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Linda Clair – Enlightenment is in the Body

Interview by Renate McNay

Renate:  Welcome to  I’m Renate McNay and my guest today is Linda Clair.  Hello Linda.  Nice to have you back.

Linda:  Hello Renate.

Renate:  Linda is a meditation teacher in the Zen practice and she has a lovely book out which is called, What Do You Want? : Conversations about enlightenment.  Our last interview was also called, I am Enlightened.  [laughs]  I loved that because we did about 450 interviews so far and nobody ever announced their enlightenment officially in that way.  [laughs]  So Linda, you were telling me since I spoke to you last time, since our last interview, that there were still some further realizations and I would like to know a little bit about them.  I think one of your biggest realisations was that the absolute is not the absolute.  So how did you realise that?

Linda:  How did I realise that?

Renate: Yes, how did that come to you?

Linda:  It came gradually, gradually.  When I first had my realisation – what I felt was the big realisation – I started teaching not long after that.  Whether that was the right thing to do or not I don’t know.  But with me what happened was, as I was teaching, more started to happen; things started to deepen.  When I first realised this, now, death, the realisation of death, my mortality…

Renate:  Say that again – the realisation about death.

Linda:  The realisation of my mortality – more the acceptance, the complete acceptance of my mortality.  Well, I felt it was complete but then I started to realise that there was still a bit of fear there.  And yet I was teaching at that time.  So what I needed to do was accept that there was more that was happening and I wasn’t this perfect being.  This thing that I felt was enlightenment was not the end – it wasn’t the end.  It was the end of suffering but not the end of this journey.  And it was actually the realisation of the eternal, of infinity.

Renate:  So you felt you shouldn’t be teaching when there are still some ego residues?

Linda:  No, I felt it was good for me to teach.  What I learned to do and what I did gradually was realise that I wasn’t this perfect being.  And that was actually a very – as long as I stayed grounded, very grounded – it was a great thing to do as a teacher to let people know that this is not the end – there is not this perfection.  When you start to teach there is some ego involved.  I think there’s probably ego there until the death of the body.  But when you start to teach people start to look up to you.  And particularly in the initial stages of enlightenment – what I call enlightenment – you feel very ecstatic, very ambitious in a way.  There’s still a bit of ego there but you just feel, “I want to share this with everyone.”  But what you need to do is keep looking in and keep – I was teaching and using the teaching, in a way – to keep going deeper into this, because I sit with people, I don’t just talk.  I do a bit of talking but the main thing I do is actually sit with people because I feel what needs to happen is that we both need to work and that’s the way to become closer and to go more deeply into this.

Renate:  Yes, but you also say enlightenment is the beginning of something and it never ends.  And maybe it was good to define what you understand with enlightenment because these days it’s also a lot of people say, “I’m awake,” or, “It’s awakening”.  And it seems enlightenment is some kind of top to reach.  And there not really rules out, you know, of what is it actually, or guidelines. 

Linda:  Guidelines?  [both laugh]  It’s very difficult to define because it’s something that’s almost beyond definition.  For me, enlightenment was that point where I sensed – I knew – there was no question that the mind was going come back to the extent that it had been.  It’s like this turbo-boost where you go into space, but are incredibly grounded, and looking down, and see the mind and see that it’s got no chance of ever really catching you again.  It doesn’t mean it’s not there.  And I think the mistake that some people can tend to make – maybe I did at some times – was to think the mind has gone, it’s all perfect, nothing else happens.  But after a while you realise there is still a bit of fear there, and doing something like teaching really accentuates that – you see that there is still this fear there.  So you start on this other journey where you keep watching – I can only speak for myself – I kept watching and acknowledging that there was still fear there, which is a bit tricky when you’re teaching as well because you tend to think, “Oh, I should be perfect.  I should be perfect.”  A deeper realisation is the realisation of imperfection; that there’s not this thing called perfection where everything stops – it’s not this limit.  You realise this is limitless; it really is limitless – it never ends.  And rather than looking for an end – which is what I was doing before, before realisation, enlightenment, whatever you want to call it – because all I wanted was an end to my suffering and I felt enlightenment was the end.  But then I realised that it was actually never ending, it was infinite.  There are no limits at all because there is no time, no time at all.  So then instead of seeing – it’s hard to explain – every time I saw something that was still a little bit of ego there, whatever degree of ego there, it was actually joyful to see it because as soon as I saw it, it would leave and that would take me deeper into it.  So it was like the residual ego was helping me to go more deeply into this.

