Debra Wilkinson – Awake and Ready
Interview by Iain Mcnay.
Iain: Hello and welcome once more to Conscious TV. I’m Iain Mcnay and today my guest is Debra Wilkinson. Hi Debra.
Iain: And we’ve had this idea for a time on Conscious TV because we’ve interviewed a lot of people over the years and most of them have written books or give seminars and some of them even have quite high profile and we found we were getting emails from a few people who actually were talking about being awake, but hadn’t necessarily put anything in writing or even done a seminar and I thought it would be interesting to talk to some of these people, very ordinary people with ordinary awakenings to see what their lives have been like, how they became awake and how it is to be awake, and there’s three people coming to the studio this morning. There’s Debra, and there’s Rory and there’s Heath.
What we are going to do is do a short interview with them individually first and then afterwards we do a panel with the three of them and myself and Renata, just to talk about what it is to be awake.
So Debra when you wrote to me, you wrote a long email about your life and what had happened and your first line was, “Hello, my name is Debra and I am awake”.
Iain: Which is a very brave start to an email, so how’s it to be awake?
Debra: It’s fantastic. It’s…I realise I wasn’t really alive until I woke up. Because I was so plagued by my mind, that now everything is clear and so there’s, there’s not the interjection there was before so everything is new. It felt like yesterday I went on an aeroplane for the first time and I went on a train for the first time because I haven’t done that since this has happened. And so..it’s..it’s..it’s beautiful.
It’s..life is beautiful, you know. When you’re not holding on to the stuff that you were, you can see everything from a completely new perspective and….even the things in life that aren’t…would look at normally as beautiful, you can see that everything is perfect as it is.
Iain: So, let’s… let’s run back and just see how this whole journey started for you.
Iain: So, in the email you sent me you said that your childhood wasn’t very nice I think. You were sexually molested by your stepfather. You had lots of anxiety..
Iain: And you had… had a very difficult time didn’t you?
Debra: Yeah. Actually, recently, I’ve come to the realization that the molestation part of it….I have a completely different view of that now. I used to look at that, that was my story that I held on to… that…that was what made me what I was but actually from the perspective I have now I can pretty much see that broken people do broken, bad things. When you’re in mental agony, bad things happen.
I think, more for me than the actual act was the reaction of my mother when she found out because she didn’t leave him and so…we stayed as a unit, as a family and tried to kind of get on. But the difficult thing was she would go between blaming me, and blaming him and so, and she was an alcoholic, which gradually got worse and worse and worse over the years and so from about the age of sort of twelve to fifteen my life was hell! And I realize now that I had been carrying that.…trying to get away from it for so long but I realized I was always trying to stay a little bit ahead of it by doing meditation and things just to try and get me out of that place. So I was actually, constantly running away from myself, running away from the pain because I was thinking that I could bring something in to me, that suddenly I would go Ahhhhhh (arms outstretched) and I would wake up and it would be wonderful and…even though I got to a level where I could step out of my mind and spend time in meditation and became very clear, very clear and understanding about everything that had happened but I still hadn’t dealt with all the stuff inside. I was literally trying to outrun it and….and then I.. I had the moment where I realized I had to go in there.
Iain: So you did a lot of conventional therapy to start with?
Debra: I did.
Iain: …and then you moved on and you got involved, I think, in a spiritual center which had I think had Reiki and tried different…
Debra: Yeah. It was a great place actually. It was…I’ve always known there was something else but I didn’t know what it was but I think, it can’t just be this, because it’s awful living in my head.
Debra: And so when I found the spiritual center and the people that were there, I realized that really it was, it’s broken people that are looking for a way out of their brokenness…and so it was lovely to meet people like that and it gave me that extra layer and then I started looking at different teachers and books and I was reading constantly. It was kind of before computers really and so every book I got, every Course I went on it was like….’this is going to be the thing, it’s in here!’ but of course it never was because it’s in here (pointing to chest). Yeah, the Switch Moment came when I realized that it was in here, it’s not out there.
