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Tony Parsons - The Open Secret

Interview with Iain McNay

Iain:         Since we started Conscious TV a few months ago, the number one requested guest in the Consciousness section is Tony Parsons, and we’re very lucky to have Tony here this morning. Good morning, Tony.

Tony:       Hello.

Iain:         We’re just going to talk a little bit about your life, and your work, and see what happens, see where it goes. We’ve got an open space for forty-five minutes or so. So I’m just going to start, Tony, and ask you a little bit about your childhood. I know when I was reading The Open Secret last night, you were saying that when you were very young, I think three years old, you kind of… you did feel a sense of oneness, but then that went at one point.

Tony:       Yes, it’s what happens for most people, initially, as far as this perception is concerned. As a very young child, a tiny child in arms, really, there is just beingness, there is no sense of identity at all. And then what happens with most people is that beingness, which doesn’t identify with anything, suddenly recognises another identity. So suddenly you get an identity – say, the mother - appears. And directly that the mother appears, there’s a sudden sense that there’s someone here.

Iain:         So that’s like with separation emerging in a way.

Tony:       That’s the beginning of separation.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       It’s not a thought - it’s just a sudden sense that there is now someone else in this beingness, in this wholeness. And when there’s someone else in this wholeness, suddenly there’s someone here, and this is the first identification. And that is the beginning of what I call the dream of individuality, where that identification takes place. And then there’s a sudden contraction of energy which makes that child think that they live in a body and everything that’s happening outside them is something else. So that from then on there’s separation, and directly there is separation, there is seeking for wholeness again.

Iain:         So you’re trying to find what you had and in one way you lost.

Tony:       Well, you didn’t really have it; no one has wholeness, there is just wholeness…

Iain:         I understand, yes.

Tony:       …and what seems to happen is that, in some way or other, there’s a sense of separation from the wholeness, and we grow up in a world full of individuals who actually in the end feel separate from wholeness.

Iain:         And in this, in all of this, although we’re not necessarily aware of it, there’s this feeling of this is not quite it…

Tony:       Absolutely.

Iain:         …and that’s where seeking starts from.

Tony:       Absolutely.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       There’s a sense of having lost something and there’s a sense that the individual has to find it. And that’s the misconception.

Iain:         Yes. But you actually do remember this, this time when you were two or three years old, to some extent, and that’s great because in a way it’s a reference point that’s maybe helpful.

Tony:       Certainly I can remember, actually not as three years old but more of seven years old, when I was then a person. I still felt that everything that was happening was somehow saying something other than me being separate. There was something that was being said in everything, that was inviting me to see that there wasn’t any separation. It was just a sense; I couldn’t at that time, you know, conceptualise it in the way I just have. But there certainly was a sense that, if there was a god (and, of course, as a tiny child you think there’s a god), if there was a god and he loved me, then he would be talking to me in every way – in every way: through my body, through everything that was out there. It was just an idea, it was just a sense of something.

Iain:         Right. And I know also something I read was that when you were in your teens you investigated Christianity…

Tony:       Yes.

Iain:         …and you were drawn to that for a time.

Tony:       Yes, I certainly was then a seeker like everyone else. So I looked at Christianity as one possibility… uh …of the answer to what I was looking for, and spent quite some time looking at that possibility. And then I just discarded it because somehow, for me, it was still saying that, in some way or other, I had to become worthy to be whole.

Iain:         There was a whole baggage attached to that.

Tony:       Yes, there was a whole baggage and lessons and teachings about how I should become worthy to become everything, or to become whole.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       In the end it just didn’t resonate for me, it just didn’t mean anything. So I then looked at other things.

Iain:         What kind of other things did you look at?

Tony:       Gurdjieff, Osho…

Iain:         This was still in your teens or this was later on?

