Scott Kiloby - 'The End Of The Spiritual Search'
Interview by Iain McNay
Iain: Hello and welcome again to Conscious TV, I am Iain McNay and today our guest in the studio is Scott Kiloby. Hi Scott.
Scott: Welcome, thanks.
Iain: And Scott is one of those people that’s been requested a lot on Conscious TV over the last couple of years, his name comes up on emails every now and again. So we finally tracked him down on a fleeting visit to the UK, he is in the studio with me now. And he is quite a character because not only has he written a couple of books, one here “Love’s Quiet Revolution” which is available, and another one called “Reflections of the One Life”. But you also, Scott, as a lawyer in America you are a musician and lots of other things. So you are very active in the world as well. So, can I ask you to start with just going back to your childhood, how it was
Scott: Hm, yeah, childhood, middle class family in America in the mid-west. You know, Dad was a hard working hardware store owner, Mom did various businesses. As a child I was basically smothered with all sorts of anything that I wanted. Any kind of material items, it was really, you know, I can’t say that my childhood was a thing of suffering at all. But as I grew up there was a growing sense of like feeling of alienation. I happen to be gay that’s one thing and living in the mid-west in America, that sort of made me, I think it was the first turn in the story that was like, you know, there is something about the reality that gets presented that might just not be the way that it is, because my mind was functioning in a certain way, or the story of Scott was functioning a certain way and I was being told from the outside that that way was either wrong or whatever and that created, I think, probably some sort of seeking started back then, which turned into…I mean I had a fairly happy childhood but then of course discovered drugs when I was around fourteen or fifteen and very quickly got into addiction and stayed in that sort of addictive cycle until I was about thirty-four. Lots of things happened in there.
Iain: That’s a long time.
Scott: Lots of things happened, sure. At some point I became a musician, played in bands, eventually went to law school, hm, just sort of life story’s stuff, you know, and became an attorney, still using drugs, still heavily using drugs through law school even using drugs and drinking a lot and really, really on a course of disaster. I mean really heading towards disaster. Just more and more drugs, more and more being completely immersed in escaping actually, escaping.
Iain: So why were you trying to escape, what were you trying to escape from?
Scott: I don’t…You know, life, actually...In a way. I was trying to escape from…how do I say that? Trying to find something that was not there, something felt off but I don’t know that I can put a word to that. I don’t know like I can say it was this, I can just say, it was like this. I don’t know that I could have vocalized it back then and I don’t know that I can vocalize it now, but there was a sense that there is something wrong with me or something wrong with the world. Whatever it is that I am does not fit with the world or I am not sure how it fits with the world and it was easier to just sort of medicate that to numb it and sort of block it out completely than to try to learn how to integrate it. I could never integrate it completely. Another thing is that I just physically became addicted, I mean, the brain or wherever happened, you know, at some point it wasn’t like I was choosing to escape, it was like a rat in a cage. If you feed the thing cocaine enough it just keeps doing it and doing it and doing it and you are in a cycle where it’s not a matter why I am escaping. So I have no choice at this point. I have to take the drugs at this point in order just to live and be in the world every day.
Iain: It becomes a habit, doesn’t it? I know there is one point in the book where you actually say you felt like an alien and you had landed on the wrong planet.
Scott: Yeah, very, very sensitive, very, very…I don’t know how to say it, I was very sort of uncomfortable with who I am and didn’t know who I was and was sort of looking for that. Nothing seemed to give me the answer to that. It was the sense of being very self conscious, very self conscious, conscious of myself and who I am, very introverted and that sort of just led its own, in its own way to taking a lot of drugs (chuckling), to deal with it in that way.
Iain: So you found the 12 step program at some point and that seemed to improve things up to a point.
Scott: Yeah, I mean in the story the twelve step program was very, very important, and I won’t name the program, because we are not really supposed to do that on a public level, but it was a program that was designed to help people get off drugs and then get in with a support system. That was very, very helpful to actually just remove the drug from my system, remove me from those people and places where I used drugs with and sort of put me in a different attitude around other people that would support me and then that gave me the freedom to try to understand living still as the sense of being Scott in the story that strong sense of separation. Now without being able to use the drugs to medicate feelings and to escape. That was a whole new sort of experience, because I didn’t have my crutch, I didn’t have my drugs which just started a whole other kind of search.
Iain: So it started a kind of spiritual search looking at a greater depth. And then you talk again in your book about you started to read Adyashanti, Krishnamurti, Byron Katie and other people, so this was happening but there was still this nagging feeling you talk about that you really didn’t feel complete, it still wasn’t it.
