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Radical Awakening

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  • Radical Awakening: Cutting Through the Conditioned Mind Stephen JourdainDialogues

    A Childhood and Its Moments

    Gilles Farcet: Lets begin at the beginning, or at least what should be a beginning since, in fact, that experience whose praises you sing is situated outside of time. It is my understanding that even when you were a little boy, unusual inner experiences that others would not hesitate to qualify as mystical were common events to you.

    Stephen Jourdain: Uh-huh (Steve inhales deeply). It was only decades later that I became aware of the rarity of my experiences. The tendencies I had assumed were universal unfortunately turned out to be anything but that. In fact, my memory goes back a long way, from when I was no more than a year and a half old. I have crystal clear memories of that early period. One thing is certain: I was already endowed with all the interior equipment with which, fifteen years later, I would receive the rocker, when that thing fell on my head during adolescence. It would seem that I was more or less born fully assembled which, I came to realize later, is not the case with most people. At one and a half years, the inner me was perfectly established and I was fully conscious of myself without, of course, knowing the words or concepts with which I could have tried to express my experiences. Thus, I clearly remember having experienced what Ill call my first moment at the age of one and one-half while I was with my grandfather and amusing myself by trying to push a piece of gravel through a sewer grate-a very diverting and educational game! These moments continued throughout my childhood, cropping up almost daily, so often so that

  • I did not live one privileged instant but thousands of them.

    GF: Can you describe the characteristics of these moments? What would happen?

    SJ: The moments were very different. Let me make one thing clear: the content of the awakening is one and indivisible. The original illumination diversified itself little by little without its oneness being challenged. As to these moments or privileged instants, their content can be extremely diverse. Lets say that they always appear in the form of an abrupt and totally unexpected rupture. You cant prepare yourself for one; they hit you on the noggin without a word of warning.

    GF: A rupture? In regards to what?

    SJ: In regards to the quality of habitual perception, these moments always come with a profound bliss although there are nuances. But lets say these moments of bliss are nevertheless abnormal and unjustifiable in their intensity, their sharpness and the manner in which they differentiate themselves radically from ordinary perception which, let me clarify this point, is at its most acute in a little child. That an adults perception is dulled is to be expected, isnt it? For a big person, such an experience would appear like a spot of gold on a priests gray cape. But a small childs perception operates marvelously. However, these moments are so sharp in the intensity that they make even that small childs faculties appear uniformly dull. As to the exact contents of these experiences here are thousands! In several instances, the primary duality of me and the others vanishes.

    Undoubtedly, thats what many people today wish to evoke when speaking about the fusion of subject and object, an expression that

  • strikes me as, at the very least, totally inadequate.

    GF: Why?

    SJ: There is certainly a union of the subject and the object but they do not fuse, they do not disappear in some kind of undistinguishable magma. Whats miraculous in these experiences is that, without in the least losing my identity, in legitimately remaining who I am, I become the table, the stove, or the mountain, or the entire landscape, which, in turn, remains integrally itself. A remains A, B remains B, and yet A is in the heart of B, B in the heart of A. If both terms cancelled out each others original nature in this fusion, there would be no miracle, there wouldnt be anything at all. This point seems important to me to the extent that, ordinarily, I find it poorly understood. If one believes what one reads or hears, if John becomes the tree, the tree, such as it is, is consumed, as is John.

    But thats not it! John remains entirely himself, the tree remains the tree, and yet there is union. It is in this coexistence of fusion and maintenance of the intrinsic identities of both parties where the miracle resides. If an annihilated A fuses with an annihilated B, theres really not much to fuss about. The extraordinary thing is that two completely different things can be truly joined while each, at the same time, maintains its original nature.

    GF: Therefore, this miracle constitutes one of the characteristics of these instants.

    SJ: Yes. Ordinarily we always feel the rupture between ego and non-ego to be more or less obscure. Theres a kind of primitive break between our inner reality and the rest. At these moments, the rupture is abolished. Once again, it is not a question of the simple abolition of duality, but rather the sudden appearance of a unity in

  • the heart of the duality. One derives from this an important impression of a healthy, legitimate duality. From what Ive heard, a number of teachings or approaches insist on a nonduality. Yet, if a falsified duality exists, there also exists a completely legitimate duality that manifests itself not only in space but also in time. Ordinarily, there seems to be a lot of insistence on spatial dualitycertainly there is that which separates me from the tree, but there is also that which separates me from what I was or what I will be, that which, for example, separates me from my death. After all, a mans life is very important! My death is an object that is, in its way, more solid and, for me, more real than the tree which means nothing to me! The duality is there; it manifests itself in space and time, and it is in space and time that the duality is either healthy or corrupt. In my opinion, it is a grave tactical error to set people going in an assault on duality without clarifying the difference between a healthy duality and a corrupt one. They run as much risk of hurting, or even destroying, themselves as they do of being saved. One cannot deny duality, since it is the principle of life. Certainly, a false duality that is the product of a given individuals mind should be destroyed. I repeat and insist: duality, to the extent that it is a duplicate of reality, a dreamlike and personally fabricated duality, must be ruthlessly destroyed. But when this veil, in the center of which we habitually evolve, is consumed, when this enormous subjective bubble bursts, what is then left? What will you see once youre outside the bubble? The world, plainly and simply. There is something! There is me and the tree. Duality exists.

    GF: Duality remains in a different fashion.

    SJ: Exactly.

    GF: If I follow you, there is a duality in itself real, which you qualify as healthy . . .

  • SJ: Healthy, simple, and divine!

    GF: As well as an unhealthy, unreal duality that is merely the product of our subjectivity.

    SJ: This duality thing is a complex phenomenon. Ill try to sum up the situation. What at one time would have been called the soul-a term thats fallen into disuse and, at any rate, was clumsily used with one saying, I have a soul instead of I am a soul -which I call our spiritual essence-is the unique source of everything. It is our essence that is at the origin of what we call the world -and by that term I mean not only the so-called exterior reality, but also my spirit, the spirit in my body, my body in the world; and all this together conveyed by time. In other words, everything springs from our innermost selves. Our essence is creative. Originally, that is to say right now, immediately-Im not speaking about an historic origin but the instantaneous origin-this source thats within me generates the world: it produces perceptible reality as well as my spirit and my body.

    To the extent that we abide there, we are at center-stage of the creation of the world, that is to say, the Eden-like phase of things. Then, instantaneously-and this is where everything gets spoiled-a second creation takes place. For our source is, so to speak, the double, in this second creation, it is I, personally, Steve Jourdain who is the father of the world. I claim both paternity and credit for it, while in the first type of creation, everything issues from my innermost self but in an impersonal way with no personal intervention on my part. At any rate, it is impossible for me to take credit for it. In short, there are two sources: the first, legitimate, which while being the foundation of the person, functions in such a way that that person cannot in any manner claim that he is responsible for what springs forth.

  • GF: Therefore, an impersonal source.

    SJ: To qualify it as such would be improper, since we are at the very center of the person! Thats exactly the paradox, the miraculous paradox. Well, let us say a nonpersonal source in the sense that the ego appropriates absolutely nothing whatsoever.

    GF: And the other source, polluted.

    SJ: From which proceeds this counterfeit world, this pale copy of a reality-interior and exterior-in which we live. This second source falsifies everything all at once. The falsification takes place from birth; its already there when the infant emerges from the mothers body. So much so that, from the start, we live in a state of permanent