Greg Goode: The Direct Path
Have you ever done non-dual inquiry and said to yourself, “I understand it intellectually but I don’t feel it…it’s not my experience!” If so, The Direct Path could be for you.
This book could be the missing manual to the Direct Path and or the first time the Direct-Path [inquiry] is presented from beginning to end, in a user-friendly way.
The core of the book is a set of forty experiments designed to help dissolve the most common non-dual sticking points from simple to subtle. The experiments cover the world, the body, the mind, abstract objects and witnessing awareness.
You are taken step by step from the simple perception of a physical object all the way to the collapse of the witness into pure consciousness. Your “take-away” is that there’s no experiential doubt that you and all things are awareness, openness and love.
Also included are three tables of contents, illustrations, an index, and a section on teaching and the notion of a “post-nondual realization.”
Greg’s new book is forthcoming from Non-Duality Press in March.
So tell us about the new book please. What is it about?
GREG GOODE: It’s an experiential guide to nondual inquiry from beginning to end, and beyond. One investigates the world, body, mind, subtle objects, language, the witness, until it all melts into pure consciousness. There are 40 experiments organized around many of the trickiest issues and stumbling blocks in nondual inquiry. The book is organized along the lines of a “how-to” guide. I wrote it to be user-friendly in a modular sort of way. You can dip in anywhere that interests you, or go from beginning to end.
Sometimes this overall approach is called “tattvopadesha” in Advaita. That’s what it’s called in Nitya Tripta’s Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda. Tattvopadesha means logically connected exposition of the path of non-dual inquiry from beginning to end.
Can you give me an example of one of the tricky issues?
GREG: Sure. One of the trickier issues has to do with what I call “intersubjectivity.” People have asked this question for years. In fact, a professional psychotherapist who has written on nonduality just asked me this question last week, and it is a good question:
If I am none other than witnessing awareness and the world arises to witnessing awareness, then I am the witness. OK, so let’s say that Fred over there is doing non-dual inquiry as well. Is witnessing happening there too? Or am I witnessing Fred? Or is Fred witnessing me? Are we both witnessing the same Eiffel Tower? What is the relation between awareness and all this witnessing?
I remember having this question myself many years ago. People want to know where witnessing is happening, and whether it wipes away the world. The way non-dual inquiry is set up, it seems to lead straight to these questions. But it’s not inevitable. In my book, there are experiments that pacify this issue. It becomes a total non-issue.
How is this book different from your Standing as Awareness?
GREG: This book is over twice as long. There are no dialogs. There is lots of resting in pure, sweet, open awareness. And there are lots of experiments, where you look very deeply and see what happens.
And what does happen <smiling>?
GREG: <Laughs> In most of the experiments, you are looking directly for something that is usually taken for granted as separate from you. Towards the beginning of the book, you look deeply for an orange. What is your direct experience? Is the orange really over there, separate from you? Towards the middle of the book, you look deeply for the mind, and parts of the mind that are usually regarded as separate and hidden. So in one experiment you look for the subconscious. What is your direct experience of the subconscious? Later you look for subtle objects such as causality and even witnessing awareness. What is your direct experience of these things? In every case what happens is that you make a discovery. Your direct experience is nothing other than awareness itself. And it doesn’t even end there…
There seems to be an never-ending supply of nonduality books these days. How is your book different from the others?
GREG: Very good question! This book is deeply experiential, not theoretical. It’s written and even typeset as a user guide. So there are lots of steps, guiding you to look here, examine there, etc. The book also talks about aspects of nonduality that aren’t often covered, such as language, teaching, and freedom from the path.
The book sounds like it has a method. But we often hear from some folks that there can be no “method.”
GREG: That’s right! One often hears this, but not always. There are many different approaches to non-dual realization. In the beginning of this book, it looks like there’s a method. It looks like there’s a real “how-to.” But by the end it doesn’t look like there’s a method because the “how” and the “to” are themselves deconstructed.
I think I remember you saying [NY Times?] that there would be something particularly relevant about this book for our readership or the West perhaps <laughs>?
GREG: The book does have a very Western flavor that I think your readers might appreciate. There are also more names from Western traditions than from Eastern traditions in the book. Names such as Francis Bacon, George Berkeley, Rene Descartes, Max Heindel, Stuart Hameroff, Homer, William Molyneux, Plato, Ayn Rand, Richard Rorty, and others.
You know, Zen and other forms of Buddhism have come from the East to the West and are settling in. I think the same thing is starting to happen with the Direct Path and non-dual inquiry as well.
Greg has launched a brand new website [see link below] on Emptiness Teachings with co-editors Tomas Sander and Tamara Vyshkina. This may be the first site of its kind as it presents approaches to emptiness realization from Western sources as well as Buddhist sources. Because emptiness is broadly defined lack of self, lack of essence, lack of inherent existence, there turn out to be many ways to realize emptiness. “We will try to showcase many of these approaches” states Greg.
“Emptiness teachings are widely held to be liberating. The purpose of this site is to present the wide variety of these teachings in a way that will help make them accessible and relevant. We will feature scholarly, experiential and popular approaches to the emptiness teachings, and we will honor the diversity of traditions from which they flow. Our goal is to highlight the power and appeal of these teachings so that they may do their work.” [from the About page]
The site is just getting started and there’s a lot of content worth checking out, including special guest articles from: Dawid Dahl (Integral Monastery), Scott Kiloby (Living Realization) and Vicki Woodyard (Nonduality Now).
*Greg and Tomas are also offering an all-day course on the emptiness teachings on Saturday Feb. 25th at Nalandabodhi in Manhattan. This is designed as a fun, easy and introductory session about these teachings. The class will feature a lot of interactivity, class participation, group discussion and space to share your findings and experiences.
- Experience the emptiness of meaning – this gives you the experience of freedom and flexibility
- Experience how to destabilize social norms and views – this provides greater openness and loving compassion
- Experience the emptiness of the perceptual world – this experience lightens up the world
- Experience art and creativity – allows you to revolutionize your world
- Experience a “Subway Meditation” you can take with you anywhere you go
- Experience the creation of your own heavenly “Pure Land”
More info here:
Dr. Greg Goode is known for a unique combination of penetrating insight, comfort with both Eastern and Western sources, and a down-to-earth sense of humor. He is the author of ‘Standing as Awareness’, ‘Nonduality in Western Philosophy’ and many popular articles.
Greg studied psychology at the University of California, and philosophy at the University of Rochester and the Universität zu Köln. He became drawn to self-inquiry initially through the work of Brand Blanshard, George Berkeley, the Chinmaya Mission and Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.
Greg’s spiritual search came to its sweet conclusion through the Direct-Path influences of Francis Lucille and Sri Atmananda. Greg is a member of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association and serves as the technical consultant for their peer-reviewed journal, ‘Philosophical Practice’.
Heart of Now Website
New Emptiness dot Co//mmunity