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FAQ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Im interested in addressing questions from readers, and you can reach me through the contact page.
Please put Beyond Recovery in the subject line to insure that it gets read. I have posted here some
general FAQs that you may find helpful. These questions build on each other, so its important that
you read them in order if theyre going to make much sense to you.
1- What is Nonduality?
Nonduality is the term we use to label the examination and exploration of oneness. Non means no
and duality means more than one, so this is the philosophy of not-more-than-one. There is just
one thing going on. Everybody and everything are part of this one thing. Nonduality takes the Golden
Rule one step further. Its not telling you to treat others as you would have them treat you, but rather
that as you treat others, so are you treating yourself.
There is no room for accidents in this kind of spontaneously arising environment. Its such an
extraordinary concept that the mind cannot hold it; it can only behold it. It is this very beholding that
was experienced by Jesus, Buddha, Rumi, St. Francis, St. John and St. Teresa of Avila, Mahatma
Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and many, many more of whom the average person has never heard, and yet
more that even the specialist cannot uncover. For all those numbers, for thousands of years, Nondual
awakening was nonetheless an extraordinary and isolated event. Its still extraordinary, and still
unusual, but glimpses of reality, which can forever alter our lives, are simply no longer rare.
The effectiveness of this teaching is measurable. We change, or we dont; we can judge it for
ourselves. We wake up, and/or we see others wake up, or we dont. Again, we ourselves are the judges.
I know of no other spiritual teaching whose success or failure is so clear, evident, and public. Youre
surely going to be hearing more and more about oneness teachings in coming years as they quietly
spread like an ocean of dye while making their way around the globe. Wherever it reaches there is
marked change.
Once we enter the stream of this teaching we dont need science to convince us of anything, but its
nonetheless interesting to note that many branches of science, from quantum physics to advanced
neurology, are pointing to many of the same conclusions advanced by Nondual teachings.
Even if you have never heard of Nonduality, it doesnt matter. That might even work for you, simply
because you wont have to unlearn or overcome a bunch of intellectual knowledge. Such knowledge can
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be very helpful, particularly at the beginning, but if we dont stand upon it and reach beyond it, then it
can become a hindrance. I have seen two men, neither of whom had even heard the word Nonduality,
come to an awakening as we were going through some investigation together. They didnt need
background. Just like in recovery, they needed honesty, openness, willingness, and in their cases,
trusted guidance.
Its the principles themselves that are important, not the student or the teacher. In reading Beyond
Recovery and exploring this website youll feel a strong pull if this is your path. And if it is your path,
it cant be avoided. Your time has come, ironically, to peer beyond time; to move beyond recovery.
Nondual awakening is what has traditionally been referred to as enlightenment. All of this is
explained in more depth in the Q&A below, and much, much more fully in the text of Beyond
Recovery. Suffice to say, awakening is real, and the path to its recognition can essentially be taught.

2 What is awakening?
Awakening is actually something of a misnomer. What were speaking of is simply the recognition of
your true natureseeing/being that which you already are. As explained in Q&A 1, there is just one
thing going on, and awakening is the seeing of this truth for ourselves. When this occurs it tends to
feel like an awakening from a dream. However, what is experienced is that which is always already
awakewhich in fact never was asleep to begin with. This is not something we can figure out; it has to
be seen for ourselves. This seeing can come as a glimpse, or as a full seeingwith a whimper, a bang, or
anything in between. Awakening can seem to come quickly, or slowly. Most often its a combination.
It may appear to require special spiritual practices, or be shown to completely transcend them. It can
and does happen any way it wants to. Any attempt to explain what awakening is, including this one,
will ultimately fail. That which is always already awake is also that which is beyond words. Still, we
try!
The personalitythe one looking to wake up, get enlightened, find liberation, whatever you want to call
itwill never actually awaken. The personality, the character of the so-called individual, and hence that
entire play, is precisely what is seen through. In the absence of a personal me, reality appears to
spontaneously arise. In truth, reality is always already arisen. Its right here, right now. This is it, but
its so close, so obvious, so incredible that we cant see it. Until we do. Once we do, if its thoroughly
seen, we can see nothing else. Our story is like clouds in front of the sun. In the absence of clouds, the
sun is seen, but the clouds never affected either it or its shining. In the absence of story, only truth
remains.