Scott: And you know, back then I couldn’t have told you that that’s what it was. I couldn’t have vocalized that. You know, because when I look back it sounds like I have this Monday morning quarter (?) back sort of insight to that, but the living of that in the sense of being in separation because it’s so normal because it’s never questioned I can’t tell you that I had that in my mind that I felt like a separate person or that I was looking for wholeness or anything like that. I couldn’t formulate it that way. But certainly there was this intense seeking energy towards something. I didn’t know what it was but it was just this continuous drive towards something, apparently because something was missing or something was with a sense of lack or however you want to say that.
Iain: Yeah, I think, many of us have that in the world, you know, we know that what we have in life, we maybe doing quite well and we’ve been quite successful in our careers and have a good relationship and something is still missing. And I would say that searching is a certain intelligence in so far as we’re still looking because we know we haven’t got it rather than saying: Well, I have to accept this. That’s all there is.
Scott: Yeah, I think that that’s true. The human condition is that…when you ask people: What are you looking for? Oftentimes they’ll say something. Lot of times they don’t even know what they are looking for, they’re just looking, there’s just that energy of looking and seeking as if something is missing and it’s certainly very prevalent anywhere you go and crossed, I’ve seen it in every culture that I’ve talked to, it just seems to be something about the human condition. But of course the beauty of that is that if you begin to look in a certain way you can find the end of that sense that something is wrong and that’s what the whole non-dual search was really about.
Iain: So you had the experience when you were driving in the car one day. Do you want to describe what actually happened there?
Scott: Yeah, it was an experience, as far as experiences go, you know, at the time it seemed really, really important. Now it’s taken within perspective of what it was. But I tell you that there had been an intense period of sort of enquiry, of looking into what I am, what this is, this reality. And there had been sort of this intense kind of real pleasurable energy in my body just for about a week and a half. It was right here in the chest, very pleasurable sense. I didn’t know what it was but…driving in the car it was the total sense of separation just sort of melted away for a second and just a complete sense of separation melted away and there is nothing that could be said about it. It was just a sense of me kind of melting away, of not being there. And, you know, it was an experience of the past as an experience but I think, that along with some other experiences something was falling away or being seen through.
Iain: And did it seem significant at the time?
Scott: Yes. It’s absolutely that because you take yourself to be a certain way or you take reality to be a certain way and in those moments it gets completely challenged and undermined. And yet there’s no words for it but in a sense when the mind comes in to look at it it says that something’s changed there, something that the perception has changed now. But I didn’t have teachers who could tell me: This is what it was. You know, I didn’t have a teacher with me so I would have to consult a book or try to make sense of it on my own. I did the best that I could, you know, but anyway…..
Iain: Yeah, because there is something in your book I wrote down: At that point you felt the universe had downloaded insight into being. That’s a pretty deep statement.
Scott: Yeah, but it was like the absence of..that particular experience was just like the absence of all of the divisions that the mind had been buying into between this and that and this religion and that religion and this philosophy and that philosophy and this world view and that world view. Those lines just were not there any more and it was like…I just said it was the universe downloaded, but that’s just a metaphor for the experience of the absence of separation, the knowing of non-separation. So the absence of those boundary lines was insight but…I know you don’t mean it that way, but it’s not like I had this insight, it was like there was an insight of the lack of divisions, the lack of conceptual boundaries, that’s where the insight came from.
Iain: So how did the beginning of lack of boundaries effect you, Scott?
Scott: Hm. As those could be seen to, it becomes harder and harder to think of myself as something living in time, for one thing. It was harder and harder to see myself as something separate in space. So that’s those things that are getting challenged there, so that there is separate events within a story that make up an identity which is then a separate being, that’s what’s getting challenged there. And all the things that made me up, which were the way that I would define myself as a member of this group, to find myself as Scott with this story with this characteristic, with this world view, that gets challenged actually. So the self that’s hiding or that’s constructing itself for holding itself up behind those views within those boxes is being challenged, you see. It’s not just the story of me that’s being challenged, it’s all of the branches of that tree, it’s everything.
Iain: Which is reality, isn’t it?
Scott: It’s reality. Absolutely.
Iain: Very fundamental.
Iain: And was that a process that you could completely accept with the fear and anxiety over the times?