Tony:       Well, Osho was later on… I looked at Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, all of that lot…

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       I was looking here and there… at various other different ideas about this…

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       …and then later on, I left my life, my previous life, and went to the Osho commune for about three years. But near the end of that three years, I saw that, in a way, I was still being given a list, a prescription, about how to get from here to there.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       You know, go to therapy, meditate, all the different things that dear old Osho, bless his heart, in a way, was recommending. So then again, I knew… There was something about that that just didn’t ring a bell.

Iain:         So when you were around twenty-one… I think I read somewhere that one day you were walking in a park in Balham in South London, and you said something to God, “Show me your face…”

Tony:       Well, there was… yes… there was that intensity, somewhere, in me, and… I was walking across a park and, although at the time I thought I was doing it, in fact there was a noticing that every footstep was uniquely different and never would be there again. That was all that came into me - I wasn’t doing that; there was just an idea or a sense that everything was totally new and unique. And suddenly, I wasn’t there any more. So there was Tony Parsons - and there was suddenly nothing. There was no Tony Parsons - there was nothing. No experience of it, there was no experiencer, there was just nothing. Bang!

Iain:         Right.

Tony:       Or absolute love, if you want… [laughing]! And then I walked out of the other side and I was still a seeker, I was still seeking, and what I now wanted was that.

Iain:         You wanted to get back to that feeling.

Tony:       I wanted to get back to that and, although I couldn’t know it, I went on, in various other ways, to try and really in a way remember, or grasp, at that which couldn’t be grasped.

Iain:         So it was like a reference point somehow, is that right?

Tony:       I don’t know about a reference point, I think a lot of people have glimpses of oneness, let’s call it, or wholeness, and then there’s something that’s recognised there. When they come out of the other side of that, they then think that they can reclaim that happening and make it their own.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       I also tried to do that. And then much later on, what actually happened was that there was an individual seeker… looking for this - and then suddenly there just [pause] wasn’t.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       It was over, there was no individual seeker. And what came out of that was The Open Secret. And also, I have to say, the realisation that the whole idea that there is something called an individual seeker that has to find something else called enlightenment is totally misconceived.

Iain:         And how did this realisation happen? What were the circumstances? Were you looking more intensely than usual?

Tony:       No, the circumstance was that I wasn’t anything any more, there was no individual. What I call liberation happened. And when that liberation happened, which was the end of there being any one, any individual seeker, simply collapsed. And there was nothing left. We can talk about that in a minute…

Iain:         But what I’m particularly interested in is, as an individual, beforehand, were you looking particularly intensely to try and find something? Or was it kind of… Some people say they give up and something happens. What was going on with you as an individual?

Tony:       OK, so as an individual, about a year before this happened, I wrote a great big thick book which I never published, which was full of recommendations and prescriptions.

Iain:         OK.

Tony:       It was really talking in the same language. “I’m an individual and maybe I can find this and maybe you can find this…” And then I suddenly realised, like with the Osho thing and the Christianity thing, that the whole thing was ridiculous. It wasn’t it, that wasn’t it, that wasn’t the answer. So I threw the book away and went and played golf [laughing]! There was no sense, you know, any more, that what I thought could be sought could be found by me.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       Then suddenly, in the middle of the night, a sentence came to me and I rushed downstairs and a sentence seemed to be written by no one.

Iain:         And what did no one write down? What were the sentences?

Tony:       It’s on page four of The Open Secret, it’s one paragraph… But it was the basis of The Open Secret and, of course, it was a communication that was coming out of no one.

Iain:         Right.

Tony:       So, The Open Secret… I didn’t write The Open Secret… I don’t give meetings - they are what’s happening. There’s no one sitting here - this is what’s happening.

Iain:         That is very hard for someone to grasp.

Tony:       OK. It’s not hard, it’s not difficult – it’s impossible. As far as the individual is concerned, there’s no way that the individual can even conceive the idea that there is no individuality. It’s impossible. It can’t happen because the nature of individuality is to be separate and seek. So it’s always moving forward, it’s always moving, looking for something – what’s next, what’s next, where can I get to? But what hasn’t been realised by the individual is that there never was anything lost. The dilemma for the individual is not that the individual can’t get what it wants - the dilemma is apparent individuality.

