing; at times it’s plain maddening. Dave is a disllusionist. His job, he says, isn’t to get anyone enlightened but only to break apart the false assumptions and mistaken beliefs that come between us and IT—our natural state. So that’s what he does, and his art isn’t so much the illusion-busting, but how gently, tenderly, and playfully he does it (most of the time, at least).
If Dave is just like you and me, he's also heralding, embodying, beckoning, and inviting us into a new form of awareness and a new way of being, one that a lot of people talk about, these days, but that in my opinion almost no one has actually experienced. It’s a way of being that includes the ordinary, human, everyday experience but that isn’t contained, limited, or defined by it. Whenever I am with Dave, he drives home to me—like a splinter into my brain—the difference between him and me. It’s the difference between the dull existence of a cold, dry kernel and the bouncing, butter-soaked life of a hot and puffy piece of popcorn. Since I've known him, I’ve become painfully aware of what a hard and unappetizing husk I am; but also of how, under the right conditions, that brittle shell of false identity can pop, inside out, and turn me in an instant into the tasty morsel which God and Nature intended me to be.

So what does “under the right conditions” mean? Being willing to climb inside the Oshana pot and endure the heat. That’s a massive step, no doubt about it. But if I am willing, the more I begin to trust to that inevitable process of being popped, the more Transmission will do the rest. Eventually, the kernel will pop. Oshana retreats, meetings, one-to-ones and even online classes, all require active engagement, not passive devotion or studious attention. Dave doesn’t want followers or students but participants, and eventually team-mates. There’s a sense of urgency and of pressure about everything he does, and his invitation to participate is a bit like a trumpet blast. He is calling us to step up and meet him where he is, on the battlefield, instead of obliging him to come down into the simulator program and do more shadow puppets for us.

Dave has said that he just happens to be one of the ones who awakened first, and that it could have been any one of us. Since it was him, he’s obliged to assume the role of teacher, coach, captain, and team leader. But it’s only a role, dictated and maintained not by Dave but by our own ego-generated delusions about the nature of reality, and of ourselves. We are like husks in the pot, looking hopefully over at the first one to pop, thinking, “He must have the secret!” Meanwhile, he’s looking back at us, wondering what’s taking us so long.

Hold on! What’s Up? Using words to communicate truth is like trying to put the Sun in your backpack or stop the river from flowing with your hands. Why bother? It is a bother too, but something compels me to try. I don’t know who or what Dave Oshana is, only what he is to me. That’s all I’m trying to describe—or failing to describe. Dave suggested recently that I only write positive, uplifting words. Ironically, in the absence of bliss-outs or no-mind epiphanies, the best way I can think of to describe what Dave means to me is negatively. Here it is: Nothing else in my life seems as real, as meaningful, or as essential as Dave does to me right now. I won’t say that everything pales in comparison to Dave—I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings—but rather (stay positive) that, on the horizon of my existence, he stands tall and shines brighter than all the other features in my view, so much so that what he is, represents, or offers—in my mind at least—has begun to define everything else. It’s a bit like how the Sun makes everything warm and bright and alive. Without the Sun, there’s just a wasteland, a desert of the real. I know it’s not Dave I’m talking about here, only the authentic quick of life which is so visible and tangible to me when I am with him. It’s in everything because it’s the only thing that’s real, finally, which is what makes it so good, so beautiful, so inspiring and so attractive to me. It’s like being in love: everything around Dave takes on a new hue and becomes rich with meaning, color, and promise.

Five days at the Winter retreat in 2011 (five days of concentrated Transmission and being in the company not only of Dave and family but of the other participants) was a little bit like being in a different reality tunnel. As if I had managed at long last to budge the tuning dial on my mind-body and pick up a whole new, hitherto only dimly imagined signal. The signal was weak and shaky and distant but it was there: a signal from elsewhere. A signal from Reality. Like Thomas Anderson, I was beginning to glimpse what life was like outside the pod.

Dave had found a handful of potentials and gathered us together, and now he was projecting his simulated self into our shared dream state, slowly, patiently, playfully, and persuasively explaining—demonstrating—to us the ways in which we were asleep, what was keeping us that way, and what to expect if and when we were ready to awaken. Compared to that promise, that possibility, everything else in my life was unimportant. It was like the residual imagery of a dream, trying to lure me back to sleep. I didn’t and I don’t know if the Reality Dave is heralding—enlightenment and service to the Transmission—is going to be as wonderful as Dave makes it seem. It might be as stark and grueling as Neo’s life was once he joined the crew on the Nebuchadnezzar. But so what? I don’t really care. Reality is reality and it’s not open to negotiation. It’s a take it or leave it proposition.

Do I want to become real, or do I want to carry on trying to rearrange the elements of the dream to get things just right, so I can carry on sleeping indefinitely? Fortunately, based on several decades of trying to arrange those elements, that option isn’t really an option anymore. To keep on trying and expect different results would make me clinically insane. And at this point, I would be insane to turn away from what Dave is offering. I have about as much chance of finding true meaning or purpose or fulfillment without the Transmission as a dry kernel has of popping inside a deep freeze.

So what’s that leave? Nothing except to push my courage to the sticking place, put on my bravest smile—hoping it doesn’t look too much like a grimace—and jump into the pot.