Renate:  Yes, you know a lot of our unconscious is full of ego stuff, [both laugh] or of delusions and, you know, a lot gets played out in a hidden way.  And our unconscious is, as far as I understand, lives in our body, in our cells.  When you say you were happy for things to arise and you had a look at it, was that a process which came through your body?  How were you seeing?  How did you release it?  Do you understand my question?

Linda:  Yes, I do.  It’s an energetic process, a deeply energetic process.  So what I felt was that more and more energy was coming into my body.  Enlightenment is that point where there’s so much energy that the mind can’t, as I was saying, the mind can’t get hold of you again, can’t take over again.  But it’s like it opens up the floodgates and the energy just keeps coming in, more and more energy.  So what I needed to do was really keep grounding.  And the best way of grounding that I know of is to actually sit, to sit and feel that energy – that was overwhelming at times, still overwhelming – and feel it and keep grounding it.  And what teaching actually did for me was ground me even more.  So I was almost using my students, people around me, to help me ground, to help me to stay humble.

Renate:  Yes, I know you say without being completely grounded in your body there is no enlightenment.

Linda: No, no.  And there’s no shortcuts; as far as I can see there’s no shortcuts.  So what I stress with people is to become more and more grounded.  It’s all about the body – your body – and becoming more grounded.  The more grounded you become, the more energy you can absorb and ground in your body.  Rather than just feeling a huge amount of energy and not knowing what to do with it, what this practice does – this very simple sitting practice – is keep grounding that energy.  So I know for me it’s never going to stop.

Renate:  So how does this grounding look like?

Linda:  How does it look?

Renate:  Yes, how does it feel like?  [both laugh]  I mean, how do you ground yourself?

Linda:  By sitting.

Renate:  Sitting – you mean meditation?

Linda:  Sitting in meditation.  Breathing, through the breath.  The breath is a very strong, grounding thing to use.

Renate:  So you take the breath into your body.  Because sometimes when I meditate, sometimes, it stays more up here.  I cannot say I’m grounded.

Linda:  Well, in Zen practice, and that’s the practice that I teach – even though I wouldn’t call myself a Buddhist teacher or a Zen teacher or even a non-dual teacher; I’m more freelance – you ground down here.  It’s very tempting to feel the energy up here and to really… but you bring it down here.  And the temptation is to be up here.  But it’s bringing it down here again and again and again.  It doesn’t sound very exciting; it doesn’t sound very dramatic.  But the way to really absorb that incredible energy is to keep grounding it.  So you feel it – and you can feel that energy – bring your attention back to your breath down here.  When I was in the monastery in Japan the teacher there, my master there, once said – I was just walking around and he said, “Do everything from down here.”  It’s a long way from your head and it’s in the guts of your body.  It’s incredibly simple.

Renate:  That’s where it’s happening.

Linda:  Yes, but that’s where everything happens, down here.

Renate:  Yes.  Do you know why?

Linda:  Why?

Renate:  Yes, why here?  [both laugh]  So our mind has to drop to the heart and then to the gut.  I want to read something which I found very beautiful which is somewhere on your web site.  “Stay in your body.  The silence is in your body.  It’s not out there.  It’s in your body.  Stay in your body, and you will be surprised what happens.  To really become immersed in the silence you need to free your body, purify your body of the past.  Only then will there be silence.  And that silence is overwhelming, it’s indescribably beautiful.”  Yes, the silence is overwhelming.  When I meditate and I go inside I find there isn’t anything there.  There’s just this black void, silent, black void.  And it makes me curious because you say somehow we are all striving towards this enlightenment, to realize in the end that there is nobody there.

Linda:  Um hmm.

Renate:  Can you say some more about that?  And there was one thing I picked up somewhere in your book which says, “I’m sitting here listening to the wind but nobody is sitting here.”

Linda:  You become smaller and smaller and smaller.  You feel, and I felt that I was going to become more special: bigger and bigger and bigger.  And what people tend to look for is more, like they want to feel something more and more and more.  They think they’re going to become bigger and bigger and bigger.  But the opposite happens; you become less and less and less.  And what people tend to, and what I tended to, not see was that what happens is that there’s more absence.  There’s not actually more presence; there’s more absence.  And it’s just the absence of “me,” and that doesn’t stop.  It does – it becomes more and more beautiful, this absence.  People tend to look for signs of progress in something that’s happening, something positive, something there, an object or something tangible.