Iain:         [nodding] OK.

Tony:       You know, this message is a complete revolution round the other way from the normally accepted and virtually unquestioned belief that “I can find fulfilment”.

Iain:         Well, it is… and … it’s tough. I use the word ‘tough’ - you use the word ‘impossible’. Because the more intelligent members of the human race realise something is missing, they realise something is not quite right, and we all go through this, you know… I think you did the same - you were quite successful in your business. You make some money, you have a relationship, maybe some people have children… And yet whatever happens, after a time, there’s still this feeling, “This isn’t it”. And so some people just try and… Well, they drink a little bit too much or whatever, and they just put it under the carpet. Other people who may be a little bit more, I would say intelligent, and…

Tony:       …seems so, yes.

Iain:         …yes, if they think, “Well, this isn’t quite right - I’m going to do something about this”. Because our society is very much a doing society...

Tony:       Mmm!

Iain:         …and it is that ultimate dilemma that they’re in a way being ‘intelligent’, and yet it doesn’t work.

Tony:       No, of course it doesn’t work, because they’re trying to do something and get to something.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       What The Open Secret is saying is there is nowhere to get to and, of course, more importantly, there is no one to get there. The whole idea that there’s such a thing as individual free-will and choice is totally exposed as a fallacy.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       But it’s the most difficult message of all. In my recent homepage on the website, there’s nothing for sale. There’s nothing for the individual. I would go so far as to say that the individual actually doesn’t want this, because the individual fears most its own absence.

Iain:         But something happens around you, because we’ve had other people on Conscious TV and I’ve also talked to people, too, who haven’t been on Conscious TV, and they’ve said the same thing. They go to your meetings and some of them leave and something seems to have really happened. And some even say, “Well, I went to a meeting with Tony and I never left the meeting”. That’s what they say, and I think, “Well, it’s not just one person - it’s more than one person…”

Tony:       Ah yes, it’s happening a great deal. You see, really there is a constant and uncompromising exposure of the illusion of the separate individual and the dilemma of its hopelessness. The thing that happens is resonance. It’s not conceptual; this message isn’t about words or ideas. Something resonates, something is remembered. What is remembered is the beingness of child-like wonder.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       And so what drops away is the sense of something that seems to be separate.

Iain:         So let me just try.

Tony:       [laughter]

Iain:         You’ll probably just shoot this down but…

Tony:       [laughter]

Iain:         …but is it a possibility that something is vibrating in you, something latent is vibrating in someone else and something kind of gets activated?
Tony:       Yes, OK, so it isn’t in me. The power of the meetings is that there’s no one there, in a sense - therefore there’s no one who has an agenda to feed the seekers’ needs, or give them answers, or try to change their belief systems. These meetings are more about a contracted energy meeting boundlessness.

Iain:         Boundlessness.

Tony:       So, the contracted energy of individuality, which is totally embodied, it’s not just an idea, or a thought, or a belief. Individuality and separation is a totally embodied feeling of being restricted. People walk into the room and there’s a sense of whomph!

Iain:         And this whomph is something sitting there? Where’s the whomph happening?

Tony:       No, no, no. This energy has nothing at all to do with anybody, it is absolutely impersonal.

Iain:         It’s just… I have to use these words - like you, I have no other way of addressing it… For you it’s just normal somehow that the whomph is always there…

Tony:       Yes, it’s there already, in a sense; everything is new, everything is boundless already. There’s huge inspiration in the room often. And new people who come walk out and hate it, because I’m suggesting that they have no free-will, but a lot of the audience are inspired. “Wow!” It’s amazing. [Both laugh] Gorgeous, it’s just gorgeous!

Iain:         So what’s your feeling about the whole Osho thing now?

