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A personal journal
on 3 January 2011
I feel this book may be aimed at readers new to the topic of non-duality, and as such perhaps it is an accessible introduction. Certainly I found it an easy and enjoyoable read, autobiographical in style with a sprinkling of suggested self enquiries, though none were new to me and some of which were borrowed directly from other sources (nothing wrong in that).
...However, for anyone engaged in a deeper questionning of self and reality, the author's emphasis on experiences which can give short lived tastes of Oneness, coupled with his constantly reiterated 'progress' to becoming 'more conscious' make it unlikely to sit on the shelf next to 'I Am That'.
Tim Freke came across to me as a very loveable, genuine person, still trying to figure things out and sharing all his changeing views and beliefs along the way, whilst incredibly wrapped up in the story of Tim...Even to the extent of formulating theories (sorry, 'gaining insights') about how memories of this life are retained after death.
The book read like an interesting personal journal, but for anyone looking to deepen their understanding (or indeed go beyond understanding) I cannot see how it could be of much value as it is so overlayed with theories and concepts of the individual and need to change the world. Oddly enough (or perhaps not!), Freke directly critisises other spiritual teachers for a similar approach ("spiritual jumk food").
I was surprised that in his early 20's Tim was leading spiritual retreats, yet in his late 40s (towards the end of the book) that the follwing 'nugget of wisdom' is discovered:
' "I'm pissed off. It's raining, I've got toothache, and I need a holiday"
"Well, matey, we'd all like sunshine without rain, pleasure without pain, play without work, life without death....but you know this isn't going to happen."
"You're right. Life is predicated on polarity, so you can't have yum without yuk........Yet somewhere along the line I seem to have been sucked in by the ridiculous fantasy that it's possible to arrive at some perfect place, where I'd have good without bad, joy without suffering, clever without stupid, hope without fear" '
This is an example of an exert of the sometimes lengthy dialogues explaining rather obvious ideas, yet he did not go on to say that such divisions exist in the mind only, and that they (as all experiences) appear to witnessing awareness. However, if the quote above is a revelation, you will find lots more, including some basics on intent & manifestation and breathing meditation.
As a manic depressive might assume that everyone swings as wildly on the pendulum of optimism and despair, readers are invited to swing between non-dualism and theories which justify Freke's experience of 'reality' in the dream...And I just didn't buy a lot of it, as well as being thankful that I didn't read it at a time when I would have felt utterly confused by the lack of distinguishment between ultimate & relative reality.
Still, all that is just my ego's opinion, and I did like the humour, compassion and some of the interesting theories did resonate as did the underlying current of non-duality. :)