Renate:  Fireworks!  [both laugh]

Linda:  Yes, fireworks, and they have an amazing experience and then keep trying to repeat that.  People often ask me, “Am I progressing?  What are the signs?”  And it’s really in their daily lives – it’s an absence of, usually, a reaction, something very simple often – some reaction to someone, to a situation that suddenly is not there, that might have been there for most of your life.  So it’s this absence that you need to look for – the space in between things, not the objects.

Renate:  And the absence is happening because you move more and more into the now?

Linda:  Um hmm.

Renate:  And the experiencer and the experience becomes one?  Is that how you would describe it?

Linda:  You move further and further out of time.  Most people’s bodies are full of time.  So this is releasing, dissolving the time from your bodies that is held in your cells – by the past I mean really, time.  And the body is such an amazing thing – this is possible for anyone who is still in their body.

Renate:  So by just sitting and grounding yourself in your belly, bringing yourself all the time back to this point?

Linda:  Sounds too simple doesn’t it?

Renate:  I actually think it’s very beautiful.

Linda:  It is.

Renate:  To get all this complicated stuff out of the way.  [both laugh]

Linda:  Yes, and it’s why I teach as I do because what I love doing is retreats.  I love teaching, or being with people in retreats and meeting them energetically.  And I’m just saying the same thing over and over again.  I’m not really a great talker.  I love connecting with people.  So during retreats, even though they’re silent, very silent – and I prefer having not too many people because it means I can keep an eye on everyone and connect with everyone on an individual level at some time – and yes, it’s amazing.

Renate:  But what are the most difficulties people have doing this practice?  I understand it is a frightening thought – I mean, it’s exciting, the feeling you move toward enlightenment – and when you start experiencing the absence, it can be quite scary.

Linda:  Yes, fear is what stops most people – it’s only fear.  So what I try and do is work with fear.  And that fear is so strong that at times you do need to work individually with people, one-to-one with people.  And that’s why it’s so important to have a teacher who is still in their body.  It’s not that it’s… if you’ve had a teacher who has left the body, that’s amazing too.  But, in my experience, to really be free from that fear I needed to have someone sitting in front of me who…

Renate:  If you’re holding?

Linda:  Yes, it’s confronting your mind, going, “This is possible,” because your main fear is that this is possible but you also feel this is impossible, “This is not possible for me.”  So your deepest fear is really that this is possible but you’ll use the belief that it’s not possible to stop you doing this.  So if there is this human being sitting in front of you in their body saying, “This is possible,” and you trust that this person is in this state – that is going to be a huge thing.

Renate:  Yes, so it’s basically a fear of surviving?

Linda:  A fear of death.

Renate:  Yes, yes.  Annihilation.

Linda:  Yes, what you feel is it’s going to be the annihilation of your body but really it’s …

Renate:  …the annihilation of your ego.

Linda:  … the mind, the ego. 

Renate:  And do you feel…

Linda:  Maybe subjugation more than annihilation because I would say there’s definitely still ego in me.  But compared to how it was, it’s almost nothing.

Renate:  How do you see this ego?  Yes, how do you deal with it?  When does it come out?  When is it challenged?

Linda:  You never know when it’s going to come up.  But if I feel a slight resistance to something, a slight judgment, a slight reaction – of course that’s a bit of ego.

Renate:  And what do you do then?

Linda:  I just see it.  So I don’t judge myself for feeling it and I don’t go, “That shouldn’t be there because I should be this perfect being.”  I just see it.  And that reduces it; it just goes.  Just seeing it is enough.  But you need to see it without judging it and without saying, “This shouldn’t be here,” – just seeing it from this neutral spot.

Renate:  You know we’re all rushing through life.  We’re all busy and I have a hundred thousand things to do and the phone rings and blah, blah, blah.  And sometimes you’re not even aware when the body all of a sudden contracts or you react to something, so many times that you have difficulties to realise it.  So what you say is, it is possible? 

Linda:  It is possible.

Renate:  And you need to slow down.