Tony:       Oh, as far as I’m concerned now, there are two totally different ways of looking at it… there are two totally different communications, really. The classically normal communication is that there is an individual who is separate and the individual can find what it’s looking for, i.e. enlightenment, liberation, whatever you like, the kingdom of heaven if you want. And that is completely divorced from what is being spoken of in The Open Secret. And not only The Open Secret: there are other people, very few, who are communicating this revolutionary message that, in fact, there is no one, there is no individual, and there is nothing that can be done.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       It isn’t then saying that you can’t do anything because then it would be implying that there’s a ‘you’ there that can’t do anything. It is saying that there is nothing that needs to be done, because everything already is whole. But that’s largely conceptual, you know. I mean, some people say, “Oh, the ‘I’ is just a thought, or separation is just a belief so, if you see through it then, it’ll vanish”. That’s talking about the symptom, the thought of being separate, as a symptom of being separate. But being separate is really an embodied feeling that makes people want, long for, something else. It’s a longing, it’s a sense of loss. So it’s a very energetically held feeling and somewhere, somehow, people come and just explode out of it.

Iain:         And the explosion - is that the start of something, or the end of something? How do you…?

Tony:       It is about the loss of an artificial construct. The energy of boundlessness is there in the meeting, but the interesting thing is that, quite often, that explosion takes place afterwards.

Iain:         So they get back to their normal environment and something happens.

Tony:       We talk to a lot of people this is happening to and, quite often, it’s after the meeting. Richard, sitting in a train on Charing Cross Station…

Iain:         Richard Sylvester, yes.

Tony:       …just after a meeting. It’s just strange, I don’t know, but it can happen in a meeting. And the other thing that does happen in a meeting is a lot of laughter, a huge amount of laughter about how strange this is now. People laugh at themselves chasing around for years meditating and opening their chakras and forgiving their mother.

Iain:         Yes, well, it’s almost like an apprenticeship, in some ways, for a lot of people. They kind of try all of these things… And you find it doesn’t work, but somehow you need to try it.

Tony:       It certainly is what happens. I don’t think anybody needs to try anything, in another sense, but that is what seems to happen. Mind you, I have to say that I know, and maybe you do, that there are others who never seek and this happens to them.

Iain:         This guy John Wren-Lewis, who’s an English guy - he died recently. He was living in Australia…

Tony:       Mmm…

Iain:         …he did some research, something happened to him, he wasn’t a seeker and he… umm… basically took a poisoned sweet on a bus in Thailand. He went unconscious, was taken to hospital, almost died but not quite - and when he woke up his life was completely different. I read on the web that he did some research, looking for people who had had a similar thing happen to them; and he found that seventy-five per cent of the people had done nothing, as he had done nothing. It just happened.

Tony:       Yes. We had a publican friend in Ireland - we go to Dublin - who had no more interest in this than fly in the air, and he was walking along one day and suddenly the whole thing was over… And he vanished and there was just everything…

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       …and he got in touch with the doctor who said to him, “Oh, that’s Buddhism!” [Laughter] And he went to…

Iain:         Really, the doctor said that?

Tony:       Yes! Well, it’s quite good in a way, because that’s the nearest he could get to it. And then he went to a Buddhist meeting and no, that isn’t it, and he went to a few others, and it just so happened that he heard about me being in Dublin and he came in and sat down and “That’s it!”

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       Bang! But he had no interest previously.

Iain:         You know, these kinds of thing on the personal really fascinate me, and one of the last interviews I did a few days ago for Conscious TV was a guy called Benjamin Zephaniah.

Tony:       Right.

Iain:         Now he’s basically a Rastafarian poet, kind of a punk poet. I met him actually at a… We’re both involved with an organisation called the Prison Phoenix Trust, which helps supply teachers of yoga and meditation to prisons, and he’s one of their patrons. And he was telling me his life story and he was saying that he was brought up in Birmingham and he was in a gang. He got to the point he was sleeping with a gun underneath his pillow at night. And then one morning he woke up and had a realisation, “If I do this for one more day I’m either going to be dead or in prison”.