Iain: So talk us through what you call the Switch Moment, what actually happened and where you were at the time in terms of your development.
Debra: Well, I’d been meditating a lot for…it kind of never really left me from that point even though I did go into deep periods of deep unconsciousness and depression, but I always sort of had that. I knew there was something more and then over the year previous to the Switch Moment I was meditating more and more, sort of up to two or three hours an evening and listening to lots and lots of teachers. Eckhart Tolle I love and Ram Dass. Then I suddenly found that if I could, I would get a little moment from them and it would take me off and I started to spend a lot of time out of my mind, where my mind was no longer interacting. I could step out of that and it built up to a point where I did feel pretty good and I knew when a feeling came I’d think, ‘Oh, I need to look at that,’ and it was going really well and then one evening I had a brilliant meditation and I was just thinking, ‘How do I keep this and how do I keep this feeling?’ And it was about an hour and it was blissful and I came out of that and then within a few minutes it was like every piece of anxiety, pain, all the interjection, everything shot back into me and I just didn’t know what to do. It was just so shocking and it felt like I had lost it all, lost it, right back in the middle of it. I spent three days like it, just trying anything to get out of it but it was just every thought I had was back, all the interjection was back, all the criticism and the negativity and I felt really panicked by it. But by the third day I just felt I can’t do it. It’s got to stop. It’s me or It and whatever comes out of this, then that’s fine. If it’s not me and it’s It, then I’m willing to go for that.
So, I went inside to meditate but I was quite full of anger and just wanted to know what it was. So, in my head I was shouting to parts of my head, ‘What do you want from me? What is it?’ And there was all this abuse and it was very, very hard when you are stuck in the middle of your head, for me to…to even know which part was really me, which part was my personality or whether I was being taken over by these sort of sub-personalities that come out and so I stood there in my head and I’m very good at visualizing, so I could see, I could see quite clearly and all of a sudden through all the abuse this little child’s voice said, “We want you to stop ignoring us and accept that we are here.” Or words to that effect, and it just, that was it, something just clicked in my head and I realized what I had been doing. I’d been pushing it all away, trying to outrun them and it was just myself just trying to get me to see the past and accept their pain and over a period of time I realized it feels like every…at one point I thought there was somebody for every day that you had lived but I think it’s somebody for each of the memories that you hold on to, specially the negative things because I actually didn’t have positive memories because the negative ones were so big that they couldn’t get out.
And I realized it was children and they just needed me to look at them and the suffering just finished instantly because I knew what to do and I had…the answer was all in there, all I had to do was go in there and sort it out.
Iain: (laughs). It sounds like quite a big, a big task to go in there and sort it all out.
Debra: It is. It is a big task but I had the answer and so it didn’t feel….I felt like a crusader, like I would think ‘ Right I’m going in,’ and whatever came I never tried to force anything or think, I want this issue or that issue sorted. I would sit quietly and the feeling would come and I would sit in the feeling and say “Who is that?” and then the little pictures would come and I would see what child it was and walk into the picture and so then I would be there with her from this perspective of complete lovingness and understanding and I would allow her to tell me her pain and then I would explain to her how she’d been stuck and that it was over. She didn’t have to be there any more and then I would take her out of the situation she was in and that little bit would dissolve and so gradually…sometimes there’d be five, six or seven an evening, one after the other, after the other, ‘Phew’, I’d think, ‘I’ve got one down and here comes something else.’ And they would just come and come and come and as they came the space just opened up more and more and more.
Iain: So you were like healing the memories, that were not pleasant memories and the things that were stuck, the patterns, you were healing them and letting them go and through that they dissolved.