Linda:  You need to slow down – not necessarily physically so that you walk really slowly – but you can be… Like yesterday – well this morning coming here I was on the Tube packed in like sardines – but yesterday at rush hour, it’s crazy!  [laughs]  Everyone running!  But I didn’t really… It doesn’t affect you.  Eventually you just watch; there’s no judgment.  There’s no saying, “Oh, these people shouldn’t be doing this or that.”  It’s just that movement.  So you can move without having that momentum in your body.  So what happens is that momentum, that time – your body becomes free of time, trying to get somewhere.  But it doesn’t mean that practically you don’t hurry sometimes to get somewhere on time, but that momentum is not there, that momentum in your body.

Renate:  Yes.  Tell me something about time.  I know that’s one of your favourite subjects. 

Linda:  It is!  [both laugh]  I have a student – he’s a physicist – who often asks me about it and I love talking about it.  Can you ask a more specific question about time?

Renate:  Me?  Well, I only experience when I’m really in the now and nobody is there – time collapses.  So time is a construct we need, to visit somewhere on time.  So what’s the question?  [both laugh]  We get lost in the past and we are frightened of the future.

Linda:  What is the past?  Thinking creates this illusion that we call time.  Every time you start to think – and thinking is a movement away from now, from here.  It’s why it’s so important to use your body because your body – even though it’s not reality, because it does comes and go – it’s much closer to reality than thinking.  So each time you start to think – it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about – we get caught up in the subject of thinking and really that’s irrelevant – it’s that movement away from here, from now, from this body.  That’s why it’s so important to keep coming back to the body.

Renate:  Yes, that’s the practice.

Linda:  So the past does not exist.  Nothing happened in the past.  It’s all happening now.  But what we’re doing is really using that belief in time to try and avoid being here because essentially we know that when we die it’s going to be now.  You can’t think your way out of death; you just can’t do that.  But what thinking is essentially is pretending that you’re never going to die.  And what this practice is all about is accepting, that full acceptance that, “Yes, one day I’m going to die.  It doesn’t mean I want to die but one day I’m going to die; my body is going to die.”

Renate:  And we don’t know when and how.

Linda:  No, we don’t.  But what happens on realisation is that that fear of death goes so there’s this full acceptance that, “Yes, I’m going to die.”  You get that out of the way and then you can just live now without basing everything on trying to avoid your own death.  And everything changes then, everything.  And then you realise there is no time; it’s always now.  It’s a huge thing. 

Renate:  It is a huge thing.

Linda:  And then the desire to think goes because what this is all about is getting to the source of the desire to think.  It’s not going, “Okay, I’m going to stop thinking.  That’s my problem – thinking.”  Thinking is not the problem.  It’s the desire to think.  And that comes from fear.

Renate:  It’s the desire to think.  I was sitting this morning in my meditation and I, probably inspired by what you were saying, I was just looking where – at thoughts, you know.  They come out and I saw how they come out of the void and we hook – we go with the thought – and that is basically our drama; we react to our thinking.

Linda:  And that’s what feeds the thinking.

Renate:  It’s not the enemy.  [both laugh]

Linda:  It’s not the enemy.  So this isn’t a battle; it’s not a struggle.  It’s understanding the way the mind works, the working of the mind.  It’s not saying, “The mind is the bad guy.  My thoughts are what are driving me crazy.”  It’s understanding the whole process, realising – realising not theoretically but in your own experience, in your body, not in anyone else’s body but in your body.  And, I mean, the practice, as I said, is very basic: you keep coming back to your breath.  Stability is the key.  It doesn’t sound very dramatic or exciting.  It’s the key.  And there are no shortcuts.

Renate:  To be grounded is the key.

Linda:  To be grounded again and again and again.  Gradually, gradually you start to realise things are falling away.  It doesn’t mean that when you sit you’re not going to have a busy mind; it’s going to react and try and destabilise you.  And you have to prove that whatever it does, you’re going to keep doing this because this is the most important thing you can do in your life – more important than anything.

Renate:  So what you also say is everybody can reach that point; everybody can wake up or get enlightened.

Linda:  Yes, everyone who wants to enough.  But it needs to be the most important thing in your life – number one priority.

Renate:  But when you say… You know, I sometimes think about it and I feel – because I realise strongly that there isn’t really anybody there, a “me,” who can direct it – it is an evolutionary process, which is taking us towards enlightenment.  Do you feel it is something we really can do?