Tony:       Mmm…

Iain:         He’d already been in prison once and in prison again… So he just left everything and went to London and made a living out of his poetry. I don’t think he would necessarily say there was no one there, or realisation, but it was a kind of realisation… It just happened like that. He woke up, his whole life changed. And that for me is just…

Tony:       OK, as far as I’m concerned he didn’t, you know… It wasn’t him having the realisation - the realisation happened, it’s just the… [gesticulating]

Iain:         I think you’re absolutely right. That’s right. Not necessarily the level of oneness, but something significant happened; it happened in a moment – just woke up and he… just changed his life. And I think more and more that’s available to people. And I suppose in a way there has to be an element of courage. Is that right or am I…?

Tony:       No, as far as I’m concerned there doesn’t have to be anything. There are no circumstances that bring this about and there’s no state a person has to be in. You can be in a cave in the Himalayas eating rice or lying in the gutter pissed out of your mind, and this will happen.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       Because it has nothing to do with you [laughing]!

Iain:         And there’s no going back - it’s, like, final.

Tony:       Oh, totally, totally final. Liberation, so-called liberation…  there is no such thing, but it’s a word we use. In liberation it is the end of something that was never happening; it’s the end of an illusion. And it can’t come back because there’s nothing it can come back to. It’s the end.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       And it can’t be described in a sense. The only way I can describe what this is, is that there’s just what’s happening. There’s no one that anything is happening to. Everybody watching this might be sitting on a chair watching it, I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. But when they watch it, it’s possible to suddenly realise that there isn’t anybody sitting on a chair; all there is, is sitting on a chair. It’s as simple as that. It’s totally simple, and for the individual it’s very frightening.

Iain:         So are you saying there can be anxiety after it happens? Or are you talking about an individual who’s watching this happen with someone else, or are you talking about…?

Tony:       No, what I’m talking about is the proposal that liberation is about the absence of the individual, it’s the end of individuality. The idea of ending their… in a way of everything they think they are, is frightening. But the strange thing is that all it is the end of is a total illusion. It’s just like a piece of smoke that’s there that you really believe in and then suddenly it’s not there. And life just goes on. Life obviously goes on. This thing drives a car and walks in here and talks, you know. Everything goes on in freefall, it’s just total freefall.

I think the other thing that’s frightening is people believe that they are the managing directors of their lives, that they can control their lives. After there is no one, it’s realised that there isn’t any control. That’s frightening also. “I will lose control! What will happen if I’m not here?” Well, what happens is life [laughing]! It was always like that! [laughter]

Iain:         So what happens to your personality?

Tony:       Well, as far as the character is concerned, the physiology and the neurology of the actual character - let’s call it a character - there’s no one in there. The body, the person, that goes on and is now free to even be more of a personality or a character, because there’s nothing in there; there’s nothing in there judging it. There’s no little ‘me’ saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t talk like that, or be like that”. What we see with people is they become more so in the colour of them, in the taste of them, in the way they speak, in their bodies. You can see it in their bodies, you know. But there’s no one in there doing that.

Iain:         But the personality, it’s just a programme basically…

Tony:       Totally.

Iain:         …where you’ve got…

Tony:       It’s programmed. The brain is the most amazing instrument which actually correlates and works out everything, what we are… what you and I are doing. There isn’t anybody doing this - it’s the brain doing this. In other words, in the end being is simply waving its arms around and appearing to be a person.

Iain:         But the personality as we kind of know it, it’s formed by your experience (especially young experiences when you’re three, four, five years old or whatever) which forms the basis of everything that happens, which somehow shapes you. And what you’re saying is, that keeps running as the personality.

Tony:       Yes.

Iain:         Now what about the gross side of the personality?