Scott: There was certainly fear and anxiety. It wasn’t an overwhelming sense of ongoing fear and anxiety but there were moments when fear and anxiety would just rush up into the body. And you know how the mind does things, it tries to create all sorts of things, of dreaming of physical death or what’s going to happen to me or whatever, but I think that with the anxiety it was just to let that be as it was without trying to label or understand it in any way and not trying to escape in any way, you know. Not trying to…there is no mental understanding that you can place on anxiety or fear that really does anything with anxiety or fear. Because all the mind does is it tries to go back into division, into the intellect, because it tries to place some understanding on that, but the fear that was coming up was like the glue that had been holding that sense of self together. It had been there the whole time, upgrading in the story, you know, making the Scott character seek something because something was missing, fear something because of doom in the future and that had always been there. But the thinking mind, the identity, the thinking Scott had…we devise all these ways of not having to actually experience these anxieties how I saw it. So the tendency was not to go back into thought to try to understand that but to let the anxiety be as it is. And then so when you let something be as it is without trying to understand it, without trying to go back into the visions that the mind places up, then I think that the anxiety releases itself, because the sense of self releases itself.
Iain: So did you know that at the time?
Iain: You see I am trying to pull out of you some information, because I know there is people that may be watching that have these experiences. They can be terrifying for them. So I would be interested in knowing how you not only handled it but how you perceived it at the time.
Scott: You know, how I perceived it at the time is: Oh God. I am scared of what’s happening to me it’s still me, it’s like what’s happening to me. Thankfully I had read some books and been exposed to some teachings which talked about that and so gave some sort of guidance. A lot of it was just sort of trusting. Trusting, not knowing. It’s like trusting the Absolute of not going back into having to know what was happening.
Iain: That’s a big step.
Scott: You know, it’s a big one. But I think that everything up into my life, when you talked about the story, had told me that going back into the mind, going back into the story that wasn’t working. Whatever that was wasn’t working. You see in other words working, what I mean is, there is an assumption that by going back into, you know, relying on the dualistic mind and separation that somehow that’s going to bring about completion. And twenty years of using drugs and looking for myself everywhere I had all the evidence that I needed, that that was not going to work. So something else had to be trusted.
Iain: You had no option in a way.
Iain: You wanted other ways to approach it.
Scott: All the other ways had been exhausted in their own way.
Iain: So you then had a second quite significant experience I think five or six months later. Again you were driving in the car and you started, I think, from remembering in your book, you talked about sparks, you felt there were sparks all over your body…
Scott: Hm hm.That was just the beginning of, it was just an experience, I know you’ve heard this before, it was just experienced and although we talk about it, it’s fine to talk about it, but the point being is that what gets seen in these moments is the absence of the separate self and so that, when we talk about duality, it’s more than just an experience. And I know you have heard that before, but it’s important to say that. Yes, so I was in the car and it was just a sense of like something lighting up. Something was lighting up, you know. Just an experience of that or the way that’s interpreted. So then I am home and I am lying on my bed and the thought came to me that consciousness just wants to see itself . But I didn’t know what that meant. And I had never really used the word consciousness before that. That was not a word and I still don’t use that word, but that came up and then I just would walk around the room and there is no way to find the vision, there is no way to see that I was here and the sense of me here and the wall there as something separate, it was completely seen through. ..or the floor or the idea of the streetlight…
Iain: So when you say it was seen through, what do you mean by that?
Scott: It was the absence of a structure. This is the way I see it. It’s the absence of a conceptual structure. That’s one way of saying it. In other words, this all feels like a bunch of separate things, totally separate things. In our reality we have every reason to rely on it because it looks that way in every single way. We don’t understand that the way in which the mind is doing that, we don’t understand that. And it’s rarely ever questioned, so in that moment not only was it questioned intellectually, it was not questioned intellectually, it fell away. It absolutely fell away, so that all of the sense that there is a boundary between things…There wasn’t even an experience of awareness, we often say awareness, it wasn’t an experience of consciousness. It didn’t feel like it was an awareness aware of anything. It was the absence even of that structure.
Iain: So there was a level of conditioning of belief that fell away and something else was revealed. Would you say that was..?
Scott: You could say it that way.
Scott: Yeah, but it’s more like the absence of…
Iain: Deeper truth was revealed.
Scott: Yeah. The absence of all divisions really, even the line between life and death and time and timelessness and all that which is sort of seen through in that moment. And there is a lot of laughter and lot of just laying on the floor laughing at this silliness of it all.
Iain: You also talked in the book that all thoughts stopped for a time.
Scott: Yeah. And I think that’s what it is, it’s the conceptual structure which is the thinking mind and how it creates and maintains the idea of separate objects. That goes for a second, forever long. It just goes. And there aren’t any concepts arising. So there is nothing you can say about the experience, it’s the absence of that whole structure. On every way, everywhere you can conceive it. Up, down, awareness, appearances. There were no awareness and appearances. There was no Scott, there was no wall. Anyway you can see that they were broken down and in every way there was a complete non-conceptual experience.
Iain: And then the next day you wake up and you are still a lawyer? And you still have to earn a living?