Debra: Yeah, well it’s kind of, all they ever wanted was for me to see them and to understand them and so with me doing that with completely open arms, they didn’t need to be there any more. It really felt like I was letting them free and I invented this place where I’d take them because they are me so they couldn’t completely dissolve away. Even though they don’t come to me now, I can go to them and so if there’s anything I want to know about I can go into my little world and see it from this perspective and this little town developed in my head where….. they all live and they all love each other and it’s a completely happy place.
I found that the ones that came to start with were the ones that were….wanted someone to love them, wanted, you know….the ones with open arms saying, ‘Please I can’t bear this.’ I realize that times in your life when you are young, that point when you are desperate, the older ones anyway, when you’re saying,” Can somebody help, God help me,” a kind of feeling of somebody please, and I realize that I was the answer and I am my own God and even though they’ve been in that place of please all this time, I can go and say I’m here and they can dissolve away.
Iain: How long did this process take?
Debra: How long? Months…months….
Iain: Yeah. I think you said in the notes you sent me that you were meditating four-six hours a day.
Debra: Yeah, yeah. I’d sit down in the evening and I’m still doing it. I can’t not do it. I can’t watch TV. I start to watch a TV program and I think, ‘Oh, I’m going.’ I just have to turn it off. Yes, so it was several months. All in all it’s been nearly two years, but since the switch happened it’s been about eight or nine months and so, yeah I sit down about half six and I usually go to bed about midnight and that whole time I’m just dealing with… but I’ve found also the more I deal with the inside, the bigger I get the reflection on the outside. Every time I deal a bit with me it shows me how that’s reflected in the world and so, as I sort myself out all the other problems that I saw as problems in the world disappear and there’s just more and more clarity. So the process of the Clearing, as I called it, the people coming lasted about six months I think. I don’t really know, time sort of lost it’s meaning a little bit. I often don’t even know what month, what day of the week or what week it is….once that sort of stopped it moved on to then having to see everything from my perspective now and to see the things that I’ve done, the places I’d been, where I thought I was an innocent party in things but realized actually, it was me and then think, ‘Oh yeah, and that one was me,’ but not from ever a place from feeling bad because the suffering had gone away, which was just open exploration of everything, so nothing needed to hide anymore.
Iain: Because you used to be very anxious at one time didn’t you.
Debra: I did. Yeah, I suffered from extreme self-loathing I’d call it, and very negative thoughts about myself. Where to the point, I couldn’t do anything without an interjection of how I was doing it wrong. Even a movement would be wrong and it could turn on a sixpence. Say I didn’t have a jacket on and it was cold and it was my fault I didn’t take a jacket, if I put one on I was weak because I’d needed to put one on. It would just turn. It was constant.
Iain: A bit of self-judgment going on.
Debra: Oh yeah, in lots of different…..there could be several of them going on at once.
Debra: So I see it now as they all have their own personality and…
Iain: …and it got to this point where you had the realization that you were God.
Iain: Just talk me through what happened there.
Debra: Right. I’d been looking a lot at the..at space and quantum mechanics and I knew kind of that,I was God! That we are all God and we’re all one thing. But this particular evening I’d been looking at that, I’d been looking at quantum mechanics and space and realizing that we were just on this little plateau, right in the middle of where it goes in and out and it just sort of came to me that…that we are all God and the feeling went through me and it felt like I disappeared and I was..my personality and everything for that period went away and all that was left was the Knowing, the Wholeness and I’ve not lost that feeling of having that connection at all since. It feels to me like I am God in expression and I have to use the word God because other…other words are not personal enough like Consciousness and the Whole and the One to me feels like it’s..it is..it’s more personal. It needs a kind of a name and God is the name that…that fits. So, yeah it’s God. I’m God and so are you. (Laughs).
Iain: One thing I think is also good to talk about, because other people are in the same situation…you had a nerve disorder didn’t you?
Debra: I did.
Iain: You had a lot of physical pain at one time.
Iain: So how did you deal with that?