Tony:       The neurotic drive to find oneness simply falls away, and then there’s something that’s very harmonious there, that was there anyway. There isn’t anybody in the world who isn’t actually seeking oneness in the end. What we see in the manifestation is simply the longing to come home. All desire is a longing to come home. That falls away and anything that’s around that that’s neurotic falls away. But the character still goes on: you know, habits, preferences, still happen, but they aren’t anybody’s. It’s the brain functioning in the world.

Iain:         And how about ‘bad habits’? Do they go away?

Tony:       So when that sense of loss isn’t there any more there wouldn’t be a wish to drink a lot or smoke a lot? The greatest addiction of all, of course, is ‘me’.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       [laughter]

Iain:         You’ve got a great laugh.

Tony:       [laughter]

Iain:         I’ve never met you before, I’ve never seen you before, it’s a great laugh…

Tony:       [laughter]

Iain:         It’s infectious! But this point really interests me so I’m going to persevere…

Tony:       Yes!

Iain:         …if that’s OK. So, let’s say, somebody… Let’s take the example I used of this guy Benjamin. OK, he had his realisation with the gun. Now let’s say he hadn’t had that at that point, and he was in a situation and he used the gun or whatever, or was thinking of using the gun. After whatever happened to you…

Tony:       Liberation, let’s call it…

Iain:         After liberation happens, is he still capable of killing somebody?

Tony:       It’s possible - but there isn’t anybody in there that would do that. The whole illusion that we, that the identity, individualism, is real is a fallacy. So there isn’t anybody that chooses to do anything. Of course, the whole body-mind, the whole physiology, acts in the way it does and in character. But the whole idea that anybody has ever chosen to do anything falls apart. But you can’t then say that after liberation this will happen and that won’t.

Iain:         No, I understand that, but I’m looking for an understanding of how the personality refines. That’s the word I’m using - it wasn’t your word - but you were kind of inferring that the gross, the addiction, drops away. And wouldn’t things like using a gun, or violence, wouldn’t that drop away as an addiction because that’s a grossness?

Tony:       It could do, but I can’t say it will.

Iain:         No, no, I understand that.

Tony:       Unconditional love embraces everything: tyranny, ugliness, discomfort. After liberation, discomfort still happens, you know - it isn’t suddenly walking in Elysium fields in absolute heaven. There’s nobody walking - it’s just what happens. And that can include pain, discomfort, all those things happen. So there aren’t any rules. You can’t say that liberation is about what we think of as goodness.

Iain:         OK. And would you in your space - that’s the nearest I can get in my language to where you are - would you experience fear and anxiety sometimes?

Tony:       I wouldn’t experience fear, but fear happens.

Iain:         OK.

Tony:       So there’s nobody any more experiencing anything, there’s just what happens and that can include fear.

Iain:         And that fear is happening in your personality presumably?

Tony:       It’s just happening, it’s a feeling. I mean, in the end fear is a very simple thing: it’s just a feeling in the body.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       It’s a sense of something hot, if you like, which happens. But of course, now it’s not happening to anyone, there’s nobody taking delivery of it, there’s nobody taking fear home to tea.

Iain:         Right, so it’s not somebody thinking…

Tony:       Thinking still happens after liberation…

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       …but there’s no one listening.

Iain:         OK, so the fear can’t really anchor itself?

Tony:       No. There’s nothing to anchor itself onto. It falls back out into nothing. Everything comes out of nothing and falls back into it.

Iain:         OK.

Tony:       It’s like after liberation there’s no ‘me’, therefore there’s no stickiness - that’s one way I put it. There’s just life and there’s nothing getting in the way or identifying.

Iain:         Do you dream?

Tony:       Oh yes. Well, I don’t - but dreaming happens.

Iain:         It happens…

Tony:       I’m sorry to be…

Iain:         No it’s all right, I understand what you’re saying.

Tony:       …but dreaming happens.

Iain:         Yes, and are they interesting dreams?