Iain: So you must change being a lawyer (both laughing)
Scott: You know what else I say this it’s absolutely non ??????? actually. Now I think the reason that people don’t say that when they are talking about non-duality, they don’t even care… that this is not a self-improvement game, I think we can go ahead and say that. There is so much self-improvement stuff out there. Or how can you better do this or better that, become a better attorney or become a better relationship. When we talk about the change on the level of the story or the level of being an attorney, the mind will hear that as: Oh, there is something in it for me. This is actually the absence of…there is nothing in it for me, there is nothing in this for me. It’s the absolute end of that. That looks different on the level of appearances because all of the suffering that was coming from the idea that, as an example, that I need something from you or that I need something from the practice of the law to make me the image of being an attorney something in the eyes of someone else or that I need to be a famous musician or that I need to …that if people don’t listen to me that something is wrong. So it’s the absence of that that’s always gonna change…
Iain: Absence of desire by the sound of it from what you are…
Scott: Yeah, for the personal self, the absence of desire from the personal. So it looks very different on the level of appearance but in some ways it’s completely the same because, you know, someone says: What’s your name? And I still say Scott, you know. That looks exactly the same as the day before, it looks exactly the same. It’s not experienced the same.
Iain: But how is it then to go in a court room and you are a lawyer and you are living in a non-dual world, you see things without boundaries and yet, here you are working in a very dualistic way of: Is the guy guilty, should he go to jail? How is that for you in terms of how you work and how you make decisions and…
Scott: It’s like a play that was being taken very seriously. But that wasn’t for me taken that way any more. So you go and just play the play. I remember, the first time that I walked into the court room I just laughed because of the idea of thinking that there is this character that thinks he is a judge and then there is this character that thinks he is the prosecutor and then I am supposed to be - and then there is a person that thinks they are the criminal and the defendant. And the whole idea was just laughable actually because it’s not true, it’s not actually true at all. But you know this is the other part of this whole thing is that - this is the way that I talk about this message - that it’s not….you go on playing the play, the play just goes on, isn’t it beautiful, the play goes on and it goes on in every way that it appeared to go on before with lawyers and judges and people fighting. What’s different is is that dualities are bought into in the same way. You know you don’t think there is somebody who is right, you don’t think that somebody is…lots of things get undermined in this, you know. But the play goes on in every way. In every single way it goes on. And to me that’s where the fun of this whole thing is, to me it’s not a place where you’re so absent from the world, because the whole line between like something called awareness and the world was seen through, it’s like the play goes on. That’s awareness. The play goes on. That’s it. Consciousness is in the play, that’s the content. Is it? And we just play these things and here we are in an interview now, you know
Iain: I think we play here. But does it change the feelings that come through you for the criminal and the victim or whatever we call these people that are part of the play?
Scott: There was first almost like a sense that I could have detached from the whole thing. Like a sense that there can be a sense of apathy that comes in because you sort of see that’s just not real. This is not real, there was that sense and I think that people can fall into that belief system. But if you can let that thing just go through, it’s just a belief system or it’s just like a detachment kind of thing and it still feels…then you just play: Yes, yes, it changes things in terms of: Do feelings still arise? Yes, they still arise. That’s like they arise within a space, it’s so that the feelings can’t hook in to anything. They don’t hook in to the story. So if I am in the courtroom and the judge admonishes me or something or I may in that moment have a lot of energy behind in what I am trying to say and get frustrated there you know might be some energy that comes up and then it comes up and it’s released, it’s not carried over into the next moment, you know, because it’s like just appearing in space and then disappearing into the next… I mean it’s not being carried over to the next moment.
Iain: Do you think people see you differently from where you were before these changes?
Scott: Probably yes. I mean certain people close to me have said things. From the appearance purposes I’ve just got so much more peaceful. They’ll say that. They said things like: You are more peaceful. They think it’s the person who has become peaceful. That’s how they look at it. It is not the way that it’s actually experienced. But how it appears by certain traits. They’ll asssign the traits to the person. Because we think in the terms of the person that’s accomplished something. They become peaceful. But it’s not experienced as that. It’s like the absence of that which appears as peace and so they’ll say things like that. Or other things, however they interpret that, you know.
Iain: So they feel something good has happened to you and you are a happier person.
Iain: And do you still get angry and frustrated if you feel there’s injustice, is it something here, something there, that’s still affected?