Linda:  Definitely, definitely.  And I see it in people who come to retreats with me or sit with me, students; things are happening.  You could say, “Yes, it’s going to happen eventually, maybe in another life”, but really, this is urgent.  But it’s more urgent for some people than for others, for whatever reason, I don’t know.  So it’s why I don’t try and advertise a lot because I’d rather people just came to me because they really want this rather than… I’m not trying to persuade anyone and I don’t want to persuade anyone.  And it doesn’t mean someone who does this is better than someone else.  It’s just for some people it’s the right time, for others not.  But I just want to say if you want this, it is possible.  If you’re in this body, it’s possible.  If you want it enough, it’s possible.

Renate:  Yes, and you told me that three of your students became enlightened.

Linda:  Um hmm.

Renate:  How was that?  It must be very fulfilling for you.

Linda:  Yes it’s great.  It’s great to see but it’s not why I do this.  I don’t do it for any reason anymore.

Renate:  So what motivates you?

Linda:  Nothing anymore.  [laughs]  Love?  I don’t know.  I’ve looked at that and maybe that did motivate me in the beginning.  And I think it was good that I started teaching fairly early because if I’d waited I think the motivation might not have been there so much, because it takes a bit.  And it takes quite a bit of energy to start teaching and to gradually build it.  Of course it’s beautiful when you see that happen with someone.

Renate:  Tell me about it.  How was that?  So they were sitting in your meditation class and [raising hand], “I got it!”  [both laugh]

Linda:  It happens gradually.  And as I say, after that there’s still a lot more that happens.  And it can be very bumpy after that.  So yes, it’s amazing and it does reaffirm something in me but it’s not the reason that I do this; it’s not my motivation.  I can’t say what motivates me anymore.  It’s like this is why I’m here – I do this – but it’s not because of anything anymore, whereas originally there was this something…

Renate:  …which came from you but maybe it’s now coming from your students.

Linda:  Yes, that’s true.

Renate:  …which you respond to.

Linda:  Yes, because occasionally I feel, “Ah, maybe it would be nice to just to go and live somewhere and have a really quiet life and not do this anymore.”  And I kid myself that I could do that.  But really, no I can’t.  There’s no point in doing that.

Renate:  Yes, so you respond to life.

Linda:  Yes, so it’s more a response now than doing it for me.  But yes, of course it’s beautiful seeing people.  One of them died but a few months before she died she was just glowing; she was amazing – really, really beautiful.

Renate:  So when you say, and it was also with you a gradual process… I would suggest you watch the first interview where Linda tells us her story and the hardship really she put in; sitting for hours in an ice-cold Zen monastery in Japan where people got frostbite and all kinds of things.  So it’s really, as you say, What Do You Want?  [holding up Linda’s book]

Linda:  It is.

Renate:  Is it what you really want and what do you put in?  What are we prepared to let go of and put in?

Linda:  Yes, what are you prepared to do?  And maybe that’s one of my main functions as a teacher, to keep encouraging people and to keep saying, “A bit more; do a bit more even if you feel, ‘This is unbearable; I can’t do it anymore,’ do a bit more, keep going, keep going.”  And that’s why I really love sitting with people too because, for one thing, energetically it’s really good; I’m putting in the energy and they’re putting in the energy to meet.  And just to show people that… Just to be with them.  And there’s still things happening in me of course as well.  It’s great.  It’s so beautiful sitting with a room full of people, silent; sitting sometimes for hours, sometimes not that long but all in silence, in pain often.  You get to the end of the retreat and I look at the next retreat and they’ve booked in for the next one. [laughs]  I go, “Oh, again!  They’re going to keep doing it.”  I just feel this deep respect for people doing that, who keep doing that, giving up their holidays, giving up a lot of things to do this, to put heart and soul into this.

Renate:  Yes, and as I said in the beginning, you want to reach it as much as possible, sooner than later, and then you realize there isn’t anybody there.  Do you still have your own practice?

Linda:  I still sit.  I haven’t been sitting much this week since I’ve been here.  But I still sit and I sit – if you count retreats – I probably still sit a couple of hours a day.  I feel it’s really important but there are times when I won’t sit formally for maybe a week.  And then I’ll do a retreat and I’ll be sitting every day for four or five hours.  It’s a really important thing and even though in some ways I could say, “Oh, I don’t need to sit anymore,” I think that’s not true actually; I do need to sit.  I need to keep maintaining, grounding.  You can’t be too grounded; it’s impossible.  And I used to say that years ago but I realize much more deeply now how true that is because teaching, putting yourself in this position and having people in front of you looking up to you asking you questions, you need to be incredibly grounded and keep stable and balanced.

