Questions to an Uncle

Hi friends,
My little sisters 24 year old boy (who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall) is studying law after graduating from Purdue. I talked to him in Chicago last week and told him of my web page. Here he got a chance to practice his law thinking on me. you might enjoy reading.. (Jason has been raised to be a Catholic.)

Hey Bill, it's Jason again. I hope this gets through.
I've been surfing through your page and I have a few questions. They may be missing the point but I've only scratched the surface of your page. These questions are not meant in any way to trash the Dyad, just to try and get into your head a little bit.


Wow Jason,
You gave me some really deep questions that go to the heart of the matter. I don't know if I can adequately answer them, but I will try. I would like to spend all day working on them - but there are some other things that I also must do today. I will just try to answer them as easily as I can - without a lot of complexity.

1) How did Charles Burner know what he was doing?

( for the reader: Charles created the first enlightenment Intensive back in 1968. So the question is one of authority.)

Each of us has the ability to know two types of events - things that others say are so - and things that we just know are so. The first is called "indirect experience" and the later is called "direct experience". Law is indirect experience filtered through a democracy. It changes from year to year. We now allow ladies to vote. Science is also indirect experience filtered through democracy - as we looked through early microscopes we discovered bacteria and we changed the way we saw infection. Science like law changes from time to time.

So if all that is true - how do we get to "direct experience"? If we can't learn it from others - just how do we find it? The Tibetan Buddhists pass it down from teacher to student. It takes many years of dedication. I attended a spiritual service last night where two Monks from Tibet spoke in the ancient Sanskrit tongue - and translated it all into English. It was wonderful for me - but many people didn't get it. They had an indirect experience of learning about a foreign culture rather than a personal experience of profound truth.

So again - how do you get to "direct experience"? The primary ingredient is personal responsibility. You can not do it while hiding behind a personality. Personal responsibility translates into knowing who you really are and then coming from that state of knowing. It is the state right before you blush - before you give up on holding your position. It feels like lying but you know enough to hold your position. Ministers and con artists in this experience have much in common.

Is then the "direct experience" a hoax? Is there a difference between the Minister and the con artist? I use the word "Minister" to be "Priest" or "Spiritual Leader" or what ever word you use for inspirational leader. I think it comes down to "scope of influence" - the con artist is managing your feelings to get you into a place they want you to be in. The Minister is telling you his own heart in such a way that you might understand. The direction of the communication is different. It is a subtle difference - but if you spend time with each - eventually you can tell the difference.

I usually distrust the "Christian Minister" since they have a "heaven" which can be something they are selling - they can be a con artist. They are speaking spiritually for a good reason - they are selling heaven - therefore I distrust the value of their spirituality.

Enlightenment is about you being you and not borrowing from others who you are. When you are enlightened you live in the direct experience, not the indirect experience. Your "scope of influence" covers only you. To learn about others you just listen.

Now back to your question "How did Charles Burner know what he was doing?" - he only had to know what he did - he didn't have to know everything. (his scope was limited. )

2) Is there a definitive text comparable to the Bible, Koran or Torah?

Let me ask you a similar question "Is Jason in a Book"? If our goal is to wake up and experience life as it really is - it may require the ability to give up thinking. To just be. To just be alive and take it all in. That is what the Buddhists do through life long study and contemplation.

Tradition is a powerful experience, but it is less than all of life. Over my lifetime - I want to leave something written down - but no matter what I or others write - it will be inadequate.

3) More personal than the others... What is truth and why don't you find it in science and reason? You are a trained scientist, why isn't this enough?

You find indirect truth in Science. It is nothing to be laughed at. I like riding around on airplanes, I think they are neat. "Why isn't this enough?" - have you ever been around a sports nut? Always talking about the "Chicago Bulls" or some other team? Why did you get bored? You probably found it limiting. It is the same for me. I know all about "objects" and how to predict there outcomes. I wanted something transcendent - something more personal - something with more possibilities - with more risk and certainly less boring.