Scott: This is really good because…not in the way that it was before because a lot of it before was like: This makes me angry because I know…because I am right about this, because I know something. It came from some kind of self-righteousness, a different kind of thing. It was like, like I know what’s best for everybody, I have all the answers, that kind of arrogance that we carry around. That things that when we look at the world it’s actually real in a way that it’s appearing for us. So a lot of my beliefs were about just building up the self sense like if there was an injustice. There was a lot of self in all that. A lot of sense of me in all that, you know. So now it’s more like a sense of, it’s very hard to explain, but it doesn’t feel like detachment and it feels like great compassion actually and love for this whole thing, whatever this is, this magnificent thing that’s happening here. And to think of myself as something, that doesn’t feel compassion for something else is just not actually true to what’s been realized. So it’s just a turn of phrase, it’s not to turn away from what actually has been seen, actually.
Iain: Yeah, I just thought of a song by Jackson Brown called Lawyers in Love because it’s very rare you hear a lawyer who used the word love. Actually in your book you talk about love quite a lot. You talk about it as something that’s actually that’s what’s left after everything drops away.
Scott: Yeah, a lot of people don’t talk about that and you know what? I understand why. Because it is a confusion..because people think that it’s a kind of love that we normally associate which is :I love you. I, the story of me loves the story of you. That kind of love is fine, it goes on in the world too but a lot of that becomes because the story of you enhances the story of me. You see, so I need you as another to know who I am. Without you I can’t be anybody, so I need you and it becomes very possessive, you know. Like if you go away I lose myself. Therefore I have to possess you in some way.
Iain: It’s the feeling of lack.
Scott: The feeling of lack.
Iain: That’s in relationships. Somebody feels, if there is a death or something, it’s a lack. There’s something missing.
Scott: That’s coming from separation.
Scott: From separation. And so we do all things to each other, like in our relationships in that sense there is something like: Tell me that I am right. Tell me that I am good. Tell me that I am loving. Be the person that I think that you are that I want you to be so that I can be the person that I want myself to be. And you control my love in that way. Everybody else controls my love because if you leave, if you do something that threatens what I think of you and me then you are threatening me. So it’s the best that we can do under those circumstances because we are trying to love unconditionally but we can’t. We don’t know how in separation because it always comes back to the Me, the sense of lack. So when that falls away one could turn away from what has been realized and say something like: There is nobody and there is no one which is true in one sense but it can be a way to turn away from what’s actually been seen. That’s the way I talked about it. What’s actually been seen is the lack of separation. It’s not some fancy phrase that there is no one. It’s not a fancy phrase or belief system or a philosophy. What’s actually been realized is something magnificent actually, something extraordinary which is that now the possibility of unconditional love that’s actually possible, if you don’t turn away from it which because that you and I can be in relationship but I don’t want anything from you. I don’t have to possess you I can actually be interested in just being with you or with somebody else just for the sake of being with you without demanding something from you. And then we explore that in our lives and here we are on earth having that experiment.
Iain: But is there a Scott personal it’s you running sometimes that sometimes feels a lack or feels ???? of jealousy or is that something that is completely gone now?
Scott: It is almost completely gone now, it may every now and then be something but it’s so rare that nothing even comes up in my memory. For a while there was some stuff that was coming up, just some stuff like old things of the story of like remnants of memories of whatever coming up. But what I am saying is if you, it’s not a person who stays true to the realization. It’s not that. It’s not what I am saying you have to stay true to the realization, but it’s like: What is actually been seen here? Is it there is no one here? As in terms of separate people. Ok. So when that arises of a Scott is there an ability to see that for what it is which is a conceptual self that does not have the kind of existence that it appears to have and when you see it that way you see that it’s thought for one thing and that it’s a self-centered conceptual self. It’s focussed on itself. When you see that for what it is you see right through it in that moment. In the moment it would appear it would just be seen, right through again. And eventually it just stops appearing. Because you see that it’s not coming from what’s been realized, you know.
Iain: So would you say there was a period of integration, there was a time where things were changing and adjusting and you feel that integration is complete now?
Scott: It’s very dangerous to ever say complete because there could be an arrogance behind that in terms of… One thing I have seen is that, when you say you have arrived, what if in the next moment you are buying into some belief that actually just goes back into separation, but so suddenly that you believe you have already arrived, so you are not going to look at that. Its like the self structure will come back in a second, you know. It’s very subtle stuff. So arriving is not the word, they are not arriving here, you know what I mean? This is alive, this is aliveness. So there is no one who can arrive at it. So that would just be a belief that somebody has arrived. So it’s not that. Is there an integration? Hm… I wouldn’t use the word integration but its more like continuing to be…it’s so funny to talk about it but it’s being completely open to see the ways in which…there is a living in a divided way. And the mind will come back and pretend like this is that, just seeing that…That’s the integration, it’s no longer buying into all those divisions that might come up and there are many, many, many mine fields that can come up after a seeing. and I have seen a lot of them and I see a lot of them in others who either acknowledge them or do not, so it’s not an arrival, it’s like an alive seeing. That’s all I can say about it.
