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I have recently purchased and read your book

Dear John,

I have recently purchased and read your book, and have watched many of your videos and listened to podcasts of your work. I have been investigating so-called non-dual approaches for some time and have been mostly frustrated by a lack of any method to use to obtain the promised results. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that you do offer a method that seems at once simple and very difficult. I have been practicing this for some time now but really don't know if I am making progress.

A question keeps coming to mind, though, and I hope it doesn't sound disrespectful, but I would expect that a method with these promised results would produce, over 12 years, a small army of other awakened (or whatever) teachers. As far as I can see, this is not the case, yet if we really do want to save this dear planet and humanity, it will most likely take more than one man to do it.

Another question arises as well, and that is, You appear to have no connection with other teachers with similar teachings, yet it would seem to me that the more that folks worked together, perhaps the more effective the teachings might become through the combined effort of many teachers. If it is the case that you have no respect for other teachers or teachings, what is that about?

These questions arise primarily because, at age 70, I don't want to spend another 10 years following a path that may be a dead-end.

Thank you for hearing me.


I am not a spiritual teacher. I long ago departed from that company for practical reasons. No disrespect intended.

From the beginning, neither Carla nor I wanted to be spiritual teachers. We were convinced by our own long experience with spiritual teachings that little if any useful help could be found in them, no matter how sincere or authentic the teacher and the teaching might be.

We had found for ourselves, in our own lives, the sanity that comes when the underlying sense of dissatisfaction with life is gone. And we could see that the effects arising from that simple sanity turn out to be, most unexpectedly, the actual goal spoken of and sought after in the realm of spiritual aspiration and attainment as realization, awakening, enlightenment, and so forth.

We could also see that the promise that shines from those words has so far brought little but unfulfilled yearning to humanity, and that the spiritual approach itself consists almost entirely in teachings that have been being taught again and again, in much the same forms, for thousands of years - with little effect. Seeing all this left us with little interest in joining the company of ancient-wisdom teachers already roaming the land.

But circumstantial pressure prevailed in the end, and by 1999 we found ourselves firmly settled into the world of satsang, without regard to our preferences. We tried to do the best we could in that world to be as helpful as possible, or at least as harmless as possible, but primarily we have tried to free ourselves from the weight of the spiritual vernacular and learn to say clearly and directly, in plain English, what we had actually done, and what has been the actual result of that doing in our own lives. So from our point of view, we have done precious little teaching during those twelve years; instead we have been participating in an ongoing conversation with whoever was willing to join in, learning by practice how to to do that. In our eyes, those who have joined that conversation are neither our students, nor our devotees, nor any other such thing; they are our partners in this great adventure.

Early in 2007, the spiritual vernacular and the trappings of satsang began to fall away from our work. Our speech contained less and less reference to the ancient teachings, even by way of making the distinction between us and them; the pictures of teachers, the flowers and the candles disappeared; the habit of removing shoes vanished, and so forth.

And, as these artifacts of the ancient ways vanished, we began to see clear signs that something new and fresh was happening here, something utterly simple and human, and unthreatening; something that anyone can do; something that, against all reason, actually works to restore the natural state of sanity to human life. We began to hear more and more reports from people that were free of spiritual reference, and that rang true to our own experience. We are convinced by experience that most people, upon hearing the suggestion to turn their attention briefly inward trying to get a taste of their actual nature, will immediately try to do just that.

So the goal of all our work now is quite simple and easily stated, and needs no army of teachers to accomplish: we want the news of this act of inward looking, and its results, to be heard by as many humans now alive as possible. Just heard. Period. And it is, after all, not so fantastic a goal to have such a simple idea just be heard by a good portion of humanity in this age filled with miraculous means to spread ideas far and wide.

And that's all it takes - just do the act. The looking requires no new belief, insight, understanding, or state of being, and it requires no maintenance to succeed. Neither does it require the abandonment of any belief, insight, understanding, or the abandonment of the pursuit of any state of being.

Although we have theories concerning the cause of the fear of life, and the reason that such a simple act as merely looking in the right direction should bring an end to it, these theories are entirely beside the point other than to provide some place to hang the hat of understanding, and to offer some encouragement and confirmation during the return to sanity.

In other words, there is nothing to this looking but the act of inward looking itself. What's needed in my eyes is not more teachers, but merely the means to broadcast this simple suggestion as widely as possible in the community of humans.

I saw your original message from the Anonymous Talk form, and planned to answer you there, in the forum that holds all the anonymous messages we receive. Instead, your email (minus any identifying content) will be posted in the Email and Online Conversations forum along with my response.

If you look around in those forums, you will find a rich sample of what people have to say about the effects of this simple insight and act in their own lives, along with reports of difficulty and confusion. Looking around there might give you a truer feel for what we are doing. If you stick around, it would be good if you joined in the conversation there. Carla and I read everything that is posted there and often respond in one way or another to what we read there.

Today, while Carla and I were shopping for groceries, a woman I recognized, but hadn't seen for some time came up to me and said that she wanted to thank me for my work. "It really works", she said.

Please let me know if this response helps at all.

In love, John

Hi John,

Thank you so much for your kind and helpful response. I was feeling frustrated in my last email and I apologize for letting that come across. What you have said is very exciting to me, and I will continue to read and listen to your words and continue the inward looking. I understand now why there are not others sharing this teaching. What more need be said?

Thank you again for your obviously deep love and compassion. If I can at some point get to Ojai, I would love to join you in one of your retreats.

With much love and gratitude,



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