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3 What can I do to help myself wake up?
If you mean, what can the non-existent character do to bring about a change in its hypothetical sleep
statewell you see it right there. Nothing, not directly. However, dont despair. While its true that
from the absolute view there is nothing to do and no one to do it, thats just a view. It feels like the
whole, but its really just half; its 180 degrees of seeing out of a possible 360. It could be said that
thats the absolute denying the existence of the relative. It happens a lot, especially with glimpses, or
less than full awakenings, which are by far the most common sort. After spending most of our lives
identifying as the relative, once we get a glimpse we completely shift our loyaltiesto the other side of
limitation! If we embrace this limitation after our own experience, or borrow it from others, then our
view remains incorrect, but in a wholly new way.
The true Nondual view, the 360, as I call it, denies nothing. Nonduality means that theres just one
thing going on; how can we deny any part of itabsolute, relative, real, unreal, permanent, temporary;
all of those are just halves, which is the tip-off that although our view may have significantly broadened
or deepened, were still seeing from duality. Neither yin nor yang is true or complete, but the pairing of
the two is both, so to speak. Let me add that there are fully awake teachers who employ this no-method
method as a teaching strategy. Thats their story and theyre sticking to it. When this strategy works,
it works well, but I still think it works with only a narrow band of seekers.
Regardless of what we may see, know, and experience from that absolute view, there is nonetheless a
body still here on a planet called Earth, and its still going to want lunch and a nap. We can, in essence,
enlist the dream character to work within the dream toward the apparent goal of awakening. From a
higher view it could be said to all be part of a spontaneously unfolding script, and thats fine. None of
this makes any logical sense. If we insist on putting everything into neat, logical boxes, then we are lost,
because at that point even doing nothing is seen as a practice!
Again, this is not something we can figure out. We have to experience it first-hand. There is a series of
experiments, inquiries, and meditations in Beyond Recovery, all of which are designed to help you
awaken within the only point in time and space that awakening can occur: right here, right now.
4 Do I have free will, or not?
Neither. Both. Actually, its a moot question.
Once again, this has to be looked at from the larger picture. Once we enter Nonduality, we have left the
land of easy answers, and entered the land of difficult questions. Who is it that is supposed to either
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have free will, or not have free will?
Ah, yes, were right back to our old friend, the imaginary character! Answer in the negative, and were
saying that no, I as a separate being do not have free will. Answer in the positive, and we are stating
that yes, I as a distinct object, do have free will. The trap is successfully sprung either way we go.
This is precisely the kind of question that human minds love to get involved with, because we can take
a stand and battle over it forever. In fact we have already done so: clerics and philosophers have had
an ongoing argument over this for several thousand years; were just the latest generation to address it.
Ego delights in all of this, because it gets to keep churning along no matter which side has the
temporary upper hand. All ego needs to survive is resistance in any form, and war in its thousand
costumes is the single most common phenomena on our planet.
Nonduality is not declaring that you do not have free will. Nonduality is not declaring that you do have
free will. Nonduality is declaring that you, as a separate entity, do not exist.

5 How do I stay awake?
This question is a doozy. I say that, because it haunted me for so long. We get a glimpse, or maybe
even have a major seeing that lasts for days or weeks, but gradually we begin to see it soften and slide,
and the next thing you know, were right back in the mud. We had it, but we lost it. We have lost our
connection!
In order to answer this question, I have to ask the once-enlightened human a couple of questions of my
own. What was the primary knowledge you received from your awakening experience? If it was for
real, there can only be one answer. (Of course you can now fake this answer, but thats a whole other
bucket of misery.)
The only legitimate answer is, I saw that the there was no separate me. I saw that there was just one
thing going on, which left no place whatsoever for an individual. Personalities are stories, nothing
more.
Very well. Then let me ask you a few more questions that you dont even need to answer. I really hate
to do this, but I have no choice. Who is it thats lost their connection? Who is it that has fallen out of
the one thing going on? It couldnt be that imaginary character creeping back into the picture, could it?