Debra: Well, to start with it was… it was very difficult to deal with because it’s a condition that they actually say, ‘It’s the most painful condition you can have.’ Which I thought, ‘Well done me.’ ( Laughs)
I hit the jackpot with that one and I had to take awful medication to deaden, deaden the sensation but of course they don’t just deaden the sensation in the nerve, they deaden sensation everywhere.
Debra: ..and…but they still…..I was up to a limit where I couldn’t physically take any more because I just couldn’t cope with it. I…I..It was like I had dementia. I would go into a room three or four times and not know I was there..it was…why was I there? But there was a limit on the medicine I could take and the pain would still come and it was just terrible, terrible pain, the sort of pain it blanks..it was like a white out, every time it would strike me and it was as if every other sense would disappear, except for this pain and it is terrifying because you don’t know when it’s going to strike. It’s not constant, you could have a day with none and then all of a sudden the next day..it’s sudden, as if you had been tazored in the face and you….and that can happen over and over again and it was making me feel like I had, like post-traumatic stress. I was constantly waiting for this thing to happen and I thought I can’t do this indefinitely and so I started to meditate with it, and actually go physically into the pain and so I would let, just allow the pain to be and look at the pain and taking the panic out of it actually the pain, it was still painful but it made it a lot more bearable because…..
Iain: Because the panic is to do with, ‘it’s going to get worse ad I can’t stand it.’ Whereas if you...it’s there and you can stand it even though it’s intense….
Debra: It feels like I can’t stand it.
Debra: I’m here standing it, so I can stand it.
Iain: Yes, yes.
Debra: So, I took the panic away from it and also it meant that I wasn’t spending all my time in panic. So I realized that sometimes I might go three or four hours without any pain at all…and to be spending that three or four hours wondering, ‘oh, when is it coming, when’s it coming.’ You think, ’well, I’ve got no life at all,’ so I had to…to be able to move out from it and I eventually had surgery. It’s gone, so yeah that was..now I can see all experiences, what a great experience that was. I know the most severe pain that you can have and I’ve lived with it and came out the other side. It’s good.
Iain: You also were telling me when we talked on the phone that you moved to Spain and you really simplified your life and you live a very quiet life with your partner and your children and your..your quite isolated in one way but that works for you.
Debra: Absolutely. Yeah. It felt like this…it feels now like this whole move, because it was ten years ago, has been building up to this and as my children got older and they’ve both left home now, the time opened up for me to slip into it more and more. And I never felt, once I’d moved, I didn’t feel that I wanted to make a big circle of friends and things like that. It felt like, as if it was a time for reflection for me and yeah…and I can go several days without really speaking to anyone but my partner and I spend a lot of that time completely on my own, either meditating or, or doing solo activities.
Iain: And you also used to be very overweight didn’t you?
Debra: Yes, yes I did. I was overweight all my life. I..I was always either dieting or putting on weight… there wasn’t any really inbetween of that.
I would try really, really hard to get past it and you get that determined thing that you’re definitely going to do this. It would last a few weeks and then the crying children who were demanding the food would start up again and it..then you would get to the point where you could not deny it them anymore. And I could be there eating and crying because I didn’t want to eat it but it was just compulsively..it was like throwing it in to me, as if they were….
Iain: So it was the unclarified voices as you put it in your head, they were demanding the food?
Debra: Yes, it was the children..yeah.
Iain: ..and that..and your body was saying it needed the food to feed this family in here that wasn’t actually a real family because it was just to do with your conditioning.
Debra: mmm….absolutely….yeah. And I….when we were children.. a lot still happens where treats, sweets and cakes and biscuits, everything like that was a treat and if you were good you could have a treat. So, because I was always so anxious about things I was treating myself. ‘Have that and you’ll feel a bit better,’ and obviously it doesn’t work because then I would become really overweight but I also realized it was twofold. It was the feeding when we were children and the reward system and it was also because of the abuse.