Renate:  Yes, yes.  I think one thing which is important too, to have a proper discipline.

Linda:  Um hmm. Some sort of structure.

Renate:  Some sort of structure where you get up at a certain time.  Do you get up at 4:00?

Linda:  No.  [both laugh]  Only when I’ve got jet lag I do.  No.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  What I find now is that it is quite difficult for me – except during retreats of course – to have a structured day because it does keep changing.  So during retreats it is really structured but the rest of the time I don’t have so much of a structure anymore.  I used to but not now.  Yes, it’s quite different.  I’ve tried it before like, “I’m going to do this and then this,” and it just doesn’t happen.

Renate:  So what kind of other realisation did you have since our last interview?  You know, I listened to this interview a few days ago with a Zen master, a very fierce Zen master.  I cannot remember his name; I can tell you afterwards.  And he was also interviewed on what he thinks about this difficult time we live in and he said something fascinating which I wouldn’t have expected to say, a Zen master. [laughs]  He said the two most important things in our time are: that you watch the movement of consciousness – where consciousness is moving; and the second is you absolutely have to work on your shadow because it’s all our shadow which is reflected in the work.  And that’s a little bit also what you say: you just watch what’s coming up, and accepting, really.

Linda:  Accepting, watching.  And the stiller you are – it’s the reason it’s really good to spend periods where you are still, when you’re formally sitting – so you can see much more clearly that movement, that movement of the mind, that movement away from here.  So what have I realised in the last few years?  I feel so much more humble than I did a few years ago.  I would still say, “Yes, I am enlightened,” which a lot people react surprising strongly to.

Renate:  That’s why I said that in the beginning.  [both laugh]

Linda:  It’s better to get someone to react…

Renate: “How can you say that?  We are embarrassed.”  But actually Iain and I are in the Diamond Approach in the teaching with Hameed Ali Almaas and in our last retreat it was actually talked about.  One of the teachings was the importance that you recognise where you are and you speak it out, you know.  We had to do this exercise where we were sitting with someone else, or two other people, and we had to tell them where we feel we are.  [both laugh]  And it is important.  Of course we need to recognise when our ego inflates with something but, as you said, to be humble and to express where you are, it’s very beautiful.

Linda:  It is.  And it takes, I feel, a lack of ego for me to say that because I know I’m going to get a whole of people saying, “Who’s enlightened?  How dare you say that?  How dare say you are enlightened?  You’re just this ordinary middle-aged Australian woman, a mother, a grandmother.  How dare you say that?  You have to be special.”  People are scared; people are scared of someone being too ordinary.  And that’s what people are reacting to.  They realise that it is possible – what I’m saying is that it is possible in anyone.  And it’s why I teach as I do.  I’m just ordinary, this incredibly ordinary person.  But this “extraordinary,” which is just a natural thing, is possible. 

Renate:  I mean it’s the ordinary person which the mystery manifests through.  That’s the beauty.

Linda:  That’s the shock; you become so ordinary.  You accept that you’re ordinary and then all that fight and that tension and that wanting to be special or different goes.  And that’s what the shock is that, “Ah, I’m just ordinary,” and that’s the ecstasy – not that I’m special and I’m having this amazing experience.  It’s that I don’t need to have any more experiences.  It’s just so beautiful being ordinary.  You know, when I’m with my grandkids, they just treat me [laughing] like “Nana;” it’s great.  But people react.  When I was going through my practice I didn’t want someone to say, “Oh no, I’m not enlightened – I’m fairly conscious,” or whatever, because I wanted this.  I wanted – I didn’t know what it was but I felt in someone when they were in this state that I was longing for.  So I wanted people to say that.  I mean I don’t say it much now; I hardly ever say it.  But if it’s to get people’s attention, yes, I’ll say it and say it is possible.  It’s not this state that happens to someone else – it can happen in you, to anyone who wants it.  And it’s the most amazing thing, the most amazing state.  Everything falls into place, everything.

Renate:  No more struggle.