Iain: Yeah. So I am trying to become a pro to understand this a bit more. The way I hear it is like awareness is maybe watching - maybe that’s the wrong word - but awareness is aware when the mind comes in and tries to bring back the old Scott or bring back something that’s automatic or unconscious, is that right?
Scott: In some ways the story of Scott and the idea of Scott is harmless at this point. Even if it came back in it would not be like it was real, like a real separate object. So it’s not even like shooting anything down or keeping anything down. Everything is flowing. There is nothing, there is no sense that I have to keep concepts or anything like that. It’s not like as I have to keep a quiet mind, it’s not anything like that. The quiet mind is what it is, it’s the absence of conceptualization, that’s all that it is. When you see the concept when you see that concepts are, that they are seeming to point to separate things. When you see it that way they are harmless actually. And so there is no…I don’t remember your question actually, but… So… The fact that a thought comes up and says that this is a table and I am Scott does not make it a table and Scott. You see what I mean? It’s just thought. It’s all that it is, completely harmless at that point. If it comes up that I think that this is a table and it really is that with an independent nature, completely, and I am Scott, now something feels divided about my experience because I take these thoughts to be pointing to real objects that are existing independently. That’s where the suffering comes from. But if the thought just arises Table and Scott but it’s seen to as like a transparent thought, it’s just transparent, it’s not that it makes it separation, then… what do you say about that? I mean, the whole world goes on. But - not the way that it did before.
Iain: I am kind of a little bit lost now where I go with this. In a way I am trying to understand but I get a feeling for it. So when you are sitting with me here, what’s your reality?
Scott: There is quietness, you could say, like pure spaciousness, you could say that it’s that. And everything in the room that appears just like this, the colors, everything, but the sense of separation, the sense that things are existing separately from other things is missing. So there is no sense of divided here, like that there is something here that stops right here and that right over here is not me. That’s not there. And then if I say, well is it over here? No, it is nowhere, there is no location for what it is. So it’s the absence of identity, the absence of believing that objects are proning ??? to….We can go into more depth about that
Iain: Let’s say more about that.
Scott: Absolutely. In our present experience…Ok. What is this first of all? The first thing the mind does is it says: Well, I know what this is. And it begins labelling. It says: I am Scott, you are you, this is a table, that’s a floor, this is space or something, we are in a TV studio in London, ok? Every day throughout the day that stuff drops away all the time when we don’t even notice it. In other words…
Iain: You replace it, isn’t it, by other identification?
Scott: It’s replaced, for most people it’s replaced by other thoughts. It’s like this goes away (claps his hands) as a bunch of thoughts and then new thoughts arise. Let’s say, I am in my kitchen, I am eating soup, this is my wife, this is my dog and then new concepts arise in all of those old concepts about TV studio, Scott having an interview, are completely gone. Ok? So every day what we take to be real objects are coming and going in awareness. We think this is a totally real thing, but in a flip (claps his hands) of a moment it all goes away. Completely. Everything that’s known about this experience is gone away completely. Even for a moment, let’s say that you went down to tie your shoe and all that you were doing was tying your shoe, you were not thinking: I am my name with my history, we are having an interview in the studio. There is none of that. There is just: Oh my shoe is not tied, that’s all thats happening. The shoes are untied. In that moment the entire reality that you know with all the conceptual that you think that you know is not even operating in that moment. But to the self thats not remarkable experience at all. It’s not a remarkable experience to remember, there is nothing to remember about it. There is certainly nothing in it for me when all that drops away. But throughout the day it’s happening to us all the time. You are doing laundry whatever you do and there is no seeker, there is nobody who is seeking enlightenment, there is nobody who is missing anything. There is just the experience putting clothes in a dryer and everything that you took to be your story it’s so important to you. Your world view, whether its scientific, philosophical, religious, it’s completely gone in that moment. There is assumption that it’s somehow still here, somehow lurking in the wings, but it’s not actually our experience. It all (snaps his finger) goes away actually and all that there is is doing the laundry. And when we don’t do the laundry we come back in and we recreate the world in our conversations. When we say - whatever we say about it - and the world comes back to us through concepts. Some of the traditions that talk about a silent mind, all that they are explaining to you is that when your mind goes quiet the entire world as you know it goes away. There is nothing that can be known because the mind just goes completely quiet, there is a deep quietness. So it’s just the experience of nothing. No objects because there are no thoughts arising. So that’s my experience that there is just a deep, deep quietness or whatever you want to say about that, it’s the absence of concepts. Therefore there is no boundaries, there is no sense of boundaries because concepts will have to come in for us. And then concepts do arise but it’s like they arise within and none other than the space. They don’t have an independent existence and they arise and create things like: Oh, look, this is a table, I am Scott, this is an interview, oh yeah, we are in London, which is a second ago we forgot that we we were in London, you see. We’re not thinking about London, there is no London, we don’t know a London, we have to have that thought to have London. So that’s what my experience is like. Right now as we are talking I forget that I have a partner and three dogs. Ok, it was totally out of my reality. It’s not like there really is a partner and three dogs out there as an experience, if you are not thinking about it. You know what I mean? If you are not thinking about it, there is an assumption that it’s out there in a way that it’s being conceived but it’s never your experience that way. It’s never your experience. It’s only what you’re experiencing is whatever thoughts are arising now. And if no thoughts are arising now there is no experience of anything
Iain: It’s interesting, I got this thought that’s just coming now which is we were talking earlier before we started the interview about a new book that will come out soon which is about addiction. My thought is in a way we are all addicted all the time, aren’t we? Not in an obvious way like alcohol or drugs or sex or whatever. But we are addicted to kind of thinking things are a certain way. And I am just wondering what this new book covers. What depth it goes to in terms of addiction?