In my familys’ eyes the worse thing you could be was fat and so to me I didn’t want to be attractive because I didn’t want to draw unwanted attention to me and so by becoming as unattractive as I could, it would keep it at bay and as this process has actually started before the Switch Moment I gradually found that I wasn’t as interested in food and then once the Switch Moment happened it just completely, the desire for food completely dropped away and now I just eat. I became a Vegan. I’m just not really interested in food. The only food I’m interested in is stuff that’s going to nourish my body. It’s for that purpose and that purpose alone really. Which is a complete change around. I haven’t…even like at Christmas, I didn’t eat a chocolate or anything. It’s there, I can see a beautiful cake but I have no desire to eat it whatsoever. So yeah it’s quite amazing. And I’ve lost 37kgs….so, quite a loss.
Iain: So, how much is that in stones?
Debra: I don’t know actually.
Iain: It is a lot anyway, isn’t it?
Debra: I think I was probably about 17stone and now I’m about 10st 5lbs.
Iain: God! So you were…
Debra: I was big, yeah.
Iain: You lost 40% of your bodyweight?
Debra: Yeah. (Laughs) Yeah.
Iain: That’s extraordinary in itself.
Debra: I didn’t realize how fat I was.
Debra: But it’s only now when I look at photographs, I think, ‘goodness!’ And I also did it to my children. I did the same thing to them as I was doing to myself. I overfed them. I fed them with treats. It was like I was mummy bear that made all the lovely food, eat all this lovely food. Both of my children, through their teenage years were overweight and they’re not now. Once they got away from me, they got rid of it. Bit I didn’t know what I was doing and now I do.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking,’Oh no! Ooh that was me and I did that.’ But that’s all part of the letting go of everything..is..
Iain: …..and you feel free now?
Debra: Absolutely yeah..mmm
Iain: So nothing really throws you now?
Debra: No, no. It’s like anxiety, which seemed to race through me constantly is just not there and sometimes I sort of think it kinda should be because I’m doing this, but it isn’t. No, it’s just clarity and clearness. The interjection has stopped. As I looked at it and saw it for what it was it slipped away. It was because it had my attention it didn’t need to be there anymore. It was really strange. I feel that I’ve, I’ve mastered my mind through just hours and hours of looking at it and looking at it. Every single thought, every feeling, ‘what is that? Where has it come from?’ To the point where it’s just… gone.
Iain: It sounds like a lot of hard work, which it is.
Iain: But of course in a way I guess you were fairly desperate to get out of the situation you were in.
Debra: Well, I’ve always been curious. I realize as a child that I used to make adults uncomfortable because they would tell a very surface story and I would want to know what the details were. ‘What’s underneath that? What do you mean by that? What happened then?’ People would say, ‘go away.’ I’ve always had that deepness of longing to know. I mean, I couldn’t live with myself so…it would come up again and again. What am I going to do? How am I going to get out of this? Because I can’t live in this head, so it was just a constant looking that’s not stopped.
Iain: So the key really is for people to take their time and have the courage to look…
Debra: To look at themselves. People are terrified of what’s inside. I think people think there’s a monster in there because I know I did. I thought there was evil inside of me and…and I realized it wasn’t. It was a tiny child with a….it was like a stick with a monster stuck on the front with it poking it at me and behind it was just a teenage...
Actually it’s the teenagers that are the ones that are the most..cause you the most grief because teenagers aren’t particularly nice, especially teenagers that have gone through something like I did. And having an alcoholic mother that was…she was very intelligent and an intelligent alcoholic (laughs) it was quite something to come up against. Yeah.
Iain: Okay. We are going to stop there and we’re going to be joined in a few minutes by Heath and Rory and the three of us will have a discussion about what it is to be free I guess.
Debra: Sure. Okay. Well, thank you for having me.
Iain: Thank you Debra for coming.
And thank you for watching this part of the program on Conscious TV and do join us for the program afterwards. Bye.
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