Linda:  No.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have stress but…

Renate:  I guess life is: the less and less we become, the more life can live itself. 

Linda:  Yes.  So that’s what happens; life starts to live itself through you rather than you resisting and trying to impose how you think it should be, “No, it shouldn’t be like that.  It should be different,” and doing that all the time.  I didn’t realise how much I was doing it.  But instead something happens and this incredible energy – which is life, universal intelligence, some people call it God – comes through you.  So you respond to situations, to people, to life, rather than reacting against it and manipulating it and avoiding things and trying to grab things.  You’re just here, simply here.  So what’s happening becomes secondary; the main thing is that you’re just here, and that becomes the most incredibly creative state.  You know, I used to be an artist but I just don’t have that desire anymore.  It doesn’t mean that’s going to happen to everyone.  But for me, it was like, “How can I improve on this?  It’s so creative just being here.”

Renate:  [pause] Very nice.  I just can feel it now.

Linda:  Yes, and when I talk and especially when it’s one-to-one like in retreats when people are asking questions – usually the first couple of days people don’t say much; they’re all setting in – and then the connection starts, and then things like this happen where you just feel so close, and an incredible intimacy with people.

Renate:  The silence is so palpable.

Linda:  Yes, it’s incredible, the silence.

Renate:  Everything arises out of the silence.

Linda:  Yes, and sometimes nothing arises.  So you stop trying to fill up the void or the silence with thoughts and activities and anything.

Renate:  Yes.  Well, I’m just looking if there are any other questions or is there anything else you would like to talk about or mention?

Linda:  Well, I think another thing that’s affected me is the death of my mother; she died this year.  And it was actually on the first day of a retreat.  I had spent the week before with her but I had this big retreat coming up and she knew that and she said, “Go.”  I said goodbye, properly goodbye, the day before and then she died on the first morning of this retreat, this seven-day retreat that we were having.  And the retreat was out in the bush, in the Australian bush and I just remember feeling – I could really feel her; for the first couple of days of the retreat I could feel her.  And it was the first time I felt she really understood what I was doing and why I was doing it, just what I was doing.  Before that there had been quite a bit of fear.  She tried to understand but it was like she thought I was teaching people who had serious issues and serious problems.

Renate:  Psychological.

Linda:  Yes, more therapy I think.  But it was like she finally understood.  And that was an incredibly beautiful, beautiful thing.  And that retreat was incredibly beautiful too after that.

Renate:  And you also said – I just try to find it – you realized when your mother died the importance to become free from fear while you’re still in the body.  Yes.  There is no time to waste.  [both laugh]

Linda:  No, there’s not.  It’s so important.  Don’t wait till you’re on your deathbed or you’re dead.  Do it now.

Renate:  What?

Linda:  What?  Do what?

Renate:  Make a commitment.

Linda:  Yes, making that commitment.  And it needs to be a commitment.

Renate:  Ground yourself.  Be here.  Don’t believe your thoughts.  [laughing]  Great Linda.  Well, is there anything else before we finish?  You are on your way to Spain for another retreat.

Linda:  I’m on my way Spain for a five-day retreat there, trying to teach the Spanish to be silent.  It’s a bit difficult. [both laugh]

Renate:  Good luck.  [both laugh]

Linda:  Every year they’re a bit quieter.  They’re quite beautiful.  They’re really, really passionate and lovely.

Renate:  The further south you come in Europe the more passionate people get.  The further north you go, the cooler they are.  It has to do with the sun.

Linda:  I suppose it does.

Renate:  They’re more energised with the light and the sun.

Linda:  Yes, so with them – and it’s not just the Spanish – there are quite a few people from Australia coming this time, so it’s great – but you need to teach them to contain that passion without beating it out of them.  It’s not that; it’s containing that passion and then the passion becomes even deeper.  What we tend to feel is that if we feel passionate we have to express it like this. [with movement]  But that incredible silence and stillness is actually incredibly passionate and it’s contained within your body.  And even though it might appear like someone is sitting there still and nothing happening, there’s this incredible passion.  “Now” is passionate – incredibly passionate.

Renate:  Very nice.  Well thank you Linda.  Thank you for coming all the way from Australia.  I show your book again, What Do You Want?  And I would again recommend you watch the first interview.  And thank you for watching and I’ll see you soon.  Bye, bye.

Linda:  Thanks Renate


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