Not every question that arises in Nondual teachings comes back to this one question, but damn near
every one of them does.
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One more quick note here. The chief reason we feel like weve lost our connection is that weve lost
our buzz. Addicts just hate that, you know? Very often the penetration of reality is accompanied by
waves of energy, blissful highs, hallucinations-which-we-call-visions, and any amount and variety of
fireworks and candy. We confuse that with the awakening. We confuse the bugle with the sunrise, and
we happen to like the bugle a lot. And who is it that likes the bugle? You tell me.
Having said all of that, let me end this by saying that there are things we can do to encourage stable
awakeness. I discuss these in the book.

6 Is there really a planetary shift taking place?
Apparently so. There certainly appears to be a dramatic shift taking place in the number of
awakenings that are taking place, particularly in the number of initial penetrations that are occurring.
For thousands of years we believe awakening was a rarity. While we certainly cant know how many
men and women woke up historically, the records we have received concerning saints, mystics, and
those who seem to have been Nondual heretics indicate that it was extremely rare.
Granted, in the West, few would have been very keen to come out of the closet, what with a stoning or
stake burning awaiting them, so the records are less than infallible. But in the East, where such things
have long been more culturally acceptable, reports of authentic awakening have never been abundant.
From a first-hand perspective, I can only Ill offer here my own story of what I think is happening in
this era, how I see it occurring, and why I think its taking place now.
While these principles have been studied and debated by Western philosophers prior even to Socrates,
it was in the East where the experiencing of them was turned into an art. In the Nineteenth and
Twentieth Centuries, as both local and world travel became more common, Nondual teachings could
move more easily, and they began to come out of hiding. America had its Transcendentalists
Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and the like. The Indian saint, Sri Vivekananda came to the West at the
close of the 19th Century. Beginning in the 1920s D. T. Suzuki (with a little help from Carl Jung)
brought Zen from Japan, and a decade later Paul Brunton introduced the world to Ramana Maharshi
via his book, A Search in Secret India. In the 1950s, after China swallowed up Tibet, those long-secret
teachings began to emerge. By the 1960s and 1970s there was a flood of information moving West, and
a river of spiritual seekers moving East. All of this was the foundation for the detonation to come.
In this century, with the rise of the Internet, the teaching found an easy way to spread, a comfortable
place to call home, and Nonduality exploded. Its a perfect marriage of information and utility. Long-
hidden teachings were suddenly just a click away. The most obscure volumes could now be easily
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discovered on Amazon.com. And people began to wake uplots of them by any historical standard.
(Although its a brief penetration for many, thats often enough to change the life of the seer.)
Simultaneous to all of this, the health of our planet has grown more and more dire. Of course the
planet itself is in no danger, but the living species are, particularly the human being living species. The
West is no longer the primary culprit; we are simply the primary examples, the poster children for a
world of culprits. Everyone in the world wants two cars and a McMansion. Everyone wants cheap,
abundant electricity, enough water that they can waste it, and all the fossil fuels they can burn.
Everyone wants to eat meat twice a day and throw their garbage in burgeoning landfills.
We have just a few generations to solve these enormous, fundamental planetary problems, or the
planet will solve them for us, and we wont like the fix. Probably the only acceptable way out of this is
through a matching level of enormous, fundamental change in human behavior. There is nothing so
inspiring as self-interest, and once it is seen that there is just one thing going on, then all interest is
self-interest. There is only looking out for number one, and thats only achieved by looking out for
everyone and everything.
Not everyone has to wake up in order to achieve this, but significant numbers will need to. Assuming
thats whats happening now, then at some point the weight of all these enlightened people will tip the
scales toward rational living and rational governing. The rest will follow; they always do. From an
absolute view, none of this matters much. I find that view cold and pointless, and I dont find it
enlightened.
There is a story about a Zen master, Shunryu Suzuki, when he was on his deathbed in California. A
friend brought him some tea. Suzuki swooned a bit and the friend jerked to help him. When she did
so, the tea cup she was carrying careened toward the floor. Watch out for the cup! Suzuki hollered.
But Roshi (teacher), I was trying to take care of you, said the friend. Taking care of the cup is taking
care of me, Suzuki replied. This is enlightened living.