4) Is this view of Enlightenment the same as the eastern philosophical view of Enlightenment? If so, is this a Western spin on Eastern ideas? It seems like a combination of both. If so, is it wise to cut and paste vastly different philosophies?

My view is that Enlightenment is universal. We all have our roots connected deep into reality. Some of us may be Jewish or Christian, Muslim, or even Atheist - but we can all be inspired. Inspiration - where does that come from? Somehow we are connected. Maybe just a little connected. Enlightenment is that state where we are directly connected. Because the process - in its true form - is not mental - (it needs more personal responsibility than an extrapolation) - it is about personal truth in that moment of truth. If a person thinks "is it wise" they have already lost the direct experience. Judgement is a reflex separated from the abyss of now.

5) Is there any place for non-sentient life or the possibility of E.T. life undiscovered in the question "What is Life?" ( Too many episodes of Star Trek and the X-Files) : )

Everything that effects me is knowable. I can adjust to any fixed property and ignore it. If it is cold - I put on a coat and go on as if it were warm. Life is more than fixed knowledge. Life is a dance. There must be "another" to dance with. Spiritual people are better dancers - because they are less fixed in things. Some people are like robots - easy to figure out and make adjustments to avoid. Lower consciousness does not have to be engaged, you don't have to dance with them. When you figure out simple people - those driven by simple survivor skills - you can predict all their actions. That can be boring. I don't fill my life up with people who are hooked on Alabama football. I don't hate them - I just find better ways to spend my time. The future may bring me face to face with E.T. or something I don't yet know. I look forward to the experience. In truth, I think that when we go to sleep at night we easily come into contact with other spiritual beings that make science fiction look overly rational. Our "normal" world is already full of magic.

6) Has anyone following the "Dyad" path become Enlightened? How do they know? What happens after that?

Enlightened is a charged word. At three day Enlightenment Intensives people have "direct experiences" or moments of being enlightened. These moments of "free fall" allow them to completely re-wire their insides. The "free fall" unfortunately doesn't last long - and soon they grab hold of something - and they go back to holding on to something in their heads. All it takes a brief moment of letting go of the "self" and they find themselves in a "new self" - they are re-born fresh. Unfortunately this "new self" is often just a little more open to reality than the last one. That makes the new-ness wear off and several months later they see that they lost something - so they come back and try again at another Intensive.

7) If the "Dyad" is a western way to enlightenment, why not the traditional eastern way? Is this fast food philosophy? : )

Yes it is. The "Dyad" is the core of everything important - you and another. Since it strips away tradition and comfortable mental notions - it is fast food Buddhism. Nothing but the essentials. No place to hide.

With over 6 billion people of the planet - and many people having access to weapons of mass destruction - it might help to have something faster than traditional Buddhism. I think the Vietnam war brought that home to most of us.

8) Finally, why is such a personal experience like "enlightenment" so closely linked with activity in pairs? This may reflect a lack of understanding of the Dyad but it seems valid enough.

Communication takes at least two people. Communication creates reality. Reality creates communication. How do I write all three words together? English forces me to have a subject and an object. Separation of cause and effect is an illusion on the deepest level. We "think" we are alive - but we are less alive because we cannot let go of this rational experience. We can either live life or we can think about living life. We gain nothing by avoiding life, we still die. This is what is called "duality," we see black and white, good and bad, up and down - but we don't see what it really is. We are separate from it - judging it.

The real separation driving all of this is self and other. We work in pairs because the illusion of separation collapses when understanding takes place. We are joined. We are complete. That is the purpose of life. We get ourselves across to another and they get themselves across to us -
and the across dissolves. All space implodes on itself as illusion. We start to live outside of our language structure.

The amazing thing is that we can have our space collapse - and yet respect the others choice to have it not collapse. We feel connected while others are free to choose otherwise. Life is perfect in this way. To each his own. There is such rich diversity - in just watching the breath go in and out - in the "now" - without thinking about it - a symphony of experience that is completely satisfying.

I hope that answers your questions Jason. Respectfully your Uncle Bill

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