Tony:       Oh, well… it doesn’t really matter, but the dreams after liberation are much more ordinary than they were before.

Iain:         They are ordinary.

Tony:       Ordinary.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       I mean this is about something that is totally simple and ordinary. This is absolutely about something that’s utterly simple and ordinary and absolutely - stunning. Because you see, there isn’t anything any more that’s making calculations about what’s happening; there’s nothing that’s looking at you and saying to itself, “Now how can I manipulate the situation with this person over there?” That’s all gone. Everything that arises is new. It’s total living in newness. It’s like living in in-loveness. Because in love, falling in love, has a very similar quality to this, because falling in love, in a sense, is beyond the person; it’s about being in love with love.

Iain:         You talk about unrequited love…

Tony:       Yes.

Iain:         …on the front page of your website.

Tony:       Yes, my sense is that, you know, we’re fascinated by unrequited love, the story of it, because in a sense it points to what we’re really looking for, which we can’t know and have, which is ultimate, absolute, unconditional love. We can’t know that and we’re fascinated by the whole story of not being able to find our love in someone else, because somewhere subtly we absolutely know that the love we really long for is ultimately unknowable.

But what’s amazing about that love is that it’s here in this room right now. That ultimate love is singing… in our bodies, in everything. It’s singing the song that the individual can’t hear, because the individual’s looking for it… Where is it? It’s here, it’s this!

Do you know, one of the loveliest things that happens - and many, many people this is happening to - I get a lot of phone calls from people saying, “Do you know, I’ve been a seeker, I’ve looked for this, I’ve looked for that, I’ve looked for… about… bliss… Now this has happened! What’s realised is that what I was looking for has never left me - it was always this.”

Iain:         Yes, actually that touches me when you say that. Yes, I can feel that.

Tony:       That’s it too, that’s this too, but it’s there right now. You don’t have to be anything, or become anything for it. It’s just waiting for you to give up looking for it. [laughter] It’s just sitting there loving you and loving everything… amazing… I mean, I’m still stunned by it, you can probably tell [laughing]! I think it’s the most amazing message there is. It’s so simple - and immediate.

Iain:         You see, there’s not a lot of support for what you’re saying in one way. You look at the whole media thing at the moment where we’re October - is it? - November two thousand and …eight…

Tony:       Eight.

Iain:         I almost forgot for a minute! Umm, and everything just seems so unstable.

Tony:       Oh yes.

Iain:         The banks nearly collapsed a few weeks ago and there were terrible problems somewhere in Africa on the news, where people were rioting and there was no food and you feel sorry for them. Does that - when you watch the news on TV and you see people suffering - does that somehow affect Tony?

Tony:       Well, there is no Tony, but what he’s seeing is what’s happening. Of course, the other thing that’s amazing about this… I mean, I meet people who think they’re individuals who are suffering much more than Uganda, or wherever it is, or the Congo…

Iain:         Congo, yes.

Tony:       …but in a sense what’s happening is they feel they’re suffering and they think that suffering is happening to them. But when, from this point of view, it is seen that there’s no one there that it’s happening to, that’s absolute love. And in some way or other, that which thinks it’s suffering senses that. There’s nobody who suffers - there’s just suffering.

Iain:         Yes, I guess so.

Tony:       But I mean, it’s easy to say that; those are just words.

Iain:         Yes, I know those people, they don’t have… they don’t have an overview.

Tony:       Oh, no, no, no. It would be totally inappropriate for me to go to the Congo and say there’s no one there. But in answer to your question…

Iain:         Yes…

Tony:       …that’s the… that’s the… that’s the leap. [laughter]

Iain:         Is there hope for humanity?

Tony:       There doesn’t have to be, because everything that’s happening is simply the expression of wholeness. Wholeness isn’t interested in somehow saving this earth, or anybody becoming enlightened, because seeking and suffering is wholeness.