Scott: Yeah. The book is called Natural Rest and it’s not just about drugs and alcohol actually. It’s about the idea, in a very general sense, that something is missing, that’s the main thing of it. That something is missing. So it deals with that idea and it helps one see through that. But yeah, you could say addicted to thinking the reality is a certain way. One of the addictions that people have is the belief that they are people with whatever story is attached to that. So it’s a very, very addicted movement. So all through my life I think of myself a certain way and repeat that thought. That thought arises again and again to create the appearance that I am that way. If I say that I am a horrible person, whatever it is it doesn’t matter, repeat that enough it becomes an addictive quality because it’s a familiarity with that, in the sense of that’s actually how it is. So that feels comforting and so we know that’s what I am. And there is an addiction to that, I can continually go to that, go to that again and again and then it becomes like the absence of that would be very scary. The absence of that, whatever that object is that I take to be me, has been there so long or feels so real and solid that when you start talking about it the possibility that it’s not what you are can be very fearful so that the addictive quality comes back, let me just continue to tell that story, let me just continue to think that I am living in time.
Iain: But you see how does someone get out of that because you had experiences which…for the moment they are fairly rare - I would say you probably wouldn’t use the word experience but I would say you had quantum experiences which somehow jumped Scott the story out of Scott the story. But how, unless you have that, which is quantum, can anyone actually get out of addiction, truly get out of all addiction?
Scott: The way that I wrote this book is that I tried not to write it from an absolute standpoint, because the point is when I got clean after I was in the story, if you would have told me all there is is this, that there is no separation I probably would have just gone back to taking drugs because it doesn’t register on some level. When I come off the street I’ve been taking drugs, you know, I don’t want to hear what you tell me that something so mystical sounding and so far out there that there is: No, no, I cant get that. So I tried to write it from a different point of view and I said: Look at what’s happening in your present experience. Look, instead of thinking about yourself, is it possible to actually know this is a thought, is that even possible? If that’s possible then something new comes in to your experience. Instead of engaging the content that you had been engaging in terms of thought, believing that you are the story that is lacking something. Instead of engaging those thoughts is it even possible to notice the thought in the way that you would notice like a fly buzzing by your face?
Iain: Yes, this is kind of mindfulness, isn’t it? This is Buddhist tradition really that is talked about a lot these days.
Scott: Yeah. So if it’s possible new experience that when a thought arises or even an emotion or a sensation like a craving, an addiction craving like I feel I want something. If it’s possible to actually see that then you are not that, then you are actually something that sees it. What is that that sees that? And does it feel lack? Does it feel divided in any way?bThat what’s sees it. And first its kind of hard for people because they don’t… it’s like I don’t know. But if you look at your present experience the whole time you see it’s always this way. There are things that are appearing, thoughts, emotions, sensations, cravings, experiences. Those things are always happening. But there is something that’s registering that. And whatever is registering that is that in the game of time? No, because it takes a thought to know it’s Wednesday. You have to have the thought. Is that a person? No, because I have to have the thought that I am Scott in order to know I am Scott. So what is it in the non-conceptual sense that’s here? Is that in time? No. Is that a story? No. It’s not a story. Does it lack something? No. That what’s here in a non-conceptual sense that sees everything arise is not lacking anything at all.
Iain: And this is awareness, or consciousness or what you call it.