Iain:         On the other hand, it seems that what wholeness may be doing - I know you’ll say that wholeness doesn’t do anything - but in my terms what is maybe happening is that it’s becoming so obvious to humanity on a global scale that this whole set of rules we’ve got doesn’t work any more.

Tony:       No.

Iain:         The whole thing of consumerism and debt is just happening more and more.

Tony:       Yes.

Tony:       It’s just such an obvious message and, for many people, it’s a devastating message.

Tony:       Yes.

Iain:         Because they don’t really know anything else.

Tony:       No.

Iain:         Especially the United States, it’s just devastating for them.

Tony:       Oh, totally. There’s a certain investment in the individual. The other fascinating thing about this message is that neuroscientists are coming to the same conclusion… working with the brain… And they are coming to the conclusion very strongly - although you don’t hear much about it, of course - that there is no such thing as an individual with free-will and choice.

Iain:         Yes.

Tony:       That the whole thing is run in here [gesticulating around head] from that point of view. I mean, they don’t talk about wholeness, of course …but it’s interesting.

Iain:         I know… Again, we had someone sitting on that chair two or three months ago - a woman called Manjir. And she’s written a book called Punk Science, and she’s a medical doctor but she’s done a lot of physics. And she was saying - and I have heard this before - that basically what happens is when you look inside and you’re trying to find the centre of something, actually you never find anything. You look into it and magnify, magnify…

Tony:       Yes.

Iain:         …and all they’ve ever found so far - I think it’s string theory - is a suggestion that something may have been there. They don’t find, scientifically, anything tangible.

Tony:       No.

Iain:         …and the other thing she was saying, which I thought was absolutely fascinating, was that… It’s like this holographic principle that every tiny whatever it is, even if there’s nothing there, every tiny thing - and she had a phrase for this, I forget what it was - contains everything.

Tony:       Yes, it does, because you see what’s fascinating is that, for instance, so far the quark is supposed to be one of the smallest things that scientists have discovered. What they discover to their alarm is that it both is, and isn’t. It isn’t that it is and then isn’t; it actually is and isn’t. [laughter] So there’s nothing that’s real or unreal.

Iain:         Yes, and we’re all apparently full of black holes, different sizes. And the other thing was, which just blew my mind, that coming from a scientific point of view - and you may disagree with this - all we experience is four percent of reality. There’s another ninety-six percent on different levels of reality that we just do not experience, happening at the same time.

Tony:       No, that is so. But in another sense, for me, it is that, as a separate individual, nothing is seen as it really is because it’s seen through like clingfilm or a veil. The individual sees from the point of view of being separate and something here looking at something else. After liberation that completely collapses and everything is simply what it is. Absolutely what it is. Simply as it is.

Iain:         Yes. And do you see other dimensions, things like that?

Tony:       There’s no need to see other dimensions, or anything grand, or strange. This is a miracle… it’s a miracle, you know! Why bother? Well, why would you if there’s only in-loveness with this?

Iain:         Again I’ve highlighted this thing, “In essence what is sought is love”, which you kind of talked about. And if you had a message - I know that in a way you don’t have a message because there’s no one to have a message - but that is the important thing…

Tony:       You could call it wholeness, absolute, unconditional love - they’re all words. But that’s basically what we long for: the ultimate love that we absolutely know, we absolutely remember as a tiny child in arms. We’re just trying to return to child-like wonder.

Iain:         Yes. That’s how children…

Tony:       Yes, and that’s what we sense in children, just this!

Iain:         And that’s happening with you moment to moment?

Tony:       Well, it’s just happening.

Iain:         Just happening. Yes.

Iain:         It sounds amazing!

Tony:       [laughing] It’s amazing for no one.

Iain:         [nodding] OK Tony, thanks very much for coming along to Conscious TV.

Tony:       Thank you, thank you.


To watch the original video interview click here. This transcript is included in the book: "Conversations on Non-Duality: 26 Awakenings" published by Cherry Red Books. The book is available from, and as a kindle edition.

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