Iain: There are some people who talk about an interim state where there is an observer. So there is an observer which is still part of the mind which is watching the thoughts and then of course there is the question: Who is aware of the observer? It takes you back again a step back.
Scott: Yeah, you could say who is aware of the observer, because everything that you say about this or that you say about the witness or that you say about anything is appearing and disappearing in something that never appears you could say. That’s how it is experienced in the witnessing kind of talk. However, you know, just establishing yourself, seeing yourself as awareness, goes a long way in seeing through the addictive cycle, goes a heck of a long way actually. But what I invite people to do if they are open at that point is to even see the duality between the awareness and what appears and that, when people are open for that, that can happen, too. So that you are not stuck in some witness place where you think of yourself as awareness or there is awareness in you. It still creates this duality where there is awareness aware of something separate from itself. When the experience of this is like this is it, there is no awareness behind this or inside this or encased in this or it’s not like that. It’s the absence of that belief system. It’s the absence of that duality in the end, which then is freedom, complete freedom from the sense of division in your life. Not only the sense of being a separate person, but also being something like there’s consciousness behind something. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Iain: Because you can also identify with that, can’t you?
Iain: So we have about 3 or 4 minutes left. Is there something practical we can - maybe practical is the wrong word - but is there something we can leave people who maybe they are watching and they are maybe a little confused but still intrigued and they are thinking: What can I take from this, how can I, my life does not work the way it is, how can I move forward? What would be your suggestion for them?
Scott: Well, since we were talking about the recovery book there is all sorts of things in there, you know, because I have got to the point where I don’t mind using all sorts of tricks, you know, to sort of challenge your reality the way that it is. The one thing about addictive behavior is this constant perpetual motion towards something, like this seeking, could be towards enlightenment, it could be towards…
Iain: You see you talk about that in your first book, that’s also a kind of addiction: Seeking. It can be, can’t it?
Scott: Absolutely it can be. It is the same egoic movement, it’s the same thing. Although the good thing about that is that there is a possibility of seeing through the thing. That’s the nice thing I can say about seeking enlightenment, there is the possibility that the seeking gets seen through. So it could be enlightenment, it could be self-improvement, it could be drugs, it could be relationships, sex, material items, whatever the content is it does not matter. But I did this with people this week and I asked the question: What are you seeking? And make them say it. Tell me, what are you seeking? That forces a concept to come up. So now that the concept has come up let’s see this for what it is, so let’s say: You are seeking enlightenment. Ok, well, if you were to find enlightenment how would you experience that, start with the body and mind, how would you experience what you are calling enlightenment? And people say things like: Well, I may have this feeling or experience. And then we say, well, those are temporary things. But what would you really, really get out of that if you really, really…and you question this, all of a sudden, well, I would no longer have to seek that. Because if I found that I would not have to look for it and in the absence of seeking after that would be a sense of like: I am ok now. I am complete. So next question is: Now that you found out what it would be like is the story that you need to go find enlightenment, is that actually providing the rest that you are looking for? Is that providing the peace, the freedom you are looking for?
Iain: It’s a process of enquiry in a way, isn’t it?
Scott: Yeah. And the answer is: No it’s not, it’s not actually providing it. It’s actually making it seem like there is something missing. So that every time I entertain in the story it feels like something is missing, or there is enlightenment out there. Or there is self-improvement or there is drugs or sex or whatever. So then the last question is: Are you open then? Just as a question to notice that thought any time it arises and just to recognize thought-free presence. Are you open to that? And then easily people sort of there is a relaxation when they hear that. Yeah, I think I am open for that. And then it’s like: Oh, this presence here already feels complete actually, now that I actually look at that or look from that or as that. That actually feels complete. That might be what the word enlightenment is pointing to actually. And then, you know, usually, if you do that, once or twice with somebody, a new concept comes out. They’ll say like: Yeah, but I heard somewhere in a book that it’s like an experience of being home. And I don’t feel home yet. So we go back to number one and we say : So we see you are seeking home. So how would you experience home? Well, I wouldn’t have to seek home any more. So, well, is the idea that you are not at home yet, is that providing the peace, the freedom, the rest? No, it’s not actually. Are you open to just never that arises. And I also would ask people to just experience the emotions and the sensations exactly as they are in the body when you are resting in thought-free presence. That sort of brings people back to this.
Iain: Ok. That’s probably very helpful for people.
Iain: Thank you Scott, thank you for coming to talk to us.
Scott: Thank you, my pleasure.
Iain: On Conscious TV and the talk that I read which I thoroughly enjoyed is: Love’s Quiet Revolution: The End of Spiritual Seeking and I can recommend that. And thank you for watching Conscious TV and I hope we will see you again soon